Dharma Seed began in 1984 in a bleak basement room affectionately known as “the cave” at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. Motivated by respect for the contemporary oral teachings, compassion for those not able to attend retreats, and generosity towards those aspiring to grow through hearing the dharma, IMS staffer Bill Hamilton began taping IMS dharma talks and making them widely available by mail.
Over the last twenty years the operation has grown immensely in scope and complexity. In 2005 alone, Dharma Seed recorded and archived more than 750 talks given by 91 vipassana teachers at 8 different retreat centers; more than 9,500 talks have been freely given to about 3,100 people. Our archives contain over 8,500 recordings, and each month we stream an average of 3,000 hours of dharma talks to approximately 15,000 unique listeners in more than 75 countries (that’s over 100 hours of dharma a day!).
Endearing letters of gratitude have poured in from all over the globe, from isolated parts of the United States, from prisoners, the disabled and shut-ins. “The dhamma you sent me,” wrote an ex-convict, “saved me from self-destruction. I wouldn’t have been released from prison if it weren’t for these teachings.”
Our goal for the last five years has been to put ourselves “out of business.” We have already moved from selling tapes at a discount to freely distributing the talks in multiple forms (tapes, CDs, MP3s and other audio files). At the turn of the millennium we began to rely almost entirely upon the generous donations of listeners instead of charging fees to support the operation, and we completed the transition to being fully dana-supported in 2005. Over the next few years, using the best of the new technology, we hope to so automate the process of recording that dharma talks can easily and freely find their way from the meditation hall to listeners everywhere. The lion’s roar uttered by the Buddha in the Deer Park in Sarnath continues to reverberate around the world.
For more information, visit www.dharmaseed.org.