Supporting the Growth of Dhamma
in the Bay Area

The clock of Vipassana has now struck...

~ Sayagyi U Ba Khin

At any given time, thousands of students are participating in Vipassana courses across the world. The demand is only increasing. In these days of social and technological change and political turmoil, people are seeking peace of mind in greater and greater numbers. It is our volition to help make Dhamma and Vipassana meditation available to all who seek it.

When S.N. Goenka taught his first 10-day course to 14 family members and acquaintances in July 1969 in Panchayatwadi, Bombay, India, he had no idea that the demand for courses over the coming decades would grow exponentially from people living all over the world. There are currently 174 Vipassana meditation centers in this tradition worldwide, with 15 centers in North America and more in the works. However, despite all these opportunities for Vipassana meditation, the demand far outstrips the supply, and there are long waiting lists for courses.

In the Bay Area, we have a strong and active community of old students. Over 12,000 people living in the area have taken at least one 10-day course in our tradition since 1999. The Bay Area has perhaps the largest number of old students living in a region in the Americas. This number continues to grow as new students attend one of the 20 courses offered each year at one of the three California centers. In the last five years, 4180 have sat their first course at one of the California centers.

It’s been more than 25 years since the founding of Dhamma Mahavana, California’s first center for the practice of Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka. Today the center offers courses for up to 120 students. Located in North Fork in the middle of California, it also has a magnificent pagoda with 126 individual cells for meditation.

California’s second center, Dhamma Vaddhana, located in Twentynine Palms, Southern California held its first 10-day course in 2011. The center’s student base is primarily in Southern California and Arizona and currently can accommodate up to 70 students. The center plans to expand facilities over the next few years to serve up to a maximum of 120 students per course. California’s third center, Dhamma Manda in Kelseyville, northeast of Santa Rosa, serves a large number of students from the Bay Area as well as Northern California. It currently accommodates 55 to 70 students per course (depending on the season), and it is actively expanding its facilities to accommodate a maximum of 85 students.

Also serving the Bay Area and beyond, is the annual non-center course in December/January in Occidental for 250 students organized by the Bay Area Vipassana Trust. This past December, a course for 210+ students was organized at a rented facility in Joshua Tree to accommodate the growing numbers of students wanting to sit courses over the holiday season.

All the growth of Vipassana meditation centers in the tradition of S.N. Goenka has been achieved solely through the generous donations of grateful old students since there is never a charge for courses. The growth of Dhamma is dependent on this generosity.

The Bay Area Vipassana Trust was formed in 2014 and began searching for a site to develop a fourth Vipassana Meditation Center in our tradition in California for 150 people (120 students and 30 servers and staff). Several properties have already been under consideration. It is especially difficult to find an appropriate property in the Bay Area that is affordable and developable because land costs are high. The expected costs for purchase of property and development of the center’s facilities could be 8-10 million dollars. The major initial roadblocks to pursuing the properties further has been funding limitations.

Bay Area Vipassana Trust
January 2018

For more information on this project and how to support it:  [email protected]

BAVC treasurer is handling donations and loans.