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The Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) is a spiritual community that teaches and practices Insight/Vipassana meditation in the Washington, DC metro area.

What is Vipassana (Mindfulness or Insight) Meditation?

In the Buddhist tradition, Vipassana means to "see clearly" the nature of reality. IMCW classes teach mindfulness and heart practices that awaken our natural wisdom and compassion.


IMCW began in 1988 as a small group gathered around Tara Brach in Reston, Virginia. In 1992 she moved to Bethesda and began a weekly meditation class in the  the Fireside Room of the River Road Unitarian Church (RRUC) in Bethesda, Maryland, which grew by 1994 into the large class now held in the sanctuary room at RRUUC. IMCW's teaching staff now includes over 40 full and affiliate meditation teachers, leading a large and thriving community sponsoring an extensive program of ongoing meditation classes, day-long, weekend and week-long residential meditation retreats, as well as numerous affinity groups including People of Color and LGBTQ.

Tara Brach continues to lead the weekly Wednesday night meditation class of over 250 people in Bethesda, MD.


New in 2012

  • Over 73,500 people visited IMCW’s website. Viewers hailed from 139 countries, including Cameroon, Uruguay, Moldova and Malaysia.
  • A rapidly growing family program offers monthly meditation classes to children and to teens in Bethesda, Maryland and in Northern Virginia in Arlington.
  • Over 30 Kalyana Mitta groups of "spiritual friends" continue to support individual practice.
  • In 2012 IMCW added 7 new weekly classes and 2 new monthly classes in the Washington Metro area, for a total of 22 weekly and 6 monthly classes.
  • IMCW added 12 new affiliate teachers-in-training in 2012, for a total of over 40 teachers as well as 37 guest teachers.


“In any moment, we can take refuge in awareness and love. When we get lost, we need only pause, relax open to what is Here, and re-arrive in the natural presence that is our true home.”

-- Tara Brach, Founding Teacher, IMCW

“For over 2,000 years, Buddhism and other wisdom traditions have taught that there is a way out of the stress and suffering that can fill our lives, and a possibility of living a life free of suffering. Mindfulness, the practice of opening fully to our experience in this moment—the joys and sorrows; the good, the bad, and the ugly—is the gateway to this deep freedom of the heart.”

– Hugh Byrne, Senior Teacher, IMCW, The Brahma Viharas

“What does it mean to practice? In any given moment we can inquire into how we are holding our experience. In an instant we can recognize if we are perceiving through a lens of fear and open to a moment filled with new possibilities.”

-- Jonathan Foust, Senior Teacher, IMCW

“The clarity and consistency of Mindfulness meditation instruction delivered with warmth and friendliness.”

-– IMCW member, 2010

“I really respect Tara’s experience and teaching. I like how she makes the practice so applicable to daily living. The history and format teaching are good, but if you cannot take the practice off the cushion, what do you have?”

– IMCW member, 2010

What do you value most about IMCW?

 “(The) sense of community and openness, amazing teachers, well-structured without feeling like I have to commit to being a formal member or adopt a specific doctrine to participate. I’ve learned so much over the past few years, met wonderful people, and feel blessed to have discovered this whole new world.”

– IMCW member 2010



Finding True Refuge Videos: Stories that Teach about Freedom, by Tara Brach, June 2012 (IMW Resource page, website)

Leaning Into Fear: Gateway to Freedom, Tara Brach, Oct 2011 (IMCW Resource page, website)

To Scratch or Not to Scratch, Jonathan Foust, Feb 2011 (IMCW Resource page, website)

The Sacred Pause, by Hugh Byrne and Rebecca Hines, July 2011 (IMCW Resource page, website)

Meditation and the Meaning and Benefits of Inner Peace, Hugh Byrne, Washington Post online, 4 October 2012

The Alchemy of Transformation: Awakening Our Hearts Healing Our World, Tara Brach, 19 June 2012, Tricycle Magazine online

Tara Brach on Love
, Tricycle Magazine, 22 June 2011


Meet Tara Brach, Hugh Byrne, Jonathan Foust and Louisa Montero-Diaz

IMCW Senior Teachers

Tara Brach

Tara Brach is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering. Tara is the senior teacher and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, which teaches Vipassana (mindfulness or insight) meditation. A clinical psychologist, Tara is the author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha and True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart (Bantam, January 22, 2013). Find more information on her website,

Hugh Byrne

Hugh Byrne, Ph. D. is a senior teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. He completed a four-year teacher training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Insight Meditation Society led by Jack Kornfield. Hugh is also trained in and teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and has completed training in Somatic Experiencing, a mind-body approach to healing trauma. He is a co-founder of the Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship. For events and services, see Hugh's website at

Jonathan Foust

Jonathan Foust has practiced meditation since 1972. A senior teacher and former president of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Jonathan is a senior teacher at IMCW. Jonathan is the creator of the "Year of Living Mindfully" program and offers private sessions in Focusing, a body-oriented therapy that is powerfully synergistic with mindfulness meditation. He is also one of four teachers for the Meditation Teacher Training Institute (MTTI). For podcast, blog and more information visit Jonathan's website at

Luisa Montero-Diaz

Luisa Montero-Diaz has been practicing meditation since 1987 and teaching meditation since 1993. She completed the first three-year Community Dharma Leadership program offered by the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Luisa has been affiliated with IMCW since its inception and was on the founding Board. Prior to her exploration of Buddhist meditation, she was involved in Gurdjieff's Fourth Way spiritual study. For more information, see Luisa's webpage at



Welcome to IMCW from IMCW on Vimeo.

True Refuge sample? Something general, that everyone can relate to.

Tara Talks: Keeping Busy from Tara Brach on Vimeo.

We are sometimes described as “human doings” versus “human beings.” In this short presentation we look at how our drive to keep busy and to over-achieve is a way of avoiding facing the inevitability of loss. To watch the rest of this talk, go to

If photos Tara Brachwith higher resolution are needed, please contact us at

Tara Brach
Tara Brach, IMCW founding teacher. Photo by Jonathan Foust

Hugh Byrne

Hugh Byrne, IMCW senior teacher

Jonathan FoustJonathan Foust
Jonathan Foust, IMCW senior teacher

Luisa Montero-Diaz
Luisa Montero-Diaz, IMCW senior teacher



IMCW logo IMCW logo, outline

IMCW logo, white background, 1668 x 1665 px IMCW logo, outline, clear background, 1668 x 1665 px

Class Photos

Photo by Clay McLachlan/
Photo of Tara Brach, Bethesda class, by Clay McLachlan/

Tara, Bethesda, by Jonathan Foust
Photo of Tara Brach, Bethesda class by Jonathan Foust