Relevant Links

The resources offered here are meant to help you discover the breadth of contemporary expressions of Early Buddhist thought and practice. You will not find links to Mahayana or Vajrayana resources only because of the limited and specific focus of this website and of this Buddhist community, not because of any implied superiority of one expression of Buddhism over another. Personally, I have a deep love for Buddhist wisdom and I respect all Buddhist traditions.

Why I choose to use the phrase Early Buddhism and not Theravada Buddhism
I have chosen this phrase to most accurately describe what I feel is currently being practiced and studied when folks say they are following or practicing Vipassana /Insight meditation, or Theravada Buddhist meditation. Modern scholarship has revealed that the Theravada was just one of some eighteen schools of Early Buddhism, each with its own views and foundational texts. Early Buddhists today agree that the discourses of the Buddha (collectively, the Dhamma) are authoritative. The Theravadan school also considers the Pali Abhidhamma and commentaries such as the Visuddhimagga to be authoritative, while other Early Buddhists may not. Hence Early Buddhism and Theravada are not synonymous, although there is much overlap. Today in Asia the followers of Early Buddhism are found primarily in Burma, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Many Western teachers teaching today, and who are mentioned below, trained in these three countries before bringing the teachings to the West.

On this page you will find a number of suggested resources grouped into four broad topic areas:

  • Mindfulness and the secular approach to personal development
  • Centers teaching Buddhist meditation in Western countries as well as in Asia
  • The practical and philosophical teachings of Early Buddhism
  • The Buddhist response to social justice, racism, the environmental crises, and LGBTQ+ issues

I. Mindfulness and the secular approach

Secular Buddhism as a thing
Secular Buddhism is growing as a unique modern take on Buddhist practice and thought. As a “movement” it owes a lot to the writings of the former Buddhist monk Stephen Bachelor, especially his wonderful Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. This is a pragmatic approach to explain and apply Buddhist teachings based on humanist values. From the Secular Buddhist podcast:

Secular Buddhism allows for the ancient wisdom of early Buddhism to be added to whatever background/world view you already possess. Whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Believer, Non-believer, it doesn’t really matter; Secular Buddhism is about helping you to become a better whatever you already are.

Here are two excellent websites to explore if this piques your interest: Secular Buddhism –and The Secular Buddhist.

Secular mindfulness and personal development
Back in the late 1970s, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D, developed a modern, scientific-based application of the  traditional Buddhist principles of mindfulness and meditation and developed a flexible approach to reducing stress called MBSR — Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. There are so many MBSR programs and trainings worldwide that it would be a monumental task to list them all here. Instead, here are just a few resources available to those interested in MBSR below. But I must give a shout out here to the MARC program — The Mindful Awareness Research Center, which is a partner of the Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA. This innovative research center provides an excellent set of free guided meditation exercises as well as a free mindfulness app on Google Play or Apple App store. Here are just a few of the well-known online MBSR classes, which are taught in an 8 week series: Imagine Mindfulness Mindful Leader UMass Memorial Health UC San Diego Mindfulness Meditation Live East Coast Mindfulness Mindfulness has also found it’s way into public education, with impressive results. Have a look at the Mindfulness in The Schools Project, whose aim is to improve the lives of a generation of children and young people by making a genuine, positive difference to their mental health and well being.
The interface with science
Buddhist Geeks ask the question: “How can we serve the convergence of Buddhism with rapidly evolving technology and an increasingly global culture?” They organize an annual conference and week-long retreat, and their podcast holds interviews and discussions with Buddhist teachers, scholars and advanced practitioners. Mind & Life Institute is dedicated to creating a collaboration and research partnership between modern science and Buddhism to better understand the mind and create positive change in the world. At this critical moment in history, it’s clear that efforts to address mounting global challenges must take into account our inner lives, and how individual well-being contributes to collective flourishing.

II. Buddhist meditation as currently practiced in the West

I include here a sampling of the major Western teaching centers of meditation following Early Buddhism.

One could say there are five major lineages of Buddhist meditation that have taken root in the West:

  • From Burma–the lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw and his successor, the late U Pandita Sayadaw
  • From Burma– the lineage of Pa-Auk Forest Sayadaw
  • From Burma– the lineage of U Ba Khin and his student S.N. Goenka
  • From Thailand–various Thai Forest lineages of which Ajahn Chah and the American monk Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu are the best known representatives
  • From Sri Lanka– their Forest Tradition, of which Bhante G.” is the best known

Teachers in the West vary in the degree to which they follow the model set by their Asian teaching lineage. Some well-known teachers, blend their understanding of the practices they inherited from Asia with insights from psychology, ecology and literature. I call these centers ones that follow their Asian influence less meticulously.

There are also teachers which follow their inherited Asian lineage very meticulously, and these are grouped together and listed below as well.

Meditation taught in a humanistic and liberal context, following their Asian teachers less meticulously
Spirit Rock: The teachings of the Buddha (Dharma) and the practices of Insight Meditation (vipassana) and loving-kindness meditation (metta) are at the heart of all the programs offered at Spirit Rock. The center was founded by Jack Kornfield, one of the most experienced North American teachers of early Buddhism. Here is an excellent set of recent teachings in video format. Mid-Peninsular Insight Meditation Center: Guided by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella, is a community-based, urban refuge for the teachings and practice of insight meditation, also known as mindfulness or vipassana meditation. They offer Buddhist teachings in clear, accessible and open-handed ways. In particular, I would recommend this list of recommended talks which present  many of the essentials of mindfulness, insight meditation, and Buddhist teachings and practice. Dharma Seed is an extensive archive of talks from retreats and classes taught in the insight, or vipassana, tradition. This is a huge collection of talks by Western teachers trained in Burmese as well as Thai meditation traditions. IMS Book Club brings together authors and readers for a facilitated discussion on the featured dharma-book-of-the-month. Offered by the Insight Meditation Society, an important center teaching insight, or vipassana, meditation–principally as taught in the contemporary Burmese tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw, as well as others. Here is their current schedule of online offerings. Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C.  supports the awakening of hearts and minds through the direct experience of the Buddhist path, and the integration and manifestation of wisdom and compassion in all aspects of life, for the benefit of all beings. I recommend the series of talks given by their founder, Tara Brach, PhD. on the basic elements of meditation practice. Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS)is an all-volunteer Dharma community devoted to offering the Buddha’s teachings on wisdom and compassion to all those who seek them. Through meditation and daily practice, SIMS encourages an ongoing investigation of our lives for the liberation of all beings and the stewardship of the planet. I highly recommend their page on series of talks given. Common Ground Meditation is a community meditation center dedicated to the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of waking up to the present moment and learning to be open and at ease with the unfolding conditions of life. Gaia House is a sanctuary of contemplative calm, set amongst the gentle hills and woodlands of South Devon in England. Gaia House offers meditation retreats from various Buddhist traditions led by teachers from all over the world. Beatenberg Meditation Centre in Switzerland offers various forms of meditation from among the great wealth of Buddhist practices, continuing thereby a tradition of 2500 years, at the same time introducing forms and methods that are helpful in our modern times. Australian Network for Insight Meditation and Dharma Practice is an excellent resource for contemporary Buddhist meditation teaching Down Under. Worldwide Insight is a Dharma practice group that you can access online from anywhere in the world. Each Sunday, renowned Insight Meditation teachers offer meditation instruction, teachings, and live Q&A on video.
Main Western centers meticulously following their Asian teachers
Bhavana Society – Established in Washington DC, in 1982 by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana Mahathera, the Bhavana Society is dedicated to the practice of Theravada Buddhist meditation. The center offers rare opportunities to practice Vipassana meditation in an ideal setting, in keeping with the forest traditions of Sri Lanka. Mahasi.us and Mahasi.eu: are a non-profit network of Vipassana meditators, retreat organizers, and independent meditation centers in North America and Europe. Their aim is to provide information about Vipassana meditation as taught by the 20th century Burmese teacher Mahasi Sayadaw. Satipanya Association offers guided meditations and talks by the British born monk Bhante Bodhidhamma, in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. Saddhamma Foundation is devoted to supporting meditation practice and the teachings of Theravada Buddhism–in particular the work of the late Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita’s disciples. A renowned meditation master, Sayadaw U Pandita was a chief disciple of the Late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. Tathagatha Meditation Center – was formed under the spiritual guidance of the late Venerable U Silananda in 1987. The group progressed until 1991 when it founded Tathagata Meditation Center (TMC), following the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma, and located in San Jose, California. Abhayagiri –Chanting and Dhamma talks from a Buddhist community in Redwood, CA, in the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah, and his Western student Ajahn Sumedho.  It is a part of a large international network of monasteries in this tradition– for example–>Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England. The Forest Sangha serves as a portal to an association of branch monasteries which grew out of the first generation of Western disciples of Venerable Ajahn Chah; the website aims to support the free distribution of teachings from this tradition. Vipassana Fellowship is an independent site promoting a balanced approach to the practice of Buddhist meditation as found in the Theravada tradition. They aim to offer resources to help nurture and sustain a fulfilling and effective meditation practice that is consistent with the Buddha’s teachings. The International Meditation Center – USA was founded in 1988 to promote the practice of Buddhist Vipassana meditation as taught by the late Sayagyi U Ba Khin of Burma. The practice is aimed at developing a calm mind leading to the realization of Nibbana. Metta Forest Monastery  is a meditation monastery in the lineage of the Thai Forest Tradition. Founded in 1990 by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco, it has been under the direction of Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Ajaan Geoff) as abbot and meditation teacher since 1993. Their Dhamma teachings and more information about Buddhism, meditation and the Thai Forest Tradition can be found at dhammatalks.org.

–a. Centers teaching meditation in line with Early Buddhism-world-wide.

North America
Aloka Vihara/Saranaloka Foundation The Saranaloka Foundation supports a small community of Theravada Buddhist nuns living at Aloka Vihara in the Sierra Foothills of California. There, a rural monastery is being developed where women can live and train as nuns and where the lay community can practice. Asheville Insight Meditation A meditation community located in Asheville, North Carolina offering weekly guided meditation sessions, classes, visits from meditation teachers, reading resources, group sharing and resources for participating in extended retreats. Brazos Insight Meditation is a community of meditators, providing the opportunity to learn about and practice the Buddhist Theravadan tradition in Bryan/College Station, Texas. We seek peace, understanding and wisdom through developing mindfulness in meditation and everyday life. Buddhist Families of Durham Located in Durham, North Carolina, the BFD supports parents and their children in the practice of mindfulness meditation and the understanding of Buddhist teachings within the vipassana lineage.  Our vision is to create an ongoing community in which families develop a spiritual path in the Buddhist meditative tradition, integrate these principles into daily life at home, and apply such development toward the benefit and peace of the larger communities in which we live. Buffalo Mindfulness Community offers spiritual education and training about mindfulness (the cultivation of a non-judgmental awareness of the mind-body) and loving-kindness (the intention for all beings to be free from the root of suffering). Cambridge Insight Meditation is a non-residential urban center for the teaching and practice of insight meditation. CIMC’s programs are designed to provide a strong foundation in formal meditation as well as daily practice. An open invitation is extended to all to stop by CIMC and browse through the library or join in any of the public sittings or Wednesday evening Dharma talks. The Center for Mindful Inquiry is dedicated to teaching the practices and principles of mindfulness to professionals. By learning to apply mindfulness and to respond skillfully in the moment, professionals can bring benefit to themselves, to the particular situation and to all involved. Collingswood Insight Meditation is a Buddhist community (or sangha) located just outside Philadelphia in Collingswood, New Jersey. Weekly gatherings include sitting and walking meditation practice, peer-led dharma discussion, and mindful listening. In our busy urban context, practicing mindfulness in community is a powerful support to one’s spiritual path to awakening. The Community Meditation Center is located in New York City on Manhattan’s upper west side. With a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, the CMC offers classes, Insight Meditation (Vipassana) instruction and practice, daylong retreats, workshops, and social events. Delaware Valley Insight is a Vipassana, or insight meditation, community active in the greater Philadelphia area throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Northern Delaware. Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community represents Buddhist Vipassana (insight) meditation groups in northern Nevada. Gainesville Vipassana Society Located in Gainesville, Florida, the purpose of the Gainesville Vipassana Society is to support the practice of Vipassana (Insight Meditation) by offering frequent residential retreats and weekly sitting groups. Insight Chicago Meditation is a nonprofit organization which hosts  weekly meditation groups (sanghas) around a variety of Chicagoland’s diverse neighborhoods. Our intention is to serve as a resource within the community supporting the practice of Insight (Vipassana) meditation as grounded in the teachings of the Buddha. Insight Community of the Desert Located in Palm Springs, California, The Insight Community of the Desert’s mission is to cultivate peace, compassion and interconnection through mindfulness practice and wisdom teachings from Buddhist and other contemplative traditions. The center offers weekly meditation and teaching, daylong retreats and class series. Larry Yang serves as guiding teacher. Insight Fort Collins A meditation community serving Fort Collins, Colorado, we offer guidance in vipassana (insight) and metta (lovingkindness) meditation. We are dedicated to sharing this practice with all who might be interested, regardless of race, class, age, ethnicity, cultural and religious background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Insight Meditation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Friendly, open Sunday morning sitting group, vipassana classes for beginning and continuing meditators. Weekend retreats several times a year, vipassana instruction in the traditional Theravadan tradition. InsightLA under the direction of Trudy Goodman, guides the practice of Buddhist meditation individually, in sitting groups, and through retreats in the Los Angeles and Southern California area. We offer a range of programs which include the practice of Insight Meditation, also known as Vipassana in the Buddhist tradition. Insight Meditation Center of Redwood City, California has been meeting since 1986. It is a gathering of individuals who meet in order to learn, support and deepen their mindfulness practice. It is an informal group and those interested in mindfulness meditation are heartily welcome to join whenever they wish. The Insight Meditation Center of Newburyport offers a variety of meditation opportunities including daily sittings, practice groups, retreats and workshops. IMCN is conveniently located in a beautiful rural setting close to I-95 and downtown Newburyport, Massachusetts. The Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley IMC PV is a non-residential urban center located in Easthampton, MA. Its mission is to offer the Buddha’s teachings of liberation to all those who are interested and to those who want to sustain and deepen their practice. The Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville IMCC holds a weekly sangha meeting with a period of meditation, followed by a dharma talk. The teachers also offer two other weekly sits, a biannual Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation course, a weeklong retreat as well as a weekend and several daylong retreats. Insight Meditation Community of Columbia Located in South Carolina, we are a peer-led group of practitioners with diverse levels of experience who meet for meditation and discussion on vipassana meditation and lovingkindness (metta) practice. We also study and practice mindfulness with the intention of integrating wisdom and manifesting compassion in all aspects of our lives. Insight Meditation Community of New Jersey offers peer support and beginning instruction in Vipassana (Insight) meditation. The purpose of our community is to provide a supportive and friendly environment for the practice of meditation. Insight Meditation Community of Providence IMCP supports members in the practice and study of the Buddha’s teachings.  All are warmly invited to join us on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month for 40 minutes of silent meditation, a short Dharma reading and time for discussion and sharing. Insight Meditation South Bay IMSB, dedicated to the liberating teachings of the Buddha, was founded by Shaila Catherine to support Buddhist meditation practice in the Silicon Valley and South Bay area of California. IMSB offers training in mindfulness-based meditation, lovingkindness, ethics, concentration and jhana practices. Insight San Diego invites you to join a new study group. Using Joseph Goldstein’s book, Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening as a guide, this group will methodically explore the fundamental path to awakening as described by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta. Madison Insight Meditation Group is comprised of people with varying levels of training and experience in Vipassana, or Insight Meditation. They focus on the essence of the Buddha’s teachings that underlie 2500 years of cultural traditions. Mahapajapati Monastery Mahapajapati Women’s Monastery is located in the hi-desert region of the Mojave Desert. We strive to practice the teachings of the Buddha. We  observe the traditional “rains” retreat, a three month retreat, from July-Oct. Mariposa Sangha offers weekly meditation, book discussions, beginning meditation instruction and Dharma talks. There are experienced meditators available to provide instruction. We collaborate with other Texas sanghas to offer retreats in Central Texas with visiting teachers from Spirit Rock in Woodacre, CA and Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS). Mid America Dharma is a non-profit organization dedicated to making the practice of vipassana or Insight Meditation available to others in the central region of the United States. Mindful Harlem is a non-profit community center dedicated to the practice of mindfulness as a vehicle for an awakened life. Through meditation, dharma talks and yoga, individuals will be guided toward recognition of their inner wisdom as the path for liberation. Mindfulness Outreach Initiative Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Mindfulness Outreach Initiative (MOI) is a non-profit organization providing Insight Meditation instruction rooted in the Early Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration, and wisdom. Monmouth Insight Meditation includes Monmouth County, New Jersey, residents who enjoy the benefits of Insight Meditation. They offer a peer-led group in a community space on Monday evenings. The Mountain Hermitage Conceived as small meditation center in the exquisite, pristine, high country of northern New Mexico, The Mountain Hermitage is dedicated to the cultivation of wisdom and compassion and a way of life based on teachings of the Buddha. Marcia Rose is the founder and guiding teacher. New York Insight Meditation Center was founded as a nonprofit center for the practice of mindful awareness (vipassana or insight meditation). NYI provides a place where all are welcome to begin or deepen meditation practice based on the liberation teachings of the Buddha. Programs include evenings with renowned meditation teachers, ongoing classes, daylong retreats and weekend courses for the integration of meditation teachings in daily life. Open Door Sangha is a community for Buddhist practice, primarily in the Insight (Vipassana) tradition, in Santa Barbara, California. The Sangha offers weekly meditation groups, introductory meditation classes, occasional daylong mini-retreats and weekend retreats with well-known Buddhist teachers. All are welcome. The Philadelphia Meditation Center A Non-sectarian Meditation Center in the Philadelphia Area. A center for regular silent meditation practice. A place for learning in an open and non-sectarian environment. A place to meet others, learn a non-hierarchical, non-teacher centered place where we can support each other’s spiritual growth. Philly Insight – Northeast Philly Insight – Northeast is a peer-led insight meditation group that meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month for meditation and dhamma discussion (and sometimes cookies). We welcome beginners and experienced meditators alike. Please join us! Princeton Insight Meditation is a meditation group that welcomes and respects all spiritual and religious traditions. We offer knowledge, skills and tools that can be naturally integrated into daily life and personal values. Rochester Meditation founded in 2004, offers two weekly 90-minute meditation sessions on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings, at the Assisi Heights Spirituality Center in Rochester, MN. Roswell Insight Meditation Community We are a teacher led diverse community of practitioners dedicated to cultivating greater compassion, understanding and wisdom, through the teachings of the Buddha.  These teachings, or Dharma, provide a path of practice, leading directly to the reduction of our personal and collective suffering. Sacramento Insight Meditation”s mission is to serve as a learning, training, and community center for the development, integration, and skillful use of meditation practices and awareness in all aspects of individual, family, educational, institutional, work, and community life. Sandy Springs Insight Meditation A peer-led insight meditation group in Atlanta, GA, that meets weekly for meditation and dharma discussions. Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha A Dharma Community in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha is a community of Dharma practitioners seeking liberation through Insight Meditation and integration of the Buddha’s teachings into daily life. Southern Dharma Retreat Center is a nonprofit educational facility, welcoming a variety of spiritual paths, whose purpose is to offer meditation retreats. Southern Dharma is located in a remote mountainous area of Western North Carolina, an hour northwest of Asheville. Taos Mountain Sangha Based in the beautiful mountains and mesas of Northern New Mexico, Taos Mountain Sangha is a small community-based meditation center dedicated to the practice and teaching of Buddhist principles. Temple Forest Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in the Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho, located in the small town of Temple, New Hampshire. The monastery aims to provide an accessible contemplative sanctuary for anyone interested in this way of life. True North Insight is a nonprofit center for the practice of insight (vipassana) meditation in English and French in Eastern Canada. TNI’s programming includes residential retreats, day-long retreats, non-residential daily life retreats, and weekly sitting groups in the regions of Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Kingston. Triangle Insight Meditation Community We are an Insight Meditation community located in Durham, NC, founded over ten years ago by three graduates of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader Program, and a fourth founder who teaches Insight Dialogue. Vallecitos Mountain Refuge is a wilderness ranch and contemplative retreat center seeking to strengthen and support progressive leaders and advocacy organizations working for social change and the protection of the environment in our society. Valley Insight Meditation Society based in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont, is a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart. We offer weekly sitting groups suitable for beginners and more experienced meditators; non-residential retreats; and meditation instruction — all rooted in the ethics, concentration and wisdom teachings of Insight (Vipassana) Buddhism. Vermont Insight Meditation is a community-based, non-residential center for the practice of Vipassana or Insight meditation, and for the study of Buddhist teachings and mindfulness practice in daily life. We are located at Solar Hill, 229 Western Avenue in Brattleboro, Vermont. Vipassana Metta Foundation of Maui Located on Maui, the Vipassana Metta Foundation currently conducts regular silent vipassana metta retreats: daylong, weekend, annual two-week (March) and an annual month-long (August)..Our vision includes establishing a small spiritual sanctuary and hermitage for solitary dhamma practice. Vipassana Hawaii was established in Honolulu in 1984 to support the teachings of classical Buddhism and to make them relevant to the issues of our day. Our teachers currently offer weekly guided sittings, classes for old and new students, individual meditation instruction, and weekend, ten-day and three-week retreats. Wat Dhammabucha A Theravada Buddhist community serving central and south Texas. The Westcoast Dharma Society was formed in Vancouver, BC, Canada to promote Buddhist meditation practices (primarily Vipassana and Metta) for the benefit of all beings. WDS focuses on retreat management with the specific mandate of bringing senior Western Dharma teachers to Vancouver to lead meditation retreats. Western Connecticut Insight Meditation Society The Western Connecticut Insight Meditation Society is a community of Insight meditators at all stages of practice that gather together on a regular basis to learn, to practice and to provide support, inspiration and fellowship to one another.
The UK and Europe
The Barn, Devon, England is a Buddhist meditation retreat center on the Sharpham Estate in Devon in southwest England. Retreats are based on mindfulness practice, Buddhist inquiry, organic gardening and community living. Dhamma Madrid An English- and Spanish-speaking Buddhist meditation community located in Madrid. We offer weekly meditation sittings as well as occasional day-long and weekend retreats. The Forest Hermitage – Wat Pah Santidhamma  is a Buddhist monastery after the style of the forest monasteries of N.E. Thailand but set in the Heart of England. It is owned and maintained by the Buddha-Dhamma Fellowship on behalf of and for the Bhikkhu Sangha, the community of monks founded by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. The Insight Meditation Group, Dublin, Ireland has been in existence for over 25 years. We meet weekly in Rathfarnham, Dublin. This meeting includes a period of sitting meditation, ongoing discussion on a book related to the practice. We also have time for tea and chat. Kalyana Centre for Mindfulness is located in the southwest of Ireland, on the Dingle Peninsula, close to Mount Brandon.The Centre offers Mindfulness Meditation, as well as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Nirodha is a Theravada Buddhist organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The group organizes weekly sittings, practice days, silent meditation retreats, courses and study groups. Seminarhaus Engl is a non-profit organization that was founded 1990 to offer retreats from different Buddhist traditions. We were inspired and encouraged by Sylvia Wetzel and Fred von Allmen. Engl is set among fields and woods in Niederbayern, about 100 km east of Munich, Germany. The Sharpham Trust, Devon, England offers a broad education in traditional Buddhist values critically applied to contemporary needs. The nature of this education is meditative, transformative and creative. The curriculum is designed to nurture a wiser and more compassionate orientation to daily life. Stichting Inzichts Meditatie This organization promotes the practice of vipassana meditation in The Netherlands and organizes vipassana meditation retreats with teachers from the East and the West. The Swedish Vipassanagruppen is a Swedish nonprofit organization for people who are interested in insight meditation. They arrange regular sittings, seminars and retreats. Vimalakirti Center in Geneva  Switzerland, the Vimalakirti Center offers classes in vipassana meditation and other practices within the Buddhist tradition. Its founding teachers are Patricia Genoud-Feldman and Charles Genoud.
Australia and New Zealand
Bodhinyanarama is a monastic residence of the Theravada tradition of Buddhism set in a 51 hectare Native Reserve of regenerating bush 29 kms from Wellington, New Zealand. Bodhinyanarama has its origins in the Thai Forest Tradition and is associated with the many branch monasteries of meditation master Ajahn Chah. Buddhist Society of Western Australia is a Theravada Buddhist group based on the forest tradition of SE Asia. It was started by a small group in 1973 and has since grown to become the largest Buddhist organisation in Australia. We have members throughout Western Australia, in all states of Australia and Christmas Island, and overseas in countries such as Canada, UK, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and USA. Te Moata is a beautiful retreat centre situated six kilometres north of Tairua, New Zealand, in 850 acres of protected native forest in the heart of the Coromandel peninsula. Te Moata offers regular Insight Meditation Retreats and many other workshops.
Africa
Dharmagiri, which means sacred mountain, is the name of a hermitage founded by Kittisaro and Thanissara on the border of Lesotho and South Africa in 2000. It is a small center hosts meditation retreats and educational courses, including guided self-retreat as well as scheduled retreats. The Uganda Buddhist Centre was established on April 10, 2005. This centre was founded by Venerable Buddharakkhita with the dedicated support of a group of pioneering devotees led by Felista Nampiima and Joyce Nakatte. The primary aim of the centre is to spread Buddhism in Uganda and other African countries.
Thailand
Suan Mokkh Suan Mokkh is a forest monastery along the coast of Southern Thailand, 600 km from Bangkok. It was founded in 1932 by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and grew to become the most innovative and progressive Buddhist teaching center in Siam. Although Buddhadasa Bhikkhu has passed away, much of his work continues.
Sri Lanka
Nirodha Trust is a Sri Lankan based non-profit, formed with the mission of spreading the teachings of the Buddha as preserved in the Theravada tradition. The Nirodha Trust offers, free of charge, online courses in Pali, Suttas, and soon courses on the Abhidhamma and meditation teachings and guidance by Dhammaruwan.
Burma
Pa-Auk Forest Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in the Theravada tradition, with emphasis on the teaching and practice of both Samatha (tranquility) and Vipassana (insight) meditation. Situated in a forest along the Taung Nyo Mountain range in Mon State, Myanmar, the monastery provides a conducive setting for the practice of long-term, intensive meditation. The International Meditation Centres There are six International Meditation Centres in the Sayagyi U Ba Khin tradition of Burma. All were founded to provide facilities for the instruction and practice of Theravada Buddhist Meditation. Each of the centres in the West is a direct offshoot of the International Meditation Centre of Yangon, Myanmar.

III. The practical and philosophical teachings of Early Buddhism

The teachings of the Buddha are often referred to as the “Dhamma.” This word is closely associated with “truth”—a truth that one can know for oneself. The Buddha avoided metaphysical and speculative ideas in favor of practical teachings that serve the path of liberation. In being practical, he emphasized perspectives and practices that lead to the end of suffering.

The teachings I am referring to as early Buddhism are empirical in that they can be validated for oneself. He expressed this clearly by referring to the Dharma as “directly visible,” and by his frequent emphasis on knowing and seeing as integral to the path he taught. Believing, on the other hand, does not stand out as having a significant role in the Buddha’s core teachings.

I present in this section resources you might find helpful in exploring Early Buddhist thought and practice. The links below offer a variety of approaches–some are unabashedly traditional, while others less so.

The Buddha’s Teaching As It Is – An excellent way to get a feel for Early Buddhist teachings, recorded back in 1979 by Bhikkhu Bodhi. A wonderful and very accurate set of four talks.  This is to many practicing Buddhists comparable to The White Album by the Beatles– a classic!

Access To Insight – Very thorough and comprehensive resources for practice and meditation — directories, text archives, self-guided tour through the Pali Canon. See for example their–>> A Path to Freedom: A Self-guided Tour of the Buddha’s Teachings.

Barre Center for Buddhist StudiesOnsite and online programs supportive of personal transformation through Buddhist inquiry as a way of developing wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all beings. (Barre, MA, USA).

Sati Center for Buddhist Studies – cholarly inquiry, personal practice, and training in the application of the original Buddhist texts in support of our wider world, with an appreciation for the richness of the tradition and lineage.

Paliaudio – offers readings from the Pali Suttas (Buddhist scriptures) in English.

Buddha Netis a large, non-sectarian online database of Buddhist educational and supportive resources. It is a not-for-profit organization affiliated with the Buddha Dharma Education Association, which was started in 1992 as a vipassana meditation center in Sydney by Ven. Pannyavaro.

Sutta Readings – A selection of the Buddha’s Suttas read aloud by senior teachers and practitioners in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

SuttacentralA large collection of teachings attributed to the Buddha or his earliest disciples, with a special focus on the Pali texts, the core of the Theravada school. Teachings are offered in original languages, translations in modern languages.

 

IV. Racism, social justice, environmental crises, and LGBTQ issues

-a. Racism and social justice issues as addressed by contemporary Buddhist thought leaders

Social justice issues were never outside of the central focus of Early Buddhism. Many today incorrectly believe the Buddha’s teaching was solely concerned with an individual’s liberation from the ills of the world.

As modern day inheritors of these priceless wisdom teaching, it is crucial we extend our meditation practice outward from the “internal” realm of personal healing and insight into the “external” realm of collective healing and liberation.

As the great civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer famously said,

Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.

But this work starts with ourselves, as an often deeply challenging process of self-reflection. Our meditation practice allows us to recognize our unconscious bias, and gives us the space to become less reactive and to choose how we respond to injustice and to heal from our own injustices.

Law professor and mindfulness teacher Rhonda Magee shows that by healing from injustices and dissolving our personal barriers to connection we can view others with compassion and to live in community with people who may have beliefs and opinion contrary to our own.

This is from Rhonda’s recently published book The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness:

 
Because there are so many rivers of pain joining and forming the ocean of racial suffering in our times, personal awareness practices are essential for racial justice work. In order for real change to occur, we must be able to examine our own experiences, discover the “situated” nature of our perspectives, and understand the ways that race and racism are mere cultural constructions.

The individual interdependence with the world of suffering beings was at the heart of many of the historic Buddha’s oral message to his students. Our work as modern day practitioners is to seek our collective liberation with the same passion we have brought to the path of individual healing.

Doing so honestly we recognize our interdependence with all beings.

May our practice and study be for the benefit of all.

What follows is a selection of resources highlighting this expansive view of Buddhist practice as social justice practice. I have chosen statements and articles by modern day Buddhist thought leaders and well as from teachers and groups addressing these critical issues in this time of global crisis.

Spirit Rock's statement on the recent hatred and violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander communities
from the insight meditation center Spirit Rock: Our community continues to bear witness to the violence of the March 16 Atlanta shootings, which took the lives of eight people, including six women of Asian descent. This violence was a terrible reminder of the injustices and hatred perpetrated by white people against Asian American and Pacific Islander people in this country over centuries. As students of the Dharma, dedicated to the study and practice of interdependence, we stand with people of Asian descent and all beings struggling against systemic oppression. We understand compassion and solidarity, along with wise action of many kinds, to be vital expressions of the path of liberation. Racist violence against people of Asian descent has been part of American history since the first Asians arrived here, many bringing Buddhism with them. From the 1875 Page Act excluding Chinese women, to the wartime Japanese internment camps, Asian immigrants have fought for safety and basic rights in the U.S. for generations. Most recently, we’ve seen targeting and scapegoating of Asian people from the highest levels of government, and hate crimes have increased dramatically during the Coronavirus pandemic. We hold all Asian and Pacific Islander people here and worldwide in our hearts, offering the prayer at the root of lovingkindness (mettā) practice: may all beings be safe from harm. As a multicultural Buddhist center, we are forever indebted to our Asian teachers and lineage holders, and grateful beyond words for the long dedication of many Asian cultures in preserving the teachings and practices of the Buddha and his disciples. We have a special responsibility to Southeast Asian Buddhist cultures particularly as the stewards of the Theravāda lineage that is the basis of Insight Meditation. And we hold in our hearts Spirit Rock’s practitioners, staff, teachers, and Board members of Asian descent as they experience this tragedy in unique ways. The Dharma directs us to investigate suffering and its causes, and we know that complex forces and conditions are at play in painful events such as this. We understand conditioned experience to be both internal and external, and that it includes intersectional systemic conditions such as racism, misogyny, classism, and white supremacy, all of which we saw in the Atlanta murders. Even as we are holding the tragedy in Atlanta in our hearts, we learn of another mass shooting, in Boulder, Colorado. We are reminded of the instructions of the Buddha to “live without hate among those who hate,” and we endeavor anew to bring compassion and clear seeing to a world that can seem so filled with violence. We extend our heartfelt condolences and compassion to the families of those killed in Atlanta, Boulder, and everywhere violence takes form. May our practice be for the benefit of all beings, and may we work together toward a world free from hate, gun violence, and the ongoing trauma of racialized violence.”

–1. Resources to assist white people in this work

–>> this page is a work in progress, please check back later as am filling it out as I go–

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Buddhist Peace Fellowship
The mission of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF), founded in 1978, is to serve as a catalyst for socially engaged Buddhism. BPF’s purpose is to help beings liberate themselves from the suffering that manifests in individuals, relationships, institutions, and social systems. Their programs, publications, and practice groups link Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion with progressive social change.

Meditation in Action

A Europe-based organization supporting refugees and environmental diversity.

One Earth Sangha

“May all beings be well ” is more than a blessing. It is wise action to actively protect the health of the elements and all species, including our own. This organization offers ways to be involved

https://www.spiritrock.org/resources/social-justice-resources

https://www.spiritrock.org/resources/social-justice/aapi-statement

https://eastbaymeditation.org/about/radical-inclusivity/resources-for-white-people/

https://www.dharma.org/resources/diversity/

https://whiteawake.org/self-education/themes-and-resources/

https://whiteawake.org/waking-up-to-race/

https://dharmaseed.org/retreats/?search=PRYQ

https://dharmaseed.org/retreats/?search=CTGC

https://www.religiousstudies.pitt.edu/resources-social-action/resources-intersection-religion-racism-history-black-church-and-anti-racism\

https://secularbuddhistnetwork.org/anti-racist-resources-for-secular-buddhists/
https://jackkornfield.com/anti-racism-resources/

And finally — a very comprehensive reading list covering many aspects of Buddhism of interest to contemporary practitioners

The Fabulous IMS Reading List

This resource lists books in the following categories

  • Meditation guidance
  • The Buddhist tradition
  • The Suttas of the Buddha
  • Buddhism in the West
  • People of color and Buddhism
  • Buddhist books for children, youth and teens
  • Socially engaged Buddhism
  • Women in Buddhism
  • Mindfulness-based practices in medicine and neuroscience, and finally –>
  • Buddhism and psychology

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

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