Insight Meditation Society

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Insight Meditation Society

Postby Invincible_Summer » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:46 am

As part of my journey away from zazen and into Theravadan styles of meditation, I've been looking for a sangha to join. However, the only Theravadan sanghas around are either quite far away or cater specifically to Burmese/Laotian immigrants (no services in English).

There is a local branch of the Insight Meditation Society that has regular sits and retreats, but I'm not sure about the IMS. Are the methods and teachings fairly legit? What I mean is, is it just a watered-down, secularized practice that is just for people to relieve stress (e.g. no use of the "B" word - Buddhism), or is it a fairly serious group that promotes meditation that is based on the Buddha's teachings and makes no bones about it, but is for and by laypeople?


I mean no offense to the IMS or any people who practice with them. I just want to know if it would be worth my time; I would like to have a sangha that can support my practice which is geared towards following the teachings of the Buddha.


Thanks in advance!
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Re: Insight Meditation Society

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:26 am

Invincible_Summer wrote:Are the methods and teachings fairly legit? What I mean is, is it just a watered-down, secularized practice that is just for people to relieve stress (e.g. no use of the "B" word - Buddhism), or is it a fairly serious group that promotes meditation that is based on the Buddha's teachings and makes no bones about it, but is for and by laypeople?


You'll get both of those opinions.

I suggest you download some dhamma talks of IMS teachers like Joseph Goldstein or Steve Armstrong etc http://www.dharmaseed.org/teachers/ and judge for yourself.

A lot of famous monks and nuns have taught at the IMS centre, Ajahn Chah, Mahasi Sayadaw etc.

I wish I had some IMS teachers nearby.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Insight Meditation Society

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:40 am

The book, "In this very life" by U Pandita is based on the talks he gave at IMS in 1984: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/
The teachers Goofaholix mentions, Joseph Goldstein and Steve Armstrong, both spent quite a lot of time in Burma with him.

Is that serious enough?

:anjali:
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Re: Insight Meditation Society

Postby befriend » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:50 pm

IMS doesn't water down there teachings at all. I strongly recommend learning from them, I have had very good instruction from the times I have gone and seen an IMS teacher.
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Re: Insight Meditation Society

Postby Invincible_Summer » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:29 am

Thanks a lot! It's good to know that there have been well-respected monastics that have supported/presently support the IMS.

I guess it's easy to get caught up in believing that if they teachers are not robed, they're less legitimate.
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