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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
55 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly Our original goals are still goals, and we feel quite opti- mistic about the long term. We continue to grow, and our teachers can’t keep up with all the demand for their time and programs. We know these teachings make such a difference in our society. People go out from here and change their com- munity and the world. We continue to be inspired. Karma is a great thing, and even if it takes a little longer, we’re absolutely clear we’ll get to the next stage of our vision. BOB agOglia: Listening to all of you makes me grateful that IMS has been around for thirty-three years and some of the infrastructure investments like water and sewer have already been made. Everything is ready for us to expand if we want to, but what we have decided for now is to upgrade rather than expand, which is what we did with the Forest Refuge. Among other things, our aspiration is to put in a dormitory wing to replace all the double rooms we have. We’ve received feedback from our yogis that people coming for a contempla- tive experience prefer to have their own rooms. We also need to renovate the dormitory that was built in the 1950s, and we would like to do some greening by having some active solar as well as having buildings LEED qualified, which is the standard for green buildings. When the recession hit, we scaled back our aspirations somewhat. We went out and talked to our major donors and learned in our feasibility study that the highest priority was to take care of what we have. We also have the aspiration to raise an endowment so people can pay what they can afford. But we had to scale everything back, so now we are looking simply to raise the money to renovate the existing dormitory. We have not let the rest of the vision go, but I guess you could say we’ve postponed it. Buddhadharma: How has your financial situation affected your staff and volunteers? JOn BarBieri: We have a year-round staff of sixty, almost all of whom live on the land. The labor pool in the area is almost nonexistent, so our staffing model is based on being a residen- tial community at the same time that we are running a center. We’ve just started what we call a volunteer program, where we will pay people a stipend of one hundred and fifty dollars per month and they pretty much work full-time. We look for people who can do that for a year, although a number of them can only do six to nine months. We need continuity; otherwise, important tasks may go undone, which can end up costing We learned in our feasibility study that the highest priority is to take care of what we already have. We have decided for now to upgrade rather than expand. — Bob Agoglia (bottom)elizabethvigeon;(top)jillshepherd(bottom)elizabethvigeon;(top)vincehorn insight meditation society The Insight Meditation Society was founded in 1975 by Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Sharon Salzberg in a former Catholic monastery in Barre, Massachusetts. The center is rooted in the Theravada tradition and is famous for its annual three-month silent retreat and lov- ing-kindness meditation programs. In 2003, IMS started the Forest Refuge on adjacent land where experienced Vipassana meditators can undertake more independent, less-structured personal retreats ranging from one week to a year or more. The facility sits on 200 acres of secluded woodland about a two-hour drive west of Boston. The retreat center can accommodate 96 participants and the Forest Refuge has room for 30. Last year, 2,685 people took part in IMS’ wide variety of offerings. IMS has a current budget of $3.1 million, a staff of 39, and a volunteer contingent (in 2008) of 90 people who donated 3,500 hours of service.