photo of a buddha statue

At Bristol Insight, we support the practice and study of Buddhist Insight Meditation also known as Vipassana (literally translated as ‘seeing deeply or clearly’). This is the practice of developing a calm and mindful investigation into the nature of experience, leading to wisdom, compassion and the end of suffering. Through our groups and activities, we aspire to build a community that nurtures wisdom and compassion: for ourselves, for others and for the world we live in.

We offer a range of regular activities and a programme of day retreats and occasional longer courses to support meditation practice. Our longstanding association with Gaia House, a well-known retreat centre for Insight Meditation, means we regularly invite their teachers, as well as those from other linked traditions, to lead our own retreat days and courses. These are reputable, highly experienced teachers who commit to a code of ethics.

You can find out more about our story, our aims and values and our organisation here.

Our approach emphasises inquiry, experiential exploration and mindfulness amongst many other influences. It is not important to hold particular beliefs or to consider yourself a Buddhist to attend our activities and events, all are welcome.

If you like the sound of what we do, then please feel free to come and check us out.


Our next programme of the Tuesday night sitting group’s Cultivating our Practice sessions is now out. It is peer led and based on the interests of our sangha (our community of practice).

Coming up

Self-Led Day Retreat Saturday 4th November from 10am to 5.00pm

These popular, well-supported day retreats are based on Theravada Vipassana (Insight) meditation practice of sitting and walking. The retreats are not led by a teacher and no meditation guidance is given, so they suit participants who are comfortable with a basic meditation practice; for example, as experienced on a group retreat at Gaia House, a teacher-led day retreat in Bristol or an eight-week mindfulness course. More information can be found on our regular activities page.

This month’s recorded talk is by Tempel Smith. It is called Developing Samadhi/Concentration with Metta. In this talk Temple explains how meditation improves concentration, particularly when doing loving-kindness meditation. We all have the innate ability to focus our minds. But we often feel distracted while meditating. Tempel explores how meditation helps concentration, even when we struggle with our monkey mind. You can find links to previous recorded talks here.

Please consider making a donation to help Dharmaseed.org who make these recordings available free of charge. Details of how to do this are give at the end of the recorded talk. Thank you.

Teacher-Led Day Retreat Sunday 3rd December

with Christina Feldman


Awakening and Forgetting
Today we will reflect on the qualities that support an awakened and dignified life and the factors that undermine that quest.

Christina is a co-founder of Gaia House. She has been leading Insight Meditation retreats worldwide since 1976. She is a Guiding Teacher of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the author of a number of books including Woman Awake, Way of Meditation, and co-author of Soul Food. Recent books include Silence and The Buddhist Path to Simplicity.

To make a booking for this Day Retreat go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2960210 and see “General Information” for practical details.


Teacher-Led Course starts January 6th 2018

with Suvaco

Suvaco use this one 2018
On emptiness, self, not self and personality

We are delighted that Suvaco can come to Bristol to run a longer course for us. It starts on Saturday 6th January from 10am to 4pm and is followed by 4 Wednesday evenings: 10, 17, 24 and 31 January from 6.45pm to 9.15pm. More information and to book a place here.

‘How we live is important, particularly at the level of mind. Every time you’re willing to acknowledge your thoughts, let them go, and come back to the freshness of the present moment, you’re sowing seeds of wakefulness in your unconscious. After a while what comes up is a more wakeful, more open thought. You’re conditioning yourself toward openness rather than sleepiness. You might find yourself caught, but you can extricate yourself by how you use your mind, how you actually are willing to come back just to nowness, the immediacy of the moment. Every time you’re willing to do that, you’re sowing seeds for your own future, cultivating this innate fundamental wakefulness by aspiring to let go of the habitual way you proceed and do something fresh.’

Pema Chodron