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 will also be present to provide guidanc and answer any questions about the technique.
As there is often a waiting list, applying one or two months in advance is recommended. After reviewing information about the program, course requirements and code of discipline, you can check our course schedule to see which dates are available and register for a course either online, by fax, or by mail. To request an application packet by mail, please contact us.
How much does it cost?
Each student who attends a Vipassana course is given this gift by a previous student. There is no charge for either the teaching, or for room and board. All Vipassana courses worldwide are run on a strictly voluntary donation basis. At the end of your course, if you have benefited from the experience, you are welcome to donate for the coming students, according to your volition and your means.
Are there shorter courses 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?
Most ten-day courses have 50-70 participants.
What are the accommodations like?
Courses are currently being conducted at a rented site where accommodations are simple. Most rooms are dormitory style with a shared bathroom. Women and men are housed seper
What kind of food is served?
The menu is a tasty and nutritious vegetarian menu. Special diets due to medical conditions and serious allergies can be accommodated with advance notice. Please discuss any dietary issues with the Registrar during the registration process.
Students Enrolled in a Course
As we use rented course sites, accommodation is limited, and we often have waiting lists for our courses. Please confirm your registration 3-4 weeks before the course begins. If you are unable to attend, please inform us as soon as possible so that another person on the waiting list can attend in your place. If you have not reconfirmed two weeks before your course starts, your space may be given to someone on the waiting list.
Arrival & departure
All students are asked to arrive between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on the day the course begins. After registration is completed, a light meal and orientation will precede the start of the course. The course will end at approximately 7:30 a.m. on the last day, day 11 of the course.
IMPORTANT: All new students, as well as old (returning) students, are required to remain until the very end of the course. When silence ends on the 10th day (metta day) the course is still in progress, and all students are required to remain until the next morning.
Items to bring to course
PLEASE NOTE: PLEASE NOTE: Students are asked not to bring to the course any personal food, cell phones, pagers, laptop computers, palm pilots, music, reading materials, journals to write in, or art supplies. The ten day retreat is a time to look inwards, and all of these other things can be enjoyed once you return back home.
- Your own warm blankets or sleeping bag
- Pillow (not the same as your meditation cushion)
- A pillow case
- 2 sheets (one bottom sheet to keep mattress clean)
- Even if you are using a sleeping bag, please bring a sheet to keep the mattress clean.
Please bring your own meditation cushions, as cushions at the course sites are limited. You will be very happy that you brought some! Meditation floor mats will be supplied for each student, but you will certainly want additional cushions.
Students will also want to bring a shawl or blanket to use in the meditation hall (most students like a light shawl even if the weather is warm) that is separate from their sleeping blankets.
Please bring enough warm and comfortable clothing for the entire duration of your stay. Most people find that loose clothing is more comfortable for meditation. For laundry there are no washing machines, only limited hand washing facilities and clothes lines for drying. All students should observe the rules for modest dress as outlined in the Code of Discipline. Shorts, tank tops, transparent, tight or revealing clothing, etc. are not permitted. Tights or leggings should be worn only under a knee length top or skirt/dress.
For those unfamiliar with Rocky Mountain weather, it is usually unpredictable, quickly changeable, and sometimes extreme. Therefore, please bring clothing for both warm and cool, as well as rainy conditions, regardless of the time of year or weather reports. As the saying goes, "if you don't like the weather just wait an hour!"
- Warm hat
- Warm socks
- Comfortable walking shoes, with good traction for uneven walking trails
- House slippers and/or quiet slip-on shoes are useful inside
For the comfort of the other students, please do not bring any perfumes or scented creams, powders, shaving lotions, etc. Some students are very sensitive to smells during a course and this can become a source of irritation.
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Bath soap
- Unscented deodorant
- Shower sandals (flip-flops)
- Shaving supplies
- Feminine hygiene supplies
There are only limited hand washing facilities for doing laundry, and only clotheslines for drying. Please bring enough clothes for the entire course, and/or laundry detergent for hand washing your clothes.
- Unscented mosquito repellent
- Small travel alarm clock
- Laundry soap
- Sunglasses, sunblock lotion and sun hat
- Nalgene type water bottle with your name on it