How do I learn Vipassana?
New students learn Vipassana by taking an intensive, residential ten-day course. Instructions are provided by S.N. Goenka on video and audio tapes. One or more assistant teachers are also present to provide guidance and answer any questions about the technique.
After reviewing information about Vipassana, course requirements, and the Code of Discipline, you can check the Course Schedule to see which dates are available and register for a course online.
How much does a course cost?
According to the tradition of pure Vipassana, courses are run solely on a donation basis. Donations are accepted only from those who have completed at least one ten-day course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assistant teachers. Having experienced the benefits of Vipassana, students taking the course for the first time may give a donation on the last day of the course.
Are there courses shorter than ten days?
Actually, the ten-day course is the minimum; it provides an essential introduction and foundation to the technique. To develop in the practice is a lifetime job. Experience over generations has shown that if Vipassana is taught in periods of less than ten days, the student does not get a sufficient experiential grasp of the technique. Traditionally, Vipassana was taught in retreats lasting seven weeks. With the dawning of the 20th century, the teachers of this tradition began to experiment with shorter times to suit the quickening pace of life. They tried thirty days, two weeks, ten days, down to seven days–and they found that less than ten days is not enough time for the mind to settle down and work deeply with the mind-body phenomenon.
How many students attend each course?
Course size varies, ranging from 20 to 45 students. Courses that fall during a holiday generally have higher attendance.
What are the accommodations like?
Students are accommodated in dormitory-style rooms in some cases with bunk beds.
What kind of food is served?
A simple vegetarian menu, developed to satisfy the needs of most students, is offered at all courses. Please note, no outside food is allowed at the center and we are unable to accommodate special food requests. However, if you have food requirements because of a medically diagnosed condition such as diabetes or pregnancy, please include these details on your application.
Special dietary requests are subject to approval and must be part of the registration process.
I’m on a special diet. Can I bring my own food?
If your doctor has prescribed a special diet, let us know and we will see whether we can provide what you need. If the diet is too specialized, we might have to ask you to wait until you can be more flexible. We’re sorry but students are required to choose from the food provided to them, rather than bring food for themselves. Most people find the choice is ample and they enjoy the simple vegetarian diet.
Please discuss any dietary issues with the Registrar during the registration process.