Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Dhamma Service

As students benefit from their Vipassana practice, the volition arises to see others benefit as well. This is how the Center is able to continue offering courses, with the enthusiasm and dedication of old students. The giving of Dhamma service—in a course or in some other way— is a way to deepen one’s own practice and learn to apply Vipassana in daily life. Serving also helps one develop qualities that enhance one’s practice, such as tolerance, compassion, equanimity, generosity.

It is therefore in one’s own interest to serve. Doing so develops one’s pāramīs (virtues) and makes it possible to advance more quickly and surely on the path. Serving others is, in fact, also serving oneself.”   
~ S.N. Goenka

During a Course

Sitting a meditation course is possible because servers are preparing food, cleaning dishes, and doing other tasks in support of the course. Participating in this manner allows one to directly support courses through one’s hard work, and also allows one to practice the Dhamma in a supportive atmosphere that is more similar to daily life.

Servers sit the three daily Group Sittings and typically have time in the evening to attend discourses or read Dhamma books.

There are usually spaces for about 12 servers for a course. It is best if one serves a full course, but  part-time service is  also beneficial. Apply using the Course Schedule page. The need for servers varies, but often space is available close to course start. Application processing can take a few days.

Between Courses

The few days between courses (usually Sunday to Wednesday morning) are used by staff and servers to prepare the Center for the next course. Old students can come for a day or more to help with cleaning, laundry, maintenance, and other tasks in a more informal atmosphere. Everyone takes part in the three daily group sittings; a staff member provides guidance on what needs to be done. This type of service greatly helps the Center and students find sitting and serving there often “recharges” their meditation practice.

To come for between course service, apply using the Course Schedule page. Spaces are almost always available, but application processing takes a few days so, if possible, please apply a week or more in advance.

Work Periods at the Center

A few times each year, longer periods are set aside to work on larger projects, such as maintenance, construction, deep cleaning and gardening. Usually these “House & Garden” periods last ten days, and spaces are almost always available. Servers may attend for just a day or for longer, up to the full House & Garden period. The daily program includes three group sittings with morning and afternoon work periods. Assistant Teachers often are in attendance. Center Managers and others provide guidance on projects that have been prioritized. Evenings are usually free for reading Dhamma books, and sometimes there are Dhamma videos. Attendance at House & Garden Days is by application using the Course Schedule page.

Offering Special Skills

Service from old students who have carpentry, engineering, architectural, electrical, painting, plumbing, technology, graphic design, writing, filmmaking, event planning etc. skills is often needed for specific projects, which can often be done remotely.

For more information about these opportunities, email: [email protected]

Current service projects, both remote and onsite, are listed on the Dhamma Kuñja Service Dashboard

Month at the Center

Service during House & Garden Days

The Month-At-Center program is for those who are seeking to experience the benefits of staying at the Center continuously for an extended period. It is open to the who have served single courses as well as those who have never served. During the month some will have an opportunity to sit one course, however the focus of the program is serving. To learn more about the Month-At-Center Program, please email registration and note your interest in this specific program.

Committee Service

Much of the planning and oversight of Vipassana activities in the Northwest is done by old students working on committees. These include Center Development, Center Management, Household, Kitchen, Landscaping, Outreach, Website, Maintenance, and Registration. All old students are welcome to join committees.

Long-term Service Program

Long-term Dhamma service is for those who have a strong volition to serve and wish to develop more in Dhamma by staying at the Center for an extended period. Long-term servers stay a minimum of one and half months and often stay for longer periods, from a few months to a year or longer. Often these servers have previously served courses.

This service requires one to work hard in a surrendered, cooperative way, with an attitude of humility. While staying at a place of renunciation and celibacy, a student of Vipassana has a unique opportunity to grow in Dhamma. Typically, a server carries out a pattern of serving two courses and then sitting one. Regular meetings with an assistant teacher allow for discussions of progress and of any difficulties that arise. The servers may stay at the Center for between course service or may take breaks. For those who stay long periods at the Center, taking one or two course breaks to return home is encouraged.

To learn more about the Long-term Service Program, please email registration and note your interest in this specific program.

Sweet Work - The Value of Service

A sweet tale of why volunteering during a service period at the Northwest Vipassana Center is so special. Anyone who who has taken a ten day Vipassana course can go to the center to serve as a volunteer. Visit the Dhamma Kunja service page for more information.