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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
buddhadharma| 91 |spring 2006 buddhadharma| 91 |spring 2006 Buddhadharma The PracTiTioner's QuarTerly ceNterS AND progrAMS A section highlighting upcoming programs being offered at various centers. For information about advertising your center’s upcoming programs and events in this section, please call us toll-free at 1-877-786-1950, ext 31. Join us for Kessei (Monastic training period) April 1- July 10, 2006 or Sesshin. Limited scholarships available. For more information call 845 439 4566 or go to zenstudies.org Experience authentic Rinzai Zen practice as taught by one of the few living Japanese Masters teaching in America. DAI BOSATSU ENDO term paid professionals, and the other half have signed on to serve the center for 18 months for a small stipend. Despite the growing complexities of administration, IMS has stayed true to its founders’ vision: a center rooted in the Theravada tradition, offering training in Vipassana (Insight) meditation, yet open to learning from all lineages. The back bone of the training at IMS is the retreat, held at what is now called the Retreat Center. The schedule begins at five in the morning and ends at ten at night. Silence is maintained except during question and interview periods. The day is devoted entirely to sitting and walking medita tion practice, except for a onehour work period, meals (vegetarian with dairy and eggs), occasional interviews, and an eve ning talk. Men and women do not share rooms, and there is no camping out, jour nal writing, mail, or phone calls. IMS offers a range of retreats, which vary according to the focus (e.g., metta, the practice of virtue), the focus group (teens, families, women, men) and dura tion (from several days to several weeks). In particular, the rigorous nineweek retreat held every fall has become a well known point of introduction to the depth of the practice. Experienced meditators who would like to do a personal retreat have the option of doing it at the Forest Refuge, a nearby retreat center that IMS opened in 2003. It is a secluded facility where prac titioners with a proven record of long term practice can operate with more independence, yet still have the support of a teacher and attend talks. Personal retreats at the Forest Refuge can range from several weeks to a year or more. “The IMS experience is not about becoming a Buddhist,” explains Salzberg. “It’s pretty nonsectarian. It’s about your own experience, the method, and being supported in deepening your understand ing. One thing I got from S.N. Goenka was that the Buddha did not teach Buddhism. He taught a way of life.” Those who are interested in combin ing more indepth study of the Buddhist teachings with meditation practice can take part in programs at the affiliated Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. It offers a yearround schedule of courses, workshops, conferences, retreats, and independent programs. Although rooted in “the classical tradition of the earli est teachings and practices,” BCBS also promotes exploration of all schools of Buddhism and dialogue with “other reli gious and scientific traditions.” IMS is always searching for ways to ensure the dharma reaches as many peo ple as possible in the West. At a strate gic planning session in 2004, a decision was made to focus on diversity, and that same year, the center established a retreat for people of color. When IMS offered this retreat last summer, it went an extra step, offering a free bus ride from New York City. Joseph Goldstein, who was one of the teachers at the course, found it inspiring. “It was interesting,” he says, “to be in an environment that felt safe enough and inviting enough for people who had no particular connection with Barre or IMS. Usually there is not a great deal of racial diversity in retreats at IMS. In this country, racial issues loom large. Personally, I became a lot more aware of the depth of the issues.” IMS recently added a retreat for 18– 32yearolds, based partly on the suc cess of its family retreat and teen retreat. “Something is happening culturally that is very interesting to me – and wonderful,” Goldstein says. “There’s a new interest in the dharma among young people. I don’t doubt that it’s related to the world situ ation. People are looking for something that’s meaningful.” As the original teachers get older – the twentysomethings are becoming sixty somethings – they realize IMS will need to have new teachers in the future. So the center has placed extra emphasis on teacher training and recently graduated seven students from a fulltime, fiveyear teacher training program. This year, IMS will begin another fiveyear teacher train ing program in conjunction with Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Periodically IMS also hosts a Vipassana Teacher Gathering, which focuses on trends and concerns in the wider Vipassana community. This sum mer, the center is inviting over 30 prom inent teachers for a gathering that will take place in the days leading up to its July 8 anniversary event. It’s fitting that as IMS celebrates its thirtieth year, the teachers will be sitting down to share their experiences and to talk about where to go from here. MARKDIAMOND