Dhamma Dena Meditation Center
Joshua Tree, California
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.
We are in the process of an organizational restructuring and the best conditions for our transformation is to close the center for the summer. We have cancelled retreats and Thursday sits for this reason. Thank you for your patience and many apologies for any impact from this change.
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.
Arinna Weisman, Resident Teacher
Arinna Weisman first studied with Ruth Denison in the Fall of 1979. She became a devoted student and was empowered to teach by Ruth in 1988. She is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley, 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.
She is honored to continue the lineage of Ruth's and U Bha Khin's teaching and to support the health and vibrancy of Dhamma Dena Meditation Center as a 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.
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.