Insight Retreat Center



The Mission of IRC

IRC is dedicated to offering silent Insight Meditation retreats both residentially at our Santa Cruz retreat center and online via videoconference.  We emphasize the practice of Buddhist ideals – mindfulness, ethics, compassion, loving-kindness, and liberation. Based on a 2500-year-old Buddhist teaching, this practice helps us to see more deeply and clearly into our lives. With insight, we develop ways of living more peacefully, compassionately, and wisely.

Generosity is a cornerstone of IRC. We believe liberation practices develop most beautifully and effectively when we offer the Dharma freely.  There is no cost for attending our retreats as they are offered freely to those sincerely interested in participating in the retreat practice. All our expenses, including caring for our 3.8-acre facility, are covered by the voluntary, non-obligatory donations from those who participate in our retreats and from our wonderful community of supporters and volunteers.

In addition, our center is completely run via the generosity of our many volunteers, especially our resident volunteers who take care of much of the day-to-day operations of our center.  During retreats, our day-to-day operations, such as cooking, cleaning, and managing, are done by the retreatants themselves as part of their retreat practice.

We are a “community-based retreat center” entirely sustained by the broad community of practitioners and supporters inspired by the retreat practice, teachings, and values found at the center. The heart of IRC—fueling IRC—is the goodwill, goodness, and generosity of this community, for which we are enormously grateful.

The Vision of IRC

While continuing to hold residential retreats is a major part of our ongoing vision of IRC, we now realize the great benefit of online retreats from our experience offering online retreats during the 2020-2021 pandemic. Many people who couldn’t come to our residential retreats could participate in these online retreats. Many people who have participated in residential retreats before found that practicing from home during online retreats brought the practice into their daily lives in new and significant ways. We, therefore, have a vision of continuing to develop our online retreat offerings.  

With our great desire to alleviate suffering in our world and awaken greater peace, wisdom, compassion, and goodwill in many people’s hearts, we aspire to meet the growing interest in Insight Meditation and Insight Meditation retreats. For this purpose, one of our aims is to train more Insight Meditation teachers. We also aim to find more ways to bring the Dharma to a greater range of people and communities.

We have the dream to have a second residential Insight retreat center that would allow us to expand the types of retreats and training we can offer. Part of the dream is to do so in a way that reflects the ease that Insight Practice develops.  So instead of striving to grow and expand, we will instead be enthusiastically available for a time when inspiration, support, and conditions come together to make this possible. It will then be our task to express our spiritual practice in creating and running the second center.

The Broader Full Vision for IMC, IRC and Sati Center

Gil Fronsdal has written an inspiring document, A Broader Vision, about the relationship between the Insight Meditation Center (IMC), the Insight Retreat Center(IRC) and the Sati Center.

Making a Difference: A Vision for the Role of Mindfulness in Society

As interest in mindfulness has exploded in recent years, the practice has been applied to many aspects of modern life. It has been shown to bring benefits in such areas as education, parenting, medicine, mental health, business, sports, prisons, and conflict resolution. Gil shares his vision for the important role mindfulness can have in our society and how it an help create a society that benefits and supports all its members.  Video:  Making a Difference.

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