The technique of Vipassana is a simple, practical way to achieve real peace of mind and to lead a happy, useful life. Vipassana means "to see things as they really are"; it is a logical process of mental purification through self-observation.
From time to time, we all experience agitation, frustration and disharmony. When we suffer, we do not keep our misery limited to ourselves; instead, we keep distributing it to others. Certainly this is not a proper way to live. We all want to live at peace within ourselves, and with those around us. After all, human beings are social beings: we have to live and interact with others. How, then, can we live peacefully? How can we remain harmonious ourselves, and maintain peace and harmony around us?
Vipassana enables us to experience peace and harmony: it purifies the mind, freeing it from suffering and the deep-seated causes of suffering. The practice leads step-by-step to the highest spiritual goal of full liberation from all mental defilements.
To learn Vipassana it is necessary to take a ten-day residential course under the guidance of a qualified teacher. The courses are conducted at established Vipassana Centres and other places. For the duration of the retreat, students remain within the course site, having no contact with the outside world. They follow a demanding daily schedule which includes about ten hours of sitting meditation. They also observe silence, not communicating with fellow students; however, they are free to discuss meditation questions with the teacher and material problems with the management.
Vipassana courses are held regularly at permanent centres and rented sites in different countries. In addition to frequent ten-day courses, special courses and long courses of 20, 30, 45 and 60 days are offered for advanced students at long course centres like Dhamma Tapovan established for this purpose.
Short, courses in Anapana, the introductory part of the Vipassana technique, are courses offered for children in India and in other countries. The courses last for one to three days and serve children in two age groups: eight to eleven, and twelve to fifteen years.
All courses throughout the world are run solely on the basis of freely-offered donations. No fee charged: the courses are financed totally by donations from students who have completed a prior course and wish to share the benefits they themselves received by giving donation for the students who come after them. Neither the Teacher nor the assistant teachers receive remuneration; they and those who serve the courses volunteer their time. This practice is consistent with the pure tradition, whereby the teaching is to be offered freely, free from any taint of commercialism, and supported solely by donations stemming from the wholesome volitions of gratitude and generosity.