Frequently Asked Questions
Questions are categorized under the following topics:

About Attending IMSB
Location and Transportation
Mailing Lists and Event Notifications
IMSB Offerings—Overview
Thursday Evening Classes
Daylong and Half-day Retreats
Residential and Nonresidential Retreats
Consultations with Shaila Catherine
Learning How to Meditate
Helpful Words to Know from the Ancient Pali Language

About Attending IMSB

Do you offer a weekly group meditation and if so, where and when?

Yes. We meet every Tuesday evening, 7:30-9:00 p.m. at Edwards Hall of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 2094 Grant Road, Mountain View, CA 94040 (map).

What is the Tuesday meditation group format?

We open doors by 7:15, meditate from 7:30-8:00, take a 10 minute break for a stretch and announcements, and then hear a dhamma talk from our teacher Shaila Catherine, or guest speakers.

Do I need to bring my own cushion? Are there chairs?

You may bring a cushion or blanket if you prefer to sit on the floor. The front of the hall is reserved for floor sitting. There are plenty of folding chairs if you prefer to sit in a chair. At the end of the evening, we appreciate help in returning the chairs and tables to their original locations.

Is there a fee for IMSB meetings and events?

There is no set fee for the weekly group meditation and most of our events, such as daylongs, discussion groups, and beginner’s courses. We follow the custom of giving donations/offerings (dana) to support the organization and our teachers. Generosity is a fundamental aspect of our community; it is the voluntary offering of gifts and effort that support our activities.

A nominal fee is charged for extended programs such as the six-month Walking the Path program and nine-month sutta study course. These fees help to establish a commitment to multi-month programs, cover administrative costs, or contribute to our retreat scholarship fund. Fees are charged for retreats to cover the rental of the retreat facility, food, insurance, and other administrative costs.

IMSB and our teachers rely solely upon the voluntary donations of members and participants. Two bowls are set out at each event for donations: one is marked for the teacher, the other for organizational expenses. You may also donate online or by mail (IMSB, PO Box 490, Menlo Park, CA 94026). We do not suggest a particular amount; we ask that each participant practice generosity in a way that is appropriate for the individual, supports our community and teachers, and cultivates the joyful practice of giving.

Do I need to preregister for IMSB events?

Registration is not required for most of our events, such as our daylongs, Thursday evening classes, and Tuesday sitting group. Registration is only required for certain programs, such as year-long study courses and retreats, and it will be clearly indicated on our website.

What should I do if I’m unable to arrive on time?

If you arrive late, please slip in quietly and join in. The entrance door on the east side of the building near the parking lot and rose garden is much quieter than the door that opens onto the courtyard.

Do I need to be a Buddhist to attend IMSB?

No. We are a diverse community, primarily composed of Western practitioners. Many of our members continue to practice in other faith traditions, but participate in IMSB activities that support their meditation practice. The meditation practices that we teach do not require religious belief; they are, however, derived from the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

What does it mean to be a member of IMSB?

Anyone who attends our meditation group, events, and retreats may be considered a member. There is no formal process for membership; we are a community of participants who practice meditation together. All of our activities are initiated and organized by volunteers. We welcome your participation in our activities, and your involvement through volunteer service. To get more involved, please fill out our volunteer survey or contact