Welcome to Mountain Stream Meditation/Nevada City Insight Center

Our Origins

Mountain Stream Meditation was incorporated in May of 1995 as a nonprofit organization. The corporation is organized as a California Charitable 501 (c) (3) Corporation, created to  promote the instruction and practice of Insight Meditation.

Our Purpose

Mountain Stream offers the heart and depth of the Buddha’s teachings for all beings, to ease suffering and to awaken compassion and joy.

Our Vision and Values

Our vision is one of universal awakening. Our values are generosity, compassion, wisdom and mindfulness.

Our Guiding Teacher

John Travis, Resident Teacher and Founder

John Travis, Resident Teacher and Founder

Mountain Stream Meditation's Guiding and Founding Teacher is John M Travis. He began leading Buddhist meditation groups in the Sierra Foothills in 1986. Mountain Stream Meditation became a 501 c 3 non profit organization in the early 1990's. 

The purpose and mission of Mountain Stream Meditation is to offer the heart and depth of the Buddha's teachings for all beings, to ease suffering and awaken to compassion and joy. 

In 2010 Mountain Stream purchased a unique property and remodeled the building into a beautiful meditation center named the Nevada City Insight Center. The Center opened in Jan, 2013, hosting weekly sitting groups, daylongs and other meditation programs. See listings Programs and Retreats


“I am so pleased that over the years through a grassroots system we have each discovered the dharma, and through that inspiration we have created a wave....a movement that now manifests itself as a viable center which will serve us now and into the next generation.”
- John Travis

Mountain Stream's History

Mountain Stream Meditation has supported Buddhist meditation in the Sierra Nevada since 1991. Our tradition is called Vipassana, or "Insight" meditation, which is part of the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. 

Traditionally, Theravada and Mahayana are the two main vehicles in Buddhism. The Mahayana tradition includes Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. Theravada is Buddhism as it arose originally with the Buddha in India, 2600 years ago. Our Insight practice is part of this Theravada tradition. Monasteries throughout South East Asia, in countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma, have kept Theravada Buddhism alive over the centuries.

Mountain Stream Meditation serves a wide community by offering a various types of meditation retreats. Daylongs are scheduled usually on weekends. We also hold 7 or 9 night residential retreats at different venues, primarily in the Nevada City area. All Mountain Stream programs offer instruction and practice in Insight meditation.

Our bi-annual newsletter, Dharma Stream, is distributed electronically to over 3,000 people. The newsletter and the programs pages of our website list our retreats and other events. Many of Mountain Stream's retreats are lead by our resident teachers John Travis and Heather Sundberg. We also invite teachers from around the world to lead events at our Nevada City Insight Center.

Insight meditation classes, held two times a year, welcome all levels of practictioners.  Regular groups, known as "sitting groups," meet for a few hours each week. These groups are also listed in our newsletter and on the website.

Other community activities, such as potlucks, community workdays, board and committee meetings, and gatherings with other Buddhist meditation leaders and groups are also part of our programs. 

Heather Sundberg, Resident Teacher

Heather Sundberg,
Resident Teacher

The resident teachers, senior students and volunteers help plan our many events for this active community. Along with local churches, Mountains Stream Meditation continues to help feed the homeless in Nevada County through local programs.



“Thank you to the many sincere practioners who have offered their hearts, time, skills, and donations to make this long-term dream a reality!”
- Heather Sundberg

Mountain Stream's Special Relationship With Other Organizations

Mountain Stream Meditation became a California Non-Profit Corporation in 1994. In 1995, we received a 501 (c)(3)
tax-exempt designation as a church from the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Four resident guiding teachers from other Insight meditation centers comprise a Teachers Advisory Committee for Mountain Stream Meditation. The committee advises the Board of Directors of Mountain Stream on the conduct of religious activities, in identifying teachers to lead meditation retreats, about the conduct of retreats and related activities, and other matters on religious observances, instruction, and practice.

Mountain Stream Meditation may be considered a very informal spiritual affiliate of the large centers in Massachusetts and in Woodacre, California. There is, however, no interlocking directorate among the centers and no fiduciary relationship. In every legal sense, Mountain Stream Meditation is a freestanding organization, and its Board of Directors is answerable to no other organization.