About

About the Community

Since the fall of 1996, the Bodhisara Dharma Community has drawn together people in the Amherst-Northampton area of western Massachusetts not only to learn the teachings and practices of the Buddha, but to embody them in a supportive and inclusive spiritual “home." We teach insight meditation and other practices from the Theravadin Buddhist tradition.  Over the last few years non-dual teaching has also been incorporated as well.  A number of people have found particular benefit from the teachings of Adyashanti. We are non-sectarian in spirit, open to all, and have members who also practice in other traditions, Buddhist as well as Jewish and Christian.

The name Bodhisàra is in the Pali language from the time of the Buddha.  It represents the aspiration to make an awakened and compassionate understanding-- bodhi--be the core or heartwood--sàra --around which our lives grow and a source of strength against the vicissitudes of life. 

It started in the Fall of 1997 with insight meditation classes led by Mark Hart in Amherst. These have continued one night per week September through June since that time.  The Community Gatherings, originally called "Householder Practice Groups," started in January 1998, and were first held at the Leverett Town Hall, and then at Mt Toby Friends Meetinghouse..  These offered something quite rare among western Buddhist practitioners: the chance to practice in a setting where young people can also participate. These were discontinued in 2004.  The Sunday morning sitting group was offered instead.  The group met in a member’s home, and consists of 45 minutes of meditation and 45 minutes of sharing from the silence and from the heart, one at a time with no cross talk.  The Dharma Study Group, started in 1999, met twice monthly until it was discontinued in January of 2014.  One-day retreats also began spring 1998, and we offer occasional guest teachers for talks and retreats.

Originally these classes and events were sponsored by Mark and Kate, but in the spring of 1999, as the community and its administrative work began to grow, they appealed to volunteers to create a non-profit organization to share the many jobs that make up this work. The Community serves two purposes: to support Mark’s teaching and to create a community of Dharma friends who support each others awakening.

 All who support our mission to bring the Dharma to this area and establish it in our culture are encouraged to participate in Bodhisàra.  To find out more about Bodhisàra Dharma Community, contact Mark Hart at (413) 259-2145. markdhart56@gmail.com 

Bodhisara board of directors includes, Mark Hart, Jim Walker, and Nico Sauve

About the Guiding Teacher



Mark Hart has practiced Insight Meditation since 1981, studying primarily at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA.  Since 2000 has also studied with teachers of non-dual awareness, including Adyashanti, and has incorporated that into his teaching.  He is guiding teacher of the Bodhisara Dharma Community  in Amherst, Massachusetts, on the teacher’s council at Insight Pioneer Valley in Easthampton, and adjunct religious advisor to Buddhist students at Amherst College. He holds a Ph.D in theology from Boston College, an MA in Counseling from Seattle University, and has a private practice of psychotherapy in Amherst.

Board meeting information