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Spiritual Friendship and the Eightfold Path
Dates: Feb 28, 2019 - Mar 03, 2019
Days: Thu - Sun (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Janet Surrey

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In the Upaddha Sutta, the Buddha tells Ananda, his close friend and attendant, that spiritual or noble friendship is the “whole” of the life dedicated to Awakening. The presence of kalyanamitta (spiritual or beneficial friends) in our lives is crucial for maturation on the path. It supports inspiration, resilience, energy, and ethical direction for the lived embodiment of the Buddha’s teachings. Spiritual friendship is the whole life-expression of loving-kindness and care, compassion, appreciation, joy and relational equanimity—realized in particular intentional relationships. How can we cultivate the depth and power of such friendship across the experience of isolation, disconnection, loneliness, and ill will in our contemporary lives? In this retreat, the meditative guidelines and contemplative dialogue practice of Insight Dialogue will be introduced for a co-meditative relational practice that can support our capacity to offer and receive the flow of generous openness to others. This practice helps us explore the challenges and the potential in our contemporary lives and particularly across cultural, racial, and gender differences.

Note: There will be periods of silent meditation and relational meditation practice. This weekend is appropriate for beginning and more advanced practitioners of Insight Dialogue.

Learning Intentions:

Learn the six guidelines of Insight Dialogue as a foundation for spiritual friendships; learn and practice the qualities of friendship on the Eightfold Path; develop capacity for nurturing and maintaining friendship in contemporary life; recognize how social location and privilege may lead to delusion and ignorance; and practice opening to dialogue and spiritual friendship across culture, race and gender.

This program is designed to meet the continuing education requirement for those  whose state licensure boards require ethics credits for license renewal.However, we suggest that you check with your local licensing board to ensure this program meets their criteria.

11.5 continuing education credits for psychologists have been approved for those who attend this program in full. We are not able to offer CEU's for Counselors (NBCC). This program has been approved for 11.5 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. Collaborative of NASW and the Boston College and Simmons Schools of Social Work Authorization Number  D 80301.
Please note that we charge a $25 processing fee for CEUs. More information is available here

Course Brochure

Experience Level:

Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.


  • Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a longstanding practice group in the Boston area.  Her first meditation  teacher was Vimala Thakar . She has practiced in the Insight tradition  for over 30 years, and trained as a Community Dharma Leader at Spirit Rock. Since 2007, Jan has worked intensively with Gregory Kramer and the Insight Dialogue Community. Jan is a practicing clinical psychologist and founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She is on the faculty and board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. She is the author of The Buddha’s Wife: The Path of Awakening Together.