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.


Have a look at our current three month programme of  ‘Cultivating Our Practice’ sessions on Tuesday Nights. These sessions follow on from the Tuesday evening sit. All are welcome.

Our 2017 Teacher-Led Day Retreat programme is well underway now. 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

Saturday 3rd June 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.

This month’s recorded talk is given by Mark Coleman. This talk was selected after the sharing at end of the May retreat. People expressed their concerns about how digital technology is affecting their lives and practice. Mark explores the rapid changes caused by phones, email, social media, websites etc. He suggests how meditation can help us fully engage with technology yet remain present. You can find the link to this and 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

Saturday 17th June 2017

Chris Cullen


Cool Head, Warm Heart
The Buddha’s teachings provide practical and trustworthy ways of deepening both Equanimity and Compassion. During this day we will look at some ways to practise and actualise these potentials both in meditation and in daily life.

To make a booking for this Day Retreat go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2900863 and see “General Information” on the Day retreats page.

Chris Cullen trained to teach Insight Meditation with Christina Feldman, and did Community Dharma Leader training at Spirit Rock. Chris co-founded the Mindfulness in Schools project, and is on the team at the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre, teaching mindfulness courses for students and for MPs and Peers in the Houses of Parliament. He has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford.

‘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