Find answers to frequently asked questions below.
We offer residential, online, and path programs that invite deep engagement with Buddhist study and practice across a wide variety of subjects and Buddhist traditions, most of which are suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.
BCBS residential programs take place on our beautiful campus in Barre, Massachusetts and typically include sitting and walking meditation, talks, small and large group discussions, time for questions and reflection, and some periods of noble silence. Consisting of 30 participants or fewer, our residential programs invite deep engagement and connection with both other participants and teachers.
BCBS online programs take place through video conferencing and offer convenient access to Buddhist study, practice, and spiritual community all over the world. Our online programs include events, weekend retreats, multi-week courses, and longer, more in-depth explorations. Like residential programs, online programs typically include talks, small and large group discussions, time for questions and reflection, and guided meditation. We provide detailed instructions and ongoing support to ensure participants are able to smoothly navigate technology and fully engage in these programs.
BCBS Path programs take place over the course of several months to over a year and include a combination of online and/or residential components. Providing an ongoing relationship with a consistent cohort of participants and teachers over time, our Path programs foster collective, far-ranging Buddhist inquiry.
Everyone is welcome at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. While our programs are rooted in Buddhist teachings and practice, you do not need to identify as Buddhist to participate in them. Historically, Buddhism has taken many different forms in different cultural and historical contexts and we are very interested in exploring the ways in which Buddhist teachings and practice can be taken up by diverse individuals and groups today. Some of our programs engage multiple Buddhist traditions and some explore Buddhist teachings and practices in conversation with other religious and philosophical traditions. Additionally, inspired by the ethical principles of Buddhism and the interconnectedness of all beings, we offer programs focused on social and environmental justice. Whether you’re new to Buddhism, you’ve been practicing for years, or you don’t identify as Buddhist at all, we invite you to explore the intersection of your interests, personal goals, and Buddhist teachings and practice, applying the insights you gain to your life in ways that promote good will, compassion, joy, peace, and freedom for yourself and others.
View our calendar to browse and register for programs. Once you've successfully registered and made a payment, you’ll receive a registration confirmation in your inbox - please read it carefully.
To keep our costs transparent and our programs affordable, we use a four-tier fee structure*:
Mid-Level (representing the actual cost to BCBS)
Mid-Level represents the actual cost to BCBS to offer our programs. Any amount paid above the Supported fee is considered tax-deductible and helps us make our programs available to all, regardless of ability to pay. Please keep your email receipts and thank you emails as your official record to claim your donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes. Because we want our programs to be accessible regardless of ability to pay, financial assistance is available.
*BCBS fees do not include compensation for teachers. Our teachers are not contracted; they are supported by the generosity of participants in our programs. A donation (dana) to your teachers at the end of your program is invited at whatever amount feels right to you.
Through the generosity of our community, we’re generally able to offer up to three scholarships per person per year for those in need, so please don’t hesitate to request financial assistance. We have particular scholarship funds dedicated to support young adults and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
Financial assistance of up to 50% of the supported fee can be claimed during registration. For financial assistance greater than 50% of the supported fee, please indicate how much you're able to pay and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
Following a long Buddhist tradition, our teachers offer the Buddhadharma out of a spirit of generosity (we use the term “dana,” which is the word used in classical Indic languages including Sanskrit and Pali). Program fees do not include compensation for teachers, though we do reimburse them for travel and other basic costs. Some of our teachers live only on freely offered dana contributions as a life practice; it is an inspiring, counter-cultural way of life. There will be an opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation to your teachers at the end of your program.
If you need to cancel your registration, please contact us as soon as possible.
Cancellation policies by program type:
There are no cancellation fees for donation-based programs.
Registration fees for online programs are nonrefundable after the program start date. Cancellations prior to the program start date incur a $25 cancellation fee. Application-based and online path programs incur a $50 cancellation fee in 2023 and a $100 cancellation fee beginning 2024.
If you need to cancel your registration, please contact us as soon as possible. This policy applies to all residential programs, including paths. As of 2023, 100% of your deposit is forfeited if you cancel within two weeks of the program start date. Beginning 2024, 50% of your deposit is forfeited if you cancel within three to six weeks of the program start date. Otherwise, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs two nights or longer and $25 for weekend programs. Please note cancellation fees never exceed $50 for those receiving financial assistance.
Some of our programs are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). If a particular program is eligible for CEUs, it will be indicated on its program information page. There is a $40 fee for CEUs; only participants who request CEUs will be charged the fee.
For psychologists: Some programs are co-sponsored by BCBS and The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy (IMP). IMP is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists and maintains responsibility for all BCBS programs offering CEUs to psychologists.
For social workers: The Collaborative of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Boston College, and Simmons College School of Social Work authorize social work continuing education units for programs that meet the criteria outlined in 258 CMR of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers. Please note that NASW accreditation does not guarantee acceptance by all state boards. Please check with your licensing board to determine if the program you're interested in is eligible for CEUs.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about a specific program's CEUs.
We offer lotteries to accommodate high-demand programs and/or a teacher's desire to achieve a particular demographic balance. Specific lottery information can be found on a program’s information page. Those selected from the lottery will receive an email from us including a link to make an initial deposit. You must make a deposit within three days of receiving this email to confirm your enrollment. If you’re 100% committed to attending a program but know you'll be unreachable when lottery results are announced, please email us at email@example.com.
We prioritize the safety, health, and wellbeing of our community. To reduce risk during the Covid-19 pandemic we keep windows open whenever possible, have air purifiers running in the main indoor spaces, and clean and disinfect all surfaces regularly. If you feel sick in any way while on campus, please let a staff member know. If you get sick before the start of a program, please stay home and we will refund your full deposit.
All participants are required to take a Covid-19 test on the day they arrive on campus. Please take the test prior to arrival and bring a picture of the negative test to registration. If your Covid-19 test is positive, please reach out to (978) 355-2347 ext.10 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Masks in indoor spaces are optional.
Have a Plan
Please have a plan for getting home quickly and safely should you test positive or come down with an illness while at BCBS.
We are committed to disability justice and regard accessibility as a civil right and we strive to make our residential and online programs as accessible as possible. Both the Farmhouse and Dharma Hall are wheelchair accessible. Hearing assistance devices are available in both locations as well. Closed captions are available for all of our online programs. Please email us at email@example.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
We are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Some of our programs are offered specifically for particular groups, including those who have been historically marginalized, such as LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). If a particular program is affinity-based, it will say so on its program information page. For other programs, teachers sometimes offer affinity spaces. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about a specific program's affinity options.
BCBS is located in central Massachusetts, about 2 miles north of Barre center. By car, we are 50 minutes northwest of Worcester, MA, 1.5-2 hours west of Boston, MA and 3.5-4.5 hours northeast of New York, NY. There is no public transportation service directly to Barre.
149 Lockwood Road
Barre, Massachusetts 01005
Take Route 122 North to Barre (approximately 22 miles). Then see "From Barre Town Common" below.
Take Route 2 West to Gardner (exit 83). At the traffic circle, take Route 68 South to Route 62 (approximately 9 miles). Then take Route 62 West to Barre (approximately 7 miles). Then see "From Barre Town Common" below.
Follow I-90 W to Cambridge St in Worcester. Take the Quinsigamond Ave exit from MA-146 N. Take MA-122 North (left) to Barre. Then see "From Barre Town Common" below.
From New York and points south / western Massachusetts
Take I-91 to I-90 (Mass Pike) East to Palmer (exit 63). Take Route 32 North to Barre (approximately 25 miles). Then see "From Barre Town Common" below.
From Vermont and northwestern Massachusetts
Take Route 2 East (exit 50 off I-91) to Route 122 South (exit 70). Follow 122 South to Barre Center (about 18 miles). As you approach the Barre Town Common, turn left onto Pleasant Street where Route 122 makes a sharp right. Don't take this right turn. Then see "From Barre Town Common" below.
From Barre Town Common
Follow Route 122/32 North through Barre center and past Barre Library on your left. Just after this, continue straight onto Pleasant Street. You will be leaving Route 122/32 at this point. Proceed 1.7 miles along Pleasant Street. Turn right on Lockwood Road (you will see a rock with BCBS carved on it). The BCBS Farmhouse is at the end of Lockwood Road, about 1/4 mile from Pleasant Street.
By Bus or Train
Take a bus or train to Worcester, MA via:
Then take a taxi to BCBS via Worcester Yellow Cab (508-754-3211), which provides 24-hour service from Worcester to Barre, or Relaxie Taxi (Tony’s cell: 774-696-1298).
Major airlines fly into Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). The most convenient transportation from Logan to BCBS is Knight's Airport Limousine Service. A 10% off discount code for all rides to/from BCBS is included in your registration confirmation. Knight's Limo also offers discounts to AAA members and senior citizens. Call 800-822-5456 or book online.
Worcester Regional Airport (ORH) is also an option. From the airport, take Worcester Yellow Cab (508-754-3211), which provides 24-hour service from Worcester to Barre, or Relaxie Taxi (Tony's cell: 774-696-1298).
If you need a ride or can offer a ride to or from BCBS, please visit the BCBS/IMS ride share page, available to folks enrolled at BCBS or IMS, an affiliated center just down the street. While you're welcome to preview rides needed or offered, you'll need a password to post or coordinate a ride, which you can find in your registration confirmation.
There are 22 single rooms and 4 double rooms on campus. Each room is simply and comfortably furnished with a twin bed, closet, desk, and chair and contains an alarm clock, flashlight, and fan. Please plan to bring your own twin sheets, pillowcases, and any extra blankets or comforters you might need. If you’re taking public transportation or are otherwise unable to bring your own linens, we have linens available. Otherwise, all beds come with a mattress cover, light blanket, heavy comforter, and two pillows. Each floor has access to shared one-person bathrooms and showers. Unless you have specific health or accessibility needs, we cannot accommodate specific room requests. Please email email@example.com with any questions or concerns you have about staying on campus.
For a modest fee you can stay an extra night before or after your program as long as it isn’t scheduled back-to-back with another program. Please note that we will not be serving meals before dinner on opening day or after lunch on closing day, so you will need to arrange your own meals during off-program hours. Coffee, tea, cereal, bread, peanut butter, tahini, and fruit are available at all times in the dining room. Yogurt, milk, dairy-free milk, gluten-free bread, butter, Earth Balance, jams, and hard boiled eggs are available at all times in the community fridge. You’re welcome to bring and store your own food and beverages in the limited space available in the dining room and community fridge as well.
Attending a residential program as a non-resident means you’re responsible for finding your own housing and transportation to and from the Center during your program. We welcome you to join us for three vegetarian meals served daily. For suggestions on places to stay, please visit our local lodgings page.
A typical residential day starts at 6:30 am and ends at 9:00 pm. Check-in is from 2:00 – 5:45 pm on opening day and lunch is served at 12:00 pm on closing day after the program concludes. Please keep in mind that each program is unique and schedules sometimes vary. Most programs have a schedule something like this:
2:00 – 5:45 pm Check-in
4:30 pm BCBS Campus Tour (optional)
5:50 pm Kitchen Orientation and Dinner
7:30 – 9:00 pm Program Opening/Evening Session
6:30 am Wake-up Bell
7:00 – 7:30 am Group Sitting Practice
7:30 – 8:00 am Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00 am Yogi Job
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Morning Session
12:00 – 12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 – 5:00 pm Afternoon Session
5:00 – 5:30 pm Dinner
7:00 – 9:00 pm Evening Session
6:30 am Wake-up Bell
7:00 – 7:30 am Group Sitting Practice
7:30 – 8:00 am Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00 am Yogi Job
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Morning Session
12:00 – 12:30 pm Lunch (optional)
We serve three nutritious vegetarian meals a day. We do our best to provide options for those who are gluten- and/or dairy-free and provide a sign-up sheet for participants with food sensitivities on opening day. Please understand we are a small Center and are not able to accommodate all dietary needs.* Coffee, tea, cereal, bread, peanut butter, tahini, and fruit are available at all times in the dining room. Yogurt, milk, dairy-free milk, gluten-free bread, butter, Earth Balance, jams, and hard boiled eggs are available at all times in the community fridge. You’re welcome to bring and store your own food and beverages in the limited space available in the dining room and community fridge as well.
*Please be aware that our kitchen uses ingredients that are allergens to some people – such as peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten and soy – to provide sources of protein in a vegetarian diet. We cannot remove these allergens from our menu to accommodate individual program participants. Our kitchen staff members are trained in safe food handling, including the prevention of cross contamination, but please note that we do not have the facilities or resources to ensure that trace amounts of allergens are not present in our food. If you have a serious food allergy, please keep this in mind as you decide whether a BCBS program is suitable for you. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns about your dietary needs.
Comfortable clothes and footwear for study and practice sessions as well as outdoor activities like walking meditation and/or hiking along our wooded trails. Please keep in mind that we experience all four seasons at the Center and what you bring will depend on the time of year you’re visiting. Because it can often be cool enough for heavy coats and warm enough for short-sleeves within the same day or week, we recommend bringing plenty of layers you can add or remove as needed. Especially during winter and spring, when it can be particularly snowy/sandy/muddy, we recommend bringing two pairs of shoes, so you can wear one pair outside and one pair inside. If you’re planning to hike along our wooded trails, be sure to plan accordingly. For example, in winter you might want to bring removable traction devices and/or snowshoes.
Twin sheets, pillowcases, and any extra blankets you might need. If you’re taking public transportation or are otherwise unable to bring your own linens, we have linens available. Otherwise, all beds come with a mattress cover, light blanket, heavy comforter, and two pillows. Each room also contains an alarm clock, flashlight, and fan.
Towels and unscented toiletries. We provide unscented soap, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer.
Feminine hygiene products. We provide unscented sanitary napkins/pads and tampons.
Medications, vitamins, supplements, etcetera. If you’re taking medications or vitamins and supplements, please be sure to bring enough for the duration of your program.
Food and beverages specific to your dietary needs. While we do our best to provide options for those who are gluten- and dairy-free and provide a sign-up sheet for folks with food sensitivities on opening day, we are a small Center and are not able to accommodate all dietary needs. You’re welcome to bring and store your own food and beverages in the dining room and community fridge.
In the warmer months, sunscreen and bug spray. We provide these as well.
Possibly, your own meditation props. We provide basic zabutons (mats), zafus (cushions), chairs, and blankets in the dharma hall. Please bring any extra meditation props you might need, such as additional cushions or a meditation stool.
To support participants with odor sensitivities and/or chemical allergies, we ask you not to bring or use perfumes or scented products. We provide unscented soap, shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer, if you’re unable to bring your own.
A yogi job is an opportunity for you to practice mindfulness during everyday activities and enables BCBS to keep programs affordable. For 30-45 minutes a day you might be chopping vegetables, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, or helping teachers manage our audio systems during dharma talks.
Most mobile carriers offer coverage here and we provide free Wi-Fi on campus. For some programs, participants will be invited to set aside electronic devices to allow for a more serene, introspective experience.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, BCBS welcomes service animals (who are trained to perform a particular service and are required because of a disability). We are unable to accommodate pets or emotional support animals. If you will be bringing a service animal to BCBS please contact us at least ten days before the program to coordinate housing and other needs at email@example.com.
To listen to dharma talks from your program, visit https://www.dharmaseed.org. Please keep in mind that not all BCBS programs are recorded for Dharmaseed. If the dharma talks from your program are restricted to participants, we will include a code in the email we send out the day after your program concludes. To explore dharma talks from other BCBS programs, visit our freely offered page or check out our YouTube channel, updated regularly.
We use Zoom to host our online programs, available for download at Zoom’s Download Center. Downloading this software is optional. You can still attend our online programs via Internet browser on your supported phone, tablet, or computer by using the link we provide in the welcome email we send out in the three days leading up to your program.
When you enroll in an online program, you receive a registration confirmation right away and a welcome email within three days of your program start date. The welcome email contains the Zoom meeting link as well as any relevant program materials. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help accessing your online program.
Not all online programs are recorded. If a program will be recorded and made available to you, it will say so on the program’s information page and in the welcome email. We include instructions for accessing recorded programs in the email we send out the day after a program concludes.