"Answering Your Questions About Teaching"

By CIMC Guiding Teacher Matthew Hepburn

It has been so joyful to celebrate moving into the Guiding Teacher role with so many of you. At my most recent Wednesday Dharma Talk, a practitioner who I’ve known since my earliest days at the center asked a question:


“I have to say I remember when I first met you, some 15 years ago, when you came to a tea group here at CIMC, and it's been such a joy to watch you on your path through all these years. And one of the questions that I have [is] …​​ you must have decided in some way to teach the Dharma… so I wondered if you could say a little bit more about that. And if there was a moment or something that crystallized in you, that motivated you to pursue that.”


How moving to receive this reflection coming from someone who I’ve been together with in Sangha for some years and who is part of my memory of our community as I first encountered it.


And yet, the question gave me pause. Had there been such a moment? I reflected on a moment when I felt so grateful to have encountered the teachings that I vowed to say ‘yes’ to any request that came to me to support this lineage of practice: stuffing envelopes, collecting book donations, cleaning bathrooms, arranging cushions. I thought of another moment over late-night pizza when a fellow regular at Thursday Morning Retreats recommended I join his volunteer group teaching in a Massachusetts state prison. As it turned out, what I shared first in response to the question, and of course it goes without saying, is that I’m a student 99% of the time and a teacher 1% of the time. And so while it might not be the answer that was being sought, the most striking truth for me to express was that, again and again, there are moments where I do decide to take on the role of dharma teacher—and that those moments aren’t one, but many.


I didn’t understand much about those moments until some time ago, when they became very difficult. It was a period during which on each occasion when it was time to choose to step into the role, I felt deeply ambivalent at best, and painfully resistant at worst. I was plagued with doubt. For some months, I trusted in patience and my own individual practice to see how things might change. Eventually, I confided in Narayan, who has for years been my closest mentor, and now Co-Guiding Teacher alongside Larry. She (and we) held this troubled tangle gently and after some months of reflecting together she shared something she saw in me which ushered in a significant shift. She pointed out that, no matter the doubt, at any time when she saw or heard me teach, she could sense a clear and genuine quality of affection in me for those I was teaching. As I began to reflect and investigate, I found it was, in fact, affection that was mixed with admiration. This, I discovered, was the current moving me through these moments of making the choice to step into the teaching role. And ever since, it has become the thing I look forward to the most about teaching, the affectionate admiration for our community: from newcomers to those of you who have been at CIMC from the beginning.


Not too long ago I was asked a simple and profound question which helps reveal where these currents of feeling come from. I was asked by a practitioner in a recent Practice Group: “Why, at the end of a class, a retreat, or a daylong, do so many teachers thank us for our practice?” My answer was an expression of the cause for that affection and admiration. I’d like to restate it here, and if you are reading this, it is addressed to you:


Why do we say thank you? Well, from what I've witnessed, wisdom and compassion are contagious. The reduction of greed, of reactive aversion, of volitional delusion are contagious. Generosity is contagious. The joy and empowerment that come from dissolving the causes of harm are contagious. And in this world "with its devas and its maras," with its immense collective creativity, fear, destruction, confusion, and collaboration, I am so moved to see human beings do the noble and courageous work of becoming more and more contagious in just this way. So… THANK YOU! Thank you for your practice. Said with great depth and sincerity. Thank you for each moment of practicing.


As a member of our community your life is your practice, and so your life has also become part of the lineage to which we can all be grateful—imperfections, insights, and all.


With affection, admiration, and gratitude,


Matthew Hepburn

CIMC Guiding Teacher

Executive Director's Update


Dear CIMC Community Member,


I hope to see you at the Center or online for the July 14th New Guiding Teacher Welcoming Ceremony for Matthew Hepburn. This is a momentous occasion for CIMC! Please join us in the celebration.

 

Just recently, one more space has become available in the CIMC sponsored program: In the Footsteps of the Buddha: CIMC Pilgrimage in India and Nepal with Narayan Helen Liebenson and Dharmacharya Shantum Seth on January 19 – February 1, 2025. If you are interested, please find registration information here.


As we enter the new month of July programming, please consider signing up for one of the following programs with some wonderful visiting teachers:

 

  1. Cuatro Fundamentos de la Atención Plena, a Spanish-language practice group with Andrea Castillo
  2. Be Not Afraid: Walking the Path of Non-Fear, a half-day workshop with Larry and Peggy Ward
  3. Becoming Buddha: The Meaning and Practice of Waking Up, a hybrid workshop with Chris Crotty

 

Please scroll down for information about these and other July programs.

 

I hope you are having a great summer.


With gratitude and well wishes, 




Cindy Krum

Save the Date for a CIMC Benefit

Hybrid Special Event with Joseph Goldstein

Sunday Afternoon, November 3


Join CIMC for Questions and Response with Joseph: An Afternoon with Joseph Goldstein, with moderation by Narayan Helen Liebenson and Matthew Hepburn. Then stay for refreshments after the program. More details to follow.

Exciting Teacher Training News 


CIMC is very pleased to share some exciting news: The Center has learned that Gina LaRoche and Mel Cherng, two of the affinity group leaders for the POC community here at CIMC, were nominated and accepted into the next iteration of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program that begins in 2025. Graduates are authorized to teach residential retreats at both centers upon completion of their training. Gina LaRoche is a member of the IMS Board and a founding teacher of Elm Community Insight in New Haven, CT where she lived for many years. Mel Cherng has facilitated and led sits for the POC and 35 and under communities at CIMC for the last 10 years. We celebrate their commitment to sharing further the dharma with the wider community and the contributions they have already made in growing and nourishing sanghas, including our own.

Opportunity to Join DEI Committee

 

The CIMC board has formed a new DEI Committee, as well as new channels for you to share your thoughts: 

You can also email Sue Vargo with your interest in joining the committee, feedback, or nominations, which we will review by July 12th. 

 

The DEI committee has been created and empowered by the Board to propose and implement a plan of action. Suelin Chen and Sue Vargo, both members of the CIMC Board of Directors, will initially chair the DEI Committee. These actions will have specific, measurable outcomes, developed by the committee, and approved by the Board. The Board has created a membership structure for the committee: Suelin and Sue as chairs, staff represented by Cindy Krum (Executive Director) and Sara Hidalgo (Director of Operations), one member (TBD) of the Sangha Life Committee, and three other members of the community.

 

Community members can apply directly or be nominated for membership, and there will be regular and ongoing visible and accessible solicitation for new members. The final selection is made by the subcommittee as a whole and approved by the Board. (This is the same process used for members on the Sangha Life Committee). Apply or nominate someone with this form or email Sue at suevargo330@gmail.com


Please join us for these upcoming programs:

The Wisdom of Anger

Online Practice Group with Narayan Helen Liebenson

Tuesdays: 6:30 – 8:15 PM ET

July 9 – August 6


The experience of anger can be a signal, awakening one to the fact that something is wrong. As such, it can include a temporary feeling of power and strength. If prolonged longer than needed, however, it is one of the most destructive forces in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Anger is a habit of mind that can be transmuted into discernment and clarity. Understanding the energy of anger -- and its roots of pain, fear, and hurt -- requires great compassion.

Over the course of five weeks together, we will explore how to work with both calming and wisdom practices to free the heart from anger. In learning about and encouraging a wise attitude, patience, acceptance, and investigation, we become able to respond with care and interest instead of reacting only out of conditioning. We develop our capacity to observe anger without either pushing it away or entangling ourselves within it.


This program is appropriate for beginners as well as experienced meditators. Each week will include specific instructions, guided practice, and time for questions and discussion. Everyone is welcome.


Full and partial scholarships are available up to 72 hours before the start of the program. 

Learn More & Register

Wise Speech, Wise Listening

In-Person Practice Group with Madeline Klyne

Thursdays: 7:00 – 8:45 PM

July 11 – August 1


Have you ever said to yourself, “I can’t believe I just said that?” Have you ever spaced out when someone was talking to you? You are not alone! Unskillful habits of speech and listening are not new. In fact, 2,600 years ago, the Buddha considered the practice of skillful speech so important to our development that he made it one of the precepts and an essential step on the Eightfold Path to happiness. Skillful speech has four qualities:

  • It is always truthful.
  • It is uplifting, not malicious or unkind.
  • It is gentle, not crude or harsh.
  • It is moderate, not useless or meaningless.

Both Wise Speech and Wise Listening are mindfulness practices. They can be cultivated with a deeper awareness of our body, mind, thoughts, and emotions. We can learn to restrain our speech in difficult moments and to listen with our whole being, not just our ears. We learn to train the heart, inclining it towards wholesome states such as love, kindness, compassion and understanding. These skills are so needed in our everyday life, at home, at work, in our communities and in our world.


This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators of all ages and all levels of experience. Each session will include formal meditation practices, teachings, time for discussion, reflections, and questions. Homework between sessions is essential to this group. Everyone is welcome.


Full and partial scholarships are available up to 72 hours before the start of the program. 

Learn More & Register

Silent Day of Practice in Community

Hybrid Retreat with Narayan Helen Liebenson

Saturday, July 13: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET


Since the time of the Buddha, gathering together in community and sitting and walking in silence has been considered essential for the maturing of wisdom and compassion. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment, whether online or in person in CIMC’s beautiful meditation hall, encourages a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, patience, and collectedness.

During this one-day retreat, although there will be verbal teachings throughout the day, silence and simplicity will be our teachers as well. The day will conclude with an invitation to discuss the experiences of the day. Both new and experienced practitioners are warmly welcome!


This program is appropriate for beginners and experienced practitioners alike. Everyone is welcome.


Full and partial scholarships are available up to 72 hours before the start of the program.

Attend In-Person
Attend Online

New Guiding Teacher Welcoming Ceremony

for Matthew Hepburn

Hybrid Special Event with Narayan Helen Liebenson and Matthew Hepburn

Sunday, July 14: 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET


Larry Rosenberg and Narayan Helen Liebenson invite you to a hybrid ceremony to welcome Matthew Hepburn as he joins them as a Guiding Teacher at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. As a guiding teacher, Matthew will aid in caring for the spiritual well-being of CIMC.


This ceremony will be held on Sunday, July 14, 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET, and you can attend in-person or online. Narayan and Matthew will be at the Center in-person. Refreshments will follow at the end of the program.



There is no registration for this event, but please RSVP to help us plan ahead for it.


The Zoom link to join is available on the CIMC website, and a reminder email will be sent out to all those who RSVP.

RSVP

Cuatro Fundamentos de la Atención Plena

Curso virtual en español con Andrea Castillo

lunes, 7:00 – 8:30 PM ET

julio 15 – agosto 12


El Buda enseñó que existe un camino que conduce hacia el fin del sufrimiento y el descubrimiento de la paz, la sabiduría y la ecuanimidad. El núcleo de esta enseñanza es la práctica de la atención plena. 


Este curso de cinco semanas, diseñado para principiantes y aquellos con cierta experiencia en meditación, explorará una de las enseñanzas centrales del Buda: Los cuatro fundamentos de la atención plena. Podemos pensar en esta enseñanza como los cuatro pilares sobre los cuales construimos una base sólida y estable para que la atención plena prospere.

A lo largo de nuestro tiempo juntos, nos centraremos en cada uno de los cuatro fundamentos de la atención plena y en cómo pueden ayudarnos a afrontar las dificultades de nuestra vida y de nuestra meditación.

Veremos cómo estos cuatro fundamentos se complementan entre sí y nos conducen a una comprensión más profunda de aquello a lo que nos aferramos y nos causa sufrimiento. Un enfoque importante de este curso será investigar cómo aplicar la atención plena a nuestra vida diaria.


Comenzando primero con la práctica de la atención plena del cuerpo y la respiración, progresaremos hacia la práctica de la atención plena del tono del sentir, seguida de la atención plena de los pensamientos, emociones y estados mentales, y finalmente la atención plena de varias categorías de experiencia, que llamamos dhammas, tales como: Los cinco obstáculos y Los siete factores del despertar.

 

Este curso es adecuado para personas con diferentes niveles de experiencia. Todos son bienvenidos a este curso. Ofrecemos becas parciales o completes para quien lo necesite. Información aquí: Becas


Registrarse

Be Not Afraid: Walking the Path of Non-Fear

Online Workshop with Larry & Peggy Ward

Saturday, July 20: 1:00 – 5:00 PM ET

“Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch non-fear, you are free." – Thich Nhat Hanh


Please join us for a half day of mindfulness in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. We will practice walking meditation, sitting meditation, total relaxation, as well as somatic exercises and mindful movement that will help us cultivate joy and non-fear. Together we will explore how to resource our nervous systems so that we might “come home” and live in the world with hearts undisturbed by the world.

We will explore ways to:

  • Develop equanimity and maintain centeredness in the midst of the turmoil of the world
  • Deepen trust in life and self-compassion
  • Meet the individual and collective pain of these times with an open heart and clear mind

Please have blankets and pillows handy as well as tea and a snack.

This program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience, as well as for experienced practitioners. Everyone is welcome.


Full and partial scholarships are available up to 72 hours before the start of the program.

Learn More & Register

Becoming Buddha: The Meaning and Practice of Waking Up

Hybrid Workshop with Chris Crotty

Saturday, July 27: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET


Buddhism is a cultural phenomenon, the -ism that came in the wake of Siddhartha Gotama’s awakening. Buddha is the honorific title Siddhartha took connoting the freedom from suffering that is possible through meditation practice and the cultivation of insight. Ultimately, the notion of Buddha (one who is awake) transcends both the institution and the historical figure. It is not restricted to time or place and is available to anyone under suitable and supportive conditions.



This workshop explores two related questions: “What does it mean to be awake?” and “What conditions support awakening?”

Integrating periods of meditation, examples from the Buddha’s life, and the Therigatha -- poems of the first Buddhist women -- we look to those who came before us on the path as well as to our own direct experience to better understand both the meaning and implication of Buddha for our own life and practice.


In addition to sitting and walking meditation, this day-long workshop will include Dhamma reflections by the teacher, time for individual student reflection, teacher-led discussion, and alternating between periods of silence and mindful speech.


This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Everyone is welcome.


Full and partial scholarships are available up to 72 hours before the start of the program.

Attend In-Person
Attend Online

Please join us for these upcoming drop-ins:

Dharma in Daily Life: Online Drop-In with Narayan Helen Liebenson

Weekdays: 8:45 – 9:00 AM ET

There will be no Dharma in Daily Life on Thursday, July 4.

Zoom Link

(Passcode: cimc)

Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 913 2860 9474.

Daily Evening Sits: In-Person Drop-In with Volunteer Practice Leaders

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 6:00 – 6:45 PM

There will be no Daily Evening Sit on Thursday, July 4.

Please see our online program calendar for up-to-date information.

Beginners Drop-In Online and Hybrid Drop-In

Tuesday, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 : 6:00 – 7:00 PM ET

Zoom Link

(Passcode: cimc)

Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 928 8680 3138

 

July 2: Online with Zeenat Potia

July 9: Hybrid with Jim Austin

July 16: Online with Madeline Klyne

July 23: Hybrid with Jim Austin

July 30: Online with Zeenat Potia

Beginners Tea In-Person Drop-In with Jim Austin

Tuesday, July 9: 7:00 – 7:45 PM

Wednesday Evening Dharma Program Online and Hybrid Drop-In

Wednesdays July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Meditation Practice: 6:30 – 7:15 PM ET

Mindful Break: 7:15 – 7:30 PM ET

Dharma Talk and Q&A: 7:30 – 8:45 PM ET

July 3: Larry & Peggy Ward – Imagining the imaginable: the emergence of a new social imagination and spiritual ground (online)

July 10: Andrea Castillo – Enthusiasm, Clear Knowing, and Contentment in our Practice (online)

July 17: David ChernikoffThe Insights of Insight Meditation (online)

July 24: Chris CrottyTime Well Spent: How, When, and Why we Meditate (hybrid)

July 31: Marisela Gomez – Healing Our Way Home: Black Buddhist Teachings on Ancestors, Joy, and Liberation (online)

Chris Crotty
Zoom Link
(Passcode: cimc)
Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 960 7085 2464.

Sunday Afternoon Extended Practice In-Person Drop-In with Volunteer Practice Leaders

Sundays, July 7, 21, 28: 2:00 – 5:15 PM

Elders Sangha Online/In-Person Drop-In

Tuesdays: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM ET

July 9: Online with Jim Austin

June 25: In-Person with Kate Beers

Zoom Link
(Passcode: cimc)
Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 963 1055 6128.

Thursday Morning Retreat In-Person Drop-In

Thursdays, July 11, 18, 25: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Parents Sangha Online Drop-In with Jim Austin

Thursday, July 11: 8:00 – 9:15 PM ET

People of Color Sangha Hybrid with Melanie Cherng and Juan Sosa

Friday, July 12: 6:30 – 8:00 PM ET

Zoom Link
(Passcode: cimc)
Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 922 8607 7706.

Disability & Chronic Illness Sangha Online Drop-In with Reya Stevens

Sunday, July 14: 5:30 – 7:00 PM ET

Zoom Link
(Passcode: cimc)
Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 935 2507 3737.

35 & Under Sangha In-Person Drop-In

Sundays, 7:00 – 8:15 PM

July 14: with a Practice Leader

July 28: with Melanie Cherng

Zoom Link
(Passcode: cimc)
Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 987 8139 8893.

Teatime Dharma In-Person Drop-In with Madeline Klyne

Mondays, July 15, 22: 4:00 – 5:30 PM

Sitting & Sangha In-Person Drop-In with Madeline Klyne

Mondays, July 15, 22: 6:00 – 7:15 PM

LGBTQIA+ Sangha Online Drop-In with Madeline Klyne

Friday, July 19: 7:00 – 8:30 PM ET

Zoom Link
(Passcode: cimc)
Or call +1 (646) 876-9923 and enter the Meeting ID 997 5010 1653.

Looking Ahead:

August Break: CIMC Closed

August 12 – September 2


CIMC will be taking a break in programming for three weeks during the month of August. This pause allows CIMC staff to replenish and prepare for upcoming fall programs. During this time, with the exception of Dharma in Daily Life, regularly scheduled drop-ins will not occur. Please see our online program calendar for up-to-date information. During this time, members can still use the Center for self-guided practice. We appreciate your understanding and will look forward to seeing community members for the return of programming after Labor Day.

Contact


Cambridge Insight Meditation Center

331 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

(617) 441-9038

http://cambridgeinsight.org

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Cambridge Insight Meditation Center (CIMC) offers an environment where the contemplative life is developed and protected amid the complexities of city living. We are dedicated to integrating the benefits of meditation practice, including wisdom and compassion, into daily life. Everyone is welcome here.