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Retreats

photo by Ralph Davis

Vipassana Hawai‘i offers a variety of programs aligned with Buddhist Theravadic teachings in Hawai‘i, the US mainland, Canada, and Southeast Asia. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned yogi, we provide a diverse range of practice opportunities throughout the year. Click through to learn more about us, or to join our Hawai‘i sangha at Sunday sittings.

Upcoming Retreats


January 12 – February 2, 2019 

Kyaswa Monastery Fusion Retreat

With Sayadaw U Pannananda, Sayalay Ma Kamala, and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey 

The Sagaing Hills of Burma (Myanmar)

Contact us for Registration

This unique 3-week retreat offers a rare opportunity to practice Metta (loving kindness) and Vipassana (insight) methods with skilled Burmese monastic and Western lay teachers in the Sagaing Hills of Upper Burma. The first 5 days will focus on Metta practice to lay the foundation for a deeper emphasis on Vipassana during the rest of the retreat. 

Filled with centuries-old pagodas, monasteries, and nunneries, the Sagaing Hills are regarded as the spiritual heart of Burma and one of the most important practice centers of Theravada Buddhism. Kyaswa Monastery is itself a 600-year-old practice and study center that plays a vital role in the health and vibrancy of nearby Wachet Village


January 25 – January 27, 2019 

Natural Awareness: Developing a Dharma Practice for Life

With Anushka Fernandopulle

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Retreat is now filled. Contact us for waitlist.

Join us to discover a mindfulness that you can bring into your daily life, with awareness of the body, emotions, mind and more. We will be exploring the Buddha’s teachings on freedom with an emphasis on a cultivating a relaxed and continuous awareness that can meet any conditions of life. Resilience and freedom are the fruits of this practice. The retreat will be supported through guided meditations, dharma talks, and time for questions and discussion. We will do some exercises related to bringing mindfulness into daily life.

March 8 – March 16, 2019

Seven-day retreat

With Steven Smith

Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre

Medlow Bath – Blue Mountains Australia

Waitlist registration here.

Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, Steven Smith was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by the late revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven teaches Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) in meditation retreats in Asia, Hawai’i, North America, and Australia. He co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDanaProject for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by the late Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery.

This retreat is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators.


April  5 – 13, 2019 

Seven Awakening-factors and Supportive Conditions for them.”

With U Hla Myint

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Open for registration.

Style of this retreat is to practice vipassana by fulfilling the supportive conditions for seven Awakening-factors such as mindfulness, and so on according to the commentary on Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. These supportive conditions are Mindfulness, Investigation, Effort, Delight, Calmness, Concentration, and Equanimity which will be developed during this retreat.


May 4, 2019 

Day Long

With Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey 

Bodhi Tree.

Not yet open for registration.


June 1 – 10, 2019

 Abiding in the Wild: Nurturing Love, Awareness, and the Heart’s Deep Release

 Vipassana Retreat with Mindful Movement

with Steven Smith

Mindful movement with Julie Seibt

Jungle Yoga, Thailand

Not yet open for registration.


July 3 – 7, 2019 

Wise and Compassionate Presence

With Mary Grace Orr

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Now open for registration. 

This five-day retreat is suitable for both beginners and experienced students will focus on mindfulness as a path to insight and to opening the heart.  We will have a special emphasis on the practices of gratitude as a way of supporting wisdom and compassion.  The retreat will be held in silence, with periods of sitting practice as well as walking practice.  There will be opportunities to speak with the teacher. Retreat starts Wednesday afternoon and continues to Sunday afternoon. Residential participation is required. Join Mary Grace Orr to explore Wise and Compassionate Presence.


July 19 -25, 2019 

Inclining the Mind toward Nibbana

With Grahame White

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Not yet open for registration.


August 2 – 4, 2019 

Topic to be announced.

With Grahame White

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Not yet open for registration.


August 9 – 18, 2019

Affectionate Awareness as a Path to Liberation

With Michele McDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey 

Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center, Tusas Mountains, 50 miles west of Taos, New Mexico.

Open for registration.

During this intensive silent retreat, participants will learn to develop their heart’s capacity for liberatory clarity and pervasive tenderness with a unique integration of Vipassana (insight) and Metta (loving kindness) practices. Michele and Jesse are enthusiastic about supporting yogis with a depth of both technical rigor and spacious ease.  Yogis will be supported by daily instruction periods with time for questions and answers, individual interviews with both teachers, nightly dhamma talks, a vigorous schedule of sitting and walking meditation, as well as free time in the afternoons to silently explore the beauty of the landscape on their own. Come experience the richness of quietude in the beautiful Vallecitos wilderness while cultivating the wisdom of Vipassana and the tenderness of the 4 Brahma Viharas: Unconditional Love, Compassion, Appreciative Joy, and Equanimity. 


October 18 – 26, 2019

Seven Day Retreat

With Steven Smith

Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre

Medlow Bath – Blue Mountains Australia

Open for registration.

Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, Steven Smith was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by the late revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven teaches Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) in meditation retreats in Asia, Hawai’i, North America, and Australia. He co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDanaProject for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by the late Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery.

This retreat is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators.


October 25 – 27, 2019 

Días de Los Muertos Weekend Vipassana Retreat

With Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey 

Location to be announced.

Not yet open for registration.


November 29 – December 7, 2019

Dhamma: Pure, Deep, and Simple

With Steven Smith and Michele McDonald

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Not yet open for registration.

Come receive a pure and powerful dhamma-teaching, the practice that awakens wisdom and metta, deeply embodied from the inside. Experience a nine-day Vipassana silent retreat in the beautiful serene Palolo Valley.

Steven Smith and Michele McDonald have been teaching together for over 33 years. Both are founders and guiding teachers for Vipassana Hawai’i.  They offer effective tools to make the practice work for each individual student, liberating the heart-mind with clarity, ease, and authenticity. For more information about the teachers, click here.

If you are interested in or have questions about any of the upcoming retreats please feel free to contact us by email.


Please note our Cancellation Policy:
If you cancel more than 45 days prior to the retreat: We will refund all fees less PayPal fees – between $50.00- $200.00 depending on the length of retreat.
If you cancel 10-44 days prior to the retreat: For shorter retreats, we will refund all fees less $200.00. Cancellation insurance recommended.
If you cancel less than 14 days prior to the event: Unfortunately we cannot afford to offer a refund. Last-minute cancellations are costly and sometimes mean that others cannot attend the retreat. 
* Daylong retreats within Hawai”i comply with a different cancellation policy, as noted on the registration pages.