Dhamma Dena

We are a Vipassana Buddhist Center situated in the Mojave Desert of California, near Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. It 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 renowned for her wisdom.

MISSION & VALUES

Dhamma Dena Meditation Center is dedicated to supporting and awakening our capacity to love unconditionally and wisely. Through silent retreats, work retreats, self-retreats or as staff we orient towards building the strength to live our lives free of the clouds of anxiety, fear, obsessions, depression and confusion. We understand that the practice of transforming these energies benefits ourselves, our loved ones and our immediate communities, and ripples outward to the world. We care about ending ignorance and injustice in societal institutions and policies that sustains inequity, disenfranchisement, and the destruction of the earth.

Dhamma Dena is committed to building accessibility by supporting all those who want to come to the center, those who are people of color, transgender, gay, lesbian, queer, gender non-conforming, those who have immigrated, those who live with physical disability, those with chemical sensitivity, and those without financial resources. We are dedicated to building beloved community where all parts of ourselves feel welcome and honored.

April 18- April 21 - POC Retreat Alisa Dennis and Sydney Reece

April 26 - May 3 – Women's Spring Retreat with Jill Rayna

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

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.

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

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.