Developing in the Buddhist tradition, Vipassana or Insight Meditation has been practiced in Asia for 2,500 years. It develops concentration and awareness by focusing attention on the breath, thoughts, and emotions, allowing practitioners to understand the conditioning of the mind and to live more fully in the present moment.
Insight Meditation Houston was founded in 1980 by Rodney Smith, who had ordained with Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma and then had practiced for three years with Ajahn Buddhadasa in Thailand. Returning to the West, Rodney worked in hospice care and taught Vipassana meditation throughout the U.S. Since he left Houston in 1983, IMH has continued to meet weekly in the city and to sponsor two or three retreats each year at the Margaret Austin Center, which is located in a tranquil rural setting near Chappell Hill, Texas.
Weekly sittings are held on Monday nights from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 5200 Fannin Street. They are open to people of all faiths, or none. Currently, they are led by Ginger Clarkson, a Community Dharma Leader trained by James Baraz, Jack Kornfield and other teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Typically, the sessions begin with a few minutes of Qi Gong exercises, followed by approximately half an hour of silent meditation. A talk applying principles of Buddhist philosophy to everyday life often follows, succeeded by discussion.
To attend the sittings, enter the church through the main entrance on facing Fannin Street. As you enter the courtyard, the Fireside Room will be on your right. Parking is available on Southmore Street or in adjacent parking lots. Chairs will be provided, but if you prefer to sit on the floor, please bring your own cushion or bench.
Entre las 7:00 y las 8:30 de la noche, el segundo y cuarto martes de cada mes, Ginger Clarkson dirige en español un grupo de meditación. Se reune en la sala #301 de la iglesia “First Unitarian Universalist” (5200 Fannin Street, esquina con Southmore en el Distrito de los Museos de Houston). No hay costo para las clases y se da la bienvenida a cualquiera persona interesada. El horario consiste en los ejercicios suaves de Qigong para relajar el cuerpo y enfocar la mente; las instrucciones básicas sobre la meditación de “Insight” o Vipassana, usando la respiración como un ancla para la concentración; un periodo de la práctica en silencio; y una oportunidad para las preguntas y los comentarios sobre el proceso de la meditación.
The Buddha stressed the importance of five spiritual faculties and powers: faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. These faculties offer a complete structure for meditative development that culminates with final liberation. They are necessary features of meditative progress that can be undertaken as a sequential training or as a finely balanced system of wholesome forces. Teachings on this retreat will include the identification and nourishment of these five qualities in the context of mindfulness-based insight meditation.
SHAILA CATHERINE is the founder of Insight Meditation South Bay, a Buddhist Meditation Center in Silicon Valley, and has taught internationally since 1996. She began her meditation practice in 1980 and has accumulated over eight years of silent retreat experience, plus several years (1990-1996) dedicated to practice with masters in India, Nepal and Thailand. Shaila is the author of Focused and Fearless: A Meditator’s Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity, and Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana, which introduces Westerners to the methods she is studying with Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw of Burma.