Latest Posts

Engaged Spirituality


Start 2017 with the right foot and a compassionate heart. In January Buddhist Insights will be launching Engaged Spirituality, a new series of programming featuring workshops, retreats and talks to empower people to be the change they want to see in the world.

We will kick off programming with two retreats at the Rockaway Summer House.

  • The Peaceful Revolution, led by Jampa Kunchog an American monk in the Tibetan tradition.
  • Spiritual Activism, led by Kundalini teacher Marika Bethel and Buddhist monk Bhante Suddhaso.





The Rockaway Summer House

We are proud to present the Rockaway Summer House, a retreat center by the beach in New York City easily reachable via subway train.

Starting December 2016 we will offer free meditation retreats and a mix of other wholesome activities and wellness programs. Retreats are residential and the Summer House can accommodate up to 20 overnight guests.


We’re starting out strong with a weekend meditation/study retreat led by Bhante Suddhāso, where you can deepen your insight into causality and its relationship to Buddhist practice; then we’ll welcome in the new year with our 8-day New Year’s Retreat, which will incorporate daily Dharma talks, discussion periods, and private mentoring sessions with our resident monk.


The new year will bring you many treasures, featuring retreats from Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu, Konin Melissa Cardenas, Jayasara Bhikkhu, and many others.

All retreats are offered on a donation basis: there is no minimum donation, and everyone is welcome. Registration is mandatory.

There’s no shortage of events to participate in, so check out our calendar at, or send us an email at RSVP@BUDDHISTINSIGHTS.COM

Main photo by Samantha Casolari


Bhikkhu Bodhi

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, originally from New York City, has been a Buddhist monk since 1972. He was the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Sri Lanka, from 1984 until 2002. He has edited Ven. Nanamoli’s translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha), translated the Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourses of the Buddha), and compiled an anthology from the Pali Canon (In the Buddha’s Words). He now resides at Chuang Yen Monastery and teaches there and at Bodhi Monastery in Lafayette, New Jersey.

Ven. Chang-Zhai

Venerable Chang-Zhai is a Buddhist nun of the Mahayana Chan tradition (Taiwanese Zen). She entered the Dharma Drum Sangha University (DDSU) in 2008, mainly studying under the Chan Practice program. In 2010, Venerable received full ordination. In 2012, after completing a 4-year monastic education at DDSUniversity in Taiwan, she returned to the U.S. and has served as a member of the Chan Meditation Center in New York until now. Venerable speaks both Mandarin and English.

Kaizen Robert Gunn

Rev. Kaizen Robert Gunn, Ph.D., is Director of Zen at United Church, an affiliate sitting group of the Village Zendo of New York City. He began studying Zen Buddhism over sixteen years ago under Roshi John Daido Loori, and has been studying with Roshi Enkyo O’Hara for the past six years. His middle name, “Kaizen” is the dharma name given by Roshi Enkyo, and means “unfolding Zen.” He has been active in Buddhist/Christian dialogue through the Society for Buddhist/Christian Studies. Most recently he gave a paper at the Second Kyoto Conference on Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Japan, on “Two Arrows Meeting in Mid-Air: Self and No Self in Buddhism and Psychotherapy.” He is the author of Journeys into Emptiness: Dogen, Merton and Jung and the Quest for Transformation. Paulist Press: 2000. He is a psychotherapist with a private practice of psychotherapy in Manhattan, and is a lecturer in Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and is currently pastor of the United Church of Rockville Centre, Long Island. He has served churches in Maine and Massachusetts as well as New York.

Bhikkhu Jayasāra

Bhikkhu Jayasāra (“Bhante J”) is an American born Buddhist monastic who currently resides at Bhavana Society of West Virginia. He was born in 1978 and raised Catholic. He came to Buddhism in his late 20s and officially took refuge and precepts to become a practicing Buddhist lay disciple on Vesak in 2008. In 2011 he took the Eight Lifetime Precepts with Bhante Gunaratana and was given the name Jayantha. By this point the practice had instilled in him a desire to become a monastic. Bhante J began to regularly attend retreats and weekend visits to Bhavana and learned all he could about the monastic life. He began living at Bhavana Society in September 2014, became an Anagarika (postulant) in March 2015, became a Sāmaṇera (novice monk) in October of 2015, and a Bhikkhu (fully ordained monk) in October 2016.

Konin Melissa Cardenas

Reverend Konin Cardenas began the practice of Zen in 1987, and was ordained into the Soto Zen tradition by Sekkei Harada Roshi in 2007. She has lived and practiced at Hosshinji in Japan, at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center. Rev. Konin is a Dharma Heir in the Shunryu Suzuki lineage, having received dharma transmission from Rev. Shosan Victoria Austin. Currently she is the Guiding Teacher at Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, New York; she is also Guiding Teacher for Ekan Zen Study Center. Rev. Konin is a professionally trained inter-faith chaplain, having worked in both hospital and hospice settings. She earned an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and worked in finance for many years. She is a long-time practitioner of yoga, a student of calligraphy and shakyo, and the mother of a 25-year-old daughter.

Hiking & Meditation Retreat

The Buddha frequently recommended meditating in the wilderness – and for good reason: the peace and serenity of natural environments contributes to the development of concentration. On Saturday November 12th come join Bhante Suddhaso and the Buddhist Insights crew for our second hiking retreat; we’ll be spending the day walking and meditating together in Little Stony Point State Park, near the Cold Spring train station.

Little Stony Point State Park is located at a peninsula in the Hudson River, and includes sandy beaches, forest trails, and vantage points with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Make sure to bring plenty of water. You may also wish to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, a sun-hat, and something to sit on (such as a beach towel).

This is a “bring your own food” event; if you would also like to bring food for the monk, please notify

MEETING POINT: 11am at Cold Spring train station.





Chocolate and Meditation

Chocolate is well known for its medicinal value, and among Buddhist monastics it is considered medicine rather than food. Even monks and nuns who follow the ancient tradition of not eating dinner will often eat chocolate in the evening, valuing its ability to gently elevate mood and stimulate mental energy prior to meditation. Dark chocolate is seen not as a food, but rather as a medicine with valuable therapeutic properties that can be eaten at any time of day.

Join Bhante Suddhāso for an evening of mindful eating, meditation and chocolate tasting at Raaka Chocolate Factory in Red Hook. At this event, you will learn about how the attitude of renunciation aids in developing non-attachment and how this practice varies from tradition to tradition.

The evening will include a Dhamma talk, a period of meditation, and chocolate tasting. 

Raaka Chocolate is a chocolate factory that uses ethically sourced organic cacao, produced using sustainable agroforestry. Its products are made in small, hand-crafted batches using raw, unroasted cacao, which preserves the richness and complexity of its flavor.

To register, please visit




At the New York Botanical Garden

Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is a Japanese practice that supports physical and mental health through exposure to nature. This is reflected in Japanese Zen, where silent meditation in serene environments is a core element of the practice.

On October 15th & 16th, Buddhist monk Bhante Suddhāso, trained in both Zen and in Theravāda meditation, will lead visitors in the practice of sitting and walking meditation among the trees and landscapes of the New York Botanical Garden.

This is part of the Kiku Exhibit at NYBG. For more info: CLICK HERE