Insight Retreat Center


Calling all Weed Warriors!

The lush landscape at IRC calls out to our garden volunteer weed warriors during the spring months! There is lots of new growth as well as fallen branches and leaves left behind by winter storms. Volunteer help would be very appreciated.

Please RSVP to if you’d like to join us on either or both of the following dates:

Sunday April 18, 9am – 1pm
Sunday April 25, 9am – 1pm

We’ll gather for snacks and refreshments mid-morning.

If you’d like to volunteer in the garden on other week days, click here to receive notices for weekday garden days.

(Posted April 12, 2021)

Residential Retreat Plans

IRC is delighted to announce tentative plans for resuming residential retreats beginning in September.  Hosting them as residential retreats will be contingent upon Santa Cruz County health officials and the CDC declaring such gatherings to be safe. Upon acceptance, retreatants will be asked to submit a copy of their vaccination card.  If changes in COVID make it necessary, the retreats will be held online instead.  Watch our Residential Retreat schedule page for the dates that retreat registrations will open.  We look forward to welcoming you as we gradually return to our wonderful center!

(Posted April 12, 2021)

Saturday April 17th Daylong Retreat with Matthew Brensilver

A Day of Quiet Practice with Matthew Brensilver

Saturday,  April 17, 2021  ~   9:30am – 4:30pm (Pacific Time)   

The past year has been mercilessly offering us opportunities to learn, but it’s difficult to take in the lessons. Overwhelmed or exhausted, it can be challenging to find new ways of responding to perennial pains. To learn from experience, we cultivate a sense of refuge. The direct experience of refuge fosters the ease and stability such that we can allow more and more of the world to rush into our heart. Please join us in this day of quiet practice as we sit in the protection afforded by a 2600-year legacy of wisdom and compassion.

The day will include sitting and walking meditation, guided practice, and conclude with a dharma talk. You are kindly asked to participate in the full day – or as much of the day as you are able.


  • 9:30 – 10:15                 Welcome, Practice Instructions & Sit
  • 10:15 – 12:30               Morning practice period
  • 12:30 – 1:30                 Lunch
  • 1:30 – 3:30                   Afternoon practice period
  • 3:30 – 3:45                   Stretch / Walk
  • 3:45 – 4:30                   Dharma Talk / Closing

Zoom Link:

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Dial by your location (Meeting ID: 922 4359 6194)

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Join by SIP:

Join by H.323 (Meeting ID: 922 4359 6194)

  • (US West)
  • (US East)
  • (India Mumbai)
  • (India Hyderabad)
  • (Amsterdam Netherlands)
  • (Germany)
  • (Australia Sydney)
  • (Australia Melbourne)
  • (Singapore)
  • (Brazil)
  • (Canada Toronto)
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  • (Japan Tokyo)
  • (Japan Osaka)

(Posted April 5, 2021)

IRC Winter – Spring 2021 Newsletter

The Winter – Spring 2021 Newsletter is available now.

(Posted February 4, 2021)

Online BIPOC Insight Retreat

Announcing a new 5 day Online BIPOC Insight Retreat

with bruni dávila and Tuere Sala
April 8 to 12, 2021

Suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). This is an opportunity to come together in community and provide safety for each other, to meditate and explore the Buddha’s teachings of liberation in the light of our own experience.

Visit our Online Retreat Schedule for more details and to apply online for the retreat.

(Posted January 19, 2021)

Online Work Practice in Sangha

Upcoming online work days will be held on the following Saturdays: March 27, April 24, and May 15 from 9:00 until noon.

  • Please RSVP here if you would like to join us.
  • We will send you the Zoom link the Friday before the Online Work Day.

Join fellow practitioners for Online work practice in sangha.  Hosted by the resident volunteers at IRC, these half-days feature time for 2 unguided group sits , along with a work period between them.  The work period offers time to practice mindfulness while caring for our living spaces, gardening, cooking, or other projects. (For those registered for an upcoming retreat, it may include preparing your space for your time of formal practice.) There are also opportunities to reflect on your practice with other participants and socialize with new and familiar dharma friends.

Online Work Day schedule

9:00-9:30 sit

9:30-10:00 Opening Circle, with an opportunity for everyone to check in

10:00-11:30 Work Period, with an optional 11:10-11:30 social time

11:30-12:00 sit

12:00-12:30 retreat check-in for those registered for the retreat (no need to RSVP for the check-in portion of the day)

If you have questions, please email


To support efforts to prevent or slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we currently are not having Work Days at IRC.  We hope to hold our next Work Day after shelter in place orders are lifted.  We send you well wishes, and appreciation for your care and compassion to all beings during this outbreak.

(Posted January 18, 2021)

Yearend Letter from Gil

Dear Friends,

IMC seems to expand in ten-year leaps and bounds. I became the guiding teacher in 1990. We found our Redwood City meditation center in 2000. By 2010 we discovered IRC, our retreat center. Unexpectedly, in 2020, we created our “Online Retreat Center” with twenty online retreats for the year.

We’ve added new teachers at a growing pace. In 1990, I was the only teacher. Andrea Fella started teaching in 2005, Ines Freedman in 2011, Max Erdstein and Nikki Mirghafori in 2016, and Andrea Castillo, bruni dávila, and Diana Clark in 2019 (the same year that Ying Chen started her teacher training).

The number of people listening to our teachings has increased dramatically. In 1990, it was 12–15 people a week in a small church library. Now, through Audio Dharma and YouTube, tens of thousands of people have access to IMC programs and teachings each week.

All this is beyond anything we imagined in 1990.

It has been inspiring and heartwarming to know of all the people who benefit from what IMC offers. It motivates us to do even more, aiming to change the whole world for the better.

We are very grateful for all the support we receive from volunteers, donors, practitioners, and listeners. Thank you all!

If you like to offer an end-of-year donation to support our activities and continued growth, please click here or go to the donate button on IMC’s website.


Gil Fronsdal


(Posted November 28, 2020)

Progress on Renewables Project

During the first two weeks of November, IRC’s resident volunteers teamed with SunWork, a non-profit dedicated to helping homeowners and small organizations adopt solar power, to install solar panels on the roof at IRC.  The solar panel installation was preceded by an extensive rewiring project. The rewiring, a major upgrade, prepared the facility for the installation of a replacement generator in October as well as the solar panels.  The new system and the cost savings from generating our own power will contribute to IRC’s financial well-being for decades to come.  Many thanks to our resident volunteers, donors, and finance team for achieving IRC’s goal of converting to renewable energy!

(Posted November 25, 2020)


As 2020 draws to a close, there is much to be grateful for at IRC.  The center is fortunate to have had strong support from volunteers, retreatants and teachers during the time IRC has had to be closed to residential retreats.  Neither the COVID pandemic nor the biggest set of wildfires in California history have dampened the ability of our dedicated community to practice the dharma and offer numerous acts of generosity towards one another.  May all beings benefit from this year of practice at IRC as the dharma of kindness radiates from each of you to others in your lives.

(Posted November 25, 2020)

IRC & the Wildfires


Thank you to members of the IRC and IMC communities who have reached out to check in on IRC, and had us in your thoughts.

The wildfires in the Santa Cruz area have necessitated the evacuation of a large number of people from nearby communities.  IRC is not currently in an evacuation zone.  However, our resident volunteers (RVs) have made good use of our emergency procedures to prepare IRC as much as possible to mitigate against potential harm from fire.  We are staying informed of local emergency alerts and the RVs are safe.

We will have to wait to see how the wildfires, hot weather and predicted storms affect us in the coming week(s), and will share significant updates as we have information.

Meanwhile our hearts are with everyone affected by these and the many other current challenges facing us all.  May all beings be free from harm.

August 22, 2020

(Posted August 22, 2020)