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 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 2017 Teacher-Led Day Retreat programme is out. We are very excited to have yet another year of retreats led by very experienced and well respected teachers from near and far. Please go to our day retreats page for more details.

We are now posting the recorded dharma talks that we have listened to at our Self Led Day Retreats. You can listen to these here.

Coming up

Teacher Led Day Retreat

Saturday 21st January 2017 from 10am to 5.00pm

Deepening Mindfulness Practice with Jenny Wilks and Julia Wallond

A day retreat that explores and deepens the practice of mindfulness meditation, taking as its starting point the practices offered on the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses. This day is suitable for people who have completed an 8-week course in MBSR, MBCT, or equivalent, who wish to deepen their mindfulness practice. Newcomers to mindfulness are warmly invited as full instructions will be given,and experienced meditators who are interested in this approach are also very welcome. The programme will include guided mindfulness practices, inquiry, and time to practice in silence. There will also be some teaching about the Buddhist psychology that underpins 8-week mindfulness programmes, as well as time for questions and discussion. To make a booking for this Day Retreat go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2715966 and see “General Information” on day retreats page.


Introduction to Insight Meditation Course starting in February 2017

Tuesday evenings: Feb 21, Feb 28, March 7 and March 14.
Time: 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Venue: Central Quaker Meeting House, Champion Square, Bristol BS2 9DB
Total cost for the four sessions: £20.00 if waged and £10.00 if you are on a low wage. Concessions may be available if you are unwaged.

We are delighted to be offering another Introductory Course in February 2017.
The aim of this short course is to introduce people to the basics of Insight Meditation – enough to get started.
The course covers the practicalities of posture, breathing, sitting and walking meditation as well as exploration of the experience of meditation: how it can be beneficial for ourselves and for others. It will be led by members of Bristol Insight.

Please contact Mannie on 07952 662 552 or mannieburn@aol.com or Jill Bird on 0117 955 1360 to find out more or discuss a concession. To book a place please go to:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2736076
I loved the wonderful friendly atmosphere you created, the many inspiring forms of practice and ideas, and the absolute peace and feeling of support within the group. Jenny Wilson, participant in 2015.


Saturday February 4th from 10am to 5.00pm

Self-Led Day Retreat

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.

‘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