When Sharon Salzberg joined two other twentysomething meditators to buy a former Catholic seminary for $150,000, creating the Insight Meditation Society, she learned for the first time what a mortgage was. Salzberg, Jack Kornfield, and Joseph Goldstein were just back from several years of practice and study in South Asia. They knew what they wanted to create, more or less, but they weren’t sure they had the skills and experience to make it happen. Could they transmit the teachings? Would people come?
IMS officially opened to the public in 1976, and on July 8 the center will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary with a gala event. IMS has become one of the largest, most influential, and most popular meditation centers in North America. Surrounded by 200 acres of woods on the outskirts of Barre, Massachusetts, it attracts more than 2,000 students a year to more than 25 programs and is supported by an international community of 20,000.