Teaching – New Zealand


April 2: Group sitting and dharma talk for Auckland Insight – ONLINE

7:00 – 8:45 pm NZT on Zoom

Contact Auckland Insight for details: aucklandinsight<at>gmail.com

April 9: Group sitting and dharma talk for Auckland Insight – ONLINE

7:00 – 8:45 pm NZT on Zoom

Contact Auckland Insight for details: aucklandinsight<at>gmail.com

April 16: Group sitting and dharma talk for Auckland Insight – ONLINE

7:00 – 8:45 pm NZT on Zoom

Contact Auckland Insight for details: aucklandinsight<at>gmail.com

May 19 – June 4 

May 31: One-day facilitator gathering – Auckland

Postponed – more info coming soon

Auckland Insight is a mostly peer-led group, and we rely on the support of community members to keep the group running. This gathering is an opportunity for supporters of Auckland Insight to come together with guiding teacher Jill Shepherd to learn about and share the rewards and challenges of being a facilitator, host, navigator and/or volunteer.

SPECIAL GUEST by video-link TBA

We will explore the process and practice of facilitation through a mix of talks, group discussion, dyad (pairs) practice and silent meditation. 

This gathering is open to anyone who has participated in Auckland Insight meetings in any capacity.

Time and date: 9:30-4:30 pm Sunday 31 May new date to be advised
Location: Dunottar Hall 175 Garnet Road Westmere 1022
Cost: Dana*
To register: TBA

June 13-14 – July 18-19: Six-week class series – ONLINE

Cultivating resilience in challenging times:

Learning from the “heavenly messengers” 

This six-week online course offers an opportunity to develop and strengthen our inner resources of kindness, compassion, calm and clarity, through an exploration of what are traditionally known as “the four heavenly messengers.”
In Buddhist teaching, these are four archetypes that symbolise the existential challenges we face, and the way to overcome those challenges. The four are a sick person, an aged person, a dying person, and a contemplative.

At first glance, these messengers might not sound so heavenly, but by learning how to relate to their messages skilfully, they help us to live our lives with more ease, happiness, and peace.
The course is best suited to people who have sat at least one seven-day silent meditation retreat, but prior Buddhist study is not necessary.

Each two-hour class will include a short dharma talk, some silent meditation practice, dyad (pairs) practice, and small group discussion.

During the six weeks of the course, you will be invited to maintain a regular sitting practice and keep a practice journal, to help inform the discussion during each meeting.

Because this is a group learning process, participants are asked to make a commitment to attend all six sessions of the course, and to allow at least two hours a week for personal study and reflections to be shared with the group.
Feel free to contact Jill if you have any questions about this.

Teacher: Jill Shepherd http://jill0shepherd-insightmeditation.com

Cost for all six sessions: $50 + dana*

Times and dates:

Option 1 (30 people max)

Singapore SGT 7:00-9:00 a.m. Sunday mornings 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020
Sydney AEST 9:00-11:00 a.m. Sunday mornings 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020
Auckland NZT 11:00-1:00 p.m. Sunday mornings 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020
San Francisco PDT 4:00-6:00 p.m. Saturday afternoons 13 June – Saturday 18 July 2020
New York EDT 7:00-9:00 p.m. Saturday evenings 13 June – Saturday 18 July 2020

Option 2 (30 people max)

Singapore SGT 3:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday afternoons 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020
Sydney AEST 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday evenings 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020
Auckland NZT 7:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday evenings 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020
London GMT 8:30-10:30 a.m. Sunday mornings 14 June – Sunday 19 July 2020

To register: https://events.humanitix.com/six-week-dharma-study-class-series-online

*The registration fee covers only a contribution to course administration, and booking fees. 

In keeping with Buddhist tradition, the teachings are offered on a dana basis which means the teacher is not paid to offer this workshop.  Instead, they rely on the generosity of the participants to help them continue to share their teachings with others, and there will be an opportunity at the end of each class to offer donations to support their ongoing teaching.

July 27 – September 8 

August 21-30: Nine-day Insight Meditation retreat – Coromandel

Finding the heart of freedom

The Four Noble Truths that form the heart of the Buddha’s teaching invite us to examine our relationship to dukkha: stress, distress, unsatisfactoriness, suffering. Most of us though, have an instinctive resistance to suffering, so we need to practice working skilfully with the different levels of fear that often show up along the path to freedom. As we learn how to release ourselves from the confines of these fears, we’re able to live with greater ease, happiness, and peace, and to connect with the wisdom and compassion that are our true nature.

Each day, there will be sessions of guided and silent sitting meditation, walking meditation, group discussion, individual meetings with the teacher and a period of optional, gentle mindful movement.

Teachers: Jill Shepherd and Julie Downard

Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, and is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal.

Julie Downard has been practising meditation since 1991 when she was living in England. She has practised intensively with teachers in both the Insight and Zen traditions in India, England, California, Australia, France and New Zealand. Julie has been teaching on retreats and Dharma Gatherings since 2007. She lives in Christchurch, and is a co-founder and trustee of Southern Insight Meditation.

Experience level: This retreat is best suited to people who have done at least two previous residential insight meditation retreats of two nights or longer.

Time and dates: 4:30 p.m. Friday 21 August – 1:00 p.m. Sunday 30 August 2020
Location: Te Moata Retreat Centre 180 Paul Road Tairua 3544
Cost: Sliding scale $850-$650+ dana* 
Supporter rate – Slightly more than actual-cost ticket: covers cost of food and accommodation, a contribution to the teacher’s travel costs, and a contribution to scholarships for low-income attendees
Actual cost – Actual-cost ticket covers cost of food and accommodation, and a small contribution to the teacher’s travel costs
Scholarship rate – Below cost ticket: covers a contribution towards cost of food and accommodation only
To register: https://events.humanitix.co.nz/finding-the-heart-of-freedom


In most Buddhist traditions the teachers are not paid to teach. Instead, the teachings are given on a ‘dana’ basis – dana being the Pali word for generosity or giving freely. At the end of the course, participants are invited to reciprocate this generosity by offering dana to support the teacher.

Jill is an independent meditation teacher and is not financially supported by any meditation centre or Buddhist organisation. She relies on dana for her livelihood, and often pays for the expenses incurred in offering a retreat, including most international airfares, herself.