IMC offers a variety of programs for the beginning practitioner, the well-practiced, experienced student and everyone in between.
No Cost – No Registration. Although there is no cost for any of our programs, we are grateful for donations to support our activities and teachers. In general, registration is not required to participate in any of IMC’s offerings.
Programs for Beginners [Learn more]
- One-Hour Basic Mindfulness Meditation Instruction: The basics of mindfulness practice and sitting posture are presented in this one-hour course regularly offered by experienced meditators. This course is offered weekly on Thursday evenings at 6:00pm, First Monday of the month at 6:00pm and First Thursday morning of the month at 10:45am. Please check the calendar for dates and times.
- Five-Week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation: The basic instruction in mindfulness meditation is taught sequentially in this 5-week course. The course starts with mindfulness of breathing, followed by mindfulness of the body, emotions, and thinking, and concludes with a discussion on concentration and the application of mindfulness in daily life. This course is taught by Gil Fronsdal and by senior students a number of times a year. Please check the calendar for dates and times.
- Six-Week Online Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation: This course is based on Gil Fronsdal’s six-week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation course. It is offered entirely online and includes five weeks of personal support offered by various teachers either by email, or at pre-arranged times, using Phone, Skype or Google Talk. (Gil does not offer any personal support.) This course is generally offered once a year.
- One-Day Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Daylong: Once or twice a year we offer an all-day introduction to mindfulness meditation on a Saturday. Please check the calendar for dates and times.
Daylong Meditation Retreats [Learn more]
At least once a month we offer silent daylong meditation retreats which usually include alternating sitting and walking meditation. These are important opportunities to “retreat” from one’s daily life in order to cultivate greater mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight. Participants are silent throughout the day except for asking questions of the teacher.
- Dharma Practice Days: Starting in September or October each year, Gil Fronsdal offers a 7- to 9-month practice program. Each year the focus of practice and study is a different theme, sometimes emphasizing meditation practice and sometimes emphasizing broader aspects of Buddhist practice. Each Dharma Practice Day explores the theme of the day in different ways, generally including teachings, guided meditations and small group discussions. Everyone is welcome to participate in a single Dharma Practice Day or the entire series.
- Mindfulness and Wisdom Daylong Retreats: Two Saturdays a year. Daylong Retreat with instruction in the style of the Burmese teacher, U Tejaniya. Teachings encourage the exploration of a relaxed open awareness with an emphasis on exploring qualities of mind, and the attitude towards one’s experience. The schedule for the retreat will alternate periods of sitting and walking with instructions and discussion. Aside from the instruction and discussion periods, the day will be primarily in silence. It is recommended for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Taught by Andrea Fella.
- Other Daylong Teachings: Periodically IMC offers daylong teachings taught by guest teachers. These often include instruction, meditation and small group discussion. Past offerings have included Embodying Compassion, Working with the Hindrances and Buddhism and Recovery.
Year-Long Trainings [Learn more]
- Dharma Practice Days: Starting in September or October each year, a 7 to 9-month practice program is offered. Each year the focus of practice and study is a different theme, sometimes emphasizing meditation practice and sometimes emphasizing broader aspects of Buddhist practice. Each Dharma Practice Day explores the theme of the day in different ways, generally including teachings, guided meditations and small group discussions. Everyone is welcome to participate in a single Dharma Practice Day or the entire series.
- Eightfold Path Program: The Buddha’s most explicit path of practice is the Eightfold Path. This is a set of eight practical approaches to bringing Buddhist practice into the width and depth of our lives. The Eightfold Path Program is a ten-month introduction to each of the eight path factors. Participants are assigned a mentor with whom they meet monthly so that participants can discover how to apply each set of practices in ways that are personally meaningful for them. The program generally starts in September or October.
- Threefold Experienced Practitioner Program: Sila, Samadhi, and Pañña (Ethics, Meditation, and Wisdom) [Learn more]
- Three Eight-month programs offered repeatedly over a three-year cycle. They lay out the fundamental Buddhist teachings that support the path of practice. Participants can join at that start of any of the three programs. Pre-requisite: Four to five years of committed insight meditation practice, 4 seven-day (or longer) silent insight meditation retreats and completion of the IMC Eightfold Path Program or its equivalent.
- Dharma Mentor Training Program: A “Dharma Mentor” is a person who has matured enough in their own Dharma practice and understanding to mentor others who are also exploring the Dharma. A Dharma Mentor has been trained to meet individually with people to support their personal Dharma practice, study, and reflection. The two-year Dharma Mentor Training Program offers an in-depth, intensive training in Dharma mentorship with a focus on teachings inspired by the Pali Canon. Participation in the program is by selection.
Non-Residential retreats [Learn more]
A few times a year non-residential retreats that typically meet one weekend afternoon, mornings and evenings for a week plus all day on the subsequent weekend are offered. Surrounding our usual workweek and workdays with dharma practice and discussion provides an opportunity to integrate formal dharma practice into our daily lives.
Residential Retreats [Learn more]
The Insight Retreat Center (IRC) is a community-based retreat center just outside of Santa Cruz, CA. We offer silent meditation retreats throughout the year primarily focused on mindfulness, insight meditation (Vipassana) and the liberation teachings of the Buddha. Please see the Insight Retreat Center website for a schedule and more information.
Youth and Family Programs [Learn more]
IMC offers four age-appropriate programs beginning with kindergarten-aged kids and ending with 12th grade high school students.
- Dharma Sprouts Program (K-2nd Grade and their parents): Meditation and mindfulness practice through stories, songs, art, movement, and games. Parents/caregivers participate with their children.
- Dharma Rocks Youth Program (3rd – 5th Grade): Meditation and mindfulness practice by means of fun, interactive, community-building games and crafts.
- Dharma Bodhis Middle School Program (6th – 8th Grades): A time to explore how the dharma can support challenges and opportunities pertinent to middle schoolers through group discussions, mindfulness practice, creative activities, interactive games, pizza dinner, and opportunities for community service.
- Mindful Teens (High School Youth): We aspire to create a safe and joyful space where teens learn mindfulness to nurture inner-discovery, clarity and a deeper connection with others.
The Sati Center for Buddhist Studies is a sister organization that offers periodic programs at IMC. Their focus is to support the study of Buddhist teachings. For information about their programs, please visit the Sati Center website.