Insight Retreat Center (IRC): IMC’s Great Opportunity

Down through the centuries Buddhists have celebrated the creation of a temple or monastery as one of the most spectacular acts of generosity. It is seen as a gift to one’s contemporary society as well as for generations to come. The IMC community is now following in this tradition by creating a new center for residential retreats. We are inspired by the possibility of building a place where people can benefit from sustained immersion in Buddhist teachings and practices.

Over the years IMC has offered retreats in rented facilities. We have seen how transformative it is for people to take time away from their ordinary lives and dedicate themselves to periods of meditative silence and spiritual exploration. We have aspired to have a place of our own where we could offer a rich variety of Buddhist retreats throughout the year, supporting people’s full spiritual development.

The possibility of having our own retreat center took root five years ago with the generous $2 million donation from a sangha member. After five years of sustained searching for a suitable property we found one in Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County, about 50 minutes from IMC. The property, currently a 20,000 sq ft nursing home sits on 2.8 acres of partially forested, semi-rural land. We have plans for turning it into a retreat center that can house 40 retreatants.

We expect to close escrow in June. The big task for the next few months is raising the funds for the remodeling needed to convert it into a retreat center. Ideally, all the renovations would be completed before we start offering retreats. To accomplish this we hope to raise an additional $2.3 million from those who share our inspiration. On May 14 of this year we will launch our fundraising campaign with a dinner celebration.

Renovation and Development Plan

The $2.3 million would allow us to:

  • Create a meditation hall and inside walking meditation area
  • Build 40 total bedrooms (currently 16)
  • Install additional restrooms and shower facilities
  • Renovate the kitchen and dining room and install needed equipment
  • Fulfill county requirements for additional parking, septic and landscape
  • Purchase adjoining 38-acre Timber Preserve and create walking trails and contemplation areas

Our goal is to create a retreat center with a community of practitioners, supporters, volunteers, and teachers that will be meaningful and inspiring for many people both near and far. Fulfilling the vision for our retreat center will require the efforts of many volunteers.

We value meeting personally with anyone who might consider offering a major donation. Please get in touch with us by contacting Catherine Byers or 650/306-9264.

Visit the IRC website to:

  • Learn more about the Insight Retreat Center (IRC). The Vision link will take you to an inspiring document written by Gil Fronsdal describing the mutual relationship between IMC, our new Insight Retreat Center, and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.
  • To volunteer: please fill out a volunteer form.

Contact: Ines Freedman, IRC Managing Director