What are KM Groups?
KM or Kalyana mitta groups meet regularly to practice together, forming smaller sanghas within SIMS. “Kalyana mitta” means "spiritual friend" in Pali, the language of the Buddha. For many SIMS sangha members, participating in a KM group is a very important aspect of their meditation practice. A strong sense of connection and intimacy often develops within these small groups.
At a typical KM meeting, the group meditates, members check in, have tea together, and discuss their recent experiences with practice in the context of the group. Some KM groups use a particular book or set of readings, while others converge around a theme or dharma topic. Examples of recent KM group themes include exploring the shadow, dharma and relationships, and death and dying. Groups also form around shared interests such as retirement, the dharma and the 12 steps, and gender issues.
When Do Groups Meet?
Typically KM groups meet once or twice a month for a couple of hours at members’ homes. New groups often commit for an initial period of three to six months, with each member expected to regularly attend meetings. After the initial period, the group may continue to meet if group members wish to do so. If some members elect to leave, the group may open to new members.
How Do I Join a KM Group?
SIMS KM groups include meditators within the Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist tradition, all of whom have had beginning meditation instructions. Those who are interested in joining an open KM group should contact the group’s facilitator directly or go through the KM Coordinator. Or, if there is not an open group that is the right fit, sangha members may wish to start their own group.
How Do I Start a KM Group?
Two facilitators from the sangha guide each KM group. Some experience is required: one of the facilitators should have at least three years of Vipassana practice experience and a second should been practicing for at least two years. KM facilitators have the responsibility to create a safe space for rich dharma discussion through promoting and modeling openness, confidentiality, and commitment.
For information about starting a group, please contact the KM Training Coordinator.