Introduction to the Technique

Vipassana is one of India's most ancient meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered by Gotama the Buddha more than 2500 years ago. The word Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. It is the process of self- purification by self-observation. 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 and experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness. This truth-realization by direct experience is the process of purification. The entire path (Dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems and has nothing to do with any organized religion or sectarianism. For this reason, it can be freely practiced by everyone, at any time, in any place, without conflict due to race, community or religion, and will prove equally beneficial to one and all.

What Vipassana is not:

  • It is not a rite or ritual based on blind faith.
  • It is neither an intellectual nor a philosophical entertainment.
  • It is not a rest cure, a holiday, or an opportunity for socializing.
  • It is not an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

What Vipassana is:

  • It is a technique that will eradicate suffering.
  • It is a method of mental purification which allows one to face life's tensions and problems in a calm, balanced way.
  • It is an art of living that one can use to make positive contributions to society.

Vipassana meditation aims at the highest spiritual goals of total liberation and full enlightenment. Its purpose is never simply to cure physical disease. However, as a by-product of mental purification, many psychosomatic diseases are eradicated. In fact, Vipassana eliminates the three causes of all unhappiness: craving, aversion and ignorance. With continued practice, the meditation releases the tensions developed in everyday life, opening the knots tied by the old habit of reacting in an unbalanced way to pleasant and unpleasant situations.

Although Vipassana was developed as a technique by the Buddha, its practice is not limited to Buddhists. There is absolutely no question of conversion. The technique works on the simple basis that all human beings share the same problems and a technique which can eradicate these problems will have a universal application. People from many religious denominations have experienced the benefits of Vipassana meditation, and have found no conflict with their profession of faith.

Meditation and Self-discipline

The process of self-purification by introspection is certainly never easy--students have to work very hard at it. By their own efforts students arrive at their own realizations; no one else can do this for them. Therefore, the meditation will suit only those willing to work seriously and observe the discipline, which is there for the benefit and protection of the meditators and is an integral part of the meditation practice.

Ten days is certainly a very short time in which to penetrate the deepest levels of the unconscious mind and learn how to eradicate the complexes lying there. Continuity of the practice in seclusion is the secret of this technique's success. Rules and regulations have been developed keeping this practical aspect in mind. They are not primarily for the benefit of the teacher or the course management, nor are they negative expressions of tradition, orthodoxy or blind faith in some organized religion. Rather, they are based on the practical experience of thousands of meditators over the years and are both scientific and rational. Abiding by the rules creates a very conducive atmosphere for meditation; breaking them pollutes it.

A student will have to stay for the entire period of the course. The other rules should also be carefully read and considered. Only those who feel that they can honestly and scrupulously follow the discipline should apply for admission. Those not prepared to make a determined effort will waste their time and, moreover, will disturb others who wish to work seriously. A prospective student should also understand that it would be both disadvantageous and inadvisable to leave without finishing the course upon finding the discipline too difficult. Likewise, it would be most unfortunate if, in spite of repeated reminders, a student does not follow the rules and has to be asked to leave.

Persons With Serious Mental Disorders

People with serious mental disorders have occasionally come to Vipassana courses with the unrealistic expectation that the technique will cure or alleviate their mental problems. Unstable interpersonal relationships and a history of various treatments can be additional factors which make it difficult for such people to benefit from, or even complete, a ten-day course. Our capacity as a nonprofessional volunteer organization makes it impossible for us to properly care for people with these backgrounds. Although Vipassana meditation is beneficial for most people, it is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric treatment and we do not recommend it for people with serious psychiatric disorders.

The Code of Discipline

Fundamentet for Vipassana er sīla – moralsk opførsel. Sīla er en forudsætning for at udvikle samādhi – beherskelse af sindet. Rensningen af sindet opnås igennem paññā – indsigtens visdom.


Alle som deltager i et Vipassana-kursus må under kursusperioden samvittighedsfuldt iagttage følgende fem forskrifter: At afstå fra at slå nogen levende væsner ihjel; at afstå fra at stjæle; at afstå fra al seksuel aktivitet; at afstå fra at lyve; at afstå fra alle rusmidler.

Gamle elever (dvs. dem som har fuldført et ti-dages kursus med S. N. Goenka eller en af hans assistent-lærere) forventes at følge yderligere tre forskrifter:

at afstå fra at spise efter kl. 12.00; at afstå fra sanselige fornøjelser og kropslige dekorationer; at afstå fra at bruge høje eller luksuriøse senge.

Gamle elever følger den sjette forskrift ved at drikke frugtjuice eller te (uden mælk) i pausen kl. 17.00, hvor de nye elever får te, mælk og frugt. Læreren kan give en gammel elev tilladelse til ikke at følge den sjette forskrift af helbredsmæssige årsager. Den syvende og ottende forskrift skal følges af alle.

At acceptere læreren og teknikken

Eleven skal være villig til at rette sig efter lærerens vejledning og instruktioner under hele kursusperioden. Det indebærer at følge kursusforskrifterne og at meditere præcis på den måde som læreren anviser, uden at udelukke eller tilføje noget til instruktionerne. Dette skal gøres med forståelse og sund fornuft, ikke ud af blind tro. Kun med en tillidsfuld indstilling kan en elev arbejde ihærdigt og oprigtigt. En sådan tiltro til lærere og teknik er nødvendig for at gøre fremskridt i meditationen.

Other Techniques, Rites, and Forms of Worship

Under kursusperioden er det nødvendigt helt at stoppe med alle former for bøn, gudsdyrkelse og religiøse handlinger, såsom at faste, tænde røgelse, bruge bedekranse, recitere mantraer, synge og danse, etc. Alle andre meditationsteknikker, spirituelle øvelser og healing skal også stoppes under kursusperioden. Dette er ikke for at fordømme andre teknikker eller øvelser, men for at give Vipassana-teknikken en ærlig chance i dens rene form. 

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.

Samtaler med læreren

Eleverne kan møde læreren til en samtale mellem kl. 12.00 og kl. 13.00 hvis de har problemer eller spørgsmål angående meditationen. Spørgsmål kan også stilles i meditationssalen mellem kl. 21.00 og 21.30. Mulighederne for samtale og spørgsmål er udelukkende til for at stille opklarende spørgsmål angående teknikken og for at afklare spørgsmål angående aftenforedragene.

Ædel stilhed

Alle elever skal overholde ædel stilhed fra begyndelsen af kurset til formiddagen på den sidste dag. Ædel stilhed indebærer stilhed i forhold til krop, tale og sind. Enhver form for kommunikation med de andre kursusdeltagere, enten ved at gestikulere, gøre tegnsprog, skrive sedler, etc., er forbudt.

Elever kan dog tale med læreren når de har brug for det, og de kan henvende sig til kursusarrangørerne med ethvert problem i forhold til mad, indkvartering, helbred og lignende. Men selv disse kontakter bør indskrænkes til et minimum. Elever bør udvikle følelsen af, at de arbejder i isolation.

Adskillelse af mænd og kvinder

Der opretholdes fuldstændig adskillelse mellem mænd og kvinder. Par, gifte eller andet, må ikke have nogen kontakt med hinanden under kurset. Det samme gælder for venner, familiemedlemmer, etc.

Fysisk kontakt

Det er vigtigt at eleverne under hele kurset ikke har nogen som helst fysisk kontakt med andre, hverken med det samme eller det modsatte køn.  

Yoga og fysiske øvelser

Selvom yoga og andre fysiske øvelser er forenelige med Vipassana, bør de ikke udøves under kurset, fordi der ikke er egnede faciliteter til rådighed på kursusstedet. Jogging er heller ikke tilladt. Eleverne har mulighed for at gå en tur inden for kursusområdet i pauserne.

Religiøse genstande, rosenkranse, krystaller, talismaner, etc.


Disse genstande må ikke medbringes til kurset. Hvis de bliver medbragt ved en fejl, skal de deponeres hos kursusarrangørerne under kurset.

Rusmidler og stoffer

Der må ikke medbringes stoffer, alkohol eller andre rusmidler til kursusstedet. Det samme gælder beroligende midler, sovepiller og lignende. Hvis man tager medicin eller lignende på recept, skal man underrette læreren om det.


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


Det er ikke muligt at tilfredsstille alle de mediterendes særlige ønsker og krav når det gælder mad. Vi beder derfor eleverne at acceptere de enkle vegetariske måltider, som serveres. Kursusarrangørerne bestræber sig på at sammensætte en velafbalanceret, sund menu der er gunstig for meditation. Hvis en elev på grund af helbredsproblemer er blevet ordineret en særlig diæt, bør han eller hun underrette kursusarrangørerne samtidig med ansøgningen.


Påklædningen bør være enkel og bekvem. Man bør ikke gå i stramt, gennemsigtigt, afslørende eller andet iøjnefaldende tøj (som fx shorts, korte nederdele, strømpebukser eller gamacher, for små eller ærmeløse bluser). At tage solbad og at vise sig mere eller mindre afklædt er ikke tilladt. Dette er for at distrahere andre mindst muligt.

Tøjvask og badning

Da der ingen vaskemaskiner eller tørretumblere er til rådighed, bør elever medbringe tilstrækkeligt tøj. Småting kan håndvaskes. Badning og tøjvask skal kun gøres i pauserne og ikke i meditationsperioderne.

Kontakt med omverdenen

Elever skal under hele kurset blive inden for kursusområdet. De må kun forlade området med lærerens samtykke. Ingen kontakt med omverdenen er tilladt før kurset er slut. Dette inkluderer breve, telefonsamtaler og besøgende. Mobiltelefoner og andre elektroniske devices skal opbevares af kursusarrangørerne indtil kurset er slut. I nødstilfælde kan en pårørende eller ven kontakte kursusarrangørerne.

Music, Reading and Writing

At spille på musikinstrumenter, høre radio, etc., er ikke tilladt. Læse- eller skrivematerialer bør ikke medbringes til kurset. Eleverne bør ikke distrahere sig selv ved at tage notater. Restriktionerne i forhold til læsning og skrivning er for at understrege den praktiske karakter af denne meditation.

Devices med optagefunktion og kameraer

Disse må ikke bruges uden lærerens udtrykkelige tilladelse.


Course Finances

According to the tradition of pure Vipassana, courses are run solely on a donation basis. Donations are accepted only from those who have completed at least one ten-day course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assisting teachers. Someone taking the course for the first time may give a donation on the last day of the course or any time thereafter.

In this way courses are supported by those who have realized for themselves the benefits of the practice. Wishing to share these benefits with others, one gives a donation according to one's means and volition. Such donations are the only source of funding for course in this tradition around the world. There is no wealthy foundation or individual sponsoring them. Neither the teachers nor the organizers receive any kind of payment for their service. Thus, the spread of Vipassana is carried out with purity of purpose, free from any commercialism.

Whether a donation is large or small, it should be given with the wish to help others: 'The course I have taken has been paid for through the generosity of past students; now let me give something towards the cost of a future course, so that others may also benefit by this technique.'


To clarify the spirit behind the discipline and rules, they may be summarized as follows:

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 your experience of Vipassana.


The following timetable for the course has been designed to maintain the continuity of practice. For best results students are advised to follow it as closely as possible.

4:00 am   Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am   Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am   Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am   Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am   Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher's instructions
11:00-12:00 noon   Lunch break
12 noon-1:00 pm   Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm   Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm   Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm   Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher's instructions
5:00-6:00 pm   Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm   Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm   Teacher's Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm   Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm   Question time in the hall
9:30 pm   Retire to your own room--Lights out

You may download a copy of the above Code of Discipline in Adobe Acrobat format here for careful reading and review before you register for a course. You may apply for a Vipassana meditation course by completing and submitting an application for a scheduled course.