Information for Meditators New to Victoria IMS
At Victoria Insight Meditation Society, we practice and study mindfulness and meditation practices in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.
Victoria IMS offers non-residential retreats throughout the year, in Victoria. They are led by visiting and local teachers in the Theravada tradition, in person and online.
What is Insight Meditation?
Insight meditation is the practice of observing our direct experience in each moment. We try to do this with a relaxed, open and gentle awareness. Being present with this attitude connects us with our naturally calm, clear mind and kind, peaceful heart. As we become more established in this technique, we respond to the inevitable joys and sorrows of life with increasing sensitivity, stability and love.
Metta or Loving Kindness meditation cultivates connecting with and caring for ourselves and others. It is true friendliness. We can deliberately nurture our heart’s natural capacity for peacefulness, kindness, acceptance and forgiveness.
Dharma talks illustrate aspects of the Buddha’s teachings.
Dana is the practice of generosity. Teachings are freely offered. Donations are accepted for operating costs such as the costs of the hall rental and visiting teacher travel. All donations are dependent on your individual means.
What to Expect at a Retreat with Victoria IMS
During a retreat, we alternate between sitting and walking meditation. Detailed instructions and guidelines on both sitting and walking meditation techniques are usually given by the teacher at the start of the retreat. Participants are encouraged to stay to the end of each day and to attend both days of a two-day retreat. Retreats are designed to introduce more in-depth meditation instructions and teachings, in a cumulative way, over the course of the day or the weekend.
Our non-residential weekend retreats are silent except for small group interviews, question and answer sessions, and time set aside at the end of the retreat to connect with other meditators. If you have questions or concerns regarding the retreat, you can speak to the Retreat Manager before or after the retreat or at breaks.
WHAT TO BRING TO THE RETREAT: Bring any sitting implements (cushion, mat, bench, etc.) that will help you sit comfortably. Chairs will be available. You will be asked to remove your shoes when in the meditation hall so you may wish to bring warm socks and a blanket for sitting on, as the floor is cold.
The walking meditation is done mostly outdoors. If it’s raining, bring an umbrella.
WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME: To support a peaceful and calm atmosphere for the retreat please refrain from using any electronics such as cell phones, tablets, etc.
SCENTED PRODUCTS: In consideration of all participants please do not wear scented products on your person (hair or skin) or on your clothing or meditation shawls.
LUNCH: Please bring your own bag lunch. There is some cooler space for lunches. Hot water will be available for making tea. Please bring your own cup and teabag and please ensure you have a bag or container to take home your recyclables, items to compost and garbage. Some rental venues do not permit outside food or drink. On these occasions, feel free to eat outside or at a cafeteria nearby.
CANCELLATION: If you need to cancel please do so as soon as possible in consideration of those who may be on a waiting list. Please know that you cannot transfer your spot to a friend. Each person who wishes to attend is asked to fill out the online registration form.
Because the Buddha’s teachings are considered to be priceless, and in keeping with the teachings and spirit of generosity or dana, Victoria IMS retreats are freely offered – there is no fee and teachers are not paid.
The offering of the teachings continues thanks to the generosity of people who volunteer their time and/or offer financial contributions as their means allow.
There will be an opportunity to make a financial contribution at the retreat.Two dana baskets are set out on the dana table. One basket will be for dana offerings for the teacher and a separate basket for dana offerings for Victoria IMS. The suggested donation for Victoria IMS for a two-day retreat is $50 and for a one-day retreat. $30. Funds go towards supporting the operational costs of the organization and its various programs