Insight Meditation Society

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Venue Description

Founded in 1975, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) is a 501 (c) (3) religious nonprofit organization.

On Valentines Day, 1976, a small group of young meditation teachers and dedicated staff opened a retreat center in an old but stately mansion in Barre, Massachusetts. Armed with minimal resources and less than ideal operational knowledge, yet passionate about the Buddha’s teachings, they set about creating an environment where the dharma could flourish and take root in the West. And so IMS began.

Over its history, IMS has become a spiritual home to thousands of practitioners, and is now regarded as one of the Western world’s most respected centers for learning and deepening meditation practice.

The organization operates two meditation retreat facilities – theRetreat Center and the Forest Refuge. Both are set on some 200 secluded wooded acres in the quiet country of central Massachusetts.

IMS is a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart. We offer meditation retreats rooted in the Theravada Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration and wisdom. These practices help develop awareness and compassion in ourselves, giving rise to greater peace and happiness in the world.

The Retreat Center started its program of silent meditation courses in 1976. It offers a full yearly schedule of about 30 meditation courses, ranging in duration from a weekend to three months. Most retreats run for 7-9 days.

All retreats provide instruction and practice in insight (vipassana) and/or lovingkindness (metta) meditations.

In addition to the insight and lovingkindness meditation courses, a range of diverse retreats is also taught — a people of color retreat, a course for teens (aged 14-19), a young adults retreat (for 18-32 year olds), a women’s retreat and a course for families, designed to integrate meditation into daily life.

All courses are led by recognized insight meditation teachers from around the world.

The Forest Refuge opened in 2003. There, experienced vipassana meditators can undertake a more independent, less-structured personal retreat, exploring freedom within a supportive environment. The duration of personal retreats ranges from seven nights to stays of a year or more.


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Ongoing Program
The month-long Working Guest positions are designed for those who want to volunteer at IMS and integrate practice with daily life, all within a supportive and