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The Voice of Another and Wise Attention: The Power of Relational Practice

Residential Program
Dates: Aug 16, 2024 - Aug 21, 2024
Days: Friday - Wednesday
Number of Nights: 5 nights

Instructor(s): Nolitha Tsengiwe, Janet Surrey, and Marsha Lawson

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Program Description:

The Buddha taught the dharma through speaking in relation to a particular person or group in a particular context and location. In the suttas, he emphasizes that wise view is cultivated through listening to the voice of another with wise and focused attention (yoniso manasikāra). In this program, we will practice contemplative speaking and listening together as we investigate and engage the Four Noble Truths of suffering and the possibility of release in our human lives. In particular, we will explore the potential for relationships to create the causes and conditions for suffering, with a focus on the complexity of attachment, craving, aversion, and our struggles with the truth of impermanence–including illness, aging, and death–in our lives and relationships. Together, we will contemplate the teachings on the centrality and spiritual power of dharma friendship on the Path. Through individual silent practice, Insight Dialogue, and Dharma Contemplation we will investigate and illuminate the conditions and relational practices that incline our hearts and our relationships toward joy, wisdom (insight), and love (compassion).

Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed during much of this program. Some contemplative exercises may involve mindful speaking and listening. Noble silence is to be upheld at all other times.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.


At least one prior Buddhist meditation retreat.

Cancellation Policy:
This policy applies to all residential and Path programs. Please note cancellation fees are at most $50 for those receiving financial assistance. Prior to six weeks before the program start date, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs more than two nights and $25 for programs two nights or less. 50% of your deposit is forfeited if you cancel between two and six weeks of the program start date. 100% of your deposit is forfeited if you cancel less than two weeks before the program start date.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Nolitha is a guiding teacher at Dharmagiri KZN, South Africa and is a graduate of the IMS 4 year teacher training program. She is currently a recognized facilitator and a teacher in development for the Insight Dialogue Community. She co-facilitates Insight Dialogue and Dharma Contemplation practices online. Nolitha facilitates racial healing work with Insight Dialogue.

  • Janet Surrey, PhD is an Insight Dialogue Teacher. She teaches Insight Dialogue retreats worldwide and leads a longstanding practice group in the Boston area. 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 is currently serving on the Teachers Council of 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.

  • Marsha Lawson is currently a recognized facilitator and a teacher in development for the Insight Dialogue Community. She has been practicing with and studying the wisdom teachings of the Buddha since 2009. Marsha is committed to the investigation internally, and with others, of releasing suffering and cultivating joy, friendship, and compassion. She is grateful to the many teachers and spiritual friends on this path, including influential teachers Christina Feldman, John Peacock, Mu Soeng, Leigh Brasington, Jan Surrey, Rodney Smith, and Gregory Kramer. Marsha facilitates and co-facilitates Insight Dialogue and Dharma Contemplation practices online and in person.