Cambridge Insight Meditation Center (CIMC)

This data was last updated on 25 September 2020.

Address: 331 Broadway Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-441-9038

History and Description: Cambridge Insight Meditation Center (CIMC) was established by Larry Rosenberg in 1985 as a non-profit urban center for the practice of insight meditation. Facilities at the CIMC include a meditation hall, space for walking meditation, an interview room, outdoor gardens, a library, a kitchen, and living space for a single resident, who assists with programming and the caretaking needs of the space. The Center has a parking lot and is easily accessible by public transportation. As of August 2020, there are four full-time teachers. [1]

CIMC is rooted in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and views the core of insight meditation as the practice of mindfulness, a quality of awareness which sees without judgment. Mindfulness is developed and strengthened through sitting and walking meditation. CIMC considers the challenges of daily life to be a part of meditation practice, seeing these challenges as an opportunity for practitioners to develop the art of mindful living. Though rooted in the Theravada tradition, CIMC seeks to provide an environment where “people of all religious and secular persuasions can come together to learn, support and deepen practice.” 

Leadership and Affiliation: Larry Rosenberg and Narayan Liebenson are the guiding teachers at CIMC, and Madeline Klyne and Matthew Hepburn are core teachers. Along with guiding teachers Rosenberg and Liebenson, there are eleven additional members of the Board of Directors. An Executive Director and an additional five staff members make up the staff at CIMC.

CIMC is not formally affiliated with any other organization; however, both Rosenberg and Liebenson are individually affiliated with Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA and many of CIMC’s teachers have been trained at IMS. Additionally teachers from other Insight centers in the northeast United States (including IMS) often visit CIMC as guest teachers. CIMC teachers likewise visit other nearby Insight centers as guest teachers. 

Programming and Demographics: CIMC has robust programming led by both teachers and community member facilitators. Offerings include drop-in programs, weekly practice groups, community groups, workshops, non-residential retreats, and special events scheduled around holidays or benefits. All of its programming moved online during the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020. During that time CIMC’s dues-paying members reached an all-time high, the average program attendance doubled, and both members and teachers reacted positively to the move to a virtual community. Due to this success, CIMC plans to continue its online programming once the pandemic has passed.

For beginners there is a weekly Tuesday night Beginners’ Drop-In. There are also registered programs and practice groups for beginners including “The Way of Awareness,” a five-week practice group, day-long Beginners’ Workshops and a “Retreat for New Retreatants.”

Drop-in programs do not require registration and are open to the public. Regularly scheduled drop-in programs include Wednesday night dharma talks and morning and evening sits on weekdays. 

Practice Groups are weekly teacher-led meetings offering meditation instruction, formal practice, and discussion. In contrast to drop-in programs and most community practice groups,  weekly practice groups are structured to progress through a particular topic over the course of multiple weeks and are always teacher-led. Practice groups are on a variety of topics. During the summer of 2020, active practice group topics included: beginners introduction to insight, equanimity, the Four Noble Truths, aging, and relationships. In the fall of 2020, CIMC will begin holding a Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) - teacher led - practice group. This group will be led by and for BIPOC individuals.

CIMC also holds multiple onsite workshops and retreats. Workshops are opportunities to deepen and intensify meditation practice and are usually full-day or weekend-long events. They include sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, and question and answer sessions. Retreats are held over one to three days, are non-residential, and are held in silence. Retreats include meditation practice, mindful work practice, instruction, and teacher interviews.

Though predominantly an older white sangha (Buddhist community), CIMC has various community practice affinity groups (not teacher-led) and study groups for members with particular identities and life experiences, including: 35 & Under Sangha, Elders Sangha, Beloved Community Circles, LGBTIQ Sangha, People of Color Sangha, and White People Waking Up Study Groups. These community practice groups usually meet monthly. In the fall of 2020, CIMC will also begin a white anti-racist caucus meeting.