Insight Meditation Society

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Insight Meditation Society (IMS) is a non-profit organization for study of Buddhism located in Barre, Massachusetts.[1] It was founded in 1975, by Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, and Joseph Goldstein, and is rooted in the Theravada tradition.[2] Its first retreat center in an old mansion in Barre, Massachusetts was opened on February 14, 1976.[3]

Insight Meditation Society, in Barre, Massachusetts in the backdrop amidst blossoming trees.


IMS offers Buddhist meditation retreats at two facilities – the Retreat Center and The Forest Refuge – in rural central Massachusetts. The Retreat Center is one of the two IMS centers in the United States. However, all Buddhist centers teach vipassana/vispashyana.

It offers a full yearly schedule of more than 25 meditation courses, ranging in duration from a weekend to three months. Most retreats run for 7–9 days.[3]

From 1996 until 2006 IMS offered a correspondence course developed by its founders Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg entitled Insight Meditation, which consisted of 12 audio cassettes and a workbook.[4] The course later evolved into Insight Meditation: An In-Depth Correspondence Course, with 24 audio CDs and an 88 page workbook.[5]

"Rains Retreat," or "Vassa," "Varshyana," is a basic practice for Buddhist monks. During the three-month retreat, monks seclude themselves and follow a tight regimen of meditation and dharma study.

Every year, the Insight Meditation Society runs a three-month course that has been called the "marathon of meditation". Save for triweekly interviews with instructors and nightly lessons, the retreatants observe full silence. In Theravada tradition, after lunch, they do not eat another meal, but are allowed snacks and drink tea (which is not accepted by many Buddhists as pure).[6] The center's courses provide instruction and practice in insight (vipassana) and/or lovingkindness (metta) meditations.[3] This practice is common to all Theravadin Buddhist centers, and is referred to as 'rains retreat' or Vassa (Varshana - 'rainy season' Sanskrit).


"Teachers give daily instruction in meditation practice and offer talks about the Buddha’s teachings." [7] Dharma talks are available for free download, a service provided by Dharma Seed.


  1. ^ Jayakrishna, Nandini; Ornish, Dean (2009-09-08). "Being young, here, now". The Boston Globe. 
  2. ^ Latin, Don (2005-01-23). "Bridging Eastern and Western Buddhism". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  3. ^ a b c About Us – Insight Meditation Society
  4. ^ Goldstein, Joseph (1996). Insight Meditation. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. ISBN 9781564559067. 
  5. ^ Salzberg, Sharon (2004). Insight Meditation: An In-Depth Correspondence Course. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. ISBN 1591790727. 
  6. ^ Goleman, Daniel (1993-03-21). "A Slow, Methodical Calming of the Mind". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "IMS Retreat Center General Information". Insight Meditation Society's Official Website. Insight Meditation Society. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 

External links[edit]