The Ten Perfections with Ajaan Thanissaro (Geoff) – September 16 and September 17 2017

September 16, 2017 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 pm, September 17, 2017 1:30 pm -4:00 pm

At the Insight Meditation Center, 108 Birch St. Redwood City, CA 94062

The Ten Perfections (pāramī) provide a useful framework for leading a meaningful life, especially for lay Dhamma practice. This course–through readings in the Pali Canon and the teachings of the Thai wilderness Ajaans, along with talks, discussions, and meditations–will explore, ways in which these perfections can be pursued effectively in an imperfect world. For Saturday September 16th bring lunch. There will be an opportunity to offer food to the monastics.

Ajaan Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American monk of the Thai forest tradition. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1971 with a degree in European Intellectual History, he studied meditation under Ajaan Fuang Jotiko in Thailand and ordained in 1976. In 1991 he helped establish Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego, CA where he is the abbot. He is a prolific writer and translator. Many of his works can be found online at

Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators with Guy Armstrong, May 13, 2017

Emptiness: A Practical Introduction for Meditators

With Guy Armstrong

Saturday, May 13, 2017

9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

At Insight Meditation Center: 108 Birch St. Redwood City CA 94062

Emptiness, one of the most important concepts in all  Buddhist schools, refers to fundamental understandings of our human condition, deep spiritual insight, and the radical experience of liberation.    In this daylong we will explore the teachings on emptiness and their application in our lives.   The topic will be addressed through talks, readings, discussions, and meditations which will provide direct experience of the teachings.  We will begin by looking into emptiness as it relates to the notion of not-self, a linkage explicitly stated by the Buddha in the Pali canon.  Next we will investigate emptiness as a liberating insight into  the insubstantial nature of sense phenomena.  We will conclude by exploring the empty nature of awareness itself and its relationship to a unique style of meditation practice.  The content of the weekend will be drawn from Guy’s forthcoming book of the same title (Wisdom, May 2017).

Guy Armstrong has been practicing Insight meditation for over 40 years, including a year as a monk in Thailand.  He began teaching in 1984 and has led retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.  A regular teacher at the long retreats at both Spirit Rock & IMS, he is also a Guiding Teacher at IMS.

There will be a book signing at this event and the opportunity to purchase Guy’s new book.

May 21, 2016 – Buddhist Poetry with Diana Clark

Saturday, May 21, 2016
9:30am – 3:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Just as from a heap of flowers
Many garlands can be made,
So, you, with your mortal life
Can do many skillful things.
(Dhp 53)

Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hate alone does it end.
This is an ancient truth.
(Dhp 5)

Poetry, as a means to capture, explore, express and celebrate the Buddhist tradition, is an integral part of the earliest teachings. In addition to discourses containing a mixture of prose and verse, the early Buddhist literature contains anthologies of poems, many of which are attributed to women.  The poems may be very short and describe the moment of awakening, or they may be longer, expounded on a dharma topic or recording a conversation between the Buddha and an esteemed individual.  Whatever their content, poems provide an opportunity for us to listen with our hearts to the words of the earliest Buddhists.  Please join us as we read and discuss different poems from the earliest Buddhist texts.

Diana Clark has a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. She practices and teaches at IMC and at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

Please bring your lunch. This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required.

November 14, 2015 – Women in Buddhism Symposium: In Honor of the Nuns of Aloka Vihara

Saturday, November 14, 2015
9:00am – 4:00pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

On Saturday, November 14 the Sati Center will host a symposium highlighting the accomplishments of women scholars in the early years of Buddhist Studies in the West, on the one hand, and portraits of women as presented in the scriptures of early Buddhist literature on the other. We will celebrate the contributions of these women as part of a benefit to support the pioneering Theravada Buddhist nuns living at Aloka Vihara in the Sierra foothills.

Please bring a bag lunch and an offering for the meal, if you would like.

Lunch will be at 11 am and include a meal offering for the nuns and other monastics attending.

No registration needed. The symposium is a benefit for the Aloka Vihara nuns’ community.

9:00 a.m. – Welcome and opening remarks Gil Fronsdal

9:15 a.m. – Session I:  Pioneering Women in Buddhist Studies

  • Caroline Rhys Davids  – Dawn Neal (Institute of Buddhist Studies
  • B. Horner – Grace Burford (Prescott University)

11:00 a.m. – Meal offering to the nuns and other monastics (everyone invited to make an offering)

12:15 p.m. – Session II:  Women in Pāli Literature (1): Portraits of Women in the Suttas

  • Women in the Majjhima Nikāya – Diana Clark (Institute of Buddhist Studies)
  • Women in the Saṁyutta Nikāya – Xi He (UC Berkeley)

2:00 p.m. – Session III:  Women in Pāli Literature (2): Tales of Accomplished Nuns

  • Women in the Therīgāthā, poetry of the early Buddhist nuns – Meg Gawler (Institute of Buddhist Studies)
  • Mahāpajāpatī, the first Buddhist nun – Jan Nattier (UC Berkeley)

3:30 p.m. – Concluding remarks 

4:00 p.m – End

October 24, 2015 − Exploring the Dhammapada with Diana Clark

Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:30am – 3:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

The Dhammapada may be the most popular canonical text among Buddhists and is one of the great religious texts of the world.  This anthology of poems is comprised of inspiring and thought-provoking verses on practice, liberation and even includes auto-biographical elements from the Buddha.  Countless persons through history have been stirred to practice the ethical and mindful life on account of reading these verses.  

Please join us as we read, discuss and explore this beloved text.  We will use the translation by Gil Fronsdal as our primary reference, but we will also examine the role of the translator as we compare translations of some of the most famous verses.  The daylong will include lecture and discussions. Bring lunch.

Diana Clark has a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. She practices and teaches at IMC.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required.

August 1, 2015 − Overview of Buddhist Meditation with Diana Clark

Saturday, August 1, 2015
9:30am – 3:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Meditation is one of the key practices taught at IMC. As a type of “technology of transformation” meditation has been taught for millennia as a method for training and developing the mind for the highest spiritual aim of awakening. More recently, meditation has also been extracted from its Buddhist framework in order to harness its benefits for a wide range of applications including simply managing daily tasks and problems. In this daylong we will explore the different types of meditation practices presented in the earliest Buddhist texts and how they may be relevant for our own lives. Join us as we practice and discuss vipassana (insight), samatha (calming), metta (loving-kindness) and anussati (recollection) meditations. 

Diana Clark has a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. She practices and teaches at IMC.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

September 19, 2015 − The Thai Forest Masters taught by Ajahn Thanissaro

Saturday, September 19, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Teachings of the Thai Forest Tradition

The Thai forest tradition is well-known for the style of its teachings–direct, down-to- earth . . . but very little has been written about the content of its teachings: the positions it took on controversial issues regarding virtue, concentration, discernment, and release. This daylong will focus on filling in this gap with reference to the recorded teachings of Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto, one of the founders of the tradition, as well as to the more systematic writings of two of his most articulate students, Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo and Ajaan Maha Boowa Nanasampanno.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, also known as Than Geoff (born 1949), is an American Theravada Buddhist monk of the Dhammayut Order (Dhammayutika Nikaya), of the Thai forest kammatthana tradition. He is currently the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego County. Thanissaro Bhikkhu is also a translator of the Pali Canon and other modern Buddhist works, and is the author of many Dhamma books and articles.

There will be a meal offering for Ajahn Thanissaro and other monastics in attendance.  If you would like, please bring food to offer at that time, otherwise, please bring your own lunch.

This Class Is Offered On A Donation Basis ~ Pre-Registration Not Required.

Download a printable flyer.

Readings for the daylong – please prepare by reading these in advance and bring them with you to the daylong.

July 18, 2015 − Right View taught by Tony Bernhard

Saturday, July 18, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Right View is the first element of the Buddha’s Eightfold Noble Path. Understanding Right View supports our practice of the Buddha’s path, benefits our day-to-day behavior and ethical conduct, and leads to diminishing dissatisfaction and suffering in our lives.

But what, after all, is a ‘view’? and what makes it Right? What kind of views enable us to live without dissatisfaction? This daylong will focus on a variety of the Buddha’s teachings about Right View in order to expand our understanding of the multiple dimensions of the the Buddha’s path to the end of suffering.

Tony Bernhard is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s first Community Dharma Leadership training program, and the Sati Center’s Chaplaincy program. He is also a Sati Center board member. Along with being the founder/ teacher at Davis Middle Path, he offers his unique perspective on the Dharma throughout Northern California which include speaking engagements at Insight Meditation Center; Spirit Rock Meditation Center; Mountain Stream Meditation Center; Sacramento Insight Meditation; Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group and many more.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy with Rev. Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D. and Rev. Jennifer Block, M.A.

May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

By Donation*

Location: Institute of Buddhist Studies at 2140 Durant Ave., Berkeley

Chaplains provide spiritual care and support to people in places such as hospitals, hospices, prisons and a wide variety of other settings.  The work is wonderfully challenging and satisfying.  In recent years, dharma practitioners have been experiencing chaplaincy as a powerful opportunity to practice engaged Buddhism, and for some, as a vocation and profession.  

Join us for an explanation of this field of service, which is gaining in size and scope in dharma communities.  Professional chaplains and educators will introduce aspects of chaplaincy, including: a definition of chaplaincy, the history of chaplaincy, settings where chaplains serve, and the steps one can take to become a volunteer or professional chaplain (including educational requirements) as a Buddhist practitioner.  Information about the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training and the Institute for Buddhist Studies Chaplaincy Degree Program will also be provided. 

Taught by:

Reverend Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D., is a Soto Zen Priest and teacher and is the coordinator and primary professor for the Buddhist Chaplaincy program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.

Reverend Jennifer Block, M.A., is an Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain who has practiced Zen, Vipassana and Yoga since 1988. She co-teaches the yearlong Buddhist Chaplaincy Program offered by the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. 

*Pre-registration is not necessary for Sati Center daylong classes. These classes are offered freely, but your donations and support for these classes is appreciated.

Feb. 21, 2015 − Introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism for Those Unfamiliar with It − Theory and Practice taught by Acharya Rita M. Gross

Saturday, Feb. 21st, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

In this daylong workshop, scholar-practitioner Rita M. Gross will present an introduction to Vajrayana  – the form of Buddhism most strongly associated with the Buddhism of Tibet.  The day is meant for those curious about this valuable form of Buddhism but know little about it. She will explain both those aspects of Vajrayana Buddhism that most distinguish it from other forms of Buddhism and its underlying similarity with better-known forms of Buddhism.  Regarding what is most distinctive about Vajrayana Buddhism, she will explain some of its most common rituals involving visualization practices and mantra recitation.  She will also explain its deeper teachings about the nature of mind and reality that Vajrayana shares with other forms of Buddhism.  Furthermore, she will explain how the two major aspects of Vajrayana Buddhism, often called the “development stage” and the “completion stage,” are linked with each other and provide an overarching path to awakening.   

Rita Gross, or Acharya Rita as she is known, has been studying, practicing and teaching Vajrayana for forty years.  Known as a warm, humorous and very clear teacher, she teaches with a rare combination of academic and dharmic perspectives. She is internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion. She also has extensive training and experience as a professor of comparative studies in religion and is a Buddhist Dharma teacher, appointed to that position by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.