June 2019 Update

posted in: 2019 0

June 2019

SEVC Header

Live the life of Dhamma, 
keep far away from evil, 
keep unsullied the flow of mind, 
and brim over with happiness. 

–S.N. Goenka    

Center Expansion Continues

“In an ideal Vipassana center each student would have its own private room and its own meditation cell.”
– S. N. Goenka 

We are happy to announce that a second female 8 room residence will soon be built. The building will be the same as the first two 8 room residences. The only major change is to use central air conditioning instead of the PTAC (motel style) air conditioners, which might necessitate enlarging the mechanical room at the expense of the student storage closet and the laundry room.  The building will be placed along the tree line behind the female quad and the first female 8, however exact placement and orientation will depend on the results of a survey of the ground slope to determine the optimal drainage route to the adjacent pond.

A second construction driveway is also in the works. Last year, the 20 acre lot adjacent to the north side of the Center was donated to the Center to provide a buffer.  This lot has its own gated entrance and a short driveway. Old images on Google Earth indicate that the driveway (now overgrown) ran from the gate to the field on the far side of the pond behind the current female 8.  By resurrecting the driveway, it would route construction vehicular traffic away from student foot traffic and would reduce the interactions between construction workers and female students.  It would also provide access to a place on the new property for digging a new, out-of-the-way “borrow pit” (a strategy used for digging a large hole to cheaply harvest soil for site preparation for buildings and for driveways). The hole is then allowed to fill with water to become a pond.  Such a hole can also be used as a place to easily and cheaply dispose of trees that will have to be removed and provides compost for a muddy hole to become a living pond.  These cost savings might pay for some or even most of the cost of a new driveway.  This driveway would be a significant portion of the future driveway that would allow semi-trailers and other delivery vehicles to reach the future (Phase IV) kitchen behind the current Dhamma Hall.

The estimated cost based on past experience with this building design is $275,000 plus $15,000 for the driveway.  The anticipated schedule is to begin sometime in October / November and finish in March / April 2020.  There are a few projects that can be done in late June and early July that would give us a head start for construction to begin in October. 

All construction projects are made possible through the generosity of grateful old students who wish to help the  spread of Vipassana in the Southeast.  For those  who wish to contribute with Dana or student loans, you  may visit our  website (username: oldstudent; password: behappy) or call the center at 912-588- 9807.  If you would  like to donate construction skills or for any questions, please contact the center at 912-588- 9807.

Below is a photo showing the location of the existing 8 bedroom residence (F8-1), the proposed location of F8-2, and the future attachment of F8-3 to F8-2 via a breezeway/porch.

Also visible on the picture, the thin blue line, is the path the proposed driveway will take from Rogers Break to the field behind F8-1.

Golden Jubilee Celebrations
Mark 50th Anniversary of First Vipassana Course Goenkaji      Taught Outside of Burma

Questions & Answers with S. N. Goenka
excerpted from “The Clock of Vipassana Has Struck”


     Most of the questions and answers at the end of each chapter are taken from an exclusive interview with S.N. Goenka in 1991, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Sayagyi’s death. We have also drawn on articles and other sources to explain the technique and its benefits and to elucidate the personality and the teachings of U Ba Khin and the value of Vipassana meditation.-Ed.

Q: Did U Ba Khin call himself a Buddhist?  How could he call the teaching universal without giving it a sectarian connotation?

S.N. Goenka: U Ba Khin was Buddhist by birth and felt quite proud and satisfied to say so, but it was very clear in his teaching that his intention was not to convert people from one organized religion to another organized religion. My own experience is an example: he never pressed me to become a Buddhist. Sayagyi’s way of teaching always remained nonsectarian. The teaching of the Buddha is so universal that people from different sects and communities can follow it and experience its benefits.

For Sayagyi the essence of Buddhism was Dhamma, the universal law of nature, and a true Buddhist was one who practiced Dhamma, one who lived according to this universal law. He was interested in helping people to establish themselves in sila (morality), in samadhi (concentration), and in pañña (wisdom); to show people how to convert themselves from misery to happiness. If someone who had undergone this conversion from impurity to purity then wished to call himself a Buddhist, Sayagyi was pleased; but the important point was the change which had come in the person’s life, not merely the change in the name he called himself.

Sayagyi would even admonish enthusiasts who were eager to convert others to Buddhism, saying to them: “The only way to convert people is to become established oneself in Dhamma-in sila, samadhi, pañña-and to help others similarly to get established. When you yourselves are not established in sila, samadhi, pañña, what is the sense in your trying to convert others? You may call yourselves Buddhists but unless you practice sila, samaadhi, pañña, to me you are not Buddhists. But if someone practices sila, samadhi, pañña, then even though he may not call himself a Buddhist, nevertheless he is a true follower of the teachings of the Buddha, whatever he may label himself.

One incident illustrating this nonsectarian attitude occurred when a staunch Christian came to take a course under Sayagyi. While the opening formalities were being explained, this man became frightened that he was being asked to convert from Christianity to Buddhism; and out of this groundless fear, he refused to take refuge in Buddha. “I can take refuge in Jesus Christ but not in Buddha,” he said. “Very well,” replied Sayagyi smilingly, “Take refuge in Jesus Christ-but with the understanding that you are actually taking refuge in the qualities of Christ, in order to develop these very qualities in yourself.” In this way the person began to work; and by the end of the course he realized that his initial objection had been unnecessary, that his fears of conversion had been without cause.

Q: Why did U Ba Khin teach only a few very developed people, while you teach the same technique to all people no matter what their background?

SNG: Because Sayagyi was in an official position of responsibility at a time when the government of his country was inefficient and corrupt, the Prime Minister wanted him to make some improvements in the administration. That he could do by teaching Vipassana. But his dedication to government affairs continued until he was sixty-seven, so he didn’t have time to give courses to the masses. He could teach only a few people. Because of that situation, he took a vow to teach only people with well-developed parami so that “I can give the seed of Dhamma to them and then they can later spread it around the world.”

Q: Why do you call your teaching an “art of living”? And how can meditation be used as a tool for creating a better society?

SNG: The entire teaching of Buddha is an art of living. If one lives the life of sila, of morality, this itself is an art of living. But living an ethical life while having many negative reactions in the mind also makes one unhappy. So controlling the mind and purifying the mind-samadhi and pañña-along with sila, one lives a very peaceful and harmonious life. When one lives a life of negativity, one remains tense within and gives nothing but tension to others. When one is living a peaceful, harmonious life, one generates peace and harmony for others also. It is for this reason that Sayagyi used to call Buddha’s teaching an art of living, as a way of life, a code of conduct.

In my own life before meeting Sayagyi, I found the tension was so horrible that I remained miserable, and I made others miserable. Coming onto the Path, I found that I was much relieved. I started living a better life, which was more beneficial for the members of my family, for my friends and for society. So if an individual remains full of negativity, society suffers. If an individual changes for the better, it has a good effect on society.

To continue reading, click here.

Openings On the Dhamma Patapa Management and Maintenance Team

Dhamma Patapa is looking for mature, serious, old students who would like to join the management, maintenance, and operations teams. These are unique opportunities to contribute to support the teaching of Vipassana and provide leadership for the Southeast Vipassana Center while developing one’s own practice within a structured and supportive environment.  Ideally, students would have long-term service experience at this or other centers. 

If interested, please inquire with center management at manager@patapa.dhamma.org to set up a conversation as a first step as these positions require some time to develop a relationship with the center.

Summer Dhamma Service Period is July 15 – 24

Includes 1-Day Course on July 21

The Summer Dhamma service period will begin on the 15th of July. Dhamma Service Periods (DSPs) are an opportunity to give our Vipassana Center some of the extra attention it deserves!  There is always a long list of projects giving old students an opportunity to contribute and serve at Dhamma Patapa. In addition to sitting together three times daily, we also enjoy three meals. The service periods also offer time in the evenings to listen to inspiring talks, watch Dhamma films, and build friendships. Giving Dhamma service is a great opportunity to grow in our own practice by applying it in a working environment. Please join us at Dhamma Patapa for inspiration and growth in your practice. If you do not have time to stay for the entire period, you are welcome to come for just a few days, even an afternoon. All old students are welcome!

On Sunday, July 21st, a 1-day course will be held for those attending the service period or for those old students who are able to just come for the day. You may apply here.

You’re invited to apply to serve full-time or part-time for the Spring Dhamma Service Period July 15-24.  We hope to see you!

Upcoming Non-Center Courses

Old students are welcome to check the website for non-center courses announced by local group sitting hosts. These announcements may be for 1-day courses, children’s courses, or extended group sittings.

Specifically for Central and South Florida area old students: you may subscribe to receive a list of future courses and announcements by sending an email to south-florida-info@patapa.dhamma.org

In order to strengthen the Vipassana old student community in South Florida, regular quarterly 1-day courses will be held at the Jupiter Civic Center. These courses will be conducted by local assistant teacher(s). The next 1-day course will be held July 14th with others planned for October 13th, January 12th, and April 12th. 

For more details, please check the non-center courses tab on the Old Student section of the website (username: oldstudent, password: be happy)

View Non-Center Courses

Local Group Sittings

Local group sittings inspire and support both old and newer students who are growing in Dhamma. Goenkaji emphasized that daily sittings play an important role in producing the beneficial effects of Dhamma in our day-to-day life. Local group sittings help provide motivation and support to old students in keeping up with their daily practice.  Please consult the website– (username: oldstudent password: behappy) for up-to-date information, times and locations of group sittings throughout the Southeast.

When you attend these group sittings, you are meditating with fellow students and gaining strength from each other on a regular basis. When meditators practice the same technique, it gives tremendous support and encouragement to all the participants. Although these group sittings are particularly helpful for the old students who find maintaining their daily practice a challenge, they are very helpful for the well established meditators as well.

There are still many cities and towns in the Southeast region without local group sittings. If you would like to host an official group sitting in your area, download the application and guidelines here. Once official, the group sitting information will be posted on the website so more students may attend.

If you are not ready to host an official group sitting, but are interested in connecting with other interested old students in your area – please send an email to group-sittings@patapa.dhamma.org with your name, town and email address. We will add you to a confidential database and introduce you via email when new old students enter your region.

If you are interested in helping organize a 1-Day course in your area conducted by an Assistant Teacher, please send an email to manager@patapa.dhamma.org with the subject line “1-Day course and your name”.

Also – there is a page on the old student section of the Dhamma Patapa website that lists all of the non-center courses taking place throughout the Southeast region.  Just log in to the old student section of the site (login oldstudent, password behappy) and click on non-center courses.  Here’s a link to that page as well.

Words of the Buddha

Generosity, kind words,
doing a good turn for others,
and treating all people alike:
these bonds of sympathy are to the world
what the linchpin is to the chariot wheel.

Jataka 20

Old Students who live within 1-2 hours of Dhamma Patapa

Each year the Center Plan includes the long-term idea of building a strong old student community close to the Center in order to support and sustain Dhamma Patapa for the years to come. The Second Nature Land Cooperative next to the center is growing, however, many old students may not be able to move to the area.

If you are an old student who would like to become more active in the Center’s activities, or if you have ideas for developing and implementing a plan to engage existing old students who live relatively close to the Center, please contact the Inreach/Outreach coordinator at group-sittings@patapa.dhamma.org

Service Opportunities

Dhamma service is one of the most valuable experiences for a student of Vipassana. Dhamma service provides a way to apply Vipassana while interacting and working with other meditators. Many old students have found such service also strengthens their meditation practice and provides an opportunity to express their gratitude by helping people without expecting anything in return. 

All courses at Dhamma Patapa require old students to facilitate the smooth running of the courses. Dhamma service can be provided in the following three ways: short-term, sit-and-serve program, and long-term service. (Read on to learn more about the many ways to serve at the center.)

Short-Notice Server Roster (SNSR)

What it is: The SNSR is comprised of servers in the Southeast region who are willing to be a part of an e-mail list that we will use when we need Dhamma workers.

What it is not: By joining the SNSR you are not committing to serving on short-notice; only to receive the e-mails we send when needing Dhamma workers.

If you are interested in joining the roster, please e-mail sevc.centermanager@gmail.com with the subject titled ‘Short-Notice Server Roster’

Technology Tools

Dhamma.org Mobile App

The Dhamma.org Mobile App for iOS devices, iPhones and iPads is now available for download at https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/about/mobile-app and at the iTunes Store. Note that a download link to the App is also available at the bottom of the front page of the www.dhamma.org website for the convenience of students. The Dhamma.org Mobile App for Android is now available by going to https://www.dhamma.org/. The Dhamma.org Mobile App provides information about Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin and makes it easy to discover and apply for courses worldwide. Old Students in this tradition will be able to use this App to support their daily practice and further their lifelong development in Dhamma. General features:

  • Learn more about Vipassana Meditation
  • Find locations near you that offer Vipassana Meditation courses from a complete worldwide listing or map of over 300 locations spread across 80+ countries
  • Locate Vipassana Meditation courses using search criteria such as dates, regions, and instruction languages
  • Apply and register to attend a Vipassana Meditation course

Features for Old Students (accessible by logging in as “oldstudent” and password “behappy”):

  • One hour group sitting recordings in 25+ different languages
  • Play group sitting recordings with an option to log your daily sittings Dhamma.org does not collect this data. All logged data is only stored locally on your device.
  • Old Student reference materials to guide your practice including the 10-day discourse summaries.
NEW!   ‘Group Sittings Near Me’ Feature on Dhamma.org Mobile App

 Dhamma Discourses: http://www.discourses.dhamma.org/

A new website has been established  to make discourses available to old students as they continue to grow in Dhamma. The site provides authenticated access to the authorized materials of Goenkaji, while discouraging the use of unauthorized copies on the internet.  Old students in our tradition can access the site using the usual username and password.

During Goenkaji’s lifetime, he allowed old students to distribute discourses in different languages at no charge or minimally charge only for the cost of hard media.  Similarly, this website will enable old students to obtain electronic access to the discourses for the 10-day, 3-day, and Mahasatipahana Sutta courses in all available languages free of charge. 

Free distribution is consistent with Goenkaji’s express and stated goal to support old students in developing their Vipassana Meditation practice. It will also help ensure that the spread of Dhamma continues in the purity that Goenkaji had envisioned and encouraged, and to which he dedicated his life.

Virtual Daily Group Sittings

The virtual group sitting program has been designed to provide motivation and support for old students in keeping up with their daily practice. In this program, you are ‘virtually sitting’ and meditating with fellow students and gaining strength from each other on a daily basis. When many meditators practice the same technique at the same time, it gives tremendous support and encouragement to all the participants. Although this program is particularly helpful for the old students who find maintaining their daily practice a challenge, it is also very helpful for the well established meditators. All old students are welcome to participate in this flexible and user friendly program to strengthen their daily practice. It has been designed to give you the flexibility to join late or leave early without worrying about disturbing the other meditators. These virtual daily group sittings are complementary and not a replacement for the existing weekly and monthly group sittings that are already happening in your communities. If you wish to participate in this program, please click on the following link to register for the Virtual Daily Group Sitting program.  Once we receive your information, all the necessary details about the program will be sent to you including timings of the virtual daily group sittings, various ways of connecting to these daily sittings etc.

Resources and Useful Links

Dhamma Patapa Website
Give Dana/Donation
Center Wish List
Long-Term Server Program
Vipassana International Newsletter
Pariyatti: Audio and Books

Dhamma Patapa Facebook Page 

Follow us on Facebook for updates on Dhamma Patapa:  (Log in to Facebook before clicking icon)

If you would like to contribute to the Dhamma Patapa Update, either with a recent photo of the center or an article idea, please email manager@patapa.dhamma.org

International Vipassana Newsletter

The April 2019 issue of the International Vipassana Newsletter is available online. For your reading in this issue:

Feature Article:  The Flowering of the Dhamma
Goenkaji was unaware of it, but almost from his first course in 1955, Sayagyi U Ba Khin was training him to become a teacher of Vipassana. When the opportunity arose for him to go to India in 1969, Sayagyi realized that here at last was a way for Myanmar to repay its debt for the gift of Dhamma. This was why he told Goenkaji, “I am going with you.” He would be with Goenkaji in spirit throughout the years ahead.

The Many Hands of Dhamma
The following words are taken from Goenkaji’s remarks on January 17, 2010, at the Gratitude Gathering. This event attracted many of Goenkaji’s oldest students to the Global Vipassana Pagoda, in Mumbai.

Chronology-The Second Decade
From 1980 to 1989, Goenkaji began training meditators to conduct Vipassana courses as his representatives. He kept on deepening his understanding of the theoretical…

Also on our website:
Chronology-The First Decade
Interview with Rivers Cuomo
How Silent Meditation Helped Me Succeed at Work

To view or download the issue, go to our website:www.news.dhamma.org (username oldstudent, password behappy).

The online International Newsletter site is updated as we have new material to post. Every three to four months, we publish some of that material in a printable PDF issue. Please check regularly for updates, or subscribe to our RSS feed to receive notification automatically whenever we post something. You can also subscribe to receive email notification when a PDF issue is published.

Please also consider contributing material for posting. It could be a news story, photos, your own reminiscences or more. Write to editor@news.dhamma.org.

Copyright 2019 Southeast Vipassana Center, All rights reserved.
Southeast Vipassana Center

476 Rogers Break

Jesup, GA 31546
(912) 588-1033

This notice is sent to old students of Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka in the North American Old Student Contact Database. You may also receive occasional messages from centers and newsletters via this database.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *