Vermont Insight Courses

bodhi leaves

Registration Fees:

Please register online; you may select from two payment options:
1) PayPal: allows payment online through your account or a credit card.
2) Invoice: provides instructions on how to pay by check. You will also receive an email with payment instructions.  Sometimes the email will go into your spam folder, so be sure to check there, but the long and short of it is that after you register online checks for the amount of the registration fee should be mailed ahead of time to:
Vermont Insight Meditation Center, PO Box 792, Brattleboro, VT 05302

In addition to course registration fees, the suggested teacher dana for the courses is:
• 10 week course — $200
• 8 week course — $160
• 7 week course — $140
• 6 week course — $120

Fee Waivers:

At VIMC, we encourage all Dharma students to enroll in our courses. The registration fee and the suggested donations are guidelines for those who wish to have guidelines on what is the norm in order to support the center and the teachers who offer the courses.

If the suggested fees cause an obstacle to participation, students are encouraged to register online and select the “invoice” option under method of payment, and contact our registrar at information@vermontinsight.org to request a fee waiver, so that the following can be put in place: The registration fee is waived and the student offers whatever Dana is possible to the teacher.  Dana is an integral part of the meditative path based on what is possible for the student. Whatever offering is given, no matter the amount, can be offered with a heart of gratitude and joy in receiving the teachings.

Currently, All Courses are Offered Online

Registration closes at noon the day before the course begins and a Zoom link will be sent to all who are registered that afternoon.

ONLINE Course
Waking Up, Step by Step

Using the Bahiya sutta as our basis for Direct Experience, we will explore the felt sense of I-me-mine. The self is an assumption we made when we were two years old. Let’s take a close look at that assumption.

The Buddha’s instructions to Bahiya were brief and powerful.

“In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
In reference to the heard, only the heard.
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.”

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong
4 Sunday Evenings: March 3, 10, 17, 24
6:30-8:00 pm EST

Please Register by Friday, March 1 at Noon (Eastern)
A Zoom link will be sent to all who are registered.

Course Dana and Fees

Registration Fees:
Please register online; you may select from two payment options:
1) PayPal: allows payment online through your account or a credit card.
2) Invoice: provides instructions on how to pay by check. You will also receive an email with payment instructions.  Sometimes the email will go into your spam folder, so be sure to check there, but the long and short of it is that after you register online checks for the amount of the registration fee should be mailed ahead of time to:
Vermont Insight Meditation Center,
PO Box 792,
Brattleboro, VT 05302

For 2600 years, since the time of the Buddha, the teachings have been considered priceless and have been offered freely. As Buddhism has come to the West, lay teachers have sought to preserve this tradition in a way that maintains the integrity of the tradition and yet makes sense and supports the continuation of the teachings. The teachers offer the generosity of their teaching and they in turn are supported through the dana of the students and the community. Weekly or bi-monthly sitting groups and daylong meditation retreats are offered on a Dana basis. To read more about dana practice>>

In addition to course registration fees, the suggested teacher dana for the courses is:
• 10 week course — $200
• 8 week course — $160
• 7 week course — $140
• 6 week course — $120

To offer dana to the teacher visit our donation page>>

Classes Offered in 2024

Right View

The Buddha recognized that if people were going to successfully follow his recommended path, they would need to adjust their views of the world and themselves too. They would need to develop “right view.” And this right view would then govern how they implement the rest of the Noble 8 Fold Path. In this class, we’ll be studying the Sammaditthi Sutta, a thorough teaching in the Majjhima Nikaya about Right View. This sutta provides a critical foundation for successful application of the rest of the steps along the path. This class will also appeal to those interested in learning how to read and study suttas from the Pali Canon, which represent the clearest actual teachings of the Buddha.

Taught by:  Paul Rodrigue

Classes Offered in 2023

Faith: A Light in Winter

This 7-week course will meet for one-hour on Wednesday evenings and in each class we will read a chapter from Sharon Salzberg’s book, Faith. We will also do some simple meditations to kindle and sustain our own inner light during the darkest part of the winter season.

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

Self-Compassion: Lighting Up the Heart

As sunlight wanes and dark thoughts and moods intrude, we will share coping strategies with each other. Self-compassion significantly increases mindfulness, compassion for others, and life satisfaction, as well as decreases depression, anxiety, and stress. Join a group of like-minded practitioners in a supportive environment.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

The Buddha’s Teaching on Imperfections

This 5 session class will be a study of one sutta from the Majjhima Nikaya, the Upakkilesa Sutta. This middle length discourse contains rich narrative providing insights into the relational life of the Buddha’s followers, including conflict resolution and perspectives on compassion. In addition, the sutta offers wonderful advice for meditators and some classic descriptions of the Buddha’s teaching about meditation. This class will appeal to those new to sutta study and will provide important lessons to understand how to read and learn from the suttas. Including the Buddha’s actual teachings into your practice is an invaluable way to enrich your spiritual life.The text for the class can be found online.

Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

Embracing Change

Join others to read and discuss,  Living as a River: Finding Fearlessness in the Face of Change by Bodhipaksa who will be leading VIMC’s May 27th half-day retreat.

The following is a description from Amazon: “The primary vehicle for this journey is Buddhism’s traditional Six Element Practice, a deconstructive process of deep reflection that helps us let go of the belief in a separate, static self—the root of unhappiness. Bodhipaksa takes readers through a systematic yet poetic analysis of the self that supports the realization of

  • A sense of spaciousness and expansiveness that transcends the limitations of the physical body
  • Profound gratitude, awe, and a feeling of belonging as we witness the extent of our connectedness with the universe
  • Freedom from the psychological burden caused by clinging to a false identity
  • The relaxed experience of “consciousness, pure and bright

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Brahma Viharas Class

The four Divine Abodes, sublime attitudes, immeasurables or infinite minds, whichever translation or teaching speaks to your heart, the cultivation and practice of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity are a cornerstone practice of the Buddhist path.  Join us for eight weeks to explore teaching and practices connected to the Brahma Viharas.  We will take Christina Feldman’s 2017 book Boundless Heart as our core text and add in teachings and practices from a diversity of other perspectives. 

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

Why Buddhism Is True

We know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, so what do we do? Buddhism answered this question 2500 years ago, and only now are scientists confirming his insights.

Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people. We will read from the book Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright. 

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Compassion, Karma, and Suffering:
Engaged Buddhism and the Process of Change

This class will be designed to explore together some of the pertinent social issues in our local community (homelessness, drug use, crime, etc.) from a perspective informed by the Buddha’s teachings on compassion, karma, and suffering. We’ll attempt to understand the process of personal change that’s embedded in the early teachings for how this process might inform the decisions we face every day in our community when confronted with suffering. This class will be of interest for those who enjoy discussing ways to apply the early teachings to modern problems of society. The suttas will form the bulk of our resource material and will be available to students through online platforms.

Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

Starting or Renewing a Mindfulness Meditation Practice:
a course for beginners or for folks beginning again!

Have you been hearing about Mindfulness Meditation and wondering what it’s all about? Are you looking for a new way to work with the challenges of your daily life and enjoy the good things more deeply? Have you tried practicing meditation on your own, or practiced before and want to get back into it again? Join us for this course to start or renew your practice.

The course will be based on Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness. There will be meditation instructions, conversation, and weekly assignments to explore ways to deepen practice in daily life. Students are asked to get their own copy of the book prior to the first class. The book includes a helpful set of guided meditations, so make sure those are included in your purchase.

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

 

Classes Offered in 2022

How Right Is Concentration?

An introduction to the historical role of jhana meditation in the time of the Buddha, how it fits into his teachings and how such understanding might inform your practice. This 4 session class will provide an overview of jhana meditation, situate its place in the suttas, review the benefits of jhana, and provide steps to ways you might begin to integrate this type of meditation into your practice.   This class will be held on Monday evenings, starting November 28th, at 7pm. Required resources will all be online. Suggested text for additional study is Right Concentration by Leigh Brasington.

Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

Walking Each Other Home

We are all headed to the same destination—D-Day—so we keep each other company as we go along. The more comfortable we feel with The Heavenly Messengers of aging, illness, and death, the better companion we can be to our loved ones. Text: One Year to Live by Stephen Levine.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Karma 101

Are you curious about the concept of karma in the Insight tradition of Buddhism? Join Susan in a month-long exploration of both the mundane and the profound implications of the laws of cause and effect. We’ll use a variety of readings, dharma talks, and videos to study the core teachings of the Buddha on karma. We’ll also investigate ways that a focus on karma can enliven our meditation practice and finally, we’ll look at the operation of karma in daily life.

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

How Zen got its start: Buddhism meets Taoism in China

Using David Hinton’s book China Root as the core text t0 learn about some key features of Taoism and understand how Buddhism was shaped by Taoism as it moved into China.  Participants will gain a fresh and deeper understanding of Zen Buddhism as well as insight into their particular practice of Buddhism.

Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

Awareness Games: Playing With Your Mind to Create Joy

Exercises offered to participants to shift attention to the awareness, always here and now, and accompanied by a feeling of happiness.
Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Right Speech: Approaching the Eightfold Path
Through Nonviolent Communication

This class will provide a basic working knowledge of the fundamentals of nonviolent communication and will offer opportunities to put the strategies into practice.  This approach to communication will improve relationships and is a wonderful way of taking our practice off the cushion.
Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

The Science of Enlightenment:  How Meditation Works

Using Shinzen Young’s The Science of Enlightenment as our textbook, we will discuss the 3 core catalysts of awakening—concentration, sensory clarity, and equanimity.
Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Finding Our Balance: Equanimity in Daily Life

Equanimity literally means “evenness of spirit,” finding a moment of balance in life when things get rocky. Its study includes looking at the disequilibrium of wanting things to be different than they are. Equanimity is a quiet component of loving-kindness and compassion, one of the rudders for mindfulness.
Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

The Bodhisattva’s Garden of Jewels

The Garland of Jewels is a 3-page set of instructions written by Atisha, an Indian monk in the 11th century CE. We will look in-depth at Atisha’s instructions for daily life and consider how to practice them in our own lives.
Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Karma Cleaning 201

Karma means action. When we act and speak with integrity today, we are setting the course for our future. The class explored the deeper meanings of the 5 Precepts—of doing no harm, not taking what is not offered, speaking truthfully and carefully, refraining from sexual misconduct, and keeping the mind clear.
Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Tune-up Your Noting Practice

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Classes Previously Offered in 2021

The Gradual Path
A Monthly Drop-in Class

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive review of the Buddha’s understanding of the process by which we change and the steps he taught based upon that understanding. Prior experience with meditation will be important. Interest in the teachings of the Buddha will be helpful.

Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

Mindful of Race: A Personal Exploration

An exploration of Ruth King’s book, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out with reading, and meditation exercises from the text, as well as listening to supplemental Dharma Talks, and supportive videos. Class sessions focus on both the development of a strong meditation practice, and our own experiences with the material. Graduates of the course may continue their study by joining VIMC’s first cohort in an on-going discussion of race, mindfulness, and Dharma.

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

Moving Through Change Loss and Disruption

In these difficult times, when things are shifting and we have no idea where life is taking us, we reach for certainty and come up empty-handed. We will explore ten steps for finding ease in the midst of change. The textbook for this class is We Were Made for These Times by Kaira Jewel Lingo. This class is appropriate for beginner and experienced meditators, alike.

Taught by: Susan Dryer Leon

Awakening Joy

A six-week course reading the book, Awakening Joy, by James Baraz, exploring different facets of joy, including gratitude, loving-kindness towards self and others, joy in difficult situations, the bliss of blamelessness, joy in nature, and letting go.

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness

An eight-week class,  learning from the scholarship of Bhikkhu Analayo as presented in his book, Satipatthana Meditation: A Practice Guide. Come learn how to invite new perspectives and energy to your meditation practice through greater understanding of the Buddha’s core teaching on mindfulness, the Satipatthana Sutta.

Taught by: Paul Rodrigue

Taking the High Road: The Eightfold Noble Path

The  Four Ennobling Truths diagnose our human problem: Suffering. They tell us the cause of our dissatisfaction and give us hope for the end of our afflictions. Our Rx, our remedy is the 4th Noble Truth, which is an open lotus blossom of the Eightfold Noble Path.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

A six-week course based on Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness. with meditation instructions, conversation, and weekly assignments to explore ways to deepen practice in daily life.

Taught by: Susan Dreyer Leon

Classes Offered in 2020

Self-Compassion: Lighting Up the Heart

As sunlight wanes and dark thoughts and moods intrude, we will share coping strategies with each other and read The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer. Self-compassion significantly increases mindfulness, compassion for others, and life satisfaction, as well as decreases depression, anxiety, and stress. Join a group of like-minded practitioners in a supportive environment.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

The Ten Essential Qualities of the Heart – The Paramis: A Ten Month Course

Each month course participants focus on one of the Parami’s (essential qualities of the heart) beginning with Generosity, and continuing with the other nine Paramis in order: Morality (Ethics), Renunciation, Discernment, Energy, Patience, Truthfulness, Resolve, Kindness, and Equanimity. When developed, these ten qualities of heart, have great potential to change our lives in very real and beautiful ways. Ajahn Sucitto’s text, Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods as the foundation.

Facilitated by: Rae Houseman

Calm, Kind, Resilient

In these rocky times, one calm person can have a ripple effect on the people around them. Calming the amygdala (Danger! Danger!) and practicing kindness to yourself leads to Resilience—the ability to bounce instead of shatter when the rubber meets the road. Nurture yourself with this class

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong and Paul Rodrigue

Love and Awakening

We will learn what teachers of Buddhism have pointed to for centuries– that we cannot wake up without love and we cannot truly love without being awake. Wise teachers have said this same thing in different ways. They have said that like the two wings that are necessary for the bird to fly, wisdom and compassion are necessary for freedom of the heart and mind to emerge.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Welcoming Life … just as it is

Can we welcome everything that arrives in our consciousness? Everything? Resisting any moment creates dissatisfaction. By welcoming every moment, just as it is, we can short-circuit unpleasantness, which leads straight to dukkha. We welcome resistance, and we welcome the letting go of resistance.

We will read Cheryl’s award-winning book Breast Cancer Meets Mindfulness: Surrendering to Life.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Living an Embodied Practice

Exploring together the various ways we can deepen our lived embodiment of the practice. This course is for both new and experienced practitioners. For newer practitioners, this course will help establish a foundation from which your practice can develop. And for those of us who may be more experienced practitioners, we will have time to earnestly explore our strengths and weaknesses in our capacity to embody our practice in various areas of our lives. We will have periods of guided sitting meditation and walking meditation, and time for internal explorations/investigations and discussion.

Taught by: Rae Houseman

CLASSES OFFERED 2015 – 2019

2019

Mindful of Race

This course is intended to be a space for people who identify as “white” to explore the conversation of race, in an effort to support the undoing of conditioned internalized racism.

Taught by Rae Houseman

Care and Compassion in Illness and in Death

We live our lives as if they will continue forever.  Most of us prefer to avoid thinking about illness or our own mortality.  The Buddha suggested a completely different approach that entailed contemplating aging, illness, and death in order to free the mind from the aversion and fear that habitually arises in relation to these very real eventualities.  Contemplating Illness and death in the supportive context of a caring and compassionate.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Meeting Cancer (or Any Other Super-Stress) with Mindfulness

When the super-stress of disease, death, or other trauma arrives in our lives, we can respond from our mindfulness practice. We will look closely at the possibility of accepting life-as-it-is, one mindful moment at a time.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Parami: An Exploration to Support the Development of These Essential Qualities of the Heart

Parami is a word from the Pali language; this word points to the essential qualities of the heart that can be developed with practice. Within the Insight Tradition of Buddhism, there are ten qualities that are referred to as Parami. These ten qualities are: Generosity, Morality (Ethics), Renunciation, Discernment, Energy, Patience, Truthfulness, Resolve, Kindness, and Equanimity. With awareness, intention and practice these essential qualities an be developed and strengthened, and when integrated can serve to support us in navigating our daily life more skillfully.

Taught by: Rae Houseman

Living Kindness

Kindness comes from the same word as “kin.” While it’s relatively easy to wish well to our dear ones, in this class we will expand our practice of kindness into the nooks and crannies of our lives. How do we live completely and wholeheartedly with kindness?

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Opening to Death-Opening to Life

This course is a beginning. Vermont Insight, as a community-based sangha, sits in the midst of the growing evolution of Buddhism in America.  As many of us become aware of the truth of impermanence and death, we have the opportunity to turn toward what is the natural flow of life.  Equally if not more important, we have the opportunity to explore dying and death as more than a medical event and open to the spiritual dimensions of this process.  We have the precious opportunity to contemplate what our wishes might be spiritually in advance of the inevitable: the process and moment of dying.

This course is an invitation to those who wish to and who can engage with this exploration now.  Experience with Insight Meditation as taught at VIMC or equivalent is suggested. The primary text we will use is The Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski.

Taught by: Claire Stanley and Jack Millett

Mindful of Race

This course is intended to be a space for people who identify as “white” to explore the conversation of race, in an effort to support the undoing of conditioned internalized racism. Together we will develop a greater awareness of the construct of race and how it has impacted our lives and the lives of People of Color. We will use our meditation practice as a primary container and support for this exploration. Ruth King’s book, Mindful of Race; Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, will be the main text for this inquiry; this text will be supplemented with relevant articles and videos.

“Racism is a heart disease. Many of us can live for a while with a heart disease without knowing it, and others of us know we have a heart disease but are afraid or even in denial about it. But racism is a heart disease and it’s curable.” – Ruth King

Taught by: Rae Houseman

 

CLASSES OFFERED IN 2018:

Skillful Speech Workshop and Practice Group

Along with some teaching about principles and strategies of skillful speech, these inquiries into Wise or Skillful Speech will be structured as practice groups. New and repeat participants will have the opportunity to gain confidence internalizing the core building blocks of skillful speech—speaking what is true, what promotes harmony, is spoken with care, and is timely and beneficial—in order to apply them to real life situations with family, friends, co-workers, and those with differing viewpoints.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Exploring the Relationship Between Emptiness and Compassion

Compassion born of a desire to do or to fix often turns into a burden for the one offering support as well as the for the one who is receiving support. Compassion born of emptiness can be an open-handed gesture that leaves both giver and receiver in a relationship where there is an emphasis on a flow of mutuality and of ease. This course sets out to explore the complexity of this dynamic through the study of emptiness as it is found in Theravada Buddhism, along with contemplations on compassion found in later Buddhist teachings.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Natural Bravery: Working Wisely with Fear to Discover Fearlessness and Compassionate Courage

There are many reasons, both natural and unnatural, that people experience fear. From our biological wiring to early trauma and disconnection from our basic goodness as well as social, environmental and political ills, fear abounds in the hearts of human beings. Contemplating the nature of fear can help relax our grip and lead us to discover a deeply courageous heart that can protect us and help us thrive in any set of conditions. Popular presentation of the Insight Meditation tradition tends to emphasize gentle or yin qualities like kindness and metta. Courage is related to several of the paramis in our tradition (e.g. determination, energy, patience). It seems vital to attend directly to cultivating qualities like courage and bravery to fully empower our practice and our lives.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Mindfulness of Mind

In this course we will explore practices to support and develop mindfulness of mind. When we practice the third foundation of mindfulness, “Mindfulness of Mind,” we are observing the activity of the mind. Through the process of observation we can gain understanding, or wisdom, about the causes of suffering and the causes of happiness, and we can begin to make choices that lead us in a more beneficial direction.

Taught by: Rae Houseman

Resilience and Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a powerful tool for self-acceptance. With mindfulness and self-compassion together, the outcome is self-awareness, self-acceptance, and resilience. Resilience, in turn, leads to a sense of well-being in a changing world.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

The Dharma and Grace of Surrendering to Aging, Illness, and Death

Many of us struggle with issues of health and aging throughout our life span.  Ironically, it is the very resistance to the natural process of each stage of our lives that actually creates more suffering both physically and emotionally for ourselves and for those we love. Surrendering is another way to respond to the ebb and flow of our lives in a way that creates spaciousness, joy, and ease. We can respond skillfully to our bodies and our hearts by supporting ourselves and our loved ones with the awareness and practices that are based on Buddhist teachings.

Exploring the Way of the Bodhisattva

The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva is a text that explores the heart-mind of awakening through the cultivation of love, compassion, generosity and patience. It is a text treasured by Buddhists from all traditions. Many lay teachers in the Theravada tradition have either studied The Way of the Bodhisattva or have taken Bodhisattva vows. This course will include guidance in meditation practices that are within the Theravada tradition taught by Claire Stanley, along with discussion of The Way of the Bodhisattva text led by William Edelglass.

Taught by: William Edelglass and Claire Stanley

The One Who Knows: The Wisdom Teachings of Ajahn Chah

The two main streams that comprise the Insight Meditation tradition as it is currently practiced in the U.S. came from Thailand and what is now known as Myanmar. Ajahn Chah (1918-1992), one of the most respected and influential teachers in the Thai Forest tradition, was teacher to many western monastic and lay teachers alike. Jack Kornfield has spoken over the years about the strengths and awakened qualities of his various Asian teachers, but he consistently ends these talks by paying homage to Ajahn Chah as the wisest. This course is an opportunity to delve into the extraordinary life and teachings of this Master.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Awareness and Wisdom: The Simple, Profound Approach of Contemporary Master Sayadaw U Tejaniya

Vipassana is a “general purpose” practice. We can take it anywhere and it can be practiced in all conditions. We can use it while living life. It is so simple and can be summed up in a few words: “Just observe and let it be.”     ~U Tejaniya

The two main streams that comprise the Insight Meditation tradition as it is currently practiced in the U.S. came from Thailand and what is now known as Myanmar. Sayadaw U Tejaniya is a contemporary master from Myanmar who has a thriving center outside Yangon and teaches internationally, including in the U.S. His approach is very suitable for lay, daily life practice, and emphasizes paying careful attention to the attitude or state of the mind in each moment across the whole of our lives. By making awareness of mental states primary, we can know the presence or absence of attachment, aversion and confusion in the mind. In noticing the many mind moments free of grasping or delusion we discover a mind that is free.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Resilience: Bounce Back from Stress

How do some people bounce back from stress and difficulty? You too can grow resilience by focusing on strengths such as grit, gratitude, and compassion. Resilience leads to a sense of lasting well-being in a changing world.  We need resilience every day to raise a family, work at a job, deal with health problems, navigate issues with others, heal from old pain, and simply keep on going. By overcoming the brain’s negativity bias, we can release painful thoughts and feelings, and replace them with self-compassion, self-worth, joy, and inner peace.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight Meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Awakening Together: Cultivating Beloved Community, Strengthening Integrity and Fostering Inclusivity

In this course, following the wise example of dharma teacher Larry Yang, whose ground-breaking book Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community we will use as primary text, we are invited to explore how we might extend our training into the collective practice of understanding and compassion. In the foreword, scholar and dharma teacher Jan Willis writes, “Strikingly radical amid the structures of his day, the community that the Buddha founded included a diversity of beings, accepting people from all castes—and accepting women. More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha saw that the ideal community was one of diversity and deep inclusivity. Yang tells us that the Buddha ‘was inviting us to explore, as deeply as meditation itself, what it means to awaken together in community. He was inviting us to explore community itself as a practice of meditation or cultivation.’”

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Discovering Inner Wealth: The Seven Factors of Awakening

The seven factors of awakening—mindfulness, investigation, energy, joyful interest, tranquility, stability of mind, and equanimity—are so valued in Buddhist practice that they are sometimes referred to as “inner wealth.” Joseph Goldstein calls these qualities “the sap that runs through the Buddha’s tree of liberation; a powerful healing medicine that we must actually develop in our own minds.” These wholesome states comprise a mutually supportive framework for cultivating the mind, overcoming meditative obstacles, and balancing the energetic and calming forces that develop in meditation. The Buddha’s teachings point us toward qualities of mind that already live inside of us. Becoming more familiar with the seven factors helps us incline towards and develop them further, so that non–clinging becomes more familiar and natural, and a path of awakening is ignited. These wholesome factors provide a sense of inner treasure and boost our capacity to not cling, supporting a maturation that promotes the sure heart’s release.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

The Eight Worldly Winds and Equanimity

Each and every one of us tangles with the four groups of the Eight Worldly Winds, almost on a daily basis. The Eight Worldly Winds compel us toward craving and loathing at a deep level that can remain unexamined in the rush and flurry of our everyday existence. By noticing and then naming pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and disrepute, we can begin to disentangle from the compelling nature of the Eight Worldly Winds. Through the development of equanimity and the ability to ride the waves of the Eight Worldly Winds, we find freedom.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Cultivating Wisdom

To live this human life well, we must learn to love deeply and to let go courageously. No other time in our lives teaches us these lessons as do the later stages of life. Cultivating wisdom from the earliest stages right through to the last breath is possible when we train the heart and the mind in compassion simultaneously. In this course, we will contemplate how each one of us can call forth wisdom and compassion to sustain us as we navigate the territory of aging, illness, and even death.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

The Art of Happiness

Using modern neuroscience, we will explore how to use Buddhist meditation practice to refocus our minds on the little bits of happiness we find every day all around us. Naturally enough, our caveman brains focus on the negative, but with small, steady steps of practice, we can grow our resilience, balance, and happiness.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

CLASSES OFFERED IN 2017:

Skillful Speech Practice Group

These inquiries into Skillful Speech will be structured not in a traditional class format, but as practice groups giving participants the opportunity to gain confidence internalizing the core building blocks of skillful speech—speaking what is true, promotes harmony, spoken with care, and is timely and beneficial—in order to apply them directly to our real life situations with family, friends, co-workers, and those with differing viewpoints. We will explore the power of Assertive Nonviolence, a way of communicating based in empathy and respect for all beings that draws on the Buddha’s instructions on Wise Speech and the nonviolence teachings of Gandhi, King and others, as well as contemporary tools like Nonviolent Communication and Manny’s extensive experience as a couples therapist and group leader. We will emphasize the value of sangha in development of Wise Speech.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

The Mindful Way to Self-Compassion:
Surviving & Thriving in Winter

Mindfulness enables us to develop the capacity to skillfully disengage from distressing moods and negative thoughts. Increase your self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness, and life satisfaction. We can apply mindfulness to the low energy times that can visit us when the days become short. As the light wanes and dark thoughts and moods intrude, we can share coping strategies with each other and read The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer, available at most bookstores. Join a group of like-minded practitioners in a supportive environment.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

How Things Come to Be:
The Teaching of Dependent Origination, Part 1

Philosophers of all times including the Buddha have contemplated how things come to be in this world of presentation and form and spirit. The teaching of Dependent Origination (recently translated as Dependent Co-Arising) helps us understand the big picture of the causes and conditions of all phenomena and it also helps us to understand the causes and conditions of everyday experience. Dependent Origination is a core teaching found in every school of Buddhism. Through this study and application of Dependent Origination in the midst of our lives, we come to understand and to make wise choices in order to bring about positive change for ourselves, our families and communities, and in ever-widening circles of care and compassion.

This course is for experienced students. Selected readings and dharma talks given each week including commentaries by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, H.H. Dalai Lama, and lay Theravada teachers Christina Feldman and Joseph Goldstein.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Introduction to Insight Meditation

This course is for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again. Insight Meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. The core text is Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Please be sure to purchase the hard copy because there are CD’s included with guided meditations.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Investigating the Nature of Self

As we navigate this world of presentation, each one of us perceives the world from the perspective of a so-called “self.”  The Buddhists have a different perspective as do the modern day neuroscientists.  In this course we will explore Western, Buddhist, and scientific theories of self and how we relate to them with wisdom and compassion.  The core teaching of the Five Aggregates will be the central focus of our study and practice.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

How Things Come to Be:
The Teaching of Liberative Dependent Arising

The core teaching of Liberative Dependent Arising is explored in this course along with practical applications of it in daily life and meditation practices that support the development of clear seeing. This teaching shows us the way in which each one of us can release our hearts and minds from suffering. There are causes and conditions, when studied and practiced, that will naturally lead to awakening and freedom from suffering. Prior study of Dependent Origination or Dependent Arising is not necessary as Liberative Dependent Arising stands on its own and a complete teaching.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Freedom Here and Now

Insight Meditation is primarily taught as a path of gradual progression of insight, and certainly a steady, dedicated, long-term practice points towards a life of clarity and compassion. This class will focus on whether we can we also learn to find confidence in stepping out of delusion and clinging right here and now in the midst of our complex and demanding lives? Instead of making practice another self-improvement project with all the pitfalls that come with such endeavors, we are invited to attune to the “one who knows,” to practice recognizing and releasing from obstacles and history, learning to trust the expansive and liberated heart, connecting with freedom where we stand or sit without conditions, perfection or delay.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Penetrating the Truth of Suffering

The Buddha once said, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.” In this course we explore in depth the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths as they relate to our moment to moment life experience. We investigate the nature of suffering, what the Buddha taught about it, and what we can do in the face of it.  The core text is a free e-book The Four Noble Truths by Ajahn Sumedho, supplemented by excerpts from the writings of lay Western Dharma teachers.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Introduction to Insight Meditation

Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. The course includes meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments, and is suitable for new students or for those who would like to begin or refresh their practice. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg is the core text with CD’s – available at Everyone’s Books.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

What Would the Buddha Say?

From a foundation of loving awareness, this class aims to strengthen our capacity to attune to what is true for us in each moment, and to gain confidence in translating this knowing into skillful, compassionate speech. With the support of the Three Jewels, we can develop trust in our ability to distinguish between speech that leads to happiness and freedom and communication that increases suffering. Together we will explore the power of assertive nonviolence, a way of communicating that is based in empathy and respect for all beings, and is consistent with our highest aspirations and the teachings of the Buddha. Class time will consist of group silent meditation practice, examining teachings on wise speech, discussions, experiential exercises and practice promoting skillful speech. Between classes dharma talks and readings will be assigned.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Training Fearlessness

During the 40 years that the Buddha taught after his enlightenment, he met with adversity on many fronts.  One of his cousins attempted to poison him numerous times. Factions arose within his community of monks around issues that divided them across ethical and political lines.  Kings of various clans within the region where he lived and taught broke into war with one another.  His times, 2,600 years ago, were troubled in ways that are familiar to us at this time.  A core thread throughout his teaching, however, remained the cultivation of a steady, clear, heart and mind.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Freedom in the Midst of Confusion

After his awakening, the Buddha wandered in Northern India teaching the path of freedom that he called The Middle Way.  His pure intention rested in the wish to free all beings from suffering.  Since that time, and for nearly 2,600 years, women and men of many nations around the planet have walked the path of the Middle Way, culminating in their own freedom and awakening. In this 8-week course, we explore the breadth and depth of the Buddha’s teachings that lead us out the suffering due to ever-changing and unreliable conditions and the suffering due to the confusion that arises in the midst of unpredictability.  Freedom is possible in the midst of all causes and conditions.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Standing Up With Wisdom and Compassion: Engaged Buddhist Response on Behalf of the Earth and All Sentient Beings

As Buddhists, holding true to the radical edge of the Buddha’s own life, we have much to offer at this time, particularly when we align with faith communities and activists who seek to inform a response that deescalates our divisive consciousness.” -Thanissara

Awakening is seen not only as cultivating beneficial mind states, but also involves co-creating an emergent wise and loving responsiveness to the conditions of our world. Thanissara exhorts us to move beyond being “simply traditionalists and good meditators” to create and sustain new forms of beloved community in our meditation sanghas and with others. She asks us to consider what role the Buddhist sangha will have in advocating for a sustainable future and a just society?

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Cultivating Forgiveness

Lily Tomlin says, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having a better past.” We are willing to forgive those we love, but sometimes unwilling to forgive ourselves. Letting go of grudges is the first step on our spiritual path, because holding on to resentments acts as a glass ceiling to spiritual realization. In this class, we will practice prying our sticky fingers off of old wrongs and betrayals in order that we may breathe freely and feel happy in our heart despite outer conditions.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. The core text is Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Please be sure to purchase the hard copy because there are CD’s included with guided meditations.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Liberation Through the Cultivation of Beautiful Mind States: Part Two

In order to increase the breadth and depth of an awakened mind, the Buddha gave us a training sequence to cultivate a wise heart known as Brahma Vihara practice. The four Brahma Viharas (Heavenly Abodes) are: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. In this course, we practice the meditations that are specific to each of the Brahma Viharas and we learn how to integrate these beautiful qualities of heart and mind into our lives and how they liberate the mind, bringing freedom and ease. We also discover how these Heavenly Abodes of the heart-mind benefit ourselves and all beings.  Core Text is Lovingkindness: the Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Dancing With the Four Noble Truths:
Understanding and Mastering the Essential Tasks of the Path

Many students of meditation are broadly familiar with the Four Noble Truths that the Buddha discovered and articulated: the truth of suffering, craving as the cause of that suffering, the possibility of a peaceful mind, and the Eightfold Path or the program for ending suffering. This class will provide teachings and an atmosphere of shared exploration to facilitate the deepening of practice with these Four Truths that lead to freedom.

Walking the path that the Buddha elucidated for us involves shifts of a few different kinds: developing cognitive insight into the nature of things, arriving at a somatic or felt sense of the truth of things, and knowing the implications for skillful living that these understandings point to. Along these lines, we will delve into three insights associated with each ennobling Truth: reflecting on each Truth, practicing directly experiencing it, and turning to our lives empowered by knowing how to live more wisely. Engaging wholeheartedly with these tasks, we can more easily and gracefully “dance” with the inevitable challenges of being human, and live with greater wisdom, compassion.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

CLASSES OFFERED IN 2016:

Mingling Our Minds with the Dharma:
Practicing Wise Intention

Wise Intention is the energy that drives spiritual practice. Two kinds of intention are 1) the longing to be free, and 2) the secondary intention arises when the egoic mind tries to convince us that real satisfaction can come from fulfilling our desires and accumulating experiences. As the self-defeating nature of this way of living (Wise View) is seen, Wise Intention shepherds the heart to reinvest vital energy toward the basic longing for freedom.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group.  The core text is Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg.  Please be sure to purchase the hard copy because there are CD’s included with guided meditations.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Liberation Through the Cultivation of Beautiful Mind States:
Part One

In order to increase the breadth and depth of an awakened mind, the Buddha gave us a training sequence to cultivate a wise heart known as Brahma Vihara practice. The four Brahma Viharas (Heavenly Abodes) are: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. In this course, we practice the meditations that are specific to each of the Brahma Viharas and we learn how to integrate these beautiful qualities of heart and mind into our lives and how they liberate the mind, bringing freedom and ease. We also discover how these Heavenly Abodes of the heart-mind benefit ourselves and all beings.  Core Text is Lovingkindness: the Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Strengthening Balance of the Heart – Mind

The teaching on the Seven Factors of Awakening gives us a glimpse into the experience of a heart-mind in balance and released from the burden of clinging. Connecting with even one of these factors of awakening brings balance.  Additionally, every one of the seven factors can be developed on a practical level in our daily lives and on a spiritual level in our meditation practice. In this course, participants study, learn to recognize, and learn how to strengthen and balance the seven factors in life and on the cushion. Selected readings and dharma talks are given electronically each week.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Understanding Racism through the Lens of Core Buddhist Teachings

The core teachings of Wise View, Wise Intention, and Vedana give us a fresh lens through which to examine the arising of and the perpetuation of racism at both a societal and a personal level.  By exploring and understanding these core teachings, each one of us can begin to see things more clearly and to live and act in the world from a more wise and compassionate place.  This course will begin the study of the construction of racism and forms of “othering” through electronic Buddhist texts and Dharma talks, and through the core text of Waking up White by Debby Irving and supplemental readings on the construction of narratives, primarily of race.

Taught by: Claire Stanley

Living With Integrity

The first steps on the Path we are following encourage us to consider integrity. When we live with integrity, our consciences are calmer, and meditation is easier. As householders, our meditation practice may wobble, mindfulness may be elusive, but living with integrity is possible—and a mindfulness practice itself.   We will explore the benefits of the 5 Precepts, as well as the challenges, of doing no harm, not taking what is not offered, speaking truthfully and helpfully, refraining from sexual misconduct, and keeping the mind clear.  The core text is:  Not About Being Good by Subhadramati.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Transforming the Roots of Suffering

The Buddha once said, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.” In this course we explore in depth the Buddha’s core teachings as they relate to our moment-to-moment life experience. We investigate the nature of suffering, what the Buddha taught about it, and how we can transform the roots of suffering through meditation practice and mindfulness in daily life. The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield is the core text, supplemented by audio talks and electronic articles.

Taught by Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

The Blessing of Presence

Presence is a gift – a blessing – for ourselves and for all of those in our lives.  While our heart longs for the experience of presence, the realities of life consume our time and leave us depleted.  In this course, we cultivate the practice of establishing and maintaining presence in order to ensure what the Buddha called, “The true heart’s release” and freedom in this very life.  Through the great benefit of sangha, we do this work together in a supportive environment with teachers and fellow practitioners.

Taught by Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Deepening Awareness of Body and Mind

Awareness of body and mind is a key to the practice of formal meditation.  It is also a key to the development of mindfulness when we take it fully into the midst of our lives.  This practice can always be strengthened and deepened, whether we are new to the practice or experienced.  In this course, through study and discussion, each one of us can open to experiencing the benefits of bhavana or the practice of opening to awareness of body and mind. Then, we can know for ourselves freedom and release in this very life.

Taught by Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Fundamentals of the Dharma: A Four-Week Primer on Essential Dharma Principles and Teachings

This class is offered both for nearly new students who would like a basic grounding in dharma principles and teachings, and for more experienced or returning students to revisit select core teachings from the Buddha’s Ennobling Eightfold Path. We will explore clarifying what mind states and actions lead toward dis-ease and stress vs. what leads toward harmony, connection and contentment; establishing benevolence, firmness of mind, and purpose; simplifying and releasing from that which distracts and binds us, and causes suffering; and embodying dharma in speech, action, relationships, and in the world. The core text is Jack Kornfield’s The Buddha is Still Teaching: Contemporary Buddhist Wisdom, supplemented by selected audio dharma talks.

Taught by Manny Mansbach

From Bewilderment to Clarity:
Transforming the Mind from Opponent to Ally

A great deal of human difficulty arises from our misunderstanding, clinging and our stubborn insistence that life unfold our way. We think life should be easier, yet we often behave in ways that contribute to our suffering. This can result in no small degree of bewilderment and confusion about how we end up in places we don’t like. This class will be about how we can heed the Buddha’s advice, bolster our wisest intentions, and align our practice and lives with the truth of how things are. Cultivating a deeper understanding of The Three Characteristics of impermanence, dis-ease or unsatisfactoriness, and non-self, we can discover a rich and satisfying flowering of goodness and wisdom. This course will draw on two books: Ajahn Chah, Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away and Sakyong Mipham, Turning The Mind Into An Ally, as well as selected audio dharma talks.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. The core text is Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Please be sure to purchase the hard copy because there are CD’s included with guided meditations.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. The core text is Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. Please be sure to purchase the hard copy because there are CD’s included with guided meditations.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Transforming our Relationships: The Ten Paramis

The path of kindness is the path of peace, according to the Buddha. The Ten Paramis, or Perfections of the Heart, are like a ten-sided jewel that shine brightly and show us the way to a kinder, gentler, and more peaceful life. When the Perfections are practiced in daily life, all of our relationships are transformed – our relationship to ourselves, to our family and friends, to our allies and enemies, and indeed to all beings.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Cultivating a Heart that is Ready for Anything

The question that inspired the Buddha to undertake his journey of awakening was, “Is there a true happiness to be found no matter what causes and conditions arise?” Even more than 2,500 years ago, a person’s mind and heart swayed back and forth like a pendulum, being happy when circumstances were favorable and miserable when they were not. As S.N. Goenka said to Sharon Salzberg on her first meditation retreat, “The Buddha worked out his awakening. Now it is your time to work out your own.” In this course, we explore the sources of our elation and misery, while cultivating a steady presence that opens to all things just as they are.

Taught by: Claire Stanley and Jack Millett

Compassion

Since life as we know it includes many kinds of natural and unnatural tragedies and loss, each of us is holding in our heart a portion of the many sorrows of the world. When we connect with that which we share with all beings—the aspirations to be happy and at ease–we can awaken to the vast potential of the human heart’s empathic responsiveness to the fire of suffering. Placing our attention on this field of innate good will, in this course we will cultivate and develop the practices of well-wishing and caring, supporting the recognition that our happiness and the happiness of others are inextricably linked. Along with the inner refuge that comes to a heart more fully resonant with the suffering of others, what also can emerge is a natural movement toward expressions of outward compassionate action, toward a “conscientious compassion” that seeks to alleviate suffering and meaningfully contribute to real happiness.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

The Freedom to Choose

At critical moments in our life, we become aware of the power of choice toward what is wholesome and skillful and away from what is unwholesome and unskillful. When we begin to examine our lives with greater discernment, we are able to see that choices arise continuously throughout the most ordinary of our days and that these choices matter. Skillful choices lead to freedom. In this course, we will examine the Buddhas’s core teaching on recognizing and releasing suffering as the turning point in our lives. The core text for this course: Dancing with Life by Phillip Moffitt.

Taught by: Claire Stanley and Jack Millett

CLASSES OFFERED IN 2015:

Cultivating a Heart that is Ready for Anything

The question that inspired the Buddha to undertake his journey of awakening was, “Is there a true happiness to be found no matter what causes and conditions arise?”  Even more than 2,500 years ago, a person’s mind and heart swayed back and forth like a pendulum, being happy when circumstances were favorable and miserable when they were not.  As S.N. Goenka said to Sharon Salzberg on her first meditation retreat, “The Buddha worked out his awakening.  Now it is your time to work out your own.”  In this course, we explore the sources of our elation and misery, while cultivating a steady presence that opens to all things just as they are.  The core text for this course is True Refuge by Tara Brach, supplemented by other readings and dharma talks.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Removing Stains from Our Eyes:
Meditations on Clear Seeing That Frees

This class will endeavor to explore how liberating insight arises and matures into deeper levels of freedom. Journeying gradually through accessible, ordinary daily life situations to the depths of profound meditative insight, we will utilize a carefully structured and lucid new book called Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising, by Rob Burbea. This original work frames important philosophical underpinnings of awakening, and also offers a rich array of practical instructions and exercises for skillfully developing clear seeing. (It is requested that students purchase Seeing That Frees and read to page 25 prior to the first class meeting.  It can be purchased locally at Everyone’s Books at a discount rate if you mention Vermont Insight Meditation Center.)

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Transforming our Relationships: The Ten Paramis

The path of kindness is the path of peace, according to the Buddha. The Ten Paramis, or Perfections of the Heart, are like a ten-sided jewel that shine brightly and show us the way to a kinder, gentler, and more peaceful life. When the Perfections are practiced in daily life, all of our relationships are transformed – our relationship to ourselves, to our family and friends, to our allies and enemies, and indeed to all beings. The core text for this course is Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods by Ajahn Sucitto (available online at http://ajahnsucitto.org/books/ – this book can be downloaded or read electronically on any device), supplemented by Pay Attention, For Goodness’ Sake by Silvia Boorstein, and by other readings and dharma talks.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. The core text is Insight Meditation by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, can be purchased locally at Everyone’s Books at a discount rate if you mention Vermont Insight Meditation Center.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Restoring the Mind to Kindness and Wisdom

The wise Vipassana teacher Joseph Goldstein has often stated the obvious truth that “Anything can happen anytime.”  Buddhism offers a perspective on this truth of change that has endured the test of time. The teachings come to us in the 21st century with a complete system of practices and reflections that allows us to remain engaged with life in the face of complex, difficult, and often challenging circumstances.  At the core of the Buddha’s teachings is the importance of the cultivation of kindness and connection; first with ourselves, and then with friends, family, colleagues, and indeed all beings.  Happiness, it turns out, can be found in the midst of anything.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

The Buddha and Neuroscience Teach the Art of Happiness

Using core Buddhist meditation practices as well as techniques adapted from neuroscience, we will explore how to use the Buddha’s practice to refocus our minds on the many strands of happiness that surface every day in our lives. The Reptilian brain has been trained to focus on the negative, however, the Prefrontal Cortex has learned and can be taught to use the positive to create happiness moment by moment. Tulku Urgyen, the great Tibetan teacher of the 20th century said, “Short moments, many times.” In this course, we undertake a new blend of ancient teachings and 21st century science by working with short and steady steps to grow our resilience, balance, and happiness. The core text is Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson, supplemented by Buddhist readings and dharma talks.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Foundations of Mindfulness and Freedom

The scope of the dharma is vast. It encompasses everything we can possibly experience. In the Satipatthana Sutta, the root discourse of Insight Meditation, we are given the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. In this teaching the Buddha comprehensively instructs us in applying mindfulness to investigate the whole field of mind/body experiences in order to create a harmonious, balanced, and awakened life. The First and Second Foundations of Mindfulness are concerned with direct awareness of the breath and body, and mindfulness of feeling tone. The Third Foundation involves knowing mind states. The Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness points us toward categories of experience that can help us see where we get caught, and how to turn the mind towards wisdom and liberation.

Taught by: Manny Mansbach

Being Mortal: Reflections from a modern day perspective and from a Buddhist perspective

The best-selling book, Being Mortal, shows that the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life – all the way to the very end. How can we navigate end-of-life issues for ourselves and for our loved ones? We will supplement our reading by practicing the Five Daily Recollections as taught by the Buddha.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

Cultivating a Heart that is Ready for Anything

The question that inspired the Buddha to undertake his journey of awakening was, “Is there a true happiness to be found no matter what causes and conditions arise?”  Even more than 2,500 years ago, a person’s mind and heart swayed back and forth like a pendulum, being happy when circumstances were favorable and miserable when they were not.  As S.N. Goenka said to Sharon Salzberg on her first meditation retreat, “The Buddha worked out his awakening.  Now it is your time to work out your own.”  In this course, we explore the sources of our elation and misery, while cultivating a steady presence that opens to all things just as they are.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Deepening Our Practice

Especially designed for those who would like to deepen their meditation practice, this course guides you to explore both meditation and applied mindfulness in the midst of daily life with the help of a teacher and a supportive group. You will be able to connect to the richness of the ancient teachings and come to understand the path of practice and its integration into all aspects of what it means to be a human being. Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana is the core text.

Taught by Cheryl Wilfong

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction. The Buddha referred to the root cause of suffering as uncontrollable thirst or repetitive craving. This “thirst” tends to arise as an addiction to people, places, things, or experiences. This is the same thirst of the alcoholic, the same craving as the addict, and the same attachment as the codependent. Using the practices of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity (the Four Truths of Refuge Recovery), we will explore the pain and suffering that addiction has caused in our lives. The core text is Refuge Recovery by Noah Levine.

Taught by: Cheryl Wilfong

The Freedom to Choose, Part 2

At critical moments in our life, we become aware of the power of choice toward what is wholesome and skillful and away from what is unwholesome and unskillful. When we begin to examine our lives with greater discernment, we begin to see that choices arise continuously throughout the most ordinary of our days and that these choices matter. Skillful choices lead to freedom. In this course, we will examine the Buddha’s core teaching on recognizing and releasing suffering as the turning point in our lives.

Taught by: Jack Millett and Claire Stanley

Mindful Self-Compassion: Bridging Practice and Science

The unpredictable nature of our human life is a source of suffering for every one of us. The ordinary response to this situation is irritation, frustration and judgment of ourselves or others as the cause of suffering. An alternative response, a mindful self-compassion response, is to turn toward the suffering rather than away from it – with kindness. Through the practice of caring for yourself with kindness, you can eventually gain greater skill in caring for others in all aspects of your life. Readings from the text will include reports on the current research into the power of compassion to change the brain, the mind, and the heart.

Taught by: Claire Stanley

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. Insight Meditation by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein is the core text with CDs.

Taught by: Jack Millett

Path of the Buddha, Path of Awakening: Connecting the Buddha’s Journey With Our Own

The life story of the Buddha is at once a historical, mythological and archetypal journey. The Buddha wisely asked, “Why should I, subject to decay and death, seek those things which are also subject to decay and death?” We will examine key aspects of Prince Siddhartha’s journey, such as being called to consider what might be more satisfying than a life based on acquisition and pleasure, facing obstacles and challenges with determination, renouncing conventional values and swimming against the stream by encountering and struggling with the forces of delusion in his heart/mind, and examining suffering and its root causes.

Taught by Manny Mansbach

Perception: Seeing Reality from a Fresh Perspective

Since ancient times, Buddhist traditions have emphasized the importance of perception as the key to orienting the mind and the heart toward understanding, which leads to wise and compassionate action. Additionally, perception is one of the five aggregates that constitute what it means to be a human being. Like the other aggregates (form, feeling, mental formations and consciousness), perception can be trained through the practices of vipassana meditation and through reflection on the role of perception in the midst of our lives.

Taught by Jack Millett and Claire Stanley (10 weeks)

Mindful Self-Compassion:
Opening to Kindness from the Inside Out

The unpredictable nature of our human life is a source of suffering for every one of us. The ordinary response to this situation is irritation, frustration and judgment of ourselves or others as the cause of suffering. An alternative response, a mindful self-compassion response, is to turn toward the suffering rather than away from it – with kindness. By turning toward your own heart and mind, you can begin to recognize and ease the suffering found at the subtlest levels. Through the practice of caring for yourself with kindness, you can eventually gain greater skill in caring for others in all aspects of your life.

Taught by Claire Stanley (10 weeks)

Nature and The Body: What Are We Made Of?

The Elements (earth, air, fire, water) are the basis of life including our own physical existence. Through meditation practices we can observe this situation. Seeing this truth can suggest the tenuousness and changing nature of life. This observation can allow for a decrease in clinging and an increase of wisdom about the way things are both within our selves and around us in the natural world. We might also find more peace with our own bodies. In this class we will explore the elements through meditations, teaching and group discussion. There will be a number of suggested readings as well.

Taught by Kate Wylie (5 weeks)

Embracing the Earth: The Spiritual Practice of Caring for our Planet

We will look through the lens of the Dharma at the issue of climate change and what we, in our local community, can do. The transformation of the world and self begins at home. How can we empower ourselves to make changes in our self and the world consistent with our life-affirming vision? We seek to evolve a spiritual practice where our courageous compassion and a deepening realization of our radical interconnectedness helps us to live in solidarity with life.

Taught by Cheryl Wilfong (6 classes)

Introduction to Insight Meditation

A course for those who are new to meditation or who would like to begin again, Insight meditation leads to clear seeing into the nature of our hearts and minds, revealing an inherent clarity, openness, and ease. Course sessions include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. Participants learn how to establish a daily meditation practice as well as how to maintain compassionate and mindful living, studied within the context of a supportive group. Insight Meditation by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein is the core text with CD’s.

Taught by Cheryl Wilfong (6 weeks)

The Freedom to Choose

At critical moments in our life, we become aware of the power of choice toward what is wholesome and skillful and away from what is unwholesome and unskillful. When we begin to examine our lives with greater discernment, we begin to see that choices arise continuously throughout the most ordinary of our days and that these choices matter. Skillful choices lead to freedom. In this course, we will examine the Buddhas’s core teaching on recognizing and releasing suffering as the turning point in our lives.  The core text for this course: Dancing with Life by Phillip Moffitt.

Taught by Jack Millett and Claire Stanley (5 classes)

Boundless Blessings: Connecting to The Divine Abodes and Other Movements of the Expansive Heart

In this class we will explore the classic Buddhist teachings of the Brahma-Viharas or Divine Abodes—boundless friendliness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity. Additionally, we will contemplate gratitude—appreciating the blessings of our lives—and forgiveness—freeing our hearts by letting go of resentment and giving up all hope of a better past. We will begin with an examination of the Metta Sutta as a condensed guide for the entire path of practice. We will study and practice meditations that help to develop the qualities of heart and mind of each of the Divine Abodes, directing radical friendliness to self, others and to all beings, to suffering and success, and finally to welcoming all of our experience and lives with a wise and awakened heart.

Taught by Manny Mansbach (7 weeks)

Dana and Fees

Registration Fees:
Please register online; you may select from two payment options:
1) PayPal: allows payment online through your account or a credit card.
2) Invoice: provides instructions on how to pay by check. You will also receive an email with payment instructions.  Sometimes the email will go into your spam folder, so be sure to check there, but the long and short of it is that after you register online checks for the amount of the registration fee should be mailed ahead of time to:
Vermont Insight Meditation Center,
PO Box 792,
Brattleboro, VT 05302

For 2600 years, since the time of the Buddha, the teachings have been considered priceless and have been offered freely. Within the Theravada Buddhist tradition, generosity or Dana is practiced by making an offering to the teachers. In Asian countries, this has meant offering food, clothing and shelter to the monks and nuns who teach in those countries. As Buddhism has come to the West, lay teachers have sought to preserve this tradition in a way that maintains the integrity of the tradition and yet makes sense and supports the continuation of the teachings. The teachers offer the Dana or generosity of their teaching and they are supported through the Dana of the students and the community. Weekly or bi-monthly sitting groups and daylong meditation retreats are offered on a Dana basis.

In addition to course registration fees, the suggested teacher dana for the courses is:
• 10 week course — $200
• 8 week course — $160
• 7 week course — $140
• 6 week course — $120

Email information@vermontinsight.org or call (802) 254-7077 to inquire or to register for a course.

Cheryl Wilfong
Cheryl Wilfong