Meditation has been a part of religious practice for thousands of years, extolled from Athens to Osaka by many philosophers, gurus, and teachers. It can also be a helpful tool for those looking to calm their minds amid the stress of work, relationships, or anxiety. These centers offer meditation for all levels, from absolute beginners to masters:
Averill Park, 518.674.8714
Dedicated to “Yoga Science,” The AMI was founded by Leonard and Jenness Cortez Perlmutter in 1996. They offer a specially-designed, non-denominational form of meditation, which can be taught in special courses on campus. They also offer a unique conference for physicians ever fall.
This Vietnamese monastery was founded by the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, author of books including The Miracle of Mindfulness and Peace is Every Step. Days of Mindfulness are on a donation basis for visitors, and they hold approximately one retreat a month for instruction in the cultivation of mindfulness.
Run by the Buddhist Association of the United States, Chuang Yen offers meditation in many traditions, including special Theravada retreats and a weekly Sunday meditation class by teachers of various sects.
Pine Bush, 845.744.8114
Located below the Shawangunk Ridge, Dharma Drum was founded by Chan Master Sheng Yen and is dedicated to the practice of Chan Buddhism. Classes range from free workshops to in-depth retreats focusing on various aspects of Chan practice, including an upcoming silent weekend.
Pine Bush, 845.203.1275
The Center of Wellbeing is affiliated with the Dharmakaya Institute, founded by incarnate lama and Harvard PhD Trungnam Gyalwa Rinpoche, currently head of the Tibetan Trungnam lineage. They aim to fuse Tibetan knowledge with western understanding, resulting in an accessible practice. Weekend retreats for both beginners and initiates are held all summer long.
This non-denominational center of contemplation is based in an refurbished Capuchin monastery. Its retreats focus on a variety of topics, from mindfulness to neurobiology to lectures on key aspects of Buddhism, Judaism, and other religious traditions.
Glen Spey, 845.856.9000
The 82 acres of Kadampa include the modern World Peace Temple dedicated to meditation. Tibetan meditation is offered by various teachers, and a number of personal and group retreats are also available for those looking to deepen their practice.
The Hudson Valley is home to a number of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, all of which host their own meditation sessions. KTC holds daily Chrenrezig chanting practice in addition to special classes, in addition to weekly introductions to sitting meditation. Their special events include talks from dedicated practitioners, as well as prayer sessions timed to the Tibetan religious calendar. They have limited overnight space.
This gorgeous temple in the mountains overlooking Woodstock is a popular tourist destination, but once the crowds leave and the chanting begins, you could just as easily be in Dharamshala or Ulaanbaatar. They offer a number of classes in Tibetan Buddhism, and have a well-stocked bookstore.
Linwood is operated by the Ursuline Sisters, and so offer a number of unique retreats at their gorgeous, riverside convent, included guided Ignatian practice, Twelve-Step programs, and a number of all-Women programs.
South Cairo, 212.925.8787 ext. 110 or 103
South Cairo is home to the oldest Chinese Buddhist Temple in the Eastern United States. They schedule regular trips from New York City, and Mahayana meditation occurs daily.
Menla has the special distinction of being the Dalai Lama’s cultural center in North America, and is associated with Tibet House. It is a bit more luxe than the average temple or meditation center, with an associated spa. For those looking to both deepen their practice and maybe get an exfoliation.
The Omega Institute’s sprawling campus in rural Rhinebeck is dedicated to all-things ethical: vegan meals, sustainable practices, as well as workshops in meditation, tai-chi, and yoga, all for the purpose of freeing your mind and your heat. Many classes are reserved for retreat participants, but check the website for a list of open classes for drop-ins.
Won is, by the standards of Buddhism, fairly-recent — its founder attained enlightenment in 1916. Its tenets focus on the use, rather than the expiation, of Mind, and so both weekly free meditation classes and retreats like “Purifying Body and Mind” focus on more mindful practices.
Mt. Tremper, 845.688.2228
This Western Zen monastery has prospered since 1980, and is associated with Zen Center of New York City. They offer guided zazen meditation, as well as retreats lasting from a weekend to a month.