The International Meditation Center – USA was founded in 1988 to promote the practice of Buddhist Vipassana meditation as taught by the late Sayagyi U Ba Khin. The practice is aimed at developing a calm mind leading to the realization of Nibbana.
From the time of the Buddha, over 2500 years ago, Buddhist meditation has mainly been practiced within the monastic order. Sayagyi U Ba Khin encountered the teachings as a layman and realized the importance of Buddhist meditation to modern man. He had a unique ability to teach lay people meditation. Sayagyi U Ba Khin became a highly respected meditation teacher in Burma. He taught students from all over the world until his demise in 1971. Since then, his leading disciple Mother Sayamagyi has carried on the tradition. She has taught meditation for more than fifty years and has established further International Meditation Centers worldwide.
Ten-day residential meditation courses are held approximately every other month at IMC-USA. They begin on a Friday evening and end early on a Monday morning. The courses are led by a regional teacher under the guidance of Mother Sayamagyi. Anyone who comes with an open mind can gain the necessary confidence in the technique. The students who attend the meditatiton courses are from all walks of life, professions, religions and cultural backgrounds.
A ten-day course in Vipassana meditation is the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path, as taught by the Buddha. The Path can be divided into three parts, namely: higher training in morality, higher training in concentration and higher training in wisdom.
Morality: Morality is the common denominator of all religions. At the Center, students observe the five precepts of refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and the use of drugs or intoxicants. By diligently observing this morality, one develops purity of physical and verbal actions.
Concentration: Beginning with the base of morality, training in concentration is taught using Anapana meditation (mindfulness of breathing). Through learning to calm and control the mind during the first five days, the student quickly appreciates the advantages of a steady and balanced mind.
Wisdom: The third training is wisdom (or insight). This is introduced through Vipassana meditation, which is practiced throughout the remainder of the period.
How much does it cost?
There has never been any charge for the Buddha’s Teachings. However, there is a suggested donation of $350 for a ten-day course, which is put towards the cost of food and accommodation.
What about food?
Wholesome and tasty vegetarian food is provided, and those who follow a diet for medical reasons will be accommodated as far as possible.
How can I be sure I am capable of doing the meditation?
For a person who is genuinely interested, meditation (including Noble Silence) is not difficult. If one follows the instructions diligently, one can be sure of tangible results. The day’s schedule is neither too severe nor too relaxed but follows the Middle Path. Sayagyi U Ba Khin taught his students to work with “zestful ease”.
Do I have to be a Buddhist?
No, you only need an open mind and the intention to give the technique a fair trial.
Can I come for a shorter period?
It is possible to come just for the first weekend and practice the first two steps of morality and concentration.
Under this tab you will find occasional posts from IMC-USA such as quotations from the Buddha’s teachings, photos, and brief excerpts from the writings of Sayagyi U Ba Khin and Ledi Sayadaw and from Dhamma talks given by Webu Sayadaw. Click on the button below to access these posts.
The Center is located 10 miles north of Westminster, Maryland, just south of the Pennsylvania border. Driving times are one hour from Baltimore, two hours from Washington DC, three hours from Philadelphia and nearly five hours from New York City. The nearest airports are Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The nearest Amtrak station is Baltimore Penn Station and the nearest bus service is to Baltimore and York, Pa. There is no public transportation to Westminster. You can use Google Maps or some other mapping services to get you as far as the two towns noted below; from Westminster or Hanover, follow the directions given at the bottom of this page.
From Westminster, Maryland (MD): take 97 north towards Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (PA). Go 5.58 miles and take a right on Old Hanover Road. Take first right on Deep Run Road. Go 1.98 miles and take a left on Geeting Road. Drive 1.26 miles and take a right onto Bankard Road. Rose Drive will be on your left (0.62 miles).
From Hanover, Pennsylvania (PA): from the main square in Hanover, PA at the crossroads of Carlisle St. and Frederick St., go west on Frederick St/PA-194 for 0.7 miles. Turn left at Westminster Road, following this for 2.5 miles when it becomes Grand Valley Road and follow Grand Valley for another 3.4 miles (you will enter Maryland). Turn right onto Bankard Road and continue for 0.8 miles. Turn right at Rose Drive.
Taxi service is available from the following providers:
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