Sangha Meeting Facilitator and Hosting Guide



Insight Meditation Circle of Cape Cod


Facilitator and Hosting Procedural Guide for Leading Insight Meditation Circle Meetings

Tuesday night Zoom meetings occur 7-8:30 p.m. Plan to join the meeting by 6:50 so you and the Zoom host have time to work out the technical aspects (i.e. break-out rooms, screen share etc.) and to clarify who is doing what.

Allow a few minutes for people to arrive, we usually start about 7:03 or so. 

Procedural Sequence of Meetings ( steps by step) 

1) Welcome everyone, you may want to acknowledge that simply showing up is a form of “practice” which generously contributes to the benefit of ourselves and this community.

2) Introduce yourself and the topic for the evening. Ask if anyone is new to the group, acknowledge them, and make sure that a GC member has put the email address for the IMC into the Zoom Chat so the new person can be on our mailing list if they choose.

3) Read the Opening Welcoming/Inclusion Statement:

“The Insight Meditation Circle welcomes everyone with an interest in learning about the teachings of the Buddha on wisdom, compassion and mindfulness. All are welcome from beginners to those who wish to deepen their practice. We strive to reflect the diversity of the Cape in which we live, and our sangha is a place where everyone of different ages, cultures, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and spiritual backgrounds is welcome. We acknowledge we are occupying land which was originally owned, occupied and continues to be, by the Nauset, Monomoy and Wampanoag indigenous people.”

To be read optionally:  “Vipassana or Insight Meditation is a simple, yet profound meditation practice that has the ability to transform how we experience the world. Through the cultivation of moment to moment awareness, life is seen how it actually is, not how we think it is, or want it to be. We discover that it is possible to have a more harmonious relationship with ourselves & the world around us. This understanding has a profound effect on our lives. It is the catalyst that allows us to let go of the thoughts and behaviors that get in the way of true happiness. The ease, the peace, of this state, is where our hearts can begin to finally come to rest.”

4) Ask if there are any announcements pertaining to Buddhism, and free from commercial interest.

5) Allow the Tuesday Night Scheduling Person to mention when facilitators are needed in upcoming weeks

6) Remind people to “mute” their microphones to decrease background noise.

7) Begin the silent meditation period by ringing a bell (or chime or bowl or whatever you have available) three times (We usually sit for 20 minutes).

8) End silent meditation – ring bell 3 times again.

9)  Topic Discussion/Readings/Multimedia If you plan to use the break-out rooms make sure you give people clear instructions before sending them off, remembering that you can post a reflection or contemplation on the Chat function before they break out. Once they’re in the break out rooms, you can use the “broadcast” message function which has a limit on the # of characters allowed. Provide clear instructions about how long each person has to talk uninterrupted, reminding them to take turns as speaker and listener, and how much time they’ll have for “open dialogue” (usually 5 minutes with no designated speaker or listener) once each person has spoken.

10) Use broadcast messages to keep the break-out groups on schedule, and to remind them to thank their partners before returning them to the main zoom room.

11) If you are hosting a group discussion, you may want to read this reminder first:  Guidelines To Keep In Mind During Group Participation and dialogue

  • Speak your truth in ways that respect other people’s truth. 
  • No fixing, no saving, no advising, or setting another straight.
  • Learn to respond to others with honest, open questions or statements instead of counsel, corrections.
  • Trust and learn from the silence.

12) Closing Silent Meditation (2-3 minutes). Start by 8:25 p.m. or so in order to end by 8:30 p.m.

13) Read the closing Declaration of Merit:

“may we extend this mind throughout the whole universe so that we together with all beings may know peace and joy, lovingkindness and the perfect wisdom of a buddha.” (ring bell, three times)


Click here for a downloadable and printable .pdf format document of this information.