“We cannot live in the past; it is gone. Nor can we live in the future; it is forever beyond our grasp. We can live only in the present. If we are unaware of our present actions, we are condemned to repeating the mistakes of the past and can never succeed in attaining our dreams for the future.”
- SN Goenka
WHat to expect on a course
A Vipassana meditation course has three practical features. Firstly, throughout the 10 days you will follow a code of conduct whereby you refrain from speech and actions that are harmful to yourself and others (Sila). Secondly, for the first three and a half days you will practice Anapana meditation, the observation of the breath, to help calm down and concentrate the mind. And thirdly, from Day 4 onward, you will practice Vipassana, the meditation of mental purification by insight.
Regular meditation instructions are provided each day. As well, the teachers will meet with you in small groups to see that you are practising correctly. There will be other opportunities to meet the teachers on your own if you have any questions. Every evening you will hear a talk of about one hour on the practice by our late teacher, Mr SN Goenka.
On Day 10 you will learn a new meditation of Mettā, loving kindness, and then the rule of silence will end. You will then have time to talk to those with whom you have spent the last nine days in silence.
At about 6:40 am on Day 11, after the final talk, the course is officially over. Breakfast is offered and students take the time to clean their rooms and help prepare the centre for the next group of students. Since the centre is maintained by volunteers, this help you give at the end of the course is very much appreciated. Most of you will have left by 9 am.
This course of meditation is a very serious undertaking. If you feel you are really ready to take this course, to work diligently on the course and to follow the instructions carefully, you will gain a great gift of wisdom. If you maintain your practice of meditation it will be a jewel and a refuge to you for the rest of your life.