The Next Buddha is Sangha

What is New York Insight?

Dear Sangha,

There was a question at our recent Town Hall meeting that we didn’t have time to answer but I thought it would be worth addressing now.

The question was: Is New York Insight a Buddhist Center, a Meditation Center or a Mindfulness Center? To which my answer would be “yes”.

The beauty of New York Insight is that we provide many doorways to enter the dharma. When someone crosses the threshold into NY Insight (or any Dharma center) for the first time it is usually due to a realization that something in his or her life needs to change. This could be brought on by some life crisis, or a general sense of un-satisfactoriness—a.k.a. Dukkha. Some kind of wound is present and healing and freedom is sought.

People may find their way first to a Tuesday night intro to meditation class, sometimes a person takes the plunge into a six-week Insight 101 class, or an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class. If they come to the Tuesday night intro class, more often than not, after the first hour, they will join the rest of the sangha that night and hear a dharma talk or inquiry rooted in the dharma and this may be their first exposure to it. If they take an Insight 101 class the key teachings of the Buddha are incorporated throughout the six weeks. In an MBSR class, though the curriculum is not taught as Buddhist Dharma, the teachings all arise from the Satipathana Sutta one of the key teachings of the Buddha.
Whatever brings one past the threshold into NY Insight the opportunity for transformation is available. The Dharma comes in many forms.

Meditation is a technique to cultivate mindfulness and with mindfulness arises the possibility of Insight. Sometimes, a person may only come to a single event and hear just one kernel of the Dharma. That one kernel has the potential to change someone’s life. We never know.

So at NYI we offer Mindfulness teaching in many forms, we offer the opportunity to deepen ones understanding of the Buddhadharma, and meditation training is part of the package.

This is not a matter of being all things to all people, but rather having a broad view of how the Dharma can be approached and it is one of the strengths of our Center.

In Gratitude,

Jon Aaron
NYI Board President & Teacher