I have just returned from a ten day Goenka Vipassana retreat at Damma Dipa in Herefordshire. It was a challenging, rewarding and inspiring experience and I am finding it something of a challenge to write a blog about it.
Firstly a description of what a ten day Goenka Vipassana retreat is. These retreats are taken by thousands of people a year at many retreat centres and hired facilities around the world. They are run for free depending entirely on the generosity of old students to fund the next generations of students and ongoing support of the facilities. The courses were originally run by S.N. Goenka himself but he is now very old and so all courses are run ‘virtually’. Each teaching session takes the form of an audio recorded, lead meditation by the great man. Each evening and in the morning of the last day (11) there is a one to one and a half hour video talk from Goenka. All meditations start and finish with between five and ten minutes of Goenka chanting slowly in Pali.