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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


November 3, 2018

Deeper than Birth, Life, and Death: honoring the cycles of life and releasing from their grip.

With Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

The Bodhi Tree, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Now open.

Our relationship to the cycles of existence are reflected in the arising and passing of each moment, of each breath. Reflection on arising, on being, and on death are some of the most important meditation practices encouraged by the Buddha. Join Jesse for a day-long meditation retreat, dedicated mostly to silent practice, where we will take time to explore our relationship to these realities and learn to find peace within their fluctuations.


November 9 – 11, 2018

The 7 Factors of Enlightenment: A weekend meditation retreat

With Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

Lanai, Hawai’i

Now open.

The 7 Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga) are mental qualities repeatedly emphasized by the Buddha as essential to the process of liberation of the heart and mind. Mindfulness, Investigation, Energy, Rapture, Calm, Concentration, and Equanimity each play important roles in the process of insight and as a group they also serve to support one another in skillful balance. Join Jesse for a weekend vipassana meditation retreat, held in silence, where we will explore the many ways understanding and encouraging these qualities can strengthen our practice.


November 23 – December 1, 2018

Dhamma: Pure, Deep, and Simple

With Steven Smith and Michele McDonald

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Filled. Please email to be placed on the waitlist.

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.


December 29, 2018 – January 8, 2019

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

Vipassana Retreat with Mindful Movement

With Steven Smith and assisted by Jake Davis

Mindful movement with Julie Seibt

Jungle Yoga, Thailand

Three spots left.

We will begin each day sitting together in the stillness of this remote jungle lake, as dawn slowly brings on the indescribable jungle chorus of cicadas and gibbons. Together, we will learn to cultivate seamless awareness in all sense fields, nourished by the dedicated cultivation of the ‘divine abidings’: unconditional friendliness, wise compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. In each moment of returning gently to the present, we develop the ability to abide with clarity and kindness in the midst of both subtle and strong emotions.


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)

Now open 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 

Topic to be determined

With Anushka Fernandopulle

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Not yet open for registration.


April  5 – 13, 2019 

Topic to be determined

With U Hla Myint

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Not yet open for registration.


June , 2019 

Topic to be determined

With Mary Grace Orr

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Not yet open for registration.


July, 2019 

Topic to be announced.

With Grahame White

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Not yet open for registration.


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.