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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 for Sunday sittings.

Upcoming Retreats

May 24 – June 2, 2018

Liberation of Heart and Mind: Insight Meditation

and Loving-kindness Retreat

With Michele McDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

assisted by Pari Ruengvisesh & Darine Monroy

Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachusetts

Waitlist here

This intensive silent retreat is an opportunity to explore the Buddha’s teachings on liberation by touching into the wordless depths of our own heart, with an emphasis on loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. By practicing with interest, acceptance, and kindness, we develop greater understanding and compassion. In this way, we increase our ability to meet life’s changes with ease and serenity.

June 6 – 9, 2018

Liberation of Heart and Mind:  Loving-kindness Retreat

and Insight Weekend

With Michele McDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachusetts

Waitlist here

This silent weekend course, open to all, is an opportunity to explore the Buddha’s teachings on liberation, with an emphasis on the practice of metta, or loving-kindness. Through learning to connect with our mind/heart/body process with interest and acceptance, we touch into the wordless depths of our own heart and develop greater understanding and compassion. In this way, we increase our ability to meet life’s changes with graceful ease and serenity.

July 3 – 7, 2019 

Wise and Compassionate Presence

With Mary Grace Orr

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Five spots left 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. The 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 – A Step by Step Approach.

With Grahame White

Palolo Zen Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Now open for registration.

In this retreat, we will be taking a step by step approach. The basic instructions in insight meditation will be given sequentially, starting with a focus on the mindfulness of breathing, followed by mindfulness of the body, of emotions, of thoughts, of mind and of the application of mindfulness in daily life.

August 2 – 4, 2019 

Mindfulness for Busy People: On the Cushion and Off the Cushion.

With Grahame White

Kahumana Cafe and Retreat Center, Waianae, O’ahu

Now 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.

Full. Join wait-list here.

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. 

August 23 to Sep 1, 2019

Vipassana Retreat at Sea to Sky

This retreat is for experienced practitioners.

With Michele McDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

Registration Open.

Vipassana meditation (Insight or Mindfulness practice) is the moment-to-moment investigation of the mind/body process through calm and focused awareness. As insight deepens, wisdom and compassion arise, slowly untangling our hearts from deep-seated patterns of greed, hatred, and delusion.

This residential silent retreat is for experienced meditators. Meditation instruction is provided, emphasizing mindfulness and loving-kindness practices. Sitting and walking meditation sessions are alternated. Individual check-ins with the teachers will be offered on alternating days along with daily question and answer periods.

Sea to Sky Retreat Centre is a secluded 40-acre site of extraordinary natural beauty in British Columbia’s coastal mountain range.

Sponsored by BCIMS Sea to Sky Retreat Centre, Daisy Lake, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

September 6 – 8, 2019

Nonresidential Vipassana Retreat at UBC Asian Centre

This retreat is for experienced practitioners.

With Michele McDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey

Registration Opens:  June 6, 2019

October 18 – 26, 2019

Seven Day Retreat

With Steven Smith

Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre

Medlow Bath – Blue Mountains Australia

Join wait-list 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.

November 8 – 10, 2019 (Friday evening to Sunday at noon)

Topic to be announced.

A weekend Vipassana Meditation Retreat with Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey 

Lanai Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Lanai, HI

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

The retreat is full.

Please email to be placed on a 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.

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

December 29, 2019 – January 8, 2020

Abiding in the Wild:

Nurturing Love, Awareness, and the Heart’s Deep Release

New Year’s Vipassana Retreat with Mindful Movement

With Steven Smith, assisted by Darine Monroy

Mindful movement with Julie Seibt

Jungle Yoga, Cheow Lan (Rajaprapa Lake), Surat Thani, Thailand

Not yet open for registration.

We are waiting to receive the go-ahead from Steven.

January 12 – February 2, 2020
Kyaswa Monastery Fusion Retreat
The Sagaing Hills of Burma (Myanmar) 
Taught by Sayadaw U Pannananda, Michele McDonald, Steven Smith, assisted by Sayalay Ma Kamala 

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. 

Yogis are supported in every way by the heritage of living Dhamma and benefit from a rigorous schedule, individual interviews, carefully prepared food, nightly chanting from local nuns and accommodation in individual kutis nestled along the scenic hillside. 

Base fee of $950 covers all the basic costs of the retreat. Participants are also invited to offer an additional 15% or 25% to help pay for yogi scholarships, MettaDana Project support, and unforeseen retreat expenses.

For more information, go to our googledoc

and to register please visit 

or 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 the 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.