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SF Bay Area meditation groups

Sit with others! Friends on the path, called kalyana mitta, and regular contact with a teacher you trust are the best supports you can have for consistent practice.

This page used to have a list of Bay Area meditation groups, but they all changed in the pandemic, and the new world of being able to access groups online anywhere in the world changes the whole scene.

Here’s the centers in the Bay Area I recommend for groups, classes, and other gatherings:

Insight Meditation Centers

Spirit Rock, Woodacre
East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland
Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
San Francisco Insight
Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City

Monasteries

Abhayagiri, Redwood Valley
Āloka Vihāra, Placerville
Dhammadhārinī, Santa Rosa

Beyond the Bay Area

There are so many beautiful communities of practice in the world. Buddhist Insight Network (BIN) hosts the database for Insight Meditation groups worldwide.

See our Saṅgha Gatherings page for groups led by Sean and others in this community.

Blessings in your practice.

Does this list support your practice?

If you find the resources on this site of service in your own practice and study, and you are inspired to support Dr. Oakes as an independent teacher and scholar, please consider making a donation.

Sutta: Good friends are half the spiritual life​

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sakyans, where they have a town named Nagaraka. Then Venerable Ānanda went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Sir, good friends, companions, and associates are half the spiritual life.”

“Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! Good friends, companions, and associates are the whole of the spiritual life. A mendicant with good friends, companions, and associates can expect to develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path.

And how does a mendicant with good friends develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path? It’s when a mendicant develops right view, which relies on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripens as letting go. They develop right thought … right speech … right action … right livelihood … right effort … right mindfulness … right immersion, which relies on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripens as letting go. That’s how a mendicant with good friends develops and cultivates the noble eightfold path.

And here’s another way to understand how good friends are the whole of the spiritual life. For, by relying on me as a good friend, sentient beings who are liable to rebirth, old age, and death, to sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress are freed from all these things. This is another way to understand how good friends are the whole of the spiritual life.”

(SN 45.2, tr. Sujato)

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