When do you meet?
Our regular meetings take place on Tuesdays from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. From time to time we are pleased to offer special events including half- and full-day workshops and retreats led by guest teachers.
How do I get there?
Where may I park?
Parking is generally available on a first-come-first-served basis along Westford Street and in the First Parish lot adjacent to the church and Forefathers’ Burying Ground. Please note that space may be limited due to other church activities. Additional parking is available behind the offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman at 10 North Road.
What do I need to bring?
If you happen to have a meditation bench or cushions that you would like to bring, please feel free to do so; most people use the chairs provided. The temperature can be variable, so we recommend dressing in comfortable layers so that you may adjust them to your liking.
How much does it cost?
There is no fee to attend. However, we always offer an opportunity to make a donation to our hosts at First Parish and/or our guest teachers.
What is insight meditation?
Insight meditation — also known as vipassana meditation — is derived from the contemplative practices associated with the Theravada Buddhist tradition predominant in Sri Lanka and throughout Southeast Asia (Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand). Some insight meditation teachers also have a background in Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and/or other contemplative traditions.
The practice of insight meditation entails cultivation of two complementary qualities or skills: mindfulness and kindness.
Mindfulness (sati) means gently but steadily keeping in mind a calming object, such as the physical sensations of our own breathing. This calming process gradually allows us to notice and to respond to the stress-creating and stress-reducing activities of our body and mind.
Kindness (metta) is the expression of “unconditional positive regard.” This attitude of universal goodwill may be systematically developed by offering thoughts of safety, health, happiness, and well-being to our self and to others.
I’ve never meditated before, is that okay?
Yes, we welcome anyone to join us, regardless of his or her experience. Our peer facilitators and guest teachers are happy to provide whatever guidance may be helpful.
What happens during a typical Tuesday evening?
While there is some variability from one week to the next, the following format is typical:
Introductory chanting (optional) — We begin our evening with traditional Buddhist chanting in Pali, the language of the tradition’s oldest texts. We find this helps to establish a more reflective frame of mind, suitable for meditation.
- Reflection offered by the practice facilitator
Meditation — 20-45 minutes of sitting and/or walking meditation, depending on the group
- Check-in (optional) — This is a good opportunity for each person to “digest” his or her meditation by sharing any personal observations from the evening’s practice.
Q&A, group discussion, and/or further reflection offered by the practice facilitator
- Dedication of Merit — We end our evening with another Buddhist tradition: offering the “merit” — the benefit — of our meditation to the wellbeing others as well as ourselves.