April 2019 Update

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April 2019

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Inside and outside alike, 
straight and clean in dealings; 
oneness in words and deeds— 
this is the essence of Dhamma. 

–S.N. Goenka       

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

Excerpt from Fifty Years of Vipassana,  March 19, 2019, Issue: Vol. 46 (2019),   
No. 1 – Vipassana Newsletter


The year 2019 marks a half-century since Goenkaji set out from Myanmar to bring Vipassana meditation to the world. This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and what it means for us, the Vipassana meditators of today.

On June 22, 1969, Goenkaji took the short flight from Yangon across the Bay of Bengal to Kolkata in eastern India. This was the start of a journey that would continue to his last day, a journey that would touch millions of lives.

He was embarking on a mission given to him by his teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, which was to re-establish the teaching of Vipassana in India and to spread it from there around the world. Goenkaji was hopeful he could do this, but knew that he faced formidable challenges.

First, he was almost unknown in India. Of course, he was of Indian descent, had lived in the country during the Second World War and visited there in the 1950s. But he had few connections in India outside his family, and not all the family shared his enthusiasm for Vipassana.

He also could not count on help from any organization. In his first years of teaching, his family gave him some financial support but it was barely enough to cover travel and living expenses.

Goenkaji did not fit the mold of an Indian spiritual teacher. He was a householder, not an ascetic. He was married and the father of six sons. He was clean-shaven, with hair neatly trimmed and carefully brushed. His clothes and physical appearance were all entirely conventional for a man of his age and background. He was a practical-minded businessman and he looked like one.

In a country where religious identity was pivotal, he did not claim association with any religion. He did not call himself a Buddhist or a teacher of Buddhism. Instead, he expressed devotion to what all spiritual paths have in common: the universal Dhamma or, in Hindi, “Dharma.” He explained in one of his poems:

          Dharama na Hindū Bauddha hai,
          Sikkha na Musalima Jaina;
          Dharama citta kī śuddhatā,
          Dharama śanti sukha caina.

          Dhamma is not Hindu or Buddhist,
          Not Sikh, Muslim or Jain;
          Dhamma is purity of mind,
          Peace, happiness, serenity.

While the message later resonated with people of many backgrounds, at first it was not clear that this would be the case.

In the face of all these challenges, Goenkaji had unshakable confidence in what he had brought with him to India: the practice of Vipassana, which he called the jewel of the Dhamma, handed down from past generations, embodying the essence of the teaching of the Buddha. This practice had transformed his life and he knew it could do the same for many others.

At the urging of his teacher, Goenkaji had come to India specifically to share this jewel as widely as possible, and he intended to do his very best. But ultimately, he felt, success or failure did not depend on his own talents or possible limitations. If this was what was supposed to happen, it would certainly happen. As he often said, he was simply a vessel, an instrument of the Dhamma.

To continue reading, click here and use the username and old student password. (oldstudent and behappy)

Openings On the Dhamma Patapa Operations Team

Dhamma Patapa is looking for mature, serious, old students who would like to join the management 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.

Dhamma Service Period

The Spring Dhamma Service period saw seven full-time servers. Projects included painting many entry-way doors in the residences and dining rooms, deep cleaning the HVAC systems, and of course, lots of laundry. 

We also were able to set up the new kitchen addition with shelving and a new two-door freezer. Removing older freezers and refrigerators allowed us to do some painting and create additional prep spaces in the kitchen. 

The kitchen addition is now complete and has been a great help in giving servers more space to work with during the courses. This also gives us the opportunity to experiment with new menu items in the future that require more refrigerator and freezer space. We are excited about the possibilities. 

Earlier photo showing progress on the kitchen expansion. 

The kitchen expansion before stucco

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 first 1-day course was held April 14th with others planned for July 14th and October 13th. 

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.

In the kitchen, more prep space was created by moving one of the refrigerators out.

Words of the Buddha

Speak not harshly to anyone,
for those thus spoken to might retort.
Indeed, angry speech hurts,
and retaliation may overtake you.

Dhammapada 10.133

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

New recycling system

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!  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 Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna 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:  Fifty Years of VIpassana
The year 2019 marks a half-century since Goenkaji set out from Myanmar to bring Vipassana meditation to the world. This anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and what it means for us, the Vipassana meditators of today.

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.

How Meditators are Marking the Anniversary
In early 2018, meditators began brainstorming about ways to mark the 50th anniversary of Goenkaji’s first course in India. 

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.


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