Welcome to Bristol Insight Meditation. Our aspiration is to build a community that nurtures wisdom and compassion: for ourselves, for others and for the world we live in. Through our groups and activities, 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.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
Chinese Zen master Wu Men
To have an unclouded mind and to see a little more deeply into life is perhaps what Insight meditation is all about. Bristol Insight exists to support us in the endeavour to see with a greater clarity and to respond to life with a deeper appreciation.
We offer a range of regular activities, 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.
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 along and check us out.
In general, as you go round the website, just click on the pictures for more information.
Tuesday evening sitting group
The sitting group meets every Tuesday evening at the Central Quaker Meeting House, Champion Square, Bristol BS2 9DB. These evenings are a good way to meet others and have a taste of what we have to offer. All are welcome.
Saturday self-led day retreats
These popular, well-supported day retreats are a great way to create spaciousness and stillness in our busy, daily lives. They are based sitting and walking meditation. They are not led by a teacher and no meditation guidance is given, so they suit participants who are comfortable with a basic meditation practice.
Sangha walk – Gare Hill, near Frome
A walk around Gare Hill, near Frome starts at 11am. Gare Hill is a tract of ancient woodland which once formed part of a natural barrier between Wessex and the rest of England. This fairly easy-going circular walk begins at Gare Hill, around 6 miles south of Frome and will take 2- 3 hours at a gentle pace…
Cultivating care and wisdom with Zohar Lavie
The Buddhas teaching includes all aspects of human life. In this day retreat we will explore how to apply these teachings of compassion to our engagement and our relationships, looking particularly at our caring roles.How can Dharma practice resource us as we act in the world, and how can the care we share with others … Continued
Seeing things differently with Mark Ovland
When life is so full and seems to demand so much from us all the time, where and how can we find peace? Is it even possible, without escaping into a convent or up a mountain?
Equanimity: Dancing with Uncontrollable Life with Stephen Fulder
The last words of the Buddha to his disciples as they gathered to say goodbye included: ‘Be an island to yourself’. This sense of autonomy, quiet and steadiness are certainly needed in times of uncertainty, anxiety, conflict and difficulty. But how can we stay quiet and yet speak our voice and go out and make change in the world?
Ground, body, breath, space – the art of knowing support with Kirsten Kratz
During our day together we will explore creative ways to perceive ground, body, breath, space and gesture as possible resources, as means to support, hold and nourish us in our practice and in life.
Inherent states of wellbeing with Maura Sills
The day concentrates on interconnection; belonging; attunement; acceptance and generosity. We will include the Four Sublime States of Love (metta); Compassion (karuna); Sympathetic Joy (mudita) and Equanimity (upekkha).
A day with John Peacock
John Peacock is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly forty years. He was initially trained in the Tibetan Gelugpatradition in India and subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada.