Is this the right sangha for me?
BIN offers these listings as a service to the Insight Meditation community, a friendly affiliation of people practicing in the tradition of the earliest followers of the Buddha. Though we trust that the teachings are shared and the practice of meditation is being taught in a way that is beneficial, we cannot vouch for any particular sangha or individual teacher. However, the existence of BIN means that sangha leaders and teachers have the opportunity to confer and learn from each other, both in clarifying the teachings and wise and ethical sangha governance.
Our organization has no role in accrediting sanghas, but we are happy to offer a prospective member of any sangha the following list of questions as guidance to assess if their local sangha is a good fit for them.
Do I feel safe, welcome, and respected?
Am I being given guidance on how to develop skills in meditation? If not, is such guidance available when requested?
Do I respect the teachers and sangha leaders? Do they practice what they teach?
Are they open to and able to receive requests and constructive feedback from community members?
Does the teacher consistently share a sense of deep understanding of the teachings?
Am I being encouraged to practice inquiry?
Do the lectures and instructions given refer to the Buddha's teachings (i.e. The Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Four Brahma Viharas, etc.)making them clear and meaningful to my life?
If you can answer yes to all these questions, then this sangha is probably a healthy place for you to practice meditation and develop insight.
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then perhaps a different sangha would be better for you. If no other sangha exists near you, consider finding Insight meditation resources online and/or further from home. It may be that with dedicated practice, inquiry, and study, you can bring the teachings to your community. If so, let us know!
And if you feel that a sangha listed on this website is not acting in an ethical way, we would appreciate your letting us know. We are not an investigative body nor do we have the authority to revoke any community or individual’s capacity to teach. If we hear complaints we may be able to refer them to other sources, and at the very least, remove that sangha from our list.
If you believe you have experienced or witnessed an ethical violation from a teacher or sangha in the Insight Meditation tradition, and if you do not feel safe enough to address those actions directly with the community, you are welcome to contact the Spirit Rock Ethics and Reconciliation Council.
May you be well and benefit from your experience with Insight Meditation.
- The BIN Board