The mission of Insight Meditation Cleveland (IMC) is to facilitate a path to freedom through the sharing and teaching of the dharma and the development and care of a community for those seeking freedom. While the focus of teachings in our group is based on westernized Theravada Buddhism, all teachings that lead to freedom are included as appropriate. We practice mindfulness (also called vipassana or insight) meditation. We believe that the teachings of the Buddha are priceless, and do not charge for any IMC activities or teachings. We do pass on expenses for retreats and accept donations to cover operating expenses.
One of the foundational teachings of the Buddha is ethical behavior, or sila. Sila is marked by a set of behaviors that practitioners agree to observe for the benefit of all. These behaviors are referred to as precepts, and there are five of them that are prescribed for those of us living a householder life.
We begin our sangha meetings with a reading of these precepts. We ask you to listen and agree in your heart to honor them while we are in community together. Our intention is to ensure a safe and inviting space for all who are interested in finding freedom from stress and suffering.
We undertake the precept of not harming others — We are creating a safe space for each person through our actions, judgments, speech, and behaviors. We do not offer advice or try to solve others’ problems.
We undertake the precept of not taking that which is not freely offered — We respect the community space giving all a chance to speak and be heard. We respect silence during the meditations and do not disturb others with our movements.
We undertake the precept of moderation of our desires — We pay attention to what arises in us around the urge to speak, the desire to be right, the pull to appear important. We speak and act from skillful intentions of generosity, compassion, and clear-seeing.
We undertake the precept of right speech – We keep our speech focused on the dharma and speak only from our own experience. We avoid harsh speech and idle chatter during our time together. We give space for all to share.
We undertake the precept of avoiding intoxicating actions and behaviors – We cultivate mindful awareness throughout the sangha time and use the discussion period as a time of introspective reflection rather than feeding our desire to make a point or to be right. We pay attention when others are sharing.
Listen to John Cunningham’s talk introducing the precepts.