Dhamma Dena, a Vipassana Buddhist center, was founded almost forty years ago by pioneer Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison, one of only four westerners initiated as a teacher by the eminent Burmese meditation master Sayagyi U Ba Khin. The center is named for Dhammadinna, a female disciple of the Buddha, and is situated in the Mojave Desert of California, near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. 

Dhamma Dena offers open silent meditation in our dharma hall, as well as several formal retreats each year. Ruth Denison created an enduring and unique method of practicing Vipassana, focused on mindfulness in every moment, with the attention always to this present moment as experienced directly through the movement and sensations of the body. This unique style of Vipassana meditation has influenced many contemporary Theravada teachers in the West, who now incorporate some form of mindful movement into their retreats. This style of teaching remains the hallmark of our center, and is carried on by Ruth's appointed teachers, with the same beautiful benefits to all who join us in practice here.

2018 Upcoming Retreats
  • October 2 - 16 – Two-week Vipassana Retreat for the Queer & Gender-fluid Community with Arinna Weisman & others

  • October 26 - November 4 – Fall Retreat 2018         with Jill Rayna & Shelley Hainer

  • December 14 - 18 & December 21 - January 1, 2019 Holiday Retreat 2018 with S’akti Rose & Nick Herzmark

2019 Upcoming Retreats
  • February 5 - 19 Vipassana Retreat for Everyone    with Arinna Weisman & others

  • March 1 - 6 Work Retreat with Doshin Houtman

  • March 8 - 15 Embodied Mindfulness Retreat with Doshin Houtman

  • April 26 - May 5 Women's Spring Retreat with Jill Rayna & Shelley Hainer

  • May 17 - 22 – Work Retreat with Arinna Weisman

  • May 24 - 27 – Lovingkindness Retreat with Arinna Weisman

  • October 1 - 15 – Two-week Vipassana Retreat for the Queer & Gender-fluid Community with Arinna Weisman & others

  • October 25 - November 3 – Fall Retreat 2019         with Jill Rayna & Shelley Hainer

  • December 13 - January 1, 2020 - Holiday Retreat 2019 with S’akti Rose & Nick Herzmark

Visitors are welcome for silent meditation or formal retreats. Dedicated dharma practitioners who would like to come for a self-guided personal retreat are welcome. Lodging and meals are available daily. Feel free to contact the center about the possibility of a visit.

If you would like to receive email notifications about upcoming retreats,
sign up here.

We welcome Arinna Weisman as our Resident Guiding Teacher

Phone Interviews with Arinna
It is always a pleasure to meet with you either in person or by Skype/phone to share time in inquiries into practice, challenges in life, or questions about the teachings. A choice is offered of 20 minutes
for dāna (दान) - what you are moved to offer - or an hour-long session on a sliding scale of $50-$150.

Click here to email Arinna

Arinna Weisman has studied insight meditation since 1979 and has been teaching since 1989. Her root teacher is Ruth Denison who was empowered by the great Burmese lay teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin. She is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley. She is co-author of the book, A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation and a contributor to Women Practicing Buddhism; American Experiences, edited by Peter Gregory and Susanne Mrozik.

Her dharma practice and teaching are infused with her political and environmental activism. She was the first out queer teacher with Eric Kolvig to lead insight meditation retreats for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Queer community. She also leads ‘Uncovering the Heart Retreats’ integrating the practice of awareness of the social dynamics of inequity with the dharma practice of liberation.

If you would like to support the work of our center, to honor the legacy of Ruth Denison and see her dream continue, please do so here.

Your donations are tax deductible.