Seeing Security Everywhere: Finding Refuge in the Storm of Uncertainty (2021)

06/11/2021 02:00 PM - 06/20/2021 HT


Online Retreats


  • $90.00  -  Weekend-Only Yogi
  • $325.00  -  9-Day Full-Time Yogi
  • $250.00  -  9-Day Part-Time Yogi
  • $20.00  -  Weekend Only (Scholarship)
  • $20.00  -  9-Day Full-Time (Scholarship)
  • $20.00  -  9-Day Part-Time (Scholarship)





Finding Refuge in the Storm of Uncertainty

Weekend/ June 11-13, 2021

9-Day / June 11-20, 2021

Online Intensive Meditation Retreat

with Michele McDonald, Steven Smith, Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey,

Pari Ruengvisesh, and Darine Monroy


In the Attadanada Sutta, the Buddha is quoted as saying,

Not harsh, not greedy, not perturbed, everywhere in tune:

This is the reward — I say when asked — for those who are free from pre-conceptions.

For one unperturbed — who understands — there is no accumulating.

Abstaining, unaroused, they see security everywhere.

Join this group of teachers for a supported Self-Retreat during this period of time where the unresolved harm of the past, the instability of the present and the undependability of the future has been brought into intense focus. How can we find peace amid the volatility, compassion amid the tragedy, loving kindness amid the anger? During this era of tumult, possibility, hope and fear, we encourage our students to take the time to heed the call into silence and exploration - to use it as an opportunity to develop the beautiful qualities of mind that we know are available to us in any moment but which do not arise easily without training.

While your individual schedule may vary from other yogis in the group, every participant will be offered:

~ Daily practice instructions

~ Interviews

~ Dhamma talks

~ Group chanting in the evenings

Instructions, talks, and chanting will be offered live and will also be recorded so that yogis in various time zones can listen and watch at their convenience.

We understand that the conditions of seclusion may vary greatly for all of us and so we cannot expect the same degree of support that we might have at a retreat center. Nevertheless, we expect all yogis who sign up to be able to have a the capacity to mostly stay in silence during their days, to primarily be yogis during this time - amid other tasks and responsibilities that may be necessary for us to manage from time to time. We understand that given the reality of their lives, many yogis will need to cook, clean, answer a few emails, respond to a bit of work, etc. Part of the value of self-retreat is the ability to integrate our practice into our daily lives. At the same time it is very easy for the protection of the container to fall apart entirely and without that protection our practice will not have the conditions in which to flourish.

Yogis will have three options to participate:

1. As Full-Time Yogis for the 9-Day Retreat you will be expected to hold a great-deal of seclusion and silence and participate in the full program for the full duration. These yogis will be included in the interview schedule posted each day for one-on-one teacher support during the week and have Q&A Sessions at various points. All sessions will be recorded and so can be watched again or, for yogis in distant time zones, viewed at your convenience.

The full-time Intensive option is only open to students of Steven, Michele, Jesse, Pari, and Darine who have sat retreat courses with them in the past.


2. As Part-Time yogis for the 9-Day Retreat you can join any sessions you are available to attend during the week and watch the recordings at your convenience. You will not be included on the interview schedule and are asked to only quietly obserce the Q&A sessions.

The part-time Intensive option is only open to students of Steven, Michele, Jesse, Pari, and Darine who have sat retreat courses with them in the past.


3. As Weekend Yogis you are invited to join for the 1st weekend portion of the retreat.



The daily schedule will look something like this:

(all Times Hawaii Standard - Pacific+3, Mounatin +4, Central +5, Eastern+6)

  • 5am ~ Sitting Meditation
  • 7am  ~ Walking Meditation
  • 10am  ~ Sitting with Instructions
  • 11:30 ~ Interviews (weekdays), Q&A (weekends)
  • 2pm  ~ Dhamma Talk
  • 4pm  ~ Metta Chanting and Sit

Vipassana Hawaii regularly has participants for our online retreats from around the world. Please know that all sessions will be recorded and available on the Oriana retreat platofmr to watch at your convenience. Interview times will take your time zone into consideration as much as possible.

Please contact Vipassana Hawaii with any questions you may have regarding your participation.


All fees for the program will go to sustaining the basic needs of the organization. NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY FOR LACK OF FUNDS.

You may pay the full price upon registration or register for a scholarship amount that matches your budget. Please be aware that this open-payment system is an experiment and a risk for us. It will certainly require those who can afford to pay more than the base price do so in order to expand our ability to provide Dhamma to those who cannot.

We look forward to supporting you in the ways we know best during these challenging times.


In accordance with tradition, all Vipassana Hawai’i internationally respected teachers offer their teachings free of charge and are supported through the freely-offered generosity of students and supporters. Costs associated with retreats cover the growing expenses associated with online services, online storage, broadcasting equipment, and website administration - but do not support teacher time, training, effort, or energy. We believe that this commitment helps keep the purity of the teachings alive and thriving, as it has for millennia. They do not collect salaries in keeping with the time-honored tradition of sharing openly the chance for peace. This allows us to keep our registration fees as low as possible but also means that the livelihood of our teachers is precarious. As a result, we strive to give back in any for - including monetarily - so that they may continue their endeavors and share their wisdom. Vipassana Teachers must be supported in this way if we are to keep this tradition alive, healthy, and with integrity in the modern era. Dana, or generosity, can be offered by cash or check at the end of the retreat or online here.


Michele McDonald co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 with Steven Smith. She has taught Insight meditation for thirty eight years. Beyond her commitment to the Vipassana Hawai’i Sangha, she teaches extensively throughout the United States, in Canada, Burma, and various locations around the world. Michele has been a quiet pioneer having being the first woman to teach a formal retreat in Burma, side-by-side with a senior monastic figure, Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. Having worked with a wide range of Asian and Western teachers, Michele is most inspired by her practice with Dipa Ma and Sayadaw U Pandita and more recently in Burma with the Mya Taung Sayadaw. She appreciates teaching at many levels of practice and has enjoyed teaching three-month retreats for experienced students as well as developing meditation retreats for youth. Her style of teaching emphasizes helping individuals find entry points into stillness that are natural for them. She encourages an understanding of the path of insight and a gentle strengthening of mindfulness and concentration so that, ultimately, people can access the peaceful depths of their experience in every moment. Michele is thrilled when students begin to love their practice as their own.

Steven V. Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.

Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey's teaching aims to inspire the skills, determination, and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom. He is a student of Michele McDonald and his approach is rooted in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. As a teacher of Vipassana (insight) meditation within the broader context of Theravadan Buddhism his teaching encourages an exploration of the relationship between ethics, insight, and action. Perpetually intrigued by the dynamics between inner and outer change, Jesse is a writer of numerous essays and author of Insurgent Heart: A Vipassana Manual for the Guerrilla Yogi. Links to his writing can be found on his website: as well as links to his weekly musical radio show, Mind to Mind: The Transmission. He is a spoon carver who loves to teach people about how to work with their hands and explore the relationship between labor, ownership, and kamma. He is the resident teacher for Vipassana Hawai’i and teaches around the world.

Pari Ruengvisesh was born and raised in Thailand. Growing up in a predominantly Theravada Buddhist culture, she became familiar with Buddhist teachings and living the teachings as an embodied way of life. She has been living in Vancouver since the late 90’s. In 2004, she started formal Vipassana and Metta Meditation practice with Linda McDonald, and later on, with Michele McDonald and Steven Smith, as well as other western teachers and Asian monastics. Pari is committed to formal meditation practice on intensive retreats and applying the teachings in her daily life. Her primary practice is the Four Establishments of Mindfulness in the Mahasi Tradition. She has practiced under the guidance of the late Sayadaw U Pandita and Sayadaw U Lakkhana of Burma, and since 2010, Sayadaw U Vivekananda of Panditarama Lumbini, Nepal.

In 2012 she completed the Community Dhamma Leader Program at Spirit Rock, California. She has been sharing the Dhamma in Vancouver, and since 2013, has been assisting Michele McDonald, Steven Smith, and Jesse Vega-Frey with their annual Spring retreat at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, BC.

Darine Monroy has been a student of Michele McDonald and Steven Smith since 2011. She has taught for Mindful Schools and has completed the Hakomi Comprehensive Training. Darine was born and raised in Mexico, and meditation retreats have been among the most meaningful experiences of her life.

Please note our Cancellation Policy:

If you cancel less than 7 days prior to the event for a non-emergency, unfortunately we cannot afford to offer a refund. Last-minute cancellations are costly and usually mean that others cannot attend the retreat. 


Neon CRM by Neon One