Meditation Practice Centers
There are many more excellent monasteries and retreat centers in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Europe as well as here in the USA. For brevity sake the list below mentions just a few that are known to be extremely good and that Allan is familiar with and can vouch for. In the future as verified referrals can be verified they too will be posted.
- Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA. IMS is a wonderful retreat center for those just developing a long term practice through and including those who consider themselves as having an intermediate to advanced practice. It is located in a rural area of central Massachusetts and is an ideal place to practice. Mostly, nine to 86 day residential retreats are offered throughout the year. The teachings mostly rely on Theravada teachings rooted in the Path of Purification, but not always, and each teacher may have their own understanding and emphasis. Can be expensive. Sliding scale and scholarships available on request. Excellent accommodations and food.
- Forest Refuge, Barre, MA. The FR is part of IMS and is geared for more advanced and self directed students of meditation. Much less structure than IMS and interviews are required once or twice a week with rotating teachers. Can be expensive. Expensive, with sliding scale and scholarships available on request. Occasional teacher led retreats. Excellent accommodations and food.
- Panditarama International Vipassana Meditation Center, Lumbini, Nepal. Arguably the best Mahasi style Theravada meditation center for Westerners in the world. Sayadaw U Vivekananda and Sayalay Bhadamanika lead intensive meditation practice 9 months of the year. The center’s lingua franca is English. U Vivekananda is an African born German who speaks English, Burmese, French, and German fluently and Sayalay speaks elegant English and her native Burmese. Both speak Hindi. Sayadaw gives Dhamma talks three times a week and between them they give personal interviews 6 times a week. Accommodations for an Asian style retreat center are excellent. Clean water, good food, hot water, mattresses, and screens, etc. And like many Asian practice centers it is often noisy, mosquito infested, and with poor air quality. It takes effort to get there but the practice opportunities are unmatched. Dana based.
- Southwest Sangha, San Lorenzo, New Mexico, USA. SWS is a dana based retreat center lead by Michael Freeman. His teachings are based both in Theravada and Vajrayana traditions. Located in high desert the weather and living conditions are both beautiful, often intense and rustic. Especially suited to self-directed practice. Michael will offer instructions on request, best to come with meditation experience. A few hours of work is expected in the mornings. Two meals are offered and yogis are on their own for the third. No formal Dharma talks offered. Dana based.
- Tathagatha Meditation Center, San Jose, CA. Orthodox Mahasi meditation center offers one-month retreats quarterly. Good everything and very orthodox. Daily fee: $25 and dana offered at the end of the retreat. Partial retreats are available.