DHAMMA SETU
Vipassana Meditation Centre

Centre offering courses in Vipassana Meditation as taught by
S.N.Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

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About the Course

Code of Discipline

CONTENTS

The Foundation The Precepts Acceptance of the Teacher and the Technique Other Techniques, Rites, and Forms of Worship Interviews With the Teacher Noble Silence Yoga and Physical Exercise Religious Objects, Rosaries, Crystals, Talismans, etc. Intoxicants and Drugs Tobacco Food Clothing Outside Contacts Music, reading and Writing Tape Recorders and Cameras Summary

The Foundation

The foundation of the practice is sila --moral conduct. Sila provides a basis for the development of samadhi --concentration of mind; and purification of the mind is achieved through panna --the wisdom of insight. Top

The Precepts

All who attend a Vipassana course must conscientiously undertake the following five precepts for the duration of the course:

  1. to abstain from killing any living creature;
  2. to abstain from stealing;
  3. to abstain from all sexual activity;
  4. to abstain from telling lies;
  5. to abstain from all intoxicants.
  6. There are three additional precepts which old students (that is, those who have completed a course with S.N. Goenka or one of is assistant teachers) are expected to follow:

  7. to abstain from eating after midday;
  8. to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decoration;
  9. to abstain from using high or luxurious beds.

Old students will observe the sixth precept by having only herb tea or fruit juice at the 5 p.m. break, whereas new student may have tea with milk and some fruit. The teacher may excuse an old student from observing this precept for health reasons. The seventh and eighth precept will be observed by all. Top

Acceptance of the Teacher and the Technique

Students must declare themselves willing to comply fully and for the duration of the course with the teacher's guidance and instructions; that is, to observe the discipline and to meditate exactly as the teacher asks, without ignoring any part of the instructions, nor adding anything to them. This acceptance should be one of discrimination and understanding, not blind submission. Only with an attitude of trust can a student work diligently and thoroughly. Such confidence in the teacher and the technique is essential for success in meditation. Top

Other Techniques, Rites, and Forms of Worship

During the course it is absolutely essential that all forms of prayer, worship, or religious ceremony--fasting, burning incense, counting beads, reciting mantras, singing and dancing, etc.--be discontinued. All other meditation techniques and healing or spiritual practices should also be suspended. This is not to condemn any other technique or practice, but to give a fair trial to the technique of Vipassana in its purity.

Students are strongly advised that deliberately mixing other techniques of meditation with Vipassana will impede and even reverse their progress. Despite repeated warnings by the teacher, there have been cases in the past where students have intentionally mixed this technique with a ritual or another practice, and have done themselves a great disservice. Any doubts or confusion which may arise should always be clarified by meeting with the teacher. Top

Interviews With the Teacher

Problems or questions regarding the meditation should be taken only to the teacher for clarification. The time between 12 noon and 1 p.m. is set aside for private interviews. Questions may also be asked in public between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. in the meditation hall.

Interviews and question times are solely for the purpose of clarifying actual practical problems concerned with the technique. They are not to be regarded as opportunities to indulge in philosophical discussions or intellectual arguments. The unique nature of Vipassana meditation can only be appreciated by putting it into practice and during the course students should concentrate exclusively on this task. Top

Noble Silence

All students must observe Noble Silence from the beginning of the course until the morning of the last full day. Noble Silence means silence of body, speech, and mind. Any form of communication with fellow student, whether by gestures, sign language, written notes, etc., is prohibited.

Students may, however, speak with the teacher whenever necessary and they may approach the management with any problems related to food, accommodation, health, etc. But even these contacts should be kept to a minimum. Students should cultivate the feeling that they are working in isolation. Top

Yoga and Physical Exercise

Although physical yoga and other exercises are compatible with Vipassana, they should be suspended during the course because proper secluded facilities are not available at the course site. Jogging is also not permitted. Students may exercise during rest periods by walking in the designated areas. Top

Religious Objects, Rosaries, Crystals, Talismans, etc.

No such items should be brought to the course site. If brought inadvertently they should be deposited with the management for the duration of the course. Top

Intoxicants and Drugs

No drugs, alcohol, chewing tobacco or other intoxicants should be brought to the site; this also applies to tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and all other sedatives. Those taking medicines or drugs on a doctor's prescription should notify the teacher. Top

Tobacco

For the health and comfort of all students, smoking, chewing tobacco, and taking snuff are not permitted at the course. Top

Food

It is not possible to satisfy the special food preferences and requirements of all the meditators. Students are therefore kindly requested to make do with the simple vegetarian meals provided. The course management endeavours to prepare a balanced, wholesome menu suitable for meditation. If any students have been prescribed a special diet because of ill-health, they should inform the management at the time of application. Top

Clothing

Dress should be simple, modest, and comfortable. Tight, transparent, revealing, or otherwise striking clothing (such as shorts, short skirts, tights and leggings, sleeveless or skimpy tops) should not be worn. Sunbathing and partial nudity are not permitted. This is important in order to minimize distraction to others. Top

Outside Contacts

Students must remain within the course boundaries throughout the course. They may leave only with the specific consent of the teacher. No outside communications is allowed before the course ends. This includes letters, phone calls and visitors. In case of an emergency, a friend or relative may contact the management. Top

Music, reading and Writing

The playing of musical instruments, radios, etc. is not permitted. No reading or writing materials should be brought to the course. Students should not distract themselves by taking notes. The restriction on reading and writing is to emphasize the strictly practical nature of this mediation. Top

Tape Recorders and Cameras

These may not be used except with the express permission of the teacher. Top

Summary

  • Take great care that your actions do not disturb anyone. Take no notice of distractions caused by others.
  • It may be that a student cannot understand the practical reasons for one or several of the above rules. Rather than allow negativity and doubt to develop, immediate clarification should be sought from the teacher.
  • It is only by taking a disciplined approach and by making maximum effort that a student can fully grasp the practice and benefit from it. The emphasis during the course is on work. A golden rule is to meditate as if one were alone, with one's mind turned inward, ignoring any inconveniences and distractions that one may encounter.
  • Finally, students should note that their progress in Vipassana depends solely on their own good qualities and personal development and on five factors: earnest efforts, confidence, sincerity, health and wisdom.

May the above information help you to obtain maximum benefit from your meditation course. We are happy to have the opportunity to serve, and wish you peace and harmony from you experience of Vipassana. Top