If I have never meditated before, will I be taught how to meditate?
Yes, all students receive thorough instruction. Each course is conducted under the guidance of a qualified teacher, and each day's progress is explained during a taped evening discourse by S.N. Goenka. No previous meditation experience is necessary.
Why is a course 10 days long?
Even in the quiet atmosphere of a retreat, a new student requires more than a week to quiet and concentrate the mind. Ten days of sustained practice have proven to be the minimum time needed to learn the essentials of Vipassana meditation.
Why is the course conducted in silence?
All participants take a vow of silence lasting until the morning of the final full day of the course. Students may speak with the teacher of the course management, but not with other meditators. By minimizing distractions and maintaining a calm, quiet atmosphere, students can perform the delicate task of introspection.
What happens when I meditate and what is the result of practicing meditation?
In the technique of Vipassana meditation one begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With a sharpened awareness, one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind which manifests as sensations. By learning to observe these bodily sensations with detachment, the meditator unties knots of tension created by the old habit of reacting in an unbalanced way to both pleasant and unpleasant situations.
What does a course cost?
All courses are run solely on a donation basis. Expenses are met by donations from people who have taken a course and wish to give others the opportunity to benefit from Vipassana. By this practice, students develop the virtue of generosity.