The Bozeman Insight Community
Thursdays, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Newcomers and beginners are always welcome!
About the Bozeman Insight Community (BIC)
The Bozeman Insight Community is a welcoming community that offers the Buddha’s priceless teachings on wisdom and compassion to all those who seek them. Centered on a commitment to personal practice we support the development and expression of our inherent wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all beings.
The BIC meets weekly on Thursday evenings at the Bozeman Dharma Center, located at 1019 East Main St. Suite #202. The building is set back from Main Street with a large parking area in front. Enter the two story red brick building from the front doors and take stairs or elevator to second floor. (Best not to use the outside stairs.) Doors open at 6:40 p.m., the evening’s program begins at 7:00 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. A forty-minute meditation is followed by a dharma talk with tea and discussion. Everyone is warmly welcome!
Please also check the calendar and classes pages for events sponsored by this group or in the Insight Tradition (in blue on this website’s calendar).
The BIC is guided by a team of dharma leaders and a steering committee of practitioners:
Floyd Fantelli, Guiding Teacher
Suzanne Colón, Sangha Leader
Alice Robison, Dharma Leader, program facilitator
Steering Committee: Jim Cole (Treasurer and Liaison to the BDC Board),
Steve Barkley, Kelly Knight, Colter Ellis, Becka Barkley, Glenn Colclough
For more about our leadership, please see their bios on our website.
About the BIC
The Bozeman Insight Community was founded in 1996 to offer resources and support for people seeking to enhance their Insight/Mindfulness (Vipassana) Meditation practice. Vipassana is insight into mind and matter from a perspective beyond conventions; insight into the impermanent nature of our experiences; and insight into the nature of our experience as arising from causes and conditions. Vipassana is insight into the truth that no actions or set of conditions will give rise to permanent happiness — thus striving for this leads only to suffering.
What is Vipassana/Insight Meditation?
Vipassana is a Pali word which is often translated as “insight” or “clear seeing.” Vipassana is insight into mind and matter from a perspective beyond conventions; insight into the impermanent nature of our experiences; and insight into the nature of our experience as arising from causes and conditions. Vipassana is insight into the truth that no actions or set of conditions will give rise to permanent happiness-thus striving for this leads only to suffering. Seeing and realizing this truth leads to the falling away of all forms of attachment; when this occurs, the mind is in its natural luminous and awakened state. Vispassana is beyond the mundane, beyond concepts like birth and death.
Vipassana Meditation is focused on awareness (mindfulness) of the present moment. The instructions direct us to observe mind and body without judgment or commentary. This meditation technique was discovered by the Buddha over 2500 years ago. It is a system of training (Bhavana) that cultivates wisdom, concentration and ethics/virtue.
What are Mindfulness/Insight Meditation and Concentration Meditation?
Almost all meditation practices are one of two types. In “Concentration” or “Tranquility” meditation, one places one’s attention on a single object until the mind enters a concentrated state. One eventually develops enough concentration to still the mind and even reach states of tranquility and bliss (although these states are not the goal).
In the practice of Insight Meditation, one develops mindfulness in order to see (through one’s own direct experience) the three characteristics of existence: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness (i.e. the human condition), and the impersonal nature of our own existence (referred to as selflessness). All activities are brought into the realm of Mindfulness-our actions, emotions, feelings, thoughts, as well as the interaction we have with fellow sentient beings. Nothing is outside the scope of our awareness. By practicing Insight Meditation we come to see the true nature of mind without trying to control it. We understand that happiness can be found, but not in the places and mind states where we are conditioned to look. We find happiness by seeing that worldly happiness cannot be had without worldly unhappiness, pain and disappointment. Seeing this, we stop looking for happiness by manipulating external conditions, and instead look in a different direction. We look at the present moment and see that happiness is independent of outside influence and worldly affairs. We loosen our attachment to these ephemeral states.
Is Insight Meditation a form of Religion?
No. The historical Buddha was a person like us who saw that neither self-mortification nor self-indulgence was the path to freedom from the suffering of this existence. He chose instead a “middle way” that lies beyond the two extremes. This middle way lies in following a path to liberation based on ethics, concentration, and wisdom, as described in the Noble Eightfold Path to Awakening. Insight Meditation is compatible with all religious beliefs.
Learning to observe experience from a place of stillness enables one to relate to life with less fear and clinging. Seeing life as a constantly changing process, one begins to accept pain, fear and joy, and all aspects of life with increasing equanimity and balance. As insight deepens, wisdom and compassion arise. Insight meditation is a way of seeing clearly the totality of one’s being and experience. This practice requires no belief commitments and is compatible with all religious affiliations.
Learning to observe our experiences from a place of stillness enables us to relate to life with less fear, anger and craving. Seeing life as a constantly changing process, one begins to accept pain, fear and joy, and all aspects of life with increasing clarity and balance. As our insight deepens, wisdom and compassion arise. Insight meditation is a way of seeing clearly the totality of one’s being and experience. This practice requires no belief commitments and is compatible with all religious affiliations.
Notes: Events sponsored by this group or in the Insight Tradition appear in blue on this website’s calendar. The leaf of the Bodhi tree is often used as symbol of Insight or Theravada groups, a trend started by the Insight Meditation society in Barre, Massachusetts 40 years ago.