2018-19 Year-Long Trainings

2018-19 Year-Long Trainings


Dharma Practice Days

Taught by Gil Fronsdal or Nikki Mirghafori

One Friday a month, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Starting in September or October most years, IMC 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. These days are usually quite interactive, including the lunch period, which offers a chance to get to know fellow participants.

Past series have focused on: the Ten Perfections, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, the Eightfold Path, Mindfulness of Breathing and the Five Hindrances.

Please see the calendar for dates of offerings. Students are welcome to attend one or all sessions. No pre-requisites or registration required.

Eightfold Path Program

Taught by Chris Clifford, Bruni Dávila and Liz Powell

The Buddha’s most explicit path of practice is the Eightfold Path. This is a set of eight practical approaches to bring Buddhist practice into the width and depth of our lives. The Eightfold Path Program is an introduction to each of the Eight path factors so that participants can discover how to apply each set of practices in ways that are personally meaningful.

The program includes the following elements:

  • Monthly 2.5 hour group meetings that include teachings, meditation and small-group discussions.
  • Readings, reflections and practices for each month, including weekly email reminders.
  • A monthly one-hour one-on-one meeting with an Eightfold Path mentor to discuss one’s practice and reflections on the Eightfold Path factors. This could be done in-person or by Skype or phone. Out-of-area students may be accepted as space permits.
  • Final daylong retreat at Insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz.

Prerequisite: completion of IMC’s 5-week Introduction to Meditation course or the equivalent.

2018-19 Meeting Dates: (all are Sunday 1:00 to 3:30 pm, except the final retreat)

  • Sep 23 Introduction to the Path
  • Oct 7 Right View
  • Nov 4 Right Intention
  • Dec 2 Right Speech
  • Jan 7 Right Action
  • Feb 3 Right Livelihood
  • March 3 Right Effort
  • April 7 Right Mindfulness
  • May 5 Right Concentration
  • (Saturday) June 15 (confirmed new date): Daylong retreat at IRC, Scotts Valley (9:30 to 4:30)

Application is required to be assigned a personal mentor:  apply.  Applications due by Sept. 15, 2018.

Contact eightfoldpath@insightmeditationcenter.org with questions.

Equivalence of Ethics and Enlightenment Program

Taught by Gil Fronsdal

One day a month for eight months, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

This program will be offered every other year starting in September 2018 and again in Fall of 2020.  This eight-month program provides experienced practitioners an opportunity to delve into some of the deeper teachings of our Buddhist tradition in a community of other committed practitioners.  We will study and discuss core principles of the Buddha’s teachings on ethics to understand the thoroughgoing ethical nature of his teachings.  We will discover how the Buddha’s path to awakening is an ethical path, that awakening itself is an ethical awakening, and that the awakened life is an ethical life.  The program includes required monthly readings and writing short reflective essays.  Participation by selection.


  • At least five years of committed insight meditation practice
  • Four seven-day (or longer) silent Vipassana retreats
  • Completion of IMC’s Eightfold Path Program or its equivalent

The application will be available here in the months preceding the beginning of the program.

Entering the Stream Program

Taught by Gil Fronsdal

One Monday a month for eight months, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Offered every other year; the next offering will be in 2019-20

This eight-month program provides experienced practitioners an opportunity to delve into some of the deeper teachings of our Buddhist tradition in a community of other committed practitioners. We will discuss core principles and insights important in the Buddha’s teachings, including aspects of liberation and awakening. The program includes required monthly readings and writing short reflective essays. Participation by selection.


  • At least five years of committed insight meditation practice
  • Five seven-day (or longer) silent vipassana retreats
  • Completion of IMC’s Eightfold Path Program or its equivalent.

To apply, fill out the online application. Applications are due by September 1. Notification of acceptance will be in mid-September.

Questions: email imc.enteringthestream@gmail.com.

Seven Factors of Awakening Program

Taught by Nikki Mirghafori

One Friday a month for eight months, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Dates: 2018-19: Fridays Oct 19 & Nov 16, Saturday Dec 15 & Jan 19, Fridays Feb 22, Mar 29 & Apr 19

The Seven Factors of Awakening are qualities cultivated on the path to liberation. These seven – mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity – refer to both psychological qualities we can develop as well as practices to be undertaken. When fully developed, they are known as the seven jewels of Buddhist practice.

This eight-month program is an opportunity to explore and practice with these aspects of Awakening as a support for meditation, daily life and the path of liberation. This will be done through a combination of teachings, practices, and discussions. Readings and reflections will be provided for practicing between the monthly meetings. Bring lunch.


  • 2 years Buddhist practice
  • 1 residential insight / vipassana retreat

No Registration required.

Dharma Mentor Training Program

Taught by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella

One day a month, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm,  for two years

It is anticipated that this program will be offered again beginning September 2020 with the application period beginning in August 2020. Please see the IMC newsletter and calendar for dates.

In the Buddhist insight meditation movement, an important practice is being a kalyana mitta, or “Good Spiritual Friend.” This is the practice of supporting others in their growth in the Dharma. One form of being a kalyana mitta is through what is commonly known in America as a ‘Spiritual Director,’ or in Buddhist terms, a ‘Dharma Mentor.’ This 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. In offering spiritual direction, Dharma Mentors are not Dharma Teachers; they are spiritual friends facilitating another person’s engagement with the Dharma.

The program is for someone with the intention to support others explicitly using the dharma as the guide and framework. The ideal candidate is someone who has benefitted from their own dharma practice and, out of gratitude wishes to share the Dharma with others. The program provides the opportunity to train in Dharma mentoring with other like-minded individuals.

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. The training includes:

  • Buddhist approaches to spiritual growth and spiritual mentorship.
  • Learning to support others in the Eightfold Path, the Ten Perfections, ethics, introductory level meditation, practicing in daily life and overcoming obstacles to practice.
  • Developing a clear articulation of one’s own understanding of the Dharma
  • Understanding mentoring as a personal Dharma practice for one’s own Dharma path.
  • Skills in being present for others, listening to others, and facilitating others in a process of self-discovery and personal reflection.
  • Issues of life transitions, family dynamics, attachment theory, transference and projection.
  • Learning how to mentor people experiencing grief and trauma, as well as those involved in recovery.
  • Introduction to basic Buddhist rituals.

The program is offered in two one-year modules. The first year lays the foundation for becoming a mentor, the second year includes a practicum of mentoring others. Participation in the second year is by invitation by the teachers; completing the first year does not guarantee participation in the second year.

Components of the Program

  • 20 day-long trainings
  • Participating in IMC’s Eightfold Path Mentoring program, either in person or online. The first year as a mentee, the second year as a mentor.
  • Observation of IMC’s five-week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation class. This will include discussion with instructor about the class.
  • Participating in one of IMC’s Daily Life Practice programs.
  • Mentoring meetings with faculty.
  • Monthly personal reflection essays.
  • Monthly reading
  • Participation in one seven-day retreat taught by Andrea Fella or Gil Fronsdal (during either the first or the second year).
  • Participation and observation of IMC and IRC programs, e.g., family program, IMC Board meeting, serving as a service leader for a retreat at IRC.


  • 60-days of silent meditation retreats of which half should be insight / vipassana retreats.
  • 6-years of ongoing Buddhist Practice.
  • An established relationship with a vipassana teacher who can provide a letter of recommendation. Other Buddhist teachers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Familiarity with Buddhist teachings.

Application: Currently, it is anticipated that the course will be offered again beginning September 2020. Applications will be available at least a month before then. Please see the IMC newsletter and calendar for dates and more information.