Vipassana meditation has three practical aspects to develop. Firstly, throughout the 10 days you will follow Sīla, a code of conduct whereby you refrain from speech and actions that are harmful to yourself and others. 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.You will be given instructions regularly every day. As well, the teachers will meet with you in small groups to see that you are practicing correctly. There will be other opportunities to meet with them on your own if you wish. Every evening you will hear a talk of about one hour on the practice by our late teacher, S.N. Goenka.
How Courses are Offered
The Northwest Vipassana Center has been offering meditation courses for more than 20 years. Courses are made possible by volunteers who serve the courses and by donations made by students who participate in them. The teachers conducting the course and all those who work in the kitchen are all volunteers.
All courses at the Vipassana Meditation Center are run solely on a donation basis. Donations are accepted only from students who have completed at least one ten-day course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assisting teachers and have experienced for themselves the benefits of Vipassana. Thus Vipassana is offered free from commercialism.
Students taking the course for the first time may give a donation at the end of the course. You may give a donation, small or large according to your means and volition. You donate not with the idea of paying for what you have received, but to give someone else the same opportunity in the future. Each center is financially autonomous and these donations are the only source of funding; there is no wealthy foundation or individual sponsoring the courses. Returning students may give a donation at any time. Once you have completed one 10-day course in this tradition, you are welcome to apply for volunteer service at any center around the world.