IMS is a spiritual refuge for all who seek freedom of mind and heart. We offer meditation retreats rooted in the Theravada Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration and wisdom.

Founded in 1975, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) is a 501(c)(3) religious nonprofit organization.

On Valentine’s Day, 1976, a small group of young meditation teachers and dedicated staff opened a retreat center in an old but stately mansion in Barre, Massachusetts. Armed with minimal resources and less than ideal operational knowledge, yet passionate about the Buddha’s teachings, they set about creating an environment where the dharma could flourish and take root in the West. And so IMS began.

Over its history, IMS has become a spiritual home to thousands of practitioners, and is now regarded as one of the Western world’s most respected centers for learning and deepening meditation practice.

IMS operates two adjacent retreat facilities – the Retreat Center and the Forest Refuge. Both are set on some 200 secluded wooded acres, located in the quiet countryside of central Massachusetts.

The Retreat Center has offered structured meditation courses for new and experienced meditators for over 30 years. Retreats range in duration from a weekend to three months.

The Forest Refuge is specifically designed to support the practice of more experienced meditators. Its program encourages the exploration of sustained, longer-term personal retreats.

Key Stats.

Year founded


Size of project site

1 hectares

Languages spoken

  • English

People on site

1 - 100

Dry season

June to August

Wet season

December to February

Living Conditions.


  • shared rooms
  • private room

Vegetarian Food

  • communally cooked meals


  • medium: voice calls (no video)

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