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


Treasure Hunt: Exploring Buddhism’s Early Teachings

Buddhist traditions have been arising, developing and spreading in the world for 2,500 years. For most of their history, the traditions remained fairly isolated from each other, both geographically and culturally. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Buddhism “came to the West,” and the various Asian traditions started to encounter each other. This was also a period in which the West created its own versions by applying its own cultural lenses to interpret, highlight, add to and discard parts of the historic traditions. Many experience the everything-all-at-once situation as an all-you-can-eat buffet. However, I felt caught in the middle of cafeteria food fight!

The Imposter

I have often felt like an imposter. The first time was when I was in school being coerced into the debate team because my parents thought it would be good to break me out of my shy, timid, and quiet ways; a natural outcome from receiving too many report cards in grade school that read, “Rashmi is a shy, quiet, and timid child, who needs to speak up in class.” It is a visceral memory, standing behind a podium in front of over 300 schoolmates, my knees knocking against each other, my heart thumping so loudly I thought it would leap out of my chest. Actually, I cannot recall anything I thought, only the terror of looking stupid, and the abject fear of not being able to answer my debate opponent and losing the debate for my team. I was such a good little girl, obedient, loyal, a good student, and above all the model child and good daughter. Who was I? I was whoever my parents, extended family, teachers, society wanted me to be. No wonder I felt like an imposter....

Buddhists Help Get Out the Vote

This is a truly critical time in American society. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, financial collapse, climate change emergency, and approaching a November election that threatens to exclude many eligible voters. As Buddhist teachers and leaders, we recognize that every vote and voice needs to be heard to help guide the next years of our society wisely....

The Next Right Thing: Lessons From Princess Anna

Last week, my daughter Lily and I needed to spice up quarantine, as life was beginning to taste a bit bland. Thanks to Lily, I’ve now had a number of unexpected firsts. I danced in my first TikTok video. I made my first scar wax with Lily, a budding special-effects make-up artist (did you know that vaseline and flour make an amazing skin-like paste from which you can create the most frighteningly-real wounds?). And Lily gave my tresses their first encounter with Manic Panic vegan hair dye. No surprise, red-purple-green hair is not so becoming on me. Sigh -- it only lasts six weeks....

The Fulfillment of Remembrance

I once asked my teacher Michele McDonald what she thought the Buddha meant on his deathbed when he said to his monastics, “Strive on with diligence.” She replied that she had asked three sayadaws in Burma the same question, and they all said, “It’s the fulfillment of remembrance” – to come back to the present and to what is true. In the midst of this devastating global pandemic that has over 3 million reported cases and close to a quarter of a million deaths as I write, I reflect on all the ways I have forgotten and remembered in these last 6 weeks....