This blog contains announcements, insights and articles from the Insight Meditation Community of Washington


What Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

The MBSR series itself is intended to help people establish their own unique mindfulness practice, teach them techniques that can help address physical and emotional symptoms made worse by stress, and increase their peace and quality of life. The classes are intimate, highly experiential, and focus on helping students understand the various mental causes of stress (i.e. suffering), how it affects the mind and body, and how to work with it through mindfulness to reduce its effects. And, while the more spiritually-based teachings that involve topics such as ethics, kindness, and compassion are taught, the modern science around the practice of mindfulness meditation tends to be strongly emphasized.

Holding all beings with a compassionate heart

IMCW would like to reach out to our community as we process what, for many, has been deep distress following the recent election. All of us, however we voted, can use this time to recommit ourselves to mindfulness, compassion, and awareness. We can use our practice every day to give what we can--whether time, talent or money-- to help work for issues that affect all of us
Lotus by Jon – Blog.jpg

The Characteristics of Mindfulness

So what is mindfulness, really? It’s more than just being aware of what the mind is doing. For starters, mindfulness is knowing what is happening in the mind, body and heart. Mindfulness is radically inclusive…nothing is left out. I remember when a teacher mentioned that my mindfulness practice did not extend to family relationships and thinking, “of course not, that’s the really hard stuff.” When we practice mindfulness as a hobby we tend to pick and chose the times to bring this kind of refined attention. At some point we practice not just to be free from our own suffering but for all beings to be free from suffering....

The Question of Essential Human Goodness

Like other spiritual traditions Buddhism has debated over the course of its history whether human nature is basically good or basically flawed. Buddhism today, through its myriad forms, presents to us two very different models of human nature: one of inherent goodness and purity, and one of plasticity, of malleability, of no- essence. Where we come down in this issue – consciously or unconsciously – determines what we see as our existential starting point and necessarily leads to two very different frameworks of intention and effort. It has a profound effect on what we think our Dharma practice should be about....

Unraveling Modern Buddhism’s “Genetic Code”

If you are interested in the idea that Buddhism has a “genetic code,” it might be an example of the influence and appeal of the scientific worldview.  In fact, as author David McMahan points out in The Making of Buddhist Modernism it is, in part, because Buddhism was presented to Western audiences in the late 1800’s as “scientific” that it gained a foothold in the culture....