Vipassana Meditation Course Review

  • Posted By: on July 9th, 2008

I’ve been back for a full two days now from the Vipassana Meditation retreat, and I’ve been taking some time to reflect on my overall experience. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was incredible.

I didn’t realize this when the course had completed because there was so much information floating around in my head, but now that most of that has quieted down I can view the experience objectively. This post may be a bit long because it’s meant to serve as a review of the course. Please bear with me!

Some Background Information

Not only did I learn a wonderful technique over the course of 10 days. I learned Dhamma, the art of living, as taught by the Buddha. Although Vipassana is a technique developed by the Buddha, it is completely non-sectarian, non-religious, and universal. Anyone can utilize the practical application of the technique, and anyone can expect to obtain the same universal benefits.

At my course there was an array of blacks, whites, asians, indians, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, etc. The purpose of Vipassana is to transmit experiential knowledge of Truth by giving you the opportunity to directly experience Truth within the framework of your body. As you can imagine, this is powerful stuff that can change lives.

The course is taught with a series of audio and video cassette tapes of S.N. Goenka, the primary teacher of the materials. Along with Goenka, there is one male and one female assistant teacher assigned to the course. They are there to clarify any confusion students may have, and to guide the progress of the course.


When I first arrived at the course, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Were the people going to be friendly, loving, and compassionate as I expected them to be? Was it going to be a cult-like gathering with a bunch of people wearing loin cloths and sporting thick unkempt beards?

I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into a registration room full of normal looking people, and was greeted by a nice lady. I filled out a “New Student Form,” was given a room number, and was asked to go and settle into my room. This is also when I gave the lady all of my valuable personal belongings, such as my phone, wallet, and car keys (so I couldn’t escape later).

I proceeded to my room, and there was already a gathering of students in the hallway. I got a chance to meet most of them, and I noticed that these weren’t ordinary people. These were exceptional people. They were very open minded, and many of them had done some really cool things (running marathons, traveling the world, attending personal development seminars, etc). I was savoring my right to talk, because this was the last talking I would be doing for the next 10 days.

After our hour long chat session, we made our way to the male dining hall where the course orientation was being held. At the orientation we were told the rules of the facility, and the rules of the program in general. There were certain course boundaries we were not supposed to cross for our own protection (this place was in the middle of nowhere and there was known to be dangerous wildlife abound). Also, there were male and female boundaries to prevent us from interacting with the opposite sex. This made sense because that sort of interaction would create a huge distraction in our meditation efforts. At this time we were also informed of the daily timetable, and were told that if we wanted to get the maximum benefit out of the course we were to adhere to the timetable strictly.

Daily Timetable

Wake up bell: 4:00am

Meditate in the hall or in your room: 4:30-6:30am

Breakfast and rest: 6:30-8:00am

Group meditation in the hall: 8:00-9:00am

Meditate in the hall or in your room: 9:00-11:00am

Lunch and rest: 11:00am-1:00pm

Meditate in the hall or in your room: 1:00-2:30pm

Group meditation in the hall: 2:30-3:30pm

Meditate in the hall or in your room: 3:30-5:00pm

Tea break: 5:00-6:00pm

Group meditation in the hall: 6:00-7:00pm

Evening discourse: 7:00-8:15pm

Final group meditation: 8:15-9:00pm

Lights out: 9:30pm

As you can see, there’s a TON of meditation and not much time for anything else. I was already aware of the schedule before arriving, so I wasn’t surprised. But some of the other students had a look of “what the hell have I gotten myself into?” on their face. After all of the instructions were given, we made our way to the meditation hall, and as soon as we stepped inside, the silence for the course began.

Meditation instructions were given at this first meditation. I remember sitting and thinking, “easy enough!” Since the orientation took up so much time, our evening meditation only lasted for about 30 minutes. After this we were dismissed and had 30 minutes to get ready for bed. I wasn’t used to going to bed at 9:30, so I didn’t fall asleep until about midnight. Almost as soon as I fell asleep, I was abruptly woken up by the morning bell at 4:00am. I thought to myself, “oh %&#$, this is going to be terrible!”

My Daily Experience

The first day was extremely intense. No one is used to meditating for 11 hours a day (unless you’re a monk, then it’s a breeze), so my body was constantly having to make adjustments. My body wasn’t too happy with the adjustments it was having to make, so it gave me a hard time. As the days passed it became more cooperative, and I was able to obtain some incredible results by the end of the course.

I followed the daily timetable scrupulously, observed all of the rules to the tee, and made full use of the theoretical information transmitted in the daily evening discourse. If you plan on attending the course, make sure you do the same so you can obtain the best results possible in the short 10 day period.

The only time I broke silence was to talk with an assistant teacher. At noon, students are allowed to set up an interview, and are permitted to quietly ask the teacher any questions they have about the teachings. This was highly beneficial for me because there were many theoretical aspects of the technique I didn’t understand that I wanted to get clear on. The teacher was quite knowledgeable, as he had been practicing Vipassana for 35 years! I found that understanding why everything works the way it does helped me obtain better results from the practical application of the technique. In the end I realized how wonderful the system really is.

The Verdict

I won’t go into details about the technique because I’m nowhere near qualified enough to teach it, and I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. I will, however, comment on the quality of the teaching and the effectiveness of the program design.

Over the years, hundreds of thousands of people have attended a Vipassana meditation camp, just like me. And over those years the people who designed the program have constantly worked to perfect it so that students can obtain even better results. My experience was nearly flawless, and everything I was told I would obtain by the end of the course I obtained.

I have to give the Vipassana Academy credit for creating such a fine tuned, effective method to alleviate the human race of its pains and miseries. I can confidently say that every student who signs up for a 10 day program will obtain tangible results at the end of the course if they give the technique a fair trial by observing all the rules and recommendations.

Here are some of the benefits I received by attending the course:

  • Freedom from pain and misery, and the ability to prevent myself from causing any future pain or misery in my life
  • The ability to maintain a balanced mind in ANY situation, regardless of how “great” or how “bad” it may be
  • Strong compassion for my fellow beings, human or otherwise. So much so that I’m now a vegetarian (and I was a hardcore meat eater before the course began)
  • Stopped drinking alcohol
  • The ability to apply an intense focus to any task I wish to accomplish
  • The discipline to follow through with any task I wish to accomplish
  • A better understanding of Truth as it applies to the nature of our reality, and the nature of our being
  • The confidence one gains when he/she accomplishes something momentous (it feels like I just finished climbing Everest)

In the short period of 10 days I somehow managed to acquire all of these benefits, and many of the other students were able to say the same (I know because I talked to them after the course.) I strongly recommend that everyone take a course because I know it will be life-changing for any individual.

If you do decide to go, make the commitment to yourself to stay for the entire 10 days no matter what. A few students left in the middle of the course, and I’m sure they all regret it now. If you ever find yourself questioning some of the practices during the middle of the course, be patient. I assure you by the end you will understand exactly why everything is set up the way it is.

All in all, I can’t recommend the course strongly enough. I believe every human being should give it a try and see for himself/herself how much this technique can improve his/her life. If you’re closed minded to the idea of taking a chance with a 10 day course, remember, it’s only 10 days. After that you’re back to your normal life, but with a new experience under your belt.

Also, Vipassana meditation is non-sectarian, non-religious, and universal. No one will try to convert you, and you won’t be subjected to any sort of sequestration or indoctrination. With that in mind, give it a try! See for yourself what all the buzz is about. I assure you in the end you’ll be glad you gave Vipassana a chance.

If you have any specific questions at all regarding the course, don’t hesitate to contact me or post a comment below. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about the course, please check out

Update 7/18/2013: Please read through the comments section below for additional information on the Vipassana Retreat experience.

Photo by iBrotha

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  1. Lauren said on July 11th, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Sounds amazing! As I gave up alcohol and meat eating a few years ago, I feel comfortable with that aspect; but i know my challenge will be sitting with myself, my body…all that goes on inside for 10 full days. I look forward to the experience, challenge, and serenity someday….Thank you for your articles always…
    ~ Lauren

  2. Rahul Bhambhani said on July 13th, 2008 at 8:33 am


    I’m glad you’re planning on going, and you’re very welcome for the article! :)

    I think you’ll find the experience incredible, as did I. You’ll be able to handle it just fine. It would definitely be difficult for someone who was not ready for it mentally or spiritually, but from the sounds of it, it sounds like you’re ready! Please let me know how it goes whenever you complete the course.

  3. Sammy said on July 15th, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    This sounds like it was a good time!

    -your vipassana brother

  4. Living Infinitely said on August 27th, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Ah very interesting experience here. I imagine it must be very difficult to meditate for such long periods of time. Did you find yourself increasing with restlessness, or gaining more peace and wanting to go another few days?

  5. Rahul Bhambhani said on August 27th, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    It actually wasn’t that difficult to meditate for such long periods of time. The course is structured in such a way that your mind stops wandering, and you go deep enough into the meditation so that you lose a sense of time. There were a few meditations were three hours passed by in what seemed like minutes. Really cool experience.

    Towards the end I did feel like it was never going to end, but I stuck it out and kept my focus until the very last day. I attained some awesome results.

    Thanks for the comment! If you’ve got any other questions let me know.

  6. on my way said on August 3rd, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for the review. I start the course tomorrow, and was looking for others’ experience. I’ve read both good and not-so-good reviews…not sure if I’m more ready to go now or less.

  7. Rahul Bhambhani said on August 3rd, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Congrats on making the commitment to go. Make sure that you’ve made the decision that you’re going to stick it out NO MATTER WHAT. Don’t leave when you get there no matter what, I assure you that at the end there is a reward. Good luck!

  8. Dhamma brother said on October 22nd, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I also completed a 10 days Vipassana course three months ago and I’ve to say that it was one of the best thing I did for my life. A most pragmatic tool that permanently changes one’s life for ever surely and slowly. I’m happily reporting that I am still practicing my twice daily one hour sitting which is the most important thing in my every day life. It has brought me the balance of the mind in the midst of chaos of living. metta to all.

  9. Satya said on November 1st, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for the review. I have been thinking about doing a course for the past month. My primary reason for that is I would like to know myself better, what I want in life, calmness of mind. The big one though is self-assurance or confidence. I think I do lack confidence although I know I do fine. Do you think this course helps you gain confidence long term. Its a little bit objective but …Would appreciate your reply.

  10. Rahul Bhambhani said on November 1st, 2009 at 11:58 am

    @ Dhamma brother – Thank you for sharing your experiences here. They will be most helpful to readers. Also, congratulations on keeping up with the daily sittings. They are crucial, to say the least.

    @ Satya – Over the 10 day course you can definitely make significant progress in all of the areas you listed. Once you leave the course is when you will begin the major work, however. Vipassana is “insight” meditation, and will most certainly help you get to know yourself better. The key is to keep up the practice once you leave the 10-day course. I wish you the best of luck, and please let me know how your course went once you’re back.

  11. Nikki said on December 1st, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I’m going to do the course on this Dec 9 at Kaufman ,TX. I want to improve myself to handle any problem/activity in life(hopefully this course would help). I have some question regarding your experienced.
    1. Did you do 10-day course at this center? If so ,is it safe there specially for a girl?
    2. Is the bedroom is for individual or for a group(by how many people)?
    3. In the case I want to leave before complete the course ,what do I need to do or would happen?
    3. What could I bring to the bedroom beside your clothes,blanket.?

    Thank you for your review and reply in advance.

  12. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 1st, 2009 at 6:16 pm


    1. I did do a 10 day course, and yes it is totally safe there for women.

    2. All women have their own room with a bathroom attached for privacy.

    3. If you wanted to leave you would need to talk with the course manager about your concerns. I strongly recommend that you make the decision NOT to leave no matter what before attending the course, however. No matter how difficult it may be, it’s important that you complete it. You’ll understand the reasoning behind the procedure at the end of the course.

    4. Bring sheets for a twin sized bed, definitely a blanket because it’s going to be cold, and bring a couple of pillows so that you can meditate comfortably in your room.

    If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly using the contact form on my website.

  13. Nikki said on December 1st, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks a lot for your quick response. I appreciated it.
    I ‘m very determined to complete the 10 day course. Just wonder such in case of emergency that I need to leave.

    By the way, I forgot to ask you one more question,which about donation.
    How to donate and by how much should it be? What would happen if a meditator leave without any donation?(just curious)

    Again, Thanks for your reply.

    P.S. I m impressed that youngter like you interested in this journey. I hv read some of your articles in your website, you have the different perspective toward life from other youngster i know outhere. I’m really impressed and will read your other articles.

  14. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 1st, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Nikki – Thank you for the compliments :) I’m just trying to understand the way things really work down here.

    A donation is by no means mandatory. If you feel like you received value from the program, then you can make a donation in any amount. There are no repercussions if you leave without making one.

    I wish you the best of luck on your 10 day journey. I’m confident you’ll find it insightful and beneficial in many ways.

  15. Michael said on December 26th, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Hi, do they provide cushions for meditating on or are students meant to bring their own?

  16. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 26th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Michael – They will supply you with a LOT of cushions, so don’t worry about bringing your own.

  17. Kamlesh Kumar said on February 25th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Hi Rahul
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I had done Vipassana meditation course of 10 days in Igatpuri near Mumbai in year 2001. The benefits were excellent , it changed my orientation towards life. I hvae been doing meditation practice for very short duration since then as i am on consulting job and have been travelling alot.

    I am looking for a group , wherein i can join and continue my practice of longer duration ( 1- 2 hrs.) in Sugarland Area.

    Pls share the address and other details in Sugarland/Houston.

  18. Rahul Bhambhani said on March 3rd, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Kamlesh – Thank you for stopping by! I no longer live in Sugar Land, so I am not familiar with the local practice groups. You can look them up on the Vipassana website: by logging into the members area.

  19. susanne said on March 7th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Hi Rahul, Thank you for this review! I am planning on taking a 10 day course in California at the end of the month and was reading about other people’s negative experiences and it made me a little bit apprehensive and hesitant about my decision. I am determined to complete the 10 days, and it is encouraging to read about people who have been through it and have found it to be rewarding. Thanks again.


  20. Rahul Bhambhani said on March 7th, 2010 at 6:28 pm


    Please do drop by and let me know how your retreat goes. I’m sure you’ll find it awesome.

  21. Laurie said on April 13th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Rahul, I’m so glad you have this available to people who are considering the experience of Vipassana. I am scheduled to go at the end of this month. I have one concern that perhaps you could provide your opinion on……. the course I am attending will apparently have some loud construction occuring during the entire 10 day retreat. They have advised us that we will hear the construction, voices, machinery, etc. but that we should still have a valuable experience. My question to you is, if this was the environment when you did your retreat, do you think it would have been a major distraction to you and somehow lessened your experience? I was considering bringing earplugs (the small foam ones that you roll between your fingers before placing in your ears) but was also unsure if that would be improper. Do you have any thoughts on this? Many thanks!

  22. Rahul Bhambhani said on April 13th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Laurie – You’re very welcome! Thanks for dropping by and asking your questions. In my opinion, the quality of the course would be affected by loud construction noise. One of the best things about the course (at least the location I went to) was the serenity and peacefulness of the surrounding environment. If you must go to this course, then I think the earplugs are a great option. They are in no way improper. They won’t take away from your learning or anything like that. Enjoy your retreat, if you decide to go, and let me know how it goes for you!

  23. Marcela said on July 25th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Would you recommend this course for a person who has never done any meditation? Can this be a good start or rather too much of a challenge in such case? Maybe it would be better to prepare somehow (how?). I have had this (=vipassana course) in my mind for a long time but I am afraid this could be too hard to complete. I cannot get myself to regular meditation while at home.
    All the best,

  24. Rahul Bhambhani said on July 25th, 2010 at 7:17 pm


    When I signed up for Vipassana I had only done minimal meditation prior to going. When I first got there, I couldn’t sit up straight for more than 5 minutes without having to relax my back/legs. By the end of the course I could sit for an endless amount of time. It will be challenging regardless of if you have experience or not. 11.5 hours of meditation a day is a lot of time. But you will be fine if you decide before hand that you will be fine.

    If it’s something that’s been on your mind for a while, I definitely recommend that you do it. Your intuition won’t lead you wrong. It will be a lifechanging experience!

  25. Marcela said on July 26th, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I hope I’ll overcome my fears and take the chance, you helped me a lot with this, thanks!

  26. dwi said on August 6th, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Laurie, I am interested to know if the noise bothered you when you were there. I am going in August, and I am anxious about this.

  27. Andrew Courtemanche said on September 21st, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Hey Rahul,

    Great to read this information. I am heading up to North Fork tomorrow to start my 10-Day retreat… going through a wave of emotions today and last night… excited and scared to start tomorrow! Your words have brought a sense of calm to me.

  28. Rahul Bhambhani said on September 21st, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    @ Andrew – I’m glad my words have brought a sense of calm to you. You will be fine, don’t worry. Embrace the feelings of anxiety. It’s going to be an awesome experience.

    Here are a few tips that should help you get more value from your experience:

    1. Decide that no matter what you will finish the full 10 days. Once you’ve resolved it in your mind beforehand, you won’t waste your mental energy contemplating it while you’re there.
    2. Pay very close attention to all the details of the process, from how you’re living, to how you spend your breaks, to how specific the schedule is. At the end of the course you’ll understand why everything is the way it is.
    3. Pay close attention to the evening discourses. While this may seem like the most boring part of the process, it’s crucial. By understanding what Goenka is saying in the discourses, you will be able to interpret your experiences 100x better, and will be able to achieve better results because of it.
    4. Give the retreat 100% of your effort, and I promise you that you will make tremendous breakthroughs. Push yourself and don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Follow the schedule rigorously. Try to eat a light meal in the morning (this will make your meditation more comfortable). And most important of all, go all out on the meditations. Hold yourself to the highest standards.

    Remember, it’s only 10 days. After that you’ll be back in the normal world, and it’s nearly impossible to simulate the serene environment at Vipassana while out in your everyday life. Obtain as much value as you can while you’re there.

  29. Mandeep Nihalani said on February 21st, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I will be going for my Vipassana in 10 days from now at Igatpuri in India, I want some suggestion from you and I know you will revert as can see from above posts.

    1. I am sure during the course of time one will come across feeling about quitting the course at that very moment, what should one do to overcome it.

    2. My sole puprose for going in for the course is to get some clarity in personal life and to have courage to stand by my decisions, will I get that?

    3. I hope one does not becomes a monk after the course, this was the 1st question my wife asked when I told her about my enrollment.

    4. Will the learnings from course get diminshed in time if one does not put in with regular medidation post the course is over.

    Thanks in advance buddy.

  30. Rahul Bhambhani said on February 21st, 2011 at 12:52 am


    I’ll answer your questions in order.

    1. Decide ahead of time that no matter what you will not leave. Many people do have the urge to leave somewhere in the middle of the course, but remembering it’s only 10 days and that you already decided beforehand you will not leave will help you overcome this urge. I assure you that you will regret it if you do leave. It’s only 10 days, and you owe it to yourself to give it a fair trial. Afterward if you want to give it up, feel free to do so.

    2. You will gain clarity on your personal life and from that you will find the courage to stand by your decisions. The clarity will come from the stillness you cultivate through the practice of Vipassana. You won’t be doing any thinking, and that’s a good thing because thinking rarely solves the problems you’ve created for yourself. Observation and detachment do the trick, however.

    3. You will only become a monk if you decide to become a monk. I don’t know of anyone personally who has decided to become a monk after taking the course. That’s a serious life decision and I think one would need to attend more than just a 10 day course to make that kind of decision.

    4. Whatever you gain during your 10 days at the course cannot be taken away from you and is permanent. Continued practice is recommended so you can continue to gain similar benefits into perpetuity, but there are many other ways to reap the same rewards. It’s been nearly 3 years since I completed my course and the effect it had on my life is extremely clear to me. I was never the same after I returned.

    If you have any other questions let me know, and thanks for reaching out to me.

  31. Mandeep Nihalani said on February 21st, 2011 at 1:30 am


    Thanks Buddy for the ultra fast response.

    Will definately get in touch with you for more questions, however are you aware about any social networking group where I can read more on experience of others.

    Rgds/ Mandeep

  32. Mandeep Nihalani said on February 21st, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Hi Again Rahul,

    Have been going through your blog for about 15 minutes now & found it out to be pretty interesting, will take out some time over the wkend to read it in detail.

    On a lighter note… ur profession is making me think about mine 😉

    Good luck in helping the guys answer the million dollar question…. What do women want?

    Rgds/ Mandeep

  33. Rahul Bhambhani said on February 21st, 2011 at 11:42 am


    You’re welcome, my friend. I’m not aware of any social networking groups where you can read more about the experience of others.

    What are you reconsidering about your profession?

    What do women want is the million dollar question indeed. I’m on my way to figuring it out. 😛

  34. Mandeep Nihalani said on February 21st, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks Buddy.

    Do also let me know when you are sucessful in knowing what women want 😉

    Rgds/ Mandeep

  35. Mohanish said on February 22nd, 2011 at 3:58 am

    hey Rahul..i am going through depression, many times i thought not to live in this world..its all about love.. i am not able to make my mind stable nor even i am concentrating on my business.. I have applied for Vipassana Meditation..And now i want to live my life

  36. Rahul Bhambhani said on February 27th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Mohanish – Congratulations on taking proactive steps to gain control over your internal state and your life! I hope you enjoy the retreat. Please do come back and let me know how it went.

  37. Mark Frederick said on March 7th, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Greetings Rahul!

    I’m really happy to see you posted a review on this. Everything you’ve written about your experience seems to be all that I wish to get from such a course and more! I have a friend who’s in the middle of the course right now. Ever since he told me about it I’ve been very interested. I’ve been interested in meditation for quite some time now; I’ve obtained a few books on it. I don’t really have any experience meditating, I try here and there but I find it very difficult to quiet my mind; I have a lot of layers in there, you know?

    I’d really appreciate it if you would answer some of my questions:

    -Do you think I’d be able to get through this course with no first hand experience in meditating?

    -Do you feel that this experience enhanced your creativity? Any examples?

    -Looking at the schedule; it seems you only eat twice a day. Did you have any difficulties managing that?

    -I’ve done a fair amount of mind altering substances. Will that render me unqualified for this retreat?

    -Finally, I almost didn’t post this question because it seems silly but I’d really like to read your opinion on it. I’d like to partake in this course sooner rather than later. However, I have a vacation planned in Hawaii with my siblings and cousins this June. I’m really looking forward to this vacation. If I partook in this retreat before said vacation, do you think it would hinder my vacation experience? As I may be distracted from my meditation by all there is to do. Or should I wait until after this vacation to apply for the course? Also, my siblings and cousins are excited to go out to the bars and some parties with me there. I’m wondering if this retreat would render me incapable of attending such places and having the same fun as them.

    Sorry for that last one.. I hope it makes sense.

    I sincerely appreciate your time and I look forward to your response!


  38. Rahul Bhambhani said on March 7th, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Mark – So glad you found the review useful. I’ll take your questions in order.

    1. I had almost no experience meditating before I got to the retreat, and when I got there I wasn’t able to sit up straight for longer than 5 minutes. By the end of the course, however, I could sit up straight for hours upon end without a problem. You’ll be fine.

    2. I’m not sure that it enhanced my creativity. I don’t recall noticing that. I was muuuuuch more focused, however.

    3. Eating twice a day was totally fine by me. You get a lot of energy from the meditation and I highly recommend you eat a light meal in the morning, otherwise it will interrupt your meditation. I made this mistake a few times and I always wished I hadn’t, lol.

    4. Just be sure to not take any mind-altering substances 2 weeks prior to the course and you’ll be fine.

    5. When you return from the retreat you’ll be in an altered state of mind. You will be much more serene and focused than you were went you went in. I’d say go for the vacation, and then take the course as to not impinge upon the heightened state of awareness you will have upon returning from Vipassana. It’s not a ridiculous question. It’s actually an excellent question. Good for you for asking. Also, when I returned from Vipassana I chose not to drink for quite a while. It gave me a whole new perspective on the bar/nightclub scene. Don’t worry, going to Vipassana won’t turn you into a monk. You can still operate in reality, albeit with a broader perspective.

    Let me know if you have any more questions, and thanks for dropping by.

  39. antonis said on March 19th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    I did not have so much time to look over your blog, but i think i will do soon.
    i personally preparing my body and mind us much us i can, though in the 23 i start the 10 days retreat in Lampoon Thailand, i find this work very special in here, thanks brother for sharing,
    Antonis Raptis

  40. Rahul Bhambhani said on March 22nd, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Antonis – Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Enjoy your retreat. If possible, let me know how it was when you return.

  41. dp said on March 22nd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Hi, I have enrolled for 10 day course at Dharmshala. But I am confused whether to go or not? All I have learnt is that youhave to sit and meditate and that I can do on my own too. Why do I need a guide for that.. I have tried Isha yoga, Coimbatore but of not much help. I think untill and unless I myself look inside and put efforts… there is no point joining various meditation courses… What you say?

  42. Pradip said on April 18th, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I am s/w engg. I am planningto do this course in this or next month. i am from mumbai. which center do u recommmend. i am not able to concentrat for more than 30 min in work, bcz of some continus thinking going in mind, this causing lots of stress. bcz my profession required intense concentration and calm mind. can i expect good result or solution on this problem after completing this course.

  43. Rahul Bhambhani said on April 18th, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Pradip – I can’t recommend a center to you as I have not seen them/experienced them myself.

    Yes, going through a Vipassana course should help you with your ability to focus for longer than 30 minute periods. It’s something you will use for the rest of your life. Not only that, it’s something that will change your life for the better permanently. Go for it, and let me know how it goes for you once you’re done.

    Thank you for your comment.

  44. Mandeep Nihalani said on April 18th, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I will take the liberty & recommend to Pradip on centres, apologies for the same buddy.


    I would personally recommend the centre in Igatpuri (near Nashik) for taking the course for simple reasons that:-
    1. It is oldest & first centre in India
    2. Probably the biggest in world
    3. Away from city clutter in natural surrounding
    4. Very good facilities for meditation (I liked it)
    5. Teachings are same in all the centres

    However if u wish to go closer home then the centre in Gorai (near Borivali) is the option, but the focus in Gorai centre is on ‘Corporate Vipassana’.

    Regarding your issue on lack of focus, even I had similar sort of challenges, I did teh course 1.5 months back and it did help me a lot… .. I have not pactised the meditation techniques since coming out of the centre..but can still feel the changes within me pre & post the course.

    On personal side would give you the same advice which Rahul came…. Take the course seriously & no matter what complete the entire 10 days.

    If u still wish to know more than call me on 92231 00813 (i am from amchi Mumbai:)

  45. Pradip said on April 18th, 2011 at 7:01 am


    thanks for your promtp response. I will definetly let u know , after attending course.


    Thanks for your reply.
    There are two centre Dhamma Tapovana Meditation Centre and Dhamma Giri Meditation Centre, which one of this you are talking about?

  46. Mandeep Nihalani said on April 18th, 2011 at 7:10 am


    Both are in the same area, for new students it is Dhamma Giri…. Dhamma Tapovan is for old students.

    Rgds/ Mandeep

  47. NoName said on May 1st, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    I will be embarking on this journey in a few days myself. I was just wondering if you felt the need to leave at any point during your 10 days and how you coped with it?

    Also as Mark mentioned previously, does this experience (or did it in your case) perhaps interfere with your previous lifestyle. You said you stopped drinking after you took the course. Was this because you felt something was perhaps wrong with the idea of alcohol and those that consume it or was this because you felt no attraction to it?


  48. NoName said on May 1st, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Sorry I forgot to add
    As I go to the gym quite regularly and try to run daily, I was wondering if the no exercise policy interfered with your energy levels. Did you ever feel lazy at any point in time? If so, how did you cope with all of that.
    And how did you manage to avoid communicating with people, even if it was merely eye contact, did that perhaps distract you in anyway? Did people who may not have taken their time there seriously, impact you in anyway?

  49. Rahul Bhambhani said on May 8th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I did feel a strong desire to leave on Day 6, but that was also the day I had a major breakthrough.

    The experience did not interfere with my previous lifestyle. It enhanced my lifestyle and still serves me to this day.

    I stopped drinking for an extended period of time because I didn’t like feeling like I was not in control of my desires. I gave it up to show myself that I was in control.

    Thank you for your questions!

  50. Rahul Bhambhani said on May 8th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I had awesome energy levels the whole time. So much so that I only slept 4 hours a night and felt totally rested for the most part. All the meditation generates a lot of energy.

    I had no problem avoiding communication with others. It’s easy when everyone is on the same page. Everyone at my course took their time there seriously. If you’re willing to commit to 10 days of silence and meditation, you’ve gotta be pretty damn serious about it, lol. :)

  51. Melissa said on May 12th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    First off, thanks for sharing your experience. It was extremely insightful. I will be attending a retreat in a couple of weeks for the first time. I have two major questions;

    1) I am attending this retreat with a friend. It is a male friend, so I know that we will be separated. But I’m wondering if you noticed a lot of people at your retreat attending in pairs or groups, or if you think that could possibly hinder the experience?

    2) My friend is a heavier set guy, and I know that he is super concerned about the extended sitting. I’ve told him that the centres will provide chairs to meditate in but he’s determined to floor sit like everyone else so he doesn’t stand out. Did anyone meditate in a chair at your retreat? And were there any heavier people?

  52. Rahul Bhambhani said on May 12th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

    To answer your questions, it shouldn’t be a problem to attend with a friend. Lots of people come up together, but you won’t acknowledge them and since he’s a guy you will rarely even see him at all. You will both be fine.

    A few people did sit in chairs. If he finds it too difficult to sit on the floor he can always move. I think he should be fine. It will be a great opportunity for him to transcend the labels of pain/limitation created by his mind. I don’t recall if there were many heavyset people at my course, but I’m sure there were at least a couple.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  53. JENIl said on May 30th, 2011 at 3:59 am

    does vipassana help to cure depression and migraine?

  54. Nyambura said on June 18th, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Hi, My Name is Nyambura Macharia I live in Kenya. I applied for the 10 day course in my country and i got accepted, i will be attending soon. Meditation isnt something that is popular in my country, in fact most people associate it with satanic practices, which is a sad thing because it means people like me who have a awareness of the importance of connecting with your higher self dont get many opportunities to grow and learn the necessary techniques. I was over joyed when i found out about the 10 day course right here at home. Thank you for sharing your experience, i am looking forward to attending and after i do i will be back here to ask you questions, for now i want to keep an open mind and have no expectations.

  55. Rahul Bhambhani said on June 18th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    The main teacher of the course, S.N. Goenka, used to have unbearable migraines and he started practicing Vipassana as a last resort to resolve his migraine issues. 10 days later he was migraine free! I don’t know if this a result that everyone can expect, but I am quite sure it should help. Give it a try and you can find out the truth for yourself.

  56. Rahul Bhambhani said on June 18th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story, Nyambura! It is a shame that meditation is looked at that way in your country, and I think it’s amazing that you have the courage to sign up for such a course and go for it anyway. Congratulations on making that happen! Please do share your experience with the other readers and I when you return. I look forward to hearing back from you.

  57. Bobbie said on July 17th, 2011 at 6:24 pm


    My son lives at home and will be taking the course shortly. I have been through a difficult time, which he has had to live through its affect on me. I am concerned that I do not spoil things for him when he returns. Having done a bit of reading on the course, I am very interested to attend and wonder if the course will help me find myself and in addition bring harmony back to both of us. We are very close but have been through a testing time over the last few of years.

    I take prescribed medication. Will I keep and administer this myself at the retreat and if not what is the procedure?

    Your response will be appreciated,

  58. Rahul Bhambhani said on July 17th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The course will definitely help you out with whatever issues you are facing. Of that much I am sure. With regards to the prescription meds, you’ll have to contact the Vipassana center directly and find out how you will handle that. Thank you for your comment and I do hope you decide to go!

  59. Bobbie said on July 18th, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Many thanks Rahul for getting back to me with your positive response.

  60. Aubrey said on July 18th, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I’ve read through your whole website and found it very helpful. I am in Sri Lanka studying Buddhism and teaching English and was on the fence about taking this course but your comments have really helped and i signed up to take the course today, but i have two questions if you wouldn’t mind answering them.

    1. Did you find that your social interactions with friends, loved ones and partners were immediately altered by this experience? If so, how?

    2. Did you find that your personality changed after the duration of the course?

    Thank you!

  61. Rahul Bhambhani said on July 18th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    My social interactions did change in that I was more even-minded and compassionate when interacting with others . I had much more patience and was much less reactive to the way people were treating me. This was a great thing. This is also how my personality changed. I was more centered, equanimous, and nonreactive overall. Because of this, instead of reacting to external stimulus in a negative way, I could choose to act from a place of love or compassion instead.

    Does this answer your questions? Thank you for your comment, and I’m so glad you decided to take the course. I’m confident you’ll gain a lot from it!

  62. Mohamed Ashiq said on July 20th, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I am a Strict follower of Islam. Will this course suit me and also I have to complete 5 times prayers, will I be allowed to do that.

  63. Rahul Bhambhani said on July 21st, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I’m not sure about the answer to this question, so I will not answer it. I recommend calling your nearest Vipassana center with the question and they’ll be able to field it for you. Thank you for the comment!

  64. Peggy said on August 12th, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Hello Rahul,

    I live in the USA and have completed 2 courses and just signed up for the third. I It could highly recommend this course. I was very nervous when I attended the first course. A dear friend asked me to go with her, so I said I would try it. For someone with fibromyalgia and sciatic it was very difficult physically for me, but I made it through the group meditations. The last day I found a meditation bench suited to my height and it was perfect. I sat for almost 3 hours with no pain. The second course, I was already in a lot of pain before I went so not in the best frame of mind, and it was actually more difficult than the first. I did not find the right height bench, and tried sitting in a chair or back against the wall with cushions etc. So, my advice to those who want to try this course, but have a lot of chronic pain issues, try to sit in a meditation pose or make your own meditation bench for your weight and height and slant—and practice just sitting for a few hours a day before attending. This time I am taking my own personal meditation bench that I know is the correct height and slant for my body. I’m not saying that I wont still have some back spasms and pain, but I know I will able to work thru these pains with the meditation–because it does help. There were times though even with the pain that I was able to meditate and get completely into it and just acknowledge the pain, then continue meditating. Looking forward to this next one! Also planning to serve for a weekend in the near future also. thanks for your blog!

  65. Rahul Bhambhani said on August 14th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing your unique experiences with me and readers, Peggy! I’m sure many people will find this write up helpful.

  66. bala said on August 15th, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Hi rahul,
    I am about to take the course shortly and hope it benefits.I am diabetic,can i take the medicines.would the two meal plan suit my condition wherein i have to take five meal?.I do yoga regularly,is this course similar?
    Your prompt reply and the blog is really helpful.

  67. Pradeep said on August 17th, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I am very much interested in meditation and i think VIPASSANA is the best for beginners like me. I am practicing Vipassana after reading the few technics from website at home but feeling some difficulties. I would be grateful if you could answer my following questions:

    1). Vipassana Meditation technic
    2). Thoughts are disturbing at the middle of the meditation. How can i avoid the thoughts?
    Many thanks,

  68. Rahul Bhambhani said on August 18th, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Bala – There is no yoga involved in this course, so I can’t say it’s similar. You will be meditating for close to 11 hours a day. With regards to your meal plan and your diabetes, you will have to contact the center that you plan on attending the course at and ask them your questions. I am sure they will find a way to accommodate you.

    Thank you for your comment!

  69. Rahul Bhambhani said on August 18th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Pradeep – Vipassana is “insight meditation” and is a body scanning technique. You focus your attention on each part of your body and observe the sensations on that part of your body objectively, without reacting to them. Vipassana begins on Day 4 at the course, and the first 3 days are dedicated to Anapana so that you can focus your mind in preparation for the Vipassana meditation.

    You will learn how to observe your thoughts objectively during the course. My advice to you is to not resist your thoughts, but just watch them as a neutral observer instead. If you don’t resist them, they will pass much faster. Does this answer your questions?

    Thank you for your comment!

  70. Pradeep said on August 31st, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Thank you Rahul for your valuable advise. this web site is really very nice. I always enjoy talking about meditation and reading the book about meditation. Thanks

  71. Rahul Bhambhani said on September 4th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Pradeep – It’s my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to let me know how you feel. Much love.

  72. SKR said on September 7th, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Hi Rahul,
    I am seriously debating with myself whether to attend or drop out of my Vipassana course that starts tomorrow in California. Some of the posts in forums I read online about cultish references to Vipassana are freaking me out.

    Also, I am not someone with mental or life issues. I am feeling good and am good at what I do and I begin to question why try to fix something that ain’t broken. Will I cause some irreparable damage to my brain chemistry by 10 days of intense meditation? What if after 10 days I end up where I didn’t want to be? Isn’t ignorance a bliss and why search for deeper meanings when it is unnecessary?

    Should I follow my inner voice and not go? Any insights will be very helpful. Eagerly awaiting your reply


  73. Rahul Bhambhani said on September 7th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    SKR – Thanks for reaching out to me, I hope this message finds you in good time.

    With regards to the fear about Vipassana being a cult and anything you’ve heard about that, it’s a load of baloney. Nothing will be forced upon you (indoctrination/sequestration) during your time there and you have nothing to worry about. It’s very easy going and you can choose to believe whatever you want at any time.

    To answer your question about searching for deeper meanings when everything is working, I can only ask, why did you sign up for Vipassana in the first place? You’re right in thinking that attending a course could flip things upside down for you, because you might realize something while you’re there that shakes up your current model of reality. That definitely happens from time to time during deep meditation sessions. If you want to move closer to Truth (by seeing what’s True for yourself while meditating and looking within), then Vipassana is a great opportunity to do just that. If you do not want to move closer to Truth, then do not go, because that’s what it’s all about.

    I will say that the voice of your intuition never has its basis in FEAR. It has its basis in power, possibility, and grace. So, when you refer to your “inner voice” in this situation, it actually sounds to me like it’s your ego talking and not your intuition. One of the great things about meditation is that it will teach you how to quiet the noise of your mind (fear being something that contributes to that noise), so you can hear what your inner voice is saying. The Truth speaks from a quiet place, my friend.

    Do not go to the course unless you are 100% committed to seeing it through to the end. Come to a decision ASAP whether you will go or not, and then stick to that decision and be at peace with it. Keep in mind everything I have written here. Let me know what you decide! Much love.

  74. Sanju said on September 11th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Hi, I am planning to go the retreat on Sep 28th. I am trying to practice sitting on floor with folded legs. I still not able to sit for an hour in that position especially my back hurts. will i get a seat with back support? Can carry my own seat to support my back? Is it allowed to have our own seats/cushions?

  75. Rahul Bhambhani said on September 15th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Sanju – The pain that you feel when sitting up straight for extended periods of time is crucial to the process of Vipassana. You will understand why at the end of the course, and I promise it’s not for a masochistic reason. They will provide you with ample cushions, and if absolutely necessary, a seat as well. Enjoy your course!

  76. Gayle said on September 25th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Hello. Before reading your blog, I found a Wat in Chiang Mai which offers a 10-day Vipassana retreat beginning whatever day you arrive. (Northern Insight Meditation Center) The open date concerns me, but they are unable to accept registrations by email.Can you tell me if I should reconsider and adjust my travel dates around the dhamma course offered in Lamphun? A guided course seems more sensibile for a very novice westerner and there is still availability in the dhamma course during my planned time in Thailand. Thank you for any help you might provide.

  77. Juliet said on September 26th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you so much for posts and replies. I attend a course in December. How are you going to continue your journey with it all – will you Serve?

  78. Rahul Bhambhani said on September 26th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Juliet – I plan on serving at an upcoming course sometime soon. I practice Vipassana regularly to this day, and it continues to provide benefits. Thank you for your comment!

  79. Rahul Bhambhani said on September 26th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Gayle – I would agree with your intuition to go with a 10-day guided course. It should provide a better experience for you. Thank you for reaching out to me!

  80. Sachin Garg said on October 11th, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Hello Rahul, your have a broad minded men, i am blessed to get in touch a person like you. i have got benefit from vipasana meditaion, but i have got clarity upon my experince of meditation , which happening within me , but other than else i found the key to resolving that happening by reading ,listing to osho. Now after reading your response , i felt to get your response to aware if you are not regarding osho , have you any experience of reading listing to osho ? , if not you must be go through with osho the website name is :- www., there is lot of for downloading for reading ,listing & watching for getting clearity on meditation , because i felt osho were a anagami or might be arhant. i will wait your response, take a time , then comment what you think after reading ,listing osho.

  81. Sanju said on October 17th, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I am back from the wonderful Vipassana program. It was incredible. No words to describe my experience. From day 4 onwards, I am feeling so different. The experience varies so much that, I can not even pinpoint what it is. It has been a week now, still I am not back to my so-called routine life. My thinking seems so disoriented. I see people, but it takes time for me to recognize them. I take long time to respond to if my name is called. No, I am not scared. This world is too noisy whereas I am so lost in the calmness inside me.
    I have been practicing pretty much regularly 2 hrs a day or more so far.
    It has been some time for you attended the course. How is the effect now after couple of years? Do you see yourself made progress in the spiritual path? How I imagine is, if so much of change can be brought in in 10 days, how much it would be in couple of years?

  82. shri said on October 23rd, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Hi Rahul,i must say you are making a great effort by helping others.I am going for the 10 -day course today.I am in the third year of my undergraduate program.My parents are not quite excited about this course i am taking ,but they are not forbidding me either.
    I am very impatient and not sure about what i want out of life.I am very concerned about my emotional vulnerability. I hope i will get some help there.I am really happy the way my life is turning out but I really want to be more stable emotionally.I really hope things will change after these 10 days.May God bless you.

  83. Ash said on October 24th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Rahul,
    Thanks for providing such an informative page and discussion on the subject. I’m looking at booking a 10-day course for around 27th Dec in New Zealand (where I was born, but I live/work in Europe these days). I have a few concerns/questions before I book it and I’d really appreciate it if you could weigh in and give your opinion:

    1. I’m already booked on 6-day Anthony Robbins seminar in the 2nd week of December. It’s called Date with Destiny and it’s all about figuring out what drives you, what you want to do/be in life, and how to align your actions & decisions towards that purpose, to help resolve inner conflicts that cause us to sabotage our efforts. It’s pretty expensive (and non-refundable) and I’m pretty excited (and nervous) about it. My question is, what’s it going to be like for me, going to this seminar in California, learning all sorts of stuff and insights and things and making interesting breakthroughs etc… then directly after that I fly to my home country, stay with my brother whom I haven’t seen for a year… have christmas with him, then 2 days after Christmas, the Vipassana course starts… I guess I’m just wondering if maybe I’m packing a bit too much intensity into the space of a month. However, it’s equally plausible that the Vipassana could *enhance* the stuff I learn on the Robbins seminar (although in a way, I think I’d choose to do Vipassana *first*, so I’d have these new powers of clarity and truth and self-awareness, *before* I go to the seminar…

    2. I return to work at the end of Jan (I work 3 months straight (i.e 90 days straight), then get 3 months off, and so on) – my job is unlikely to afford me the ability to meditate for 2 hours a day, but we do get breaks of course. Presumably even 15-30 minutes a day would be beneficial?

    What are your thoughts on this. Sorry for the long-winded question 1 – it only just occurred to me. I am really worried now that I should be doing Vipassana *first*, then the seminar after. My 3 months off starts Nov 1, I’m in Europe, maybe I’d be better to do a Vipassana course in Europe first. Let me know your thoughts. Sorry for the lengthy post!


  84. Rahul Bhambhani said on October 24th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Hello Sachin – I have actually heard of Osho, but never looked into his teachings. I think I will start now because I’ve been getting many messages to do so recently. Thank you for delivering the message once more! Much love.

  85. Rahul Bhambhani said on October 24th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Sanju – I have continued my practice off and on over the last 3 years. I must say the benefits are very easily seen. I am much more equanimous these days in almost all situations. I’m almost always present (there are still times where I will get lost in reactivity). The thing I love about the course is the intense work that a person can get done over the course of the 10 days because the environment is perfect for it. I’m planning on going to another course in a couple of months to get more work done.

  86. Rahul Bhambhani said on October 24th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Shri – Thank you for dropping by and leaving your comment! I hope you find what you’re looking for after your 10 day course. Much love.

  87. Rahul Bhambhani said on October 24th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Ash – All I can say to answer your first question is… you have to follow your intuition. Feel through the fear and see what is best for you. It sounds to me like you already have an idea of what that is.

    With regards to meditating two hours a day after completing the retreat, any amount of meditation every day will be beneficial. If you can’t get the 2 hours in every day, don’t sweat it. I personally don’t do it for 2 hours a day, however, I am involved in many different spiritual practices throughout my day. Vipassana is just one tool I use to expand my awareness.

    Thank you for your question!

  88. Ash said on October 25th, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Rahul – thanks for your quick response. My instinct is that I should try to do the Vipassana course *first*, so that my powers of insight and self-understanding are more clear and less ego-oriented. I’ve looked at all the worldwide Dhamma centers and the only one that has a course available before my other seminar is in Portugal. I’m trying to find out if they do it in English + Portuguese, or only Portuguese.

    If I’m unable to do a Vipassana course, then I may have to make do simply by trying to practise vipassana meditation as diligently and as often as possible in the 6-7 weeks between now and then? I came across vipassana when reading the highly rated book “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. So maybe if I stop procrastinating finishing the book and put a couple of hours a day into it, that will at least have some positive benefits before my seminar.

    Worst case, I just go to the seminar as I am I guess. It’s not a life or death situation – I’d just like to get the most out of it, with fully open eyes and not quite as rampant an ego.

  89. Rahul Bhambhani said on October 25th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I recommend that you wait until the Vipassana retreat to start practicing Vipassana. The way they deliver it at the retreat is in its pure form, and I think it’s very important to practice it that way, if you’re going to practice it at all. I think you’ll get a lot out of the Tony Robbins event either way… there’s no need to stress too much about this decision.

    In the end, you must do what you feel is right. Just remember, there is no rush.

  90. Gayle said on October 26th, 2011 at 4:09 am

    As I’ve just concluded a Vipissana meditation retreat (today was closing ceremony), I thought my two cents might be of interest.

    I took this course at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. You can start pretty much on any date. I had some trouble opening their website though and was able to get through via email after multiple searches on Google. I’d look for it now, but I’m at an internet cafe and the access is sketchy.

    If this location is of interest, send a note of inquiry to the monestary and suggest a date or dates when you might be interested to start. They’ll respond fairly quickly. It is on a donation basis and while they offer 3 day, 10 day and 21 day retreats, they recommend a minimum stay of ten days.

    The teacher spoke heavily accented English and Thai and many of the monks who live at the monastery also spoke English. Our schedule was a bit different than Rahul’s but not by much. Up at 5. Dhamma at 5:30 for 60 minutes. Breakfast at 7 sharp, 2nd and last meal at 11 sharp. At 1:30 is report – when you meet with the teacher and have an opportunity to ask questions. He’ll also give you your next instruction to advance your practice. At 6 pm, we chanted in Pali, the language spoken by the Buddha when/where he lived. Then there was open questions about practices, Buddhism, why all the elephants, some random, some insightful.

    Easy: silence, two meals as you’re expending so few calories. Very difficult for me was the sitting. My body is accustomed to an ergonomically correct chair, keyboard and desk ratio. My room was a thin, hard mattress and sitting meditation, Dhamma, etc., are all on the floor. My back is very sore and my husband pinched a nerve in his shoulder. I might add that we are triathletes — not top in our ranking but certainly in better than average condition. Also, as Thailand is a developing nation, their standards of cleanliness are not those of US or NZ. At some times it bothered me a great deal; at other times, not at all.

    We were taught in this order: sitting meditation, walking meditation, laying meditation. Each day we added more time. When I asked how many hours should I be meditating each day, I was told, “don’t be lazy”.

    As to two hours a day. I have not heard that. After the retreat however, you will find the time you need. It will be the time YOU need and want for your individual practice. But it is practice and to advance you must practice.

    Bottom line. It was a gift from me to me, and I will be forever changed and grateful that I took this step in my life.

    Best wishes,

  91. Rahul Bhambhani said on October 27th, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Gayle – Thank you for checking back in and sharing your experiences! Detailed report and it should certainly help people out who are considering attending a course in the future.

    Did you find your course through the website? It sounds like your course was delivered by a different organization, but I could be wrong. I always suggest going through the dhamma website to find a course, because the way they deliver the course worldwide is uniform and in its pure form.

  92. gayle said on October 29th, 2011 at 3:12 am

    I looked at so many sites I am not certain if it was dhamma or if itwas International Buddhism Center. It had a fair amount of structure but no tapes. I do very much appreciate being “releases” into a Buddhist culture where meditation is the norm. Gentle reentry.

  93. Amit said on October 31st, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Hello Rahul,

    Great to learn abour your experiences.

    Just a Doubt,

    I dont know much about meditation, I have read quite a bit about it but never practiced it. Would it be right place to start or would I be out of crowd.


  94. Rahul Bhambhani said on November 23rd, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Amit – You will be fine. Read some of the comments above and you’ll get a better feel for the answer to your question.

  95. Andrew said on November 23rd, 2011 at 5:20 pm


    I am thinking of going on this course. A few reasons.

    1) i feel a bit lost, and have always had an interest in what the course offers.
    2) to prove to myself I can live without certain means
    3) It feels like it found me ?

    I am very bad without certain things, smoking being the worse, do you think the power of the course will be enough to to get me occupied ?

  96. Rahul Bhambhani said on November 24th, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Andrew – Yes, the course will keep you fully occupied. Find a course through the website. They run the courses impeccably.

  97. inder said on November 25th, 2011 at 6:20 am

    i will be attending the course starting from jan4 at igatpuri, i have 1 question, after 10 days and back to normal life style, wont it happen like after some months we are on sme daily routine than we were earlier to the course?? does it happens

  98. Rahul Bhambhani said on November 28th, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Inder – Yes you might revert back to your old schedule, however, you will never be the same after completing the course. The gains you realize after the 10 days of intense meditation practice are yours to keep.

  99. Jilly Lin said on December 7th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    Thank you for your very helpful discussion of the 10-day Vipassana retreat. And thank you to all who have asked questions and added comments of their own.

    These retreats were recommended to me years ago by a friend, and I have thought ever since that one day I will attend. But always something in my full life as a wage-earner, mother, wife and caretaker came first. Finally, it looks like I’ll be attending a 10-day session just two weeks from now (I was on a wait list and didn’t expect to be accepted, but almost magically it worked out).

    Crazily, now I’m having second thoughts — which is where reading your blog comes in, reminding me of all the reasons I want to go. I look forward to being with and getting to know myself during all those daily hours of practice — away from all the distractions I fill my life with. Also, in what seems like a paradox, I believe that in giving myself MYSELF, I will be better able to give to others. It sounds like this has been your experience, Rahul.

    I do have one question: Did you find it difficult to not be able to read or write during the retreat? I’m always reading or writing in my everyday life, and I wish I could take notes during the retreat. But maybe, at least for those 10 days, that would be just another distraction. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    Again, thanks for leading this very enlightening discussion!

  100. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 13th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Jilly Lin – I’m so glad you found this article/discussion beneficial. To answer your question, I did not find it difficult to refrain from reading/writing. The whole experience of silence is quite pleasant, actually. A real counterpoint to normal society. Once you return from the retreat, you’re gonna be like WHOA. There’s so much noise in my day-to-day life. Cherish the serene environment at the retreat, is all I’m sayin!

  101. Cynthia said on December 15th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Hi Rahul, thank you so much for this article! Your description of your overall experience is excellent. I am going to forward it to my sister and a few friends who are interested in trying it. I just signed up for my 3rd 10-day course, on Feb. 15. I love going to different centers all over the world, whether it’s sitting or serving (I love serving! I just served for 1 week at the Vesup, Georgia center–amazing experience). Anyway, what I’d love to know is, how is the FOOD in Kaufman?? I’d heard from many world-travelers that the Kaufman center has the best food. What are your thoughts about it? And how were the rooms? I’ve served many times at the Shelburne, Massachussetts center and that place is huge. But even the people there talk about Kaufman’s food! haha. Can’t wait to try it!

    Thanks again for sharing :)

  102. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 15th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Cynthia – The food is DELICIOUS. I haven’t taken a course anywhere else, so I don’t know how it is relatively, but it’s very good. The rooms are nice. The whole center is really nice, actually. I think they recently did some renovations as well, so it’s probably even nicer than when I attended. You’ll enjoy your retreat there! Thank you for the kind words and for dropping by.

  103. Ciaran said on December 15th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Hey there brother, excellent review…has changed my mind about comitting to ten days : i was thinking of going in with the mindset of only doing 5 days but i now see that i will regret leaving early. I am interested in the course in kelseyville, northern california starting dec 19 and am on a wait list. Do you know if it is ok to leave on the night of day 10, as i want to catch a plane to Ireland the next morning?

  104. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 19th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Ciaran – So glad to hear that the article changed your mind. You won’t regret it! To answer your question, you’ll want to contact the Vipassana center you will be attending and ask them. They’ll have the answer for you. Day 10 is crucial to help you reintegrate into the normal way of life, so I’m not sure they will let you skip it. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment!

  105. Hobbs said on December 21st, 2011 at 5:19 pm


    I signed up and very excited! Thank you for all the great information. I have a question though…
    – How much are you outside?
    – Is the meditation hall heated?

    They keep saying bring warm socks, blankets so I’m not sure what to expect.

    Thank you so much!

  106. Rahul said on December 21st, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Hobbs – Congrats on signing up for the course! I’m confident you will love it.

    To answer your questions, you’re only outside by CHOICE during the break periods, otherwise you don’t have to be outside at all. Depending on the center you are at, everything SHOULD be heated. Vipassana is a well run organization and their centers are very nice. To make sure, call the center and find out.

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

  107. Lucia said on January 2nd, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Question: Does one have to be in a good physical form to withstand the course? I am going through some health issues that somewhat remind panic attacks. my heart have been checked and they say everything is normal. But my energy is very low and I spend all time in bed (luckily we have 1 days x-mas break). I also have some episodes of difficult breathing and feeling as if I am going to pass out. This has been going on for 2 months now. All my friends say it is all in my head as I have a tendency be negative about things and always complain about not feeling well. I have also been listening to lots of mantras, healing frequencies, EFT, etc. I do try hard , but not feeling any better. Will I be able to complete this course? I am at the end of my rope. And I need this course to take control of my mind, repeating thoughts, etc.

  108. Rahul said on January 2nd, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Lucia – I recommend that you call up the center you’re considering attending a course at and ask them these questions. They will let you know what they can do for you. I can’t answer because I don’t know for sure. Thank you for reaching out to me and leaving a comment.

  109. Newbie said on January 2nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Hi! Happy New Year!
    I just finished my first 10-day vipassana course. I loved it!
    Before I made a decision to attend I read your post about your experience.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and helping me dismiss my fears. I have wanted to take a course for many years but my fears were keeping me away. Thank you.

  110. Rahul said on January 3rd, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    My pleasure! I’m so glad you decided to go and that it was a great experience for you. Much love.

  111. harmony said on January 20th, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Hi Rahul – thank you for sharing so much.

    My questions:

    1) Does the course recommend any particular style of sitting, such as lotus pose, etc. I have a problem with my legs getting numb (pins & needles) after around 30 minutes of sitting with legs crossed so I am not sure how I will manage for 3+ hours? Can we stretch or stand up if necessary?

    2) Why did you start drinking again when you initially stopped after the course?

  112. Rahul said on January 23rd, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Hey Harmony! You can sit however you’d like. You won’t be able to stretch or stand up during the meditation sessions in the group hall, but I think you’ll be just fine. You’ll see! :) I started drinking again here and there because I enjoy wine and a good beer from time to time. Thanks for dropping by!

  113. inderjeet said on January 24th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    just finished 10 days course, nice experience, but trying to manage for finding time for meditation in morning or evening. cant able to concentrate much in the morning and feel sleepy after waking at 6.00am(meditate from 6am to 6.45am) i think doing anapan for some days continous should work. anapan is the technique that brings mind immediately to present from wanderance??? what if i do anapan for some days & little little time for vipasana progresively.???

  114. Rahul said on January 30th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Inderjeet – That will be fine. Just alternate as you please!

  115. inderjeet said on January 31st, 2012 at 4:10 am


  116. Linda said on January 31st, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Rahul,
    I am SO thankful to have come across your blog/site/review this morning.
    I first heard of Vipassana about 3 or 4 months ago, and checked out the at that time. I immediately knew this was something I HAD to do. I have now applied for a 10 day session, from May 23 – Jun 3, 2012, in Montabello, Quebec, Canada.

    Reading your review, and all the questions/answers/comments thereafter has been very helpful in answering some questions that have been floating around in my brain.

    I do however have 3 more that I did not see addressed.

    1. I’m a bit of a caffeine addict. Is there any coffee available on the “menu”?

    2. Although I am a “morning person”, (I typically am up by 6 or 7 AM and in bed by 9 or 10 PM), I am concerned about falling asleep during meditation. Did this happen to you, or any of the others in your group?
    I understand that the meditation actually give you much energy, but I’m mostly concerned about the first few days.

    3. How many people are in each group, and is there more than one “server”/”teacher”?

    Thanks so much, in advance.

  117. Rahul said on January 31st, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Linda – Congrats on applying for your first sitting! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

    To answer your questions:

    1) I don’t recall. There may be. There is definitely tea. You may want to call your center and find out to be certain.

    2) Don’t worry, you won’t fall asleep. I don’t know of anyone who did while performing seated meditation. If you’re lying down… now that’s a different story (don’t lie down! lol)

    3) There are two groups, men and women. How many people are in each group depends on the course. There are two assistant teachers, one man and one woman. There are various servers who help out in the kitchen and with other things. There is also a manager that you can speak to if you have any issues with your stay.

  118. Jerry said on February 2nd, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hey Rahul, Hi

    I have enrolled for the Vipassana Course near Titwala from Feb 22nd to Mar 4th
    My main concerns were the following

    1) I lost my father last year post which I’m taking a moderate level of medication like anti depressants and a sleeping pill at night which helps me doze off to 9.5 hours of deep sleep
    2) I am allowed to carry these meds to the course, but do you feel they’ll interfere with the whole meditation process, considering the huge sleep backlog i’ll have
    3) Also, I have had to quit my job last year due to the depression. So am looking for some answers and clarity of thought

    Whats your take? Should I take the Meds with me or allow the meditation to work out its magic


  119. Rahul said on February 3rd, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Kris – I highly recommend you contact the center and ask them this question. I don’t feel comfortable answering it because I am not certain! Thank you for dropping by and leaving your comment.

  120. Edyharto said on February 24th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Thank you Rahul for sharing your experience and thoughts on Vipassana Meditation. I just completed a 10-day course and I was telling myself that I will continue to practise should I experience any change in me.

    I have just returned back for four days. And I can see the change in mind. By killing some of the Shankaras in me, I am able to look at things and persons with equainimity and that is good.

    As you are more experience in meditation, can you describe here the method by which you manage to concentrate on the meditation without letting your mind wanders. Thank you.

  121. Sam said on March 29th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Hi dear,

    I am planning to take up course at hyderabad just wondering if the rooms we sleep have coolers…….Your blog is G*reat and I feel much better after reading it.Thx in advance

  122. Rahul said on March 30th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Sam – I recommend that you contact the center and ask them to know for sure! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

  123. Fiona said on April 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Hey Rahul and anyone else reading this,

    Firstly like so many people above, thank you so much for your extremely informative, insightful and honest blog.

    I, like a lot of contributors above am starting my 10 day course tomorrow in Ireland. I had done some preliminary searches on the net when I signed up but decided to stop as I had come across the “cultish references” and did not want to buy into that or have that cloud my decision or judgement. Today however I suppose I was looking for some justification to myself that I am doing the right thing giving up 10 days in such an intense way, and Im delighted to say that YES, I am absolutely doing the right thing after reading all of the above.

    I had heard about Vipassana from a very respected friend who attended a course while in South America travelling. While I have been excited about giving myself the time and space to complete the course, I also worried quite a bit as to how I will cope, am I prepared for what will come up, how will I go back to “normality” after the course. I have just finished an extremely stressful, demanding, time consuming, and emotionally trying project and my mind is overrun with many layers of doubt and thoughts about my future etc ( unlike my friend who was travelling and had no tangible worries at the time and was in a much calmer headspace entering the course ) so was trying not to compare her thoughts going into the course with mine as everyones experience is and needs to be individual to them. All the advise above has solidified this for me.

    With thanks to you and everyone else who has posted above, I am now brimming with excitement for my adventure, and dont have any questions but wanted to thank you for your positivity and encouragement.

    Bring It On!!!

    Slan Go Foill

  124. Amber said on April 4th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    I just signed up for my first 10-day course (starts April 18th) in Onalaska, WA and have been reading a lot of blogs to get a better idea of what to expect. I do have some specific questions that were not addressed on the center’s website. I could probably contact them directly but thought to ask here just in case.

    In general, I know that you aren’t supposed to bring technology items with you (or you have to check them in at the front desk upon arrival) but do you or anyone else on here know if you can bring sonicare(electric) toothbrushes? Also, should I leave my jewelry (wedding ring) at home or do they usually allow you to wear it during the course? Finally, what methods of payment do they accept for the donation (check, credit card, cash)? I know each center is probably different but I was curious as to what your experience was.


  125. Rahul said on April 4th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Fiona – Thank you so much for dropping by and sharing! I’m so excited for you and I admire your courage. Your experience is going to be awesome! Would love it if you dropped back in and let us all know how it went. Much love.

  126. Rahul said on April 4th, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Amber – Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. I do not know the answer to any of your questions for sure, so I will let you call your center and find out from them directly. Enjoy your course!

  127. Alka said on April 5th, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Hi Rahul I have read all your posts and did not find my question. I husband has gone for vipassana meditation, today is his fourth day. Recently he has lost his elder brother and was very much disturbed. My question is that is there any negative effect of meditation. Will he be a monk after coming back. How he will behave with me personally. Is there any possibility of detachment from family. Will he love me like before after coming back. Pl reply as I am so much depressed.

  128. Rahul said on April 5th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Alka – I feel you. Unfortunately I do not know how your husband will respond to his course, so I can’t say anything for sure. I wish you the best, and please do let me know how things turn out. Much love.

  129. Alka said on April 6th, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Thanx Rahul for your quick response. I definetely let you know. Lets hope for the best.

  130. Varun Kejriwal said on April 8th, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Hi Rahul,
    Am attending the course starting tomorrow at
    Dehradun, India. Always wanted to do this course,
    but was never able to find the drive and time. Have
    to thank you for providing the motivation to do this.
    I have decided that I will stick for the entire course,
    come what may. Thanks again for your excellent
    post. Hope to find some answers in the next 11
    days. Anyway, right now, I am on the train to
    Dehradun. Hope to share an awesome experience

  131. Sam said on April 9th, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Dear Rahul I have signed for the course and going for it on 11 April here in India ,Andhra Pradesh. Dhamma Nagurjnn Sagar Hyderabad.I have problems with Alchol but had come over it and quit for 6 months but then again started recently and I think this course will help me over come the cravings…..Have stopped drinking and smoke 2 days back in order to prepare for the course……………….If you can help me let me know how to get read of this alchol problem.Thx in advance

  132. Rahul said on April 10th, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Varun – Awesome! Thank you for sharing! I am sure you will enjoy your course.

  133. Rahul said on April 10th, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Sam – I cannot give you any advice on how to get rid of your drinking problem, however, I will say that Vipassana will help. Stick with the course and stay the full 10 days and you will be amazed at what you get out of it, especially if you walk in with the intention to overcome your addiction. Enjoy your course! Much love.

  134. Ville said on April 11th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I have been stressed with my life lately and I have been started to think about going for vipassana meditation. I have made alot of selfhypnosis in my life and little bit of zen meditation but I never had any routine. For me also 10 days without sex or masturbation seems hard, but thats why I have to do this. I think. I have to get control my energies.
    How is this vipassana retreat for beginners with sitting positions etc.?

  135. Rahul said on April 11th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Ville – Please read through the comments above. Thank you for dropping by!

  136. kumar said on April 30th, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Hi rahul
    i have registered for the course in igatpuri nashik, india for the july 2012. wish to ask some questions.
    1. what do we need to carry , (eg clothes, toiletteries etc)
    2. what about other things like bath, washing clothes etc. do we do it there or have to carry different sets.

  137. rohit said on May 2nd, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Hello rahul . Read your page …very informative and helpful .I am planning to opt for this course in near by future. So I have few doubts..:
    1) Will it help me stop or reduce smoking / drinking .
    2)Will it change our life or will it enhance?
    3)And what other things will it benefit our life…..
    Thank you

  138. Rahul said on May 2nd, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Kumar – Thank you for your comment. Definitely take toiletries, clothes, and towels. I’m not sure what your center will provide you with, so I recommend calling them ahead of time/reading their website to find out more specifics. Enjoy your course!

  139. Rahul said on May 2nd, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Rohit – Thank you for your comment! Yes, it can help you stop/reduce your smoking and drinking. It will surely enhance your life in many ways. If you’d like to read about some of those ways, you can scroll up and read through some of the comments I have posted above in response to similar questions.

  140. Geetha said on May 8th, 2012 at 12:09 pm


    I stumbled on your blog while searching for schedule @ Vipassana. Wonderful!! Feels good to read what you have written and how you have kept it going till now. I look forward to attend this course mid-May. Will come back and share the experience. Keep it going! :-) hugs <3

  141. Rahul said on May 14th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Geetha – Thank you for your comment! I look forward to hearing about your experience! Much love.

  142. Capri said on May 23rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Rahul,
    I’ve signed for the course, and will start on 6th of May. Is it really totally silence? I’m not one who talks a lot, but still, 10 days :))

    Thank you,


  143. Rahul said on May 23rd, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Gabi – Yes, it is total silence, with the exception of the interview time you can take advantage of every day at around noon, where you can ask the assistant teacher any questions you may have. Enjoy your course!

  144. Rajiv said on May 29th, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    Thanks for all the information but I had a few queries:

    Im planning to go for the 10 day course in Igatpuri and need some information regarding the following:

    1) What is the food situation like and what does one do if we get hungry between meals?

    2) I am on the overweight side and does this course help in reducing weight?

    3) What do you mean by Evening Discourse?

    4) Are there separate groups made within the participants? Im going with my 3 of my male friends and we intend to do the course together so if we are put in separate groups that would be a bit odd for us. So will it be one entire male group or will the males be divided into different groups?

    Thanks in advance.

  145. Rahul said on May 30th, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Rajiv – Thanks for dropping by. To answer your questions: 1) The food is great, however I’m not sure about your center. You may want to call ahead and find out. If you get hungry in between meals you will have to be with your hunger and meditate! :) Seriously. 2) What you learn at the course could indeed help you lose weight. 3) Evening discourses are hour long video teachings that will help you make sense of your experience at the end of each day. It’s good stuff. 4) I’m pretty sure it will be one big group. When you’re doing your course, you won’t even make eye contact with anyone, so it feels like it’s just you and that no one else is there. It won’t really make a difference either way.

  146. Vivek said on May 31st, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Will this b worth it if we do not practice meditation at home? 10 Days of meditation is not going to suffice for rest of the life.
    Second, is there a teacher who teach you how to meditate? Because if you have not learnt meditation before, you will never be sure if you will be doing it right.
    Why is that people wish to do the course at Igatpuri an not any other places (given a choice)? There is a centre in the middle of Pune city, is it not a distraction for people with a weak mind decide to quit?

    Thank and Regards,

  147. Rahul said on June 2nd, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Vivek – Yes, this will still be worth it if you don’t continue the practice after the retreat. You will gain a lot in those 10 days. Second, there are video tapes/audio tapes for instruction. There is also an assistant instructor present to answer any questions you may have. I do not know the answer to your question about the Igatpuri center. Thank you for your comment!

  148. Tulikaa said on June 8th, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Take 20. Very impressive genre of naming an article, must say and appreciate it. Just thought of making a reservation for me and mother, but realized with the pattern of status information that you need to do it with atleast 3 months spare in your hand, but, anyway I really wish to as mother is a huge fan of meditation and I need to explore in this area. Other than this being a nice article, why I really thought of commenting was that I realized you have been regularly active here for almost 4 years now, replying to others’ comments. I feel that.

  149. Rahul said on June 9th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Tulikaa – Thank you for the kind words :) I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  150. Bishar said on June 10th, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Hi,am bishar from suffering from social anxiety and low self confidence.i have tried so many methods to clear out this vice but they were not of much you think the 10 day meditation will help me solve this problem?

  151. Pradeep Goyal said on June 19th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Rahul, I have applied for “Inner Engineering Program” offered by Isha Yoga and “Vipassana Meditation” by Dhamma.

    My friend had attended Inner Engineering program and strongly recommended me to join the course.

    Recently, I came to know about Vipassan Meditation (through Kiran Bedi movie) and success story of a chartered accountant.

    I am confused between “Inner Engineering Program” and “Vipassana Meditation”. Pls help me to choose one.

  152. Rahul said on June 19th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Bishar – I cannot say if the 10 day course itself will completely resolve your problem, however, you will gain a tool that will help you totally resolve the problem (and make significant progress toward its resolution during the 10 days). If you feel called to go, then I recommend that you do. There’s a reason you’re feeling pulled toward it! Much love.

  153. Rahul said on June 19th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Pradeep – As I have not attended the Inner Engineering Program, I cannot say which one you should choose. But I will ask, why only choose one? Based on what I saw on the Isha website, it looks like a wonderful program as well, so why not do both? If you can only do one, I can confidently say that Vipassana is a very powerful experience and it will change your life. If you know anyone who has done both courses, definitely ask them for their opinion. However, at the end of the day, you must follow your own guidance and make a decision from that place. When you do this, you cannot make a wrong decision. Much love.

  154. Michael said on June 21st, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I have been thinking about attending the 10 days course. The one problem about this is Im hearing impaired. Im not sure if I need to hire an interpreter to complete the course. Pen and paper are my main communication when no one is able to interpret for me from hearing people. Will there be a lot of teaching from this program?


  155. Rahul said on June 21st, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Michael – There isn’t too much instruction, it’s mostly practice. However, get in touch with your center ahead of time and let them know about your concern. I’m sure they will be able to accommodate you. Thank you for your comment!

  156. Naren said on June 28th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Hi Rahul,
    You are doing very nice job. You are almost near to explain concept and benefits of the vipassana meditation. I also done this course twice till now, but unfortunately could not do daily seating. Last but not the least I can say, anything worst happen to my life, I know how to handle it by the help of great power of meditation. As I know, everything is CONSTANTLY CHANGING!

  157. Nagashree Gurunath said on June 28th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    Definitely appreciate you posting this article. I was apprehensive about being able to sit for that long. Ur post helped me overcome that fear.

    My blog on my experience:

  158. Taz said on June 29th, 2012 at 3:00 am

    I have signed up for a course in Sept. in Massachusetts. I have arthritis and have to have a hip replaced soon. I spoke with the center and the people were very friendly and understanding of my condition, and said there would be chairs to sit on. I am a big guy and I usually sleep with two to three pillows under my head. Is there anything that you could think of that might help me be prepared for this 10 day session. I have been studying buddhism for the past year and have been feeling so much better about myself and everything around me, but I believe that this will help me to a greater knowledge of what it is I am trying to get to. Your article was well written and precise. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with all of us.

  159. Rahul said on July 1st, 2012 at 5:25 am

    @Naren – Thank you for the kind words! Everything is indeed constantly changing!

    @Nagashree – I’m so glad it helped you in following through with taking the course. I often times wonder how many people have decided to go to Vipassana because of reading the article/comments over the years. I’m pretty sure the number is quite high!

    @Taz – I would recommend perhaps sitting in a chair and focusing on the inflow and outflow of your breath for progressively lengthening periods of time. Start with 5 minutes, then extend to 10, then 15, and so on. That will be how you spend your course, so if you do this now, I feel like you will be well prepared. Thank you for dropping by and for the kind words!

  160. Taz said on July 1st, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I spoke with someone who has been practicing Zen Meditation for the past 40 years, and he told me the exact same thing about practicing now and increasing my time, so I will be better mentally for the course. Also, as for you wondering if you have made an impact on people to choose or not to choose to take the course, I can tell you that your article and comments, and how honestly you choose to tell someone you might not be the one to answer a question, but then direct them to some place that they might find the correct answer, has definately made me decide this is something I wish to pursue. I have always researched anything I wish to try, and I always look at both sides of the spectrum. Your positive article outweighs any negative things that I have read. I believe that your article has done more for the Vipassana Center than you might think?

    Thank You for getting back with me, and have a great and insightful day…

  161. Rahul said on July 2nd, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Taz – Thank you for taking the time to let me know that :) Made my day. Much love.

  162. Gaurav said on July 10th, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Hi Rahul,
    Hats off to your efforts , for not only starting meditation in young age but also motivationg others for its benefits. In such fast pace life and hectic timetable, it has become neccessity for us to meditate.
    Anyway coming to my queries ! Rahul i have always thought of meditating but never dared to try it as it is complex in nature. I am facing few personnel problems in my life due to which my thought process has got polluted with negative energy. Every bit of second i live with fear, though i have’nt done anything wrong. I am a convent educated person with good morale values and respectful ethics, but one cannot run from evil forces of society and i became victim of it.
    Due to this my concentration power is lost and focus is hit badly. Inner confidence is lost and attitude towards life has become negative.
    I just wanted to know how this technique can help me in making my life better. Please elaborate benefits and i am planning to join 10 days course in Sohna.
    Please advice.

  163. Asa M. said on July 21st, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Thanks so much Rahul for maintaining this webpage. It is most informative, and I am looking forward to attending a scheduled retreat at the Kaufman center very soon. You did make one comment that raised my eyebrow when you reported that the center asked you to hand over your car keys and wallet. Now, I don’t consider myself to be particularly paranoid, but that’s just a little creepy to me. I wonder how they will respond if I refuse to give them my keys and wallet. Do you think they will ask me to leave?

  164. Rahul said on July 22nd, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Asa – They’ll be fine with you keeping your keys and wallet, I think. They just ask you to hand them over because it will be less of a temptation for you to leave when you don’t have them (not that you’ll even necessarily want to leave). Thanks for dropping by :)

  165. Rahul said on July 22nd, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Gaurav – Thank you for your comment, and thank you for sharing about your situation. I do feel like Vipassana will help you lead a better life. Not just the 10 day course, but the tool you will have gained after the 10 day course that you can utilize for the rest of your life. Please do read through some of the other comments on this post to get a feel for the things others are dealing with, how Vipassana helped them, and to read some of my other thoughts. Much love!

  166. Murali said on July 23rd, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Dear Rahul, I’ve registered myself for the course starting from Aug 15th, i am 39 years and never tried yoga/meditation in the past, little concerned that whether will be able to manage the 10days course, what is the mindset I should have, I am keen to complete but only worried how capable I’m as don’t have idea/experience on Meditation

  167. Rahul said on July 25th, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Murali – Please read through some of the comments above to get a good feel for the answer to your question. You will do great, just make sure to go in having made the decision that you will stay the full 10 days no matter what. Much love.

  168. Mihir said on July 25th, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Dear Rahul,

    Is there any specific dress code to be considered like T-shirt and track paint…etc while going there…?
    Just thought of asking this question as I could not see anyone asking this..:)

    And last but not the least …many thanks for sharing all your experirience …and patience to answer all our queries

  169. Rahul said on July 25th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Mihir – As long as it’s nothing too revealing, you’ll be fine. I recommend wearing comfortable clothing. Thank you for your question :)

  170. kumar said on August 5th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Hi rahul
    Just came home after finishing the 10 day course at Igatpuri, Thanks for ur advices. It was truly an experience. weather was horribly chill and rainy there. fortunately taken some sweaters etc.

    Though the experience was real good, i wont agree to each and everything that he teaches. this is a 1 man show and not even the assistant teachers are allowed to add anything to it. will write in details after receiving the feed back to this

  171. Asma said on August 5th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Hey Rahul ,
    I have been doing insight meditation for over 9 months now , for half hr everyday…just applied at Kaufman tx for the retreat beginning the 23rd aug , I am very excited but very nervous at the sametime about if i am going to be a able to stick it out …..reading your blogs been very encouraging….. Please Provide some more suggestions besides making up my mind to not leave no matter what … if tempted to

  172. Rahul said on August 5th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Asma – Other than the commitment to sticking it out no matter what, I’m not sure what else I can suggest to you. The decision to stay no matter what is the most powerful thing, in my opinion. It’s just 10 days, and after those 10 days you will go back into the world about your normal daily life. So, make the most of those 10 days and get as much as you can out of your practice!! It will benefit you for the rest of your life. You’ll do great. Much love.

  173. Rahul said on August 5th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Kumar – Thank you for coming back and leaving a comment after your experience! I agree that everyone won’t vibe with what Goenka says/teaches, and that’s cool. Not surprising given since belief structures may clash, from time to time. To each his own!

  174. Santosh said on August 6th, 2012 at 4:51 am

    I just wanted to know, my uncle is very interested for Vipassana cource. I have applied for almost 3 times for 10 day cource but he didn’t get confirmation. Is there any way that he can make the cource and get registered.


  175. Rahul said on August 6th, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Santosh – Perhaps if he calls the center he would have better luck than you have. Other than that, I can’t think of another way to get in the course, other than to wait it out or apply waaaaaaaaay ahead of time so you don’t have to be waitlisted. Hope that helps! Much love.

  176. Ajay said on August 16th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I doubt if my back would be able to support long sitting in the meditation. What is your thought? Would it be a problem for the course?

  177. Rahul said on August 16th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Ajay – Worst comes to worst, you can sit in a chair. But, I think you’ll be surprised with how long you can sit when you make the commitment to doing so. Even though it may be painful at first, there is much more to be gained by sitting with the pain and observing it than not experiencing the pain at all. It will eventually subside. Much love.

  178. Anthony said on September 4th, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Hi Rahul,

    I’m embarking on my 10 day retreat this Wednesday and I’ve been experiencing anxiety about it. I really appreciate this article, it’s inspiring and helpful. Thanks.

  179. Jane said on September 4th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Rahul,
    my husband and i have just applied for the vippassana course in Lampoon, Thailand. Is this where you did it? Do you know where i can find any pictures of the site (meditation room, accommodation, grounds/gardens etc)? OR, if you did do it here, can you fill me in on these details? Once we receive confirmation that we’ve been accepted into the course, do they give you a list of what we need to bring? I saw you mentioned sheets – but haven’t read that anywhere else.
    Thanks a lot.

  180. Rahul said on September 4th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    @Anthony – Thank you for dropping by and leaving your comment! Enjoy your course! Much love.

    @Jane – No, I did my course in Dallas, Texas here in the states. I recommend calling the center and asking them your questions. Also, check out for more information about the courses. Much love.

  181. Asma said on September 5th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I just got back from the retreat and boy it was piece
    Of work!!!! That was too many hours of meditation , I have not been able to meditate as instructed to do so twice daily for an hr, I don’t know what to do Raul ! I don’t want to loose the zone I am in but I just don’t feel like meditating since I have been back on the 3rd sep.
    I loved the technique ! Life is so clear , have such a good understanding of how life works …. Perception has totally changed !i don’t feel like talking as much as I used to lol…things have been little rough since I have been back but I have been able to deal with it with equanimity :) this retreat was the best thing I did for myself!

  182. Cedric Vaz said on September 13th, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Yesterday 12th July’ 2012 I was back home from the Vipassana course after dropping out of it on the 7th day ! By the 5th and 6th day the meditation turned into an unpleasant experience for me and on the 7th day it turned into a morbid aversion. That’s when I knew I had to catch the 1st train out of Igatpuri. The timings are too rigid and the continuous banter from the recorded tape slowly becomes unbearable and one feels one is being “brainwashed” progressively session after session. All of us do not want to turn into Buddhas so a just couple of light headed sessions per day would be fine.
    I was very disappointed and got out just before my breaking point. The course has definitely got to be re-designed or some people will turn into mental wrecks and neurotics after the 10 day course – which will affect their future work and life !

  183. gayatri said on September 16th, 2012 at 3:51 pm


    Lots of information shared! Thanks. I am starting my ten day course in exactly a months time. Much as I am looking forward to this course, I am also kind of not sure how I am going to be with out seeing my 5 year old son for ten days. I know that’s crazy. even though I have a month to prepare myself, I am worried that I will snap and want to go back.
    I guess I just have to wait and see..

  184. Rahul said on September 16th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Cedric – That is unfortunate, but I’m sure it was perfect you at this moment in your life. The thing about the Vipassana practice is that it’s an “enemy” to the ego. It is a tool for enlightenment, and it calls for your True Self to come to the forefront of your life so that it can take the reigns from the ego. The ego, of course, does not like this. The fact is that the “pain” you were experiencing was simply a sensation. An intense sensation, for sure, but a sensation no less. Any labeling beyond “sensation” is judgment of the ego. The same holds true for all of the other points you listed as well. Everything just Is, and the You that Vipassana is calling forth beholds everything as it Is, rather than through the various lenses of judgment that the ego interprets your world through. Once you are rooted in the equanimous awareness that You are, the games and antics of the ego become clear as day and will no longer have power over you and your life circumstance. That is the power and purpose of Vipassana. Much love.

  185. Rahul said on September 16th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Gayatri – It is only 10 days, and while the resistance you are feeling is totally “normal” at this moment in your life, if you commit to sticking it out for the full 10 days no matter what, you’ll gain invaluable perspective that will serve you for the rest of your life. If you do attend, please stick it out no matter what. It is designed to be a 10 day process, and if you feel like leaving in the middle or like nothing is happening, it’s because you are still in the middle of the process. Complete it and things will make much more sense. Much love.

  186. kumar said on September 16th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Hi rahul, though i finished the 10 day course in ighatpuri, and also wrote that i dont accept each and everything Mr Goenka said. one site i came across wil put my pouint of view more clearly. and some of the things i experienced myself.
    1 This is not the only method as he says.
    2 Although budha marketed the method to the common masses of that time. it was nothing new, patanjali had already written about this much earlier.
    3 evry person has to find a method of meditation that is best suited for them, and only experience wil tell tham. but once they find one, stick to it. and this is what even Mr goenka says

    Now the web site is here, others can go through

  187. diana said on September 18th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    this discussion has helped me a lot. i am nervous of the ten day commitment but see how it is important to hang in there and i will give it my best shot. i am on a waiting list and also in a time of life when i could actually take off for ten days…very rare.

    someone asked you about exercise and i don’t think you answered. i am a runner and i also am concerned about being sedentary for so long. i understand i can walk outside. for how long and how often?

    if there is an emergency on the outside, could my family contact me to let me know. would the center honor an emergency call? i am speaking of illnesses that are cause for concern in my son, husband, mother?

    did you have moments of emotions manifesting? did others? what if you find yourself needing to cry? can you excuse yourself or do you stay put and keep quiet?

    did your stomach rumble?
    did you need a lot of clothes?

  188. Chaitanya said on September 18th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Rahul

    I registered for a course starting next wednesday. I am really concerned about the back and leg pains that one will experience while sitting for 10 hours a day. Do you think this will hinder meditation progress?

  189. Rahul said on September 18th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    @ Kumar – Thank you for sharing!

    @ Diana – Exercising is “not allowed”. I put it in quotations because no one is going to hold a gun to your head to prevent you from doing yoga in your room or something… but if you want the authentic experience, it is recommended that you stick to the guidelines.

    If there is an emergency on the outside, then yes, you will be notified about it and can attend to it.

    Emotions will arise because the Vipassana practice roots you in the present moment, so “time” starts to get pulled into the Now. When this happens, childhood memories and emotions that you have been suppressing for years may come to pass… this is why Vipassana is so powerful. With the present moment awareness cultivated through the practice, you can bring to the light and neutralize a lot of your suppressed “emotional charge” that is subconsciously influencing your life right now.

    I did not need lots of clothes, if I remember correctly. I just took some comfortable clothing and the normal amount of change of clothes I would take on any 10 day trip.

    Enjoy your course! Much love.

    @ Chaitanya – Whatever pain you experience is actually a powerful opportunity to transform your relationship to pain and discomfort/a real aspect of your self. Most of us have spent our entire lives avoiding/suppressing/and antagonizing our pain. Pain is actually our friend, in the sense that it always diligently brings our attention to those aspects of our experience that are wanting to be integrated/that we are currently resisting.

    Also, the pain provides an opportunity to come to the full realization that you are not your body, and that by removing your mental labels and resistances to your “pain”, it will actually transmute or fade away. This is the power of Vipassana, and that’s why the physical, mental, and emotional pain you may feel during your retreat are necessary components of the experience. Bring your full compassionate attention to any pain you experience, and in time you will see that it comes to pass. Much love.

  190. reha said on September 28th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    my dad’s heart efficiency is approx 10-15% can he attend this course. do those people attend this course who are medically unfit.

  191. Rahul said on September 29th, 2012 at 3:44 am

    Reha – I definitely recommend calling your local center and asking them this question.

  192. SRINIVAS said on September 29th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I registered the course for my sister scheduled from oct-3rd-2012, 10 day course.she cannot control her temper and reacts very nagatively with others if she finds some thing going against to her.some times she talks unrelevantly to the situations like childish mentality.she will not listen to any one even if u told anything 1000 times
    to her but accepts if she feels it is ok. Now she is using medicines for those attitude.she is normal if nobody hurts her. should we stop medicines before the course,we afraid if we reveal this thing to management they may cancel her admission.pleae suggest

  193. Preethi said on October 1st, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Rahul, thank you so much for this information. I found it very useful and quite humerous! I’m thinking of going on the 10 day retreat in Feb, in England where I live – thus giving me time to prepare for it. Can I ask how much meditation you did before you went there? I only manage about 20 mins around 5 times a week. I very much want to go but also sometimes I feel this panic with the thought of doing so many hours a day. Kind regards.

  194. Rahul said on October 2nd, 2012 at 3:58 am

    @ Srinivas – I don’t have an answer for you on this one, my friend. I would recommend being completely honest with your center and seeing what they have to say about it, as they have administered the course to thousands of people before your sister. They will know what is best for your situation. Much love.

    @ Preethi – I actually hadn’t meditated for more than 5 minutes at a time prior to my course, and even that I would only do very intermittently. You will do great, just commit 100% to staying the full 10 days and you will make it! Much love.

  195. Russ said on October 5th, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Counselor feels I’m too self-critical and judgemental. Being new to meditation, will this course help?

  196. SRINIVAS said on October 15th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Hi friends,My both sisters (26 and 29 age) completed 10 day course from 3-10-2012 to 14-10-2012 succesfully at Nagarjunasagar centre in nalgonda,A.P.They are very much impressed with it and want to go again.

  197. Nicky said on October 29th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Rahul,
    Thank you for a wonderful platform discussing Vipassana. I felt very encouraged and supported by the information you’ve offered and by your consistent and compassionate responses to questions.
    I leave for my first Vipassana course on Wednesday. I’m excited and conflicted about it. I appreciate your advice to “stick with it no matter what”. It will help me on my journey.

  198. Rahul said on November 4th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Nicky – Thank you for dropping by and leaving the kind words! :) Much love.

  199. juana said on November 15th, 2012 at 2:34 am

    I just have one question. Why the participants have zero communication with family members.

  200. Rahul said on November 17th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Juana – The purpose of the silence is to allow you to go as deeply within as possible, as any form of communication adds to the mental chatter that’s almost always constantly going on in your mind. Ideally, you should feel like you’re completely alone while at your 10-day retreat, even though you are surrounded by many other students. This is why it’s recommended that you do not make eye contact or even acknowledge the presence of the other students during your course. It will add to the mental chatter and distract from the overall purpose of the course. Not to mention, it will take away from the depth of your experience. It is only 10 days, and after the 10 days you will re-enter the world, hopefully as a new person, and the extent to which that is true for you is the degree to which you let yourself immerse in the process. Much love.

  201. Ryan said on December 4th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I am going to the retreat in Hong Kong in February and very much looking forward to it.

  202. Piripiri said on December 15th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Has anyone been to the Kalyana Vipasana centre? I’m going there, would appreciate some feedback as to how it is, anything I need to know before going there. Thank you.

  203. Piripiri said on December 15th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Rahul, kudos to you for starting this blog and sharing your experience with the world. Thank you. I have randomly decided in the spur of the moment to take this course. because it was such a last minute I could only get enrolled at the the Kalyan centre,Titwala just outside Mumbai which is closest to where I stay. I am quite apprehensive about the course especially about the centre I’m going to as I know nothing about it. I have heard igatpuri and Gorai are good. But absolutely no reviews on the net about Kalyan. Im going in search of peace of mind, I know the course is tough. I have tried my best to convict to complete the course and to gain as much as I can from it. But let’s see. I go tomorrow. If you or anyone of our followers n fans know anything about this centre and share here it would really help me, as I’m now suffering from ‘before you begin anxieties’. Rahul thank u once again, wat u’ve written has helped a lot.

  204. kumar said on December 17th, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Hi Piripiri
    I would suggest that u apply to the igatpuri center. although u may have to wait for a few months.. it is one of the best center with vibes really good..1st time experience shd be the best!!

  205. martha sakulku said on December 30th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Hiya Rahul,

    I am about to travel and take a 10 day Vipassana course in Dhamma Saritā, Khadavli, Maharashtra, India. I do meditate but have not done so for hours on end. Prior to leaving I am also doing a 2 day mediation course as preparation with Brahma Kumaris in Oxford but it is not silent so not as challenging. I am doing the course from the 23.1.13 till 3.2.13 prior to travelling 2 months around India and purposely chose to do it prior to travelling to enhance my experience. I see that you recommend the Igatpuri centre and wonder whether it makes any difference and my experience would be reduced in the centre I booked in but I suspect not, let me know what you think please. I am slightly concerned about sitting in a meditation position for a long period of time as I suffer from chronic neck pain and wondered this will aggraved my condition. Would I be allowed to lie down or is this not possible. Also has your mind played tricks with visual and auditory hallucinations? or is this a fallacy? In any case I like that it will improve my focus as this is the main reason why I am enrolled on the course as i want to start my own business and currently feel fearful and full of doubt not a desirable position to be in. I need spiritual enlightenment and feel only i can gain the inside needed no one can do it for me In any case if you get time let me know what you think. And yes, it be very challenging for me not to talk as I am a natural chatterbox:-)

    Light and blessings


  206. Rahul said on January 5th, 2013 at 3:09 am

    Martha – Congrats on your decision to do the course! I did not recommend the Igatpuri center, as I have never been there before, but it seems as though many of the people who have commented on this post do recommend it. If you’re finding your center through, I’m quite certain you will be fine wherever you go. You might want to call the center ahead of time and ask them about your neck condition. No, I have not experienced visual and auditory hallucinations, but everyone has their own experience. My recommendation is to let go of the belief that that will happen to you, if you believe it will, and be open to your own unique experience. One thing is for sure, regardless of what happens during your 10 days, it’s all progress. Even if it seems like regression… it’s not. The only way out is through, so before everything can clear up for you, usually it has to get “worse” before it gets “better”. Much love!

  207. Sumansoneja said on January 8th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I am suman. I have completed 10 days vipassana course . It was a life changing experience for me. I think everyone should give try to this meditation. And I will be always grateful and feel deep gratitude towards the person who sent me to do vipassana.

  208. Kandas said on January 28th, 2013 at 4:51 am

    What do you suggest as a donation?

  209. Rahul said on January 31st, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Kandas – I made a $100 donation, but anything is acceptable. I recommend giving what comes to you intuitively, as that will be perfect.

  210. Kandas said on February 1st, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Thank you. All of this info has been so helpful. I’m going in August. L leave a comment if your page is still up.

  211. Atula Siriwardane said on February 9th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    It is beautiful and very accurate write-up.
    I did the course in 1991 when I was almost suicidal, without any proper reason… just the accumulation of defilements… I had no hope. I was not stupid enough or crazy enough to suicide or to find a sad solution like Alcohol.
    Sri Goenka Ji was the teacher of my first course (and on next two courses too.)
    I was born a different person after the course. From then on Vipassana changed every aspect of my life without changing my life style but improving it with more awareness and equanimity.
    I have done around 15 10day courses, 2 20day courses, a 30day course and a Satipattana course.
    Anything you sacrifice for it would be worthy.
    All the best.

    P.S. I hope to translate the main article and post in my Vipassana blogs… Rahul..
    I will notify with a link when I do.. Thank you so much again for this.

  212. Priya K said on February 19th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Rahul ,

    Thanks for the detailed review and hoards of information about the initial 10 day course. I will be attending my first 10 day course @ Kaufman center tomorrow 2/20/2012. My husband (totally not interested in meditation) & my kid (1.5 yr old) are going to drive me from SA,Tx to Kaufman (4.5 hrs).
    Since my kid is too young it was a tough decision for me to make. I am kind of all set to attend the course but still deep inside the guilt of leaving my small kid for 11 days is taking over me. I know she is going to be fine with her father & my in law. Although my husband is not used to meditating he is very supportive if I want to go for it. In case of emergency from a family member, will it be relayed to me? how quick? and would I b allowed to go from the course? Along with these answers any amount of motivation you can give me considering my situation is very welcome :). I hope god is with me and makes me successful in this endeavor.

    Are there any more suggestions you want to give me to prepare for the course.

    Thanks in advance !

  213. azmath said on February 21st, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Hi, I am planning to take the course. Which center would you suggest: Hyderabad or Nagaajun Sagar?

  214. Atula Siriwardane said on February 22nd, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Azmath, All the best.
    I have been doing this for 20+ years and it is 99% of my strength to face life and see life as it is without discolored by my craving, aversion or ignorance.
    I have done courses in the two centers you think of and few others. There are certain aspects that makes every center unique, but basically course is same. If a center is good it doesn’t matter much… other than climate weather etc.
    Finally you are with your breath and watching over how you are with closed eyes.
    At that moment you are you and you are watching yourself as you have not seen yourself so far.
    In this experience the center doesn’t matter because everything depends on your awareness of yourself and how equanimous you are toward how you feel.
    Hyderabad is well settled and well established probably the oldest. So it has very powerful vibrations which can help you.
    I have been to Nagarjuna about some 7-8 years ago… it was just established..
    It was more secluded than Hyderabad… But I prefer a crowded center for it is more challenging. But it is up to you. No one can know better than you. So sit two courses and decide.. :)
    As for my old information I would suggest Hyderabad…
    You are at your best when you sit for Vipassana no matter where you are.


  215. Mukund said on February 27th, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Rahul – Congratulations for the consistant work you are doing on this page – since July 2008!

    I will be going to Igatpuri in April 2013 and all my questions have been answered here.
    of course in spite of your repeated assurance I still have some lingering self doubts on sitting for hours cross legged on floor. :-)

    Dear Atula,
    My apologies for asking a crazy question:
    Does Vipassana help in awakening the Kundalini?
    Pl answer.


  216. Atula Siriwardane said on February 27th, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Yes Mukund..
    It is a crazy question, definitely.
    I have not done Kunadalini… But you may feel centers..since they are probably nerve centers…when defilement eradicated with Vipassana, there may be difference… it may differ from day to day and person to person…
    But never look out for anything in particular when you practice Vipassana…
    Tak everything which comes up as it is and as they came..
    be a witness and follow the instructions to the letter..
    When you are familiar with them you may understand them better.
    Step by step.. one step at a time you will move forth…
    Flaw with it smoothly…
    You will come out successfully..
    All the best…

  217. Mukund said on February 28th, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Thanks for your detailed reply Atula.
    Yes – I will attend Vipassana with no particular expectations – why lookout for Gold when we may hit upon diamond! :-)
    Will surely share my experience when I complete my Vipassana in April.

  218. Victory said on March 1st, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Dear all,
    I read SomeNegative Thoughts About Vipassana So I am writing my experiences.I completed 4 vipassana courses(Including a 3 day Course) ,but i never had problems with food (even outside my state). (ACTUALLY ABOUT VIPASSANA centre I FELT THAT I AM LIVING IN MY HOME WITH INTENSIVE CARE FOR ME). Neither i heard of such food problems before. I sent my father (54 years of age worked in police department for 34 years) for Vipassana course .as he always dealt with crimes and criminals with no fixed hours/duration of duty, without sufficient sleep at proper times, no meals/breakfast at proper time. he became short tempered. (As He Strictly Followed Every rule during vipassana meditation, NATURE rewarded him with peace, Harmony, Happiness ,Silence. His Such a Melodious, happy, calm and quiet voice,which i heard first time in entire life) His first Sentence after 10 days of NOBLE silence (avoiding speaking except to teacher) was “THE PURPOSE OF MY BIRTH IS COMPLETED” after listening this I cried, I Realized that I did great thing for my father .the best which any son/Daughter can do for his/her father.
    About food he told that in his entire life time he never had such a nutritious food. even my experience is also the same. Every body should note one thing that if we break rules during vipassana course knowingly/unknowingly intentionally/unintentionally. then we will not get all the benefits.And if we follow rules with all dedication, Persistence, patience and courage THEN NO ONE IN THIS WORLD CAN STOP THE IMMENSE,IMMEASURABLE BENEFITS OF VIPASSANA MEDITATION because of which that meditation has survived for 2500 years of History. Murders cried after doing vipassana in Tihar Jail (The Biggest Prison of India, Where Permanent Vipassana Meditation Center is Opened).
    just thought to share because i read surprisingly negative about Vipassana.
    Breakfast And Lunch Is Nutritious And unlimited (We can take from our own hands as much as we want and whatever we want out of available items). Only Dinner is small which helps to get concentrated Sleep and assist in better Meditation. this rule for less dinner was decide on the basis of thorough study, observations, analysis, discussion .and from the feedbacks and true positive, negative experiences of lakhs of meditators(Those who are habitual with luxurious life styles have to struggle little bit more.)
    There is only One Best, free of cost thing in this world that can bless and bring revolutionary changes in all aspects of life is Vipassana Meditation.
    everybody who want to experience haven on earth, please copy following sentence with quotes and paste in Google search.
    “vipassana meditation experiences”
    and THEN click on videos. and select video of 15.13 duration. different meditators from different countries and different profession and different religions shares their Vipassana experience on SCREEN.
    please copy following sentence with quotes and paste in Google search
    “S.N.Goenka ( Palestra- Millennium World Peace Summit – ONU”
    and THEN click on videos. and select video of 15.18 duration.
    I will not get a single rupee or money for this post. Neither do i expect it. Why i have written this much is i have experienced revolutionary changes in me. Honestly i am enjoying haven on Earth itself. Same experienced by my father… …Who is no more now. few days Before His death he asked me whether he can be allowed 14 days paid leave for vipassana meditation by government of India AGAIN? But i replied him sadly that the leave is granted once in three years. Then he said Check and read that rule again and find whether any concession/relaxation/exemption/exception is allowed or not?
    Even though I was Sure about the rules. I Told ” father dont worry there will be some exemption surely I will check and inform you soon”. But my father passed away before getting second opportunity to go for vipassana meditation.
    Dear brothers and sisters please note one imp thing that
    as these meditation courses are run on donations willing fully given by old students if there is any thing wrong or hidden disadvantageous/harmful, then they must have felt the shortage of money to continue the courses. But they did not and i am Hundred percent sure that they will never have the shortage of donations.
    One Suggestion: Whenever Mind Wanders More or thoughts don’t stop popping up Please practice Anapana for 10 mins and then continue again. I Wish Love happiness Success to Everyone

  219. Renee said on March 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Rahul Thanks for this post and your replies. I am planning to do my first Vipassana course in April (my 40th birthday gift to myself !!)

    I have the following concern, I have heard some people who do the 10 day course have hallucinations and are crying or basically freaked out during the 10 day course. I am worried what if it happens to me, also I will be freaked out just seeing these people around me.

  220. gdave said on April 2nd, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    What I am curious to know is that, what specific changes do you see in yourself after the 10 day vipassana course and how long do they last ? Example, If you had a grudge/anger towards someone, do you feel no anger towards that person after the course ? Just curious

  221. Atula Siriwardane said on April 2nd, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Greatest benefit I received is the ability to see that an emotion is 100% my responsibility and the best is to be equanimous toward that emotion and act normal without reacting on my emotion.
    I may be mentally and physically disturbed, but I am equanimous toward both the aspects and free from animosity toward the other.

    This is my training of Vipassana.

    Any more questions..


  222. sandil vasu konar said on April 28th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    i want to join vipassana meditation center along whit my daughter and mother. And my daughter is 10 years old and mother is 60 years old .can they also join 10 days course with me . Because i can not come with out them. i want to join because i a forget things for a while but remember it .and my daughter for concentration and alertness.Thank you plese send me the answer.

  223. Mukund said on April 29th, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Dear Atula/Rahul,
    I attended the Vipassana this month and am truly glad that I did it.
    This blog was a great help in clearing various doubts and the course went much easier than I had feared.
    In nutshell,
    1.0 Remaining silent for 10 days is no problem at all because you are kept so busy all the time and you can always speak to the teacher if you have any doubts.
    2.0 Discourses were fantastic – even for a skeptical mind like mine.
    3.0 Food – awesome!
    4.0 Experiences – On my 8th day evening the experience that I had, have no words to explain. Pure bliss.
    5.0 Boredom – yes. Every second day, for few minutes my mind just refused to concentrate on meditation. So I used to allow it to get immersed in random day dreaming. But what a surprise! The session immediately after this period used to be a very powerful session. I had a repeat of this experience almost every second day.
    6.0 Problems with sitting posture – Sitting cross-legged was uncomfortable but not such a big problem as I had imagined. I reckon if some like me in excess of 80 kgs of weight for a height of 5’3” can manage to sit through the day, anyone else can! And if you can’t, they give you a chair! So no worries.
    7.0 Cleanliness – top class. I did vipassana at Igatpuri and just loved that place.

    Challenges at Vipassana
    1.0 The number one challenge is intermittent attacks of Boredom. Many times during the 10 days, you will ask yourself what are you doing here. As pointed out by Rahul, it is essential that you commit yourself to stay there for 10 days No Matter What. The benefits are sure to follow.
    2.0 The number two challenge is to make yourself follow the instructions during meditation. The mind will wander once in a while – it is ok. But rest of the times, we must make efforts to follow the instructions as closely as possible.

    Thanks Rahul again, as this blog was a great support for me before going to vipassana.
    Thanks Atula for clearing many of my doubts.
    Please keep up the good work,


  224. surabhi said on May 7th, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Hi, it hasn’t been given anywhere what is to be done after the course. Could you pls elaborate a little? As to how much meditation practice per day, and any changes that you are required to make?
    Thanks so much in advance!:)

  225. Atula Siriwardane said on May 10th, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Listen to the 10th and 11th discourses..

  226. Atula Siriwardane said on May 10th, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Listen to the 10th and 11th discourses..

  227. susanna said on June 23rd, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I wanted to comment because I think some details of my ten day experience may help those fearful of cult, away from family, turning over keys, etc…and to address what I believe was a well meaning but incorrect response to the writer who was concerned about falling asleep during meditation.

    I attended a ten day course in Georgia Nov, 2011. Falling asleep during seated meditation was one of my greatest challenges during the last few days of the course. I spoke with the assistant teacher, who recommended leaving my eyes partially open if necessary. It helped some, but I still drifted to sleep at times.

    My practice after returning home was very sporadic for a year or so. I found a local sitting group, and have been trying to make a more committed effort to regular sitting. Falling asleep is still an issue sometimes, but I realized during a recent sit that this is probably my ego stepping in to prevent what is likely to be a major progress. I have applied for a 3 day old student course in July, and will speak with the teacher regarding the issue . I realize only I will be able to resolve it, but look forward to feedback from the teacher.

    My family was quite concerned about the isolation and lack of contact when I told them I would be out of touch for 10 days with a bunch of strangers. I told my daughter I would call her when I arrived, only to find my cell phone didn’t have service in the mountains of GA.

    My daughter called my sister, who called the police to do a wellness check. The police arrived at the center after midnight and were reassured by center management that I had arrived and was fine. My daughter was still concerned because the police hadn’t spoken with me directly. At about 5am on the first morning of the course, the teacher and service manager found me in the meditation hall and brought me outside. They told me the police had come to check on me, etc…and that my daughter had just arrived after driving all night. They were quite kind to both my daughter and me, offered her food in the dining hall away from the other meditators, and got me my keys so that I could give her my house key and she could stop to sleep before she headed back home. One of the most striking thing about the teachers and service givers is the sense of peace and compassion that just emanates from them.

    Several people did leave during the course (including one of my roommates), and on metta day (when you can talk again), I discovered that one room of meditators had not observed noble silence during the course. 2 of the people who left were from that room, and their roommates made it clear that the 2 who left were encouraged to stay, but were not in any way prevented from leaving.

    Another young girl found herself emotionally distraught and homesick about midway through the course, spoke with the teacher, and was provided the comfort of a grilled cheese sandwich and a book of stories to help get her through the night (smiles…sometimes the little things make all the difference- she completed the course and was very happy she did). The course discipline is very structured, but the environment is compassionate.

    Finally, I was not working when I did my course, and did not donate until almost a year after the course. I was never contacted for donations, in fact, was never contacted at all outside of the newsletter and group sitting information, which I requested to receive.

  228. Rahul said on June 23rd, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Susanna – Thank you for sharing!! Awesome write up :)

    With regards to the falling asleep, unconsciousness manifests as sleep in the present moment. So, if you’re meditating, and you fall asleep, chances are you’re coming up on something that is deeply rooted/highly charged/deeply unconscious. It’s also important to, upon waking up, continue your meditation for the time you’ve set aside for it. This way, your mind does not associate meditation with sleep time. Keep on keeping on and you will integrate the heavy “charge” that is coming up for you.

    Also, I highly recommend the book “The Presence Proces” by Michael Brown. In my opinion, it’s a masterpiece, and it’s a safe way to effectively integrate your consciousness and bring yourself back fully into the present moment. Much love.

  229. Joan Smith said on July 15th, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Hi Rahul,

    You are doing an awesome job with this website!
    I have few questions before signing up for retreat in Calgary, Canada.

    Will Vipassana meditation retreat develops/increases concentration, focus, memory, observation skill and mental toughness?

    I work with numbers (I am an Accountant) so the above mentioned qualities are very important. I worry about the past unfortunate events and i am a weak hearted person, easliy succumb to pressure. Will Vipassana help?


  230. Ying Wang said on July 17th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Joan,

    I stumbled upon this site when I was searching for Insight Meditation. From the posts above I think you can get concentration and equanimity as per the experience of people. It is up to Rahul to attest it.

    I know it depends upon people, but I have a question for Rahul.
    I would like to acquire a skill. A deep state of meditative concentration. How long do you thing it will take to reach that state, an approximate period?

    I have been meditating for few months. But I am not happy with the results. So I am planning 10 day retreat.


  231. Rahul said on July 17th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @Joan – Thank you for the kind words :) You will receive whatever your intent is for attending a retreat. Just stay open, and it will find you. I’m certain of it.

    @Ying – A 10 day Vipassana course is the perfect place to cultivate what you are looking for. I do not know an approximate time for you, as it varies from person to person, but I have no doubt you will make progress toward your goal. The thing is, a “deep state of meditative concentration” is really an infinite well. You can always go deeper. Even if you cut your thoughts from 80,000 a day to 10,000 a day, that’s a profound improvement. View it as a journey, and you will be satisfied every step along the way.

    Much love.

  232. Noah said on August 1st, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Hi. This information was so helpful. I am going to the desert 29 palms in next week. Do you know if there is AC and also any suggestiongs what to bring such as towels bedding and so on? thanks

  233. val said on August 28th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Hi Rahul , me and my daughter want to sign up for the January vipassana course in Hereford England . Do you think they will allow a mother and daughter to be on the same course ? Im sure we could avoid eye contact for ten days . Im hoping they will let us both go at the same time . Love this site !

  234. Rahul said on August 29th, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @ Val – I am not sure. You might want to call the center ahead of time and find out. They will be able to answer your questions. Much love.

  235. val said on September 4th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Rahul . Its me again ! I have just been accepted for the November course .
    I have been looking through this site and I haven’t seen anything said about the last full day . Is it group hugs all round or something ? Could you please tell me what happens . Thank you … much love to you as well .

  236. J said on October 7th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    so i am not sure if my earlier comment/question went thru.
    After waiting for 10 yrs i am finally considering going for the 10 day vipassana course. I am not the spiritual types. I have never meditated. I quite enjoy my drink. So i am not sure if this is for me.
    But I do believe in signs. And for some reason it just feels like i need to go ahead and do it this time.
    I hope I am abale to complete the course. Been a skeptic and fairly addicted to search on the net i have done some reasing and it doesnt sound easy.
    Anyways so my question is abt the center. For the first time, which center would you recommend?
    As in smaller grouups makes a diffwerence? if there are more first timers in one center does that make a difference?
    Igatpuri is the closest but I am on waitlist. I have the option of dharamsala and jaipur. I love nature so i thought of dharamsala but i hear it would be extreme cold and anyways the course is hard enough, why do you want to add the weather to your hardship.
    Also i hear living condition in dharamsla other than the weather are also testing.

  237. Atula Siriwardane said on October 16th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Hi J,
    As far as I know there are many centers around Igatpuri.
    Course is same in any center.
    Most of the time you sit with closed eyes.
    So center differences matter a little.

    It is not difficult if you follow the instructions.
    You gain a lot with gradual training to be aware of your self and accept yourself as you are.. This is new.

    Wishing you all the best..

  238. Prasun said on November 8th, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Hi! Thanks for all of your very encouraging words.

    I signed up for a course in Kaufman in Dec. since then I have been having a lot of panic attacks about the thought of being silent for 10 days and no communication with the world!!
    I have also never sat down for that long a period of time. My ankles hurt a lot when I go to bhajans and have to sit on the floor cross legged.
    I am really determined to get through the full course. I.e. stick it out for 10 days
    I plan to take extra cushions to sit on although I know I can always sit on a chair if need be.
    Any other suggestions arery welcome..

  239. Hailey said on November 20th, 2013 at 4:13 am

    I had attended my first sitting in May of this year.. it was intense….
    I am attending again in Dec18 – Jan12……
    looking forward to changing my life.

  240. Adrian said on November 26th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hi! I’m registered to attend my first 10 day course in Georgia on December 27th. Do you recommend meditating with the group or in your room during the times that you have the option? When you were unable to sleep, did you meditate or lie awake or take a walk or what? (This is one of my big concerns… I have trouble sleeping as it is, and I hear a lot of people don’t get much sleep during the course.) Thanks in advance for your response!

  241. Smitha said on November 27th, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Dear Rahul,
    Thanks for the information.Right now my son ( he is 19 yrs old) and husband are on their way to Igathpuri..Just wondering whether the course is hard for my son.He has issues like any teenager has nowadays.Worried if this course will help him to focus better.Pls reply

  242. Rahul said on November 28th, 2013 at 2:22 am

    @Prasun – You will be fine :) Just commit to completing the 10 days, and you will make it through. It’s only 10 days, and while I understand it is intense, you will feel amazing when you finish.

    @Hailey – Thank you for dropping by and sharing about your experience.

    @Adrian – I didn’t sleep much, but I did take a nap periodically during the breaks throughout the day. I recommend meditating in the group hall as much as possible, as you won’t be tempted to go to sleep or get too comfortable lying down (can’t do this in the group hall). I was in there as much as possible. I wanted to get as much out of my experience as possible.

    @Smitha – The course will be perfect for your son, I’m sure. If he felt the calling to go, he will get exactly what he is needing most at this moment in his life.

  243. Atula Siriwardane said on November 28th, 2013 at 4:55 am

    About the youths..
    There is a minimum age but there are exceptions too.
    Once I heard when I was in Igathpuri two children around 13-15 did their 30day course. They have practiced Anapana from very young age and did Tenday courses around 11-12 and so on.
    If the person has parami they get the call and move ahead.
    It is far better to try and see as soon as possible than waiting for the right moment. If your heart is willing use your head… and go ahead.

    No matter how long you wait out side, you want get any closer… but deviate.
    For anyone it is better to start Vipassana when and where you are.
    All the Metta and merits

    Be happy.

  244. val said on December 1st, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I have just come back from my ten day vipassana course . To Adrian who wrote about not being a good sleeper , I also don’t sleep that good . What I found that as you have to get up at 4 am every day , by 9 30 pm you are really ready for bed !

    As for meditating in your room , I did when you were allowed because you will be
    meditating on your own when you get back !

    A strange thing has happened to me …… I cant watch telly at moment . And im noticing nature a lot …. birds flying in formation … leaves floating from trees ..
    the sky … I have changed .

  245. Rahul said on December 1st, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    @ Val – Thank you for coming back and sharing about your experience! So valuable for all those looking to this post for guidance. Much love.

  246. Billy said on December 29th, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Separating the sexes seems antiquated. For starters it assumes that everyone is heterosexual! May be less distracting for heteros to be segregated but makes no difference if you’re gay. I also don’t see the the point of being forced to sit cross legged. The pain on the back and legs is too distracting for me when trying to focus on the breath.

  247. Venkat said on January 3rd, 2014 at 3:38 am

    Hi Rahul,
    I am planning to attend the Vipassana mediation course in Hyderbad, India and have lots of questions on my mind about the course and the changes it brings forth in a person.

    I am a budding entrepreneur with passion for helping people. What kind of benefits can I expect from this program that would make me a better entrepreneur? I hope it won’t change me so much that I’d be planning to leave everything behind and would turn me completely religious. Pardon my ignorance but I am really interested to attend this program and learn. Please advise.

  248. Maggie said on January 4th, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Hello Rahul,

    I am very interested in taking the 10-day Vipassana course in Kaufman, TX this summer. I am 19 years old and while my parents support my desire to learn meditation, they are skeptical and worry about my safety. They have heard some cult stories in which facilities lure in young adults, “brainwash” them, and refuse to let them leave. While I do not believe this to be true or accurate of the Kaufman center, do you have any suggestions or comments on what I can do to reassure my parents fears?

  249. Rahul said on January 6th, 2014 at 7:22 am

    @ Billy – The physical pain is an essential part of the Vipassana process, in my opinion, as it provides the opportunity to come to know yourself as more than just your body. That was my experience with it, anyway.

    @ Venkat – You don’t have to worry about something happening to you that is detrimental to your path. If you go to Vipassana and discover something that is deeply true for you that causes you to deviate from the path you were on before attending, it won’t feel like a sacrifice or mistake with your newfound clarity. No one is going to brainwash you, so if that’s what you’re worried about, don’t worry about it.

    @ Maggie – You have nothing to worry about. Those who are “lost” may find a “way” or clarity through Vipassana, but it’s by no means a religious cult or hardcore indoctrination society. It’s gentle and allows for the practitioners to come to their own realizations through their own experiences. Let your parents know it’s a bunch of friendly people for the most part, much more friendly than you’d find at your common school or job, so there’s nothing to worry about.

  250. Atula Siriwardane said on January 6th, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Everyone who serve in Vipassana centers are old meditators who voluntarily serve the new comers to receive the benefits which they received by Vipassana. Any old meditator can serve any center at any time but with no strings attached. Only rules are the disciplines one should follow within the center. There is no one in charge other than old meditators who serve temporarily.
    Even when Goenka Ji was alive he did not act as a leader or manager. He was always the teacher. We looked up to him for guidance and advice for he knew the technique well and he made decisions according to the welfare of all meditators.
    If anyone is in doubt best way to see the results of meditation is to visit any center on the day before it ends.
    I am practicing Vipassana from 1991 and never even thought about any other technique for my spiritual purity and growth. I have grown immensely in awareness and equanimity which saves me many times in my life and moment to moment.
    Vipassana is not just knowledge but the practice of ten days on how to live without being affected with Aversion, Craving and ignorance of one’s own or others.
    Vipassana is the best protection and best friend I ever had.

  251. Atula Siriwardane said on January 6th, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Venkat, I did my third Vipassana course in 1993 in Hyderabad center under the guidance of my beloved teacher, Goenka Ji. After that I have served the new meditators a lot, especially in that center. I practiced together with my wife for she was pregnant with our eldest son, in the Hyderabad center in 2006. Other than the growth and the number of people the serve centers do not change structurally.
    You will be changed as a person or an entrepreneur in two aspects only. These two aspects would affect every moment of your life positively.
    One is awareness and there is equanimity toward what ever you are aware. You will make decisions with awareness and with equanimous mind, a balanced mind in life and in business.
    I am practicing Vipassana for the last twenty plus years and I only have become a better artist and a better human being after Vipassana. I never felt an urge to leave my normal life but found how to live it better with more awareness and with an equanimous mind.
    The ten days is just a starter. One grows with it all the way and moment to moment.
    Share your experience with us, after the course.
    All the best.

  252. Margie said on January 7th, 2014 at 4:09 am

    Kia ora Rahul

    I have read with interest yours and others experiences and questions here. I am due to start Vipassana this Thursday the 9th Jan and really looking forward to it. Thank you for all of your responses and insights for the course. My only concern is sitting xlegged on the floor for so long and then trying to stand up afterward… however I am willing to give it my all :))
    Cheers and thanks again!!

  253. Margie said on January 7th, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Oh I neglected to add the retreat is being held in a pristine setting North of Auckland, New Zealand :)

  254. Rahul said on January 7th, 2014 at 4:21 am

    @ Margie – Enjoy your course :)

  255. Adrian said on January 7th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I just finished a 10-day course in Jesup GA (it ended today) and it was awesome! Thanks for all your words of encouragement here, and thanks to everyone else who shared their experiences in comments!

  256. Tim Morris said on January 8th, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Raul! Brother!
    I read this whole article till the end to find out it was you that wrote it!!
    Great work man- & I’m impressed you still keep up with responses!.. I totally agree with your outlook on the experience!
    We should do some sittings together sometime :-)) (your stock just went up! 😉
    Love ya Buddie,

  257. Venkat said on January 8th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks a lot Rahul and Atula for your kind responses to my query. I am looking forward to attending the course in Hyderabad sometime soon.

    Will share my experiences with you all. Thanks once again :)

  258. Rahul said on January 9th, 2014 at 2:33 am

    @ Tim – Hehe, awesome :) Thanks for the comment, brother. Love you too.

    @ Venkat – My pleasure.

  259. Atula Siriwardane said on January 9th, 2014 at 2:49 am

    @ Venkat, Thanks Bhai,,
    I wish you all the best benefits the ten days of Vipassana offers you.

    @ Rahul, Your article is one of the best reviews I ever read about Vipassana. Great Dhamma service.
    I would like to translate this into my mother tongue and publish my Vidarshana blog.
    Hope you would permit me.

  260. Rahul said on January 9th, 2014 at 3:18 am

    @ Atula – Thank you! Yes, definitely. As long as you link to the original article/give attribution, I’m good with that.

  261. Atula Siriwardane said on January 9th, 2014 at 3:21 am

    Oh Yes, Rahul..
    That is essential..
    The discussion is as important as the main article.
    I have posted the link where ever I felt the need.

    Thank you..

  262. MOhit said on January 30th, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Hi Rahul,

    It was nice to read your article!!!
    has Vipassana benefited in your professional life??
    i believe you must have completed course in 2008, are you still able to practice it daily??

    Thanking you in anticipation

  263. Rakesh Kumar said on February 13th, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I am going to attend my 5th 10 days course at Dharmshala , in past attended at IIT Delhi , Igatpuri and Jaipur . Pl advise facilities and surrounding for meditation at Dharmshala in April’2014 . I have chosen a new place for 10 days course.

  264. mamta said on February 15th, 2014 at 6:06 am

    Hi, I am a little anxious as I am going to igatpuri on 19th Feb’14. Thanx for this article and the assurance that it is not the end of the world. I am doing it to relieve myself of my past pains and completely detoxifying my mind. I am generally a happy go lucky person but reading ur article and other i am anxious as i do not want to cry there during my discourse. Thanks again…will come back and share my latest experience.

  265. Ashish said on February 23rd, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Rahul your experience seems very interesting….!!! But wouldn’t it be difficult for someone like me. As I am an anxious person and find it really very very difficult to concentrate on something and meditating for hours could be something really really difficult. I understand it ends up good but surviving there for those ten long days can be difficult. How were you able to cope with your anxiety when you started with the course. Desperately waiting for your reply.

  266. Atula Siriwardane said on February 25th, 2014 at 1:18 am

    This is not your problem. This is a human problem. You have realized it and others don’t.
    This has two aspects.
    One is that you can concentrate.
    But you can’t relax when you want.
    And when you are relaxed you can’t concentrate.
    What you really seek is
    the control of your mind.
    Not mere concentration.

    Other aspect is that you want only to concentrate on what you like.
    When there is something you dislike or you lack interest
    you want to change the object.
    This is the conditioning of beings.
    Seeking for what it likes
    and running away what it dislikes,
    and just ignore which does not impress in either way.

    I assure you that all these problems have a practical remedy
    and this is what you practice in these ten days.
    If you are sincere enough you will definitely find the solution.

    You will learn how to control your mind practically.
    Then how to live in a special way which let the mind
    to eradicate what disturbs your concentration,
    and every situation of your life.

    But understand that this is just the beginning.
    A transformation begins.
    Benefits comes from the very first moment
    but they continue to grow with your discipline and practice.
    From moment to moment, as long as you practice it will continue to bring peace.

    I can go on telling you how it helps.
    But since you have made the right decision,
    experience will answer all your question and
    if anything left the discourses will provide them.

    Maintain silence as you are instructed.
    That is the master key.

    And follow all the instruction to the letter whenever you can.
    They are the guideline and landmarks on the path.

    I wish you all the best.

    I believe that Rahul would also provide his assurance
    in his own simple and beautiful way.

  267. mamta said on March 6th, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Hi, back from igatpuri. It is a v v vv bad experience. The method of meditation is good but it is like a jail..fine i dont have to talk or smile or look at the other person…but i was not allowed to go for a walk or even sit outside my room. I went into a depression. I was asked to sit in my 7×8 sized room or be in the meditation hall. If i left for the washroom during the meditation hours a dhamma sevika (as they are called) would stand outside the meditation hall till i came back. :( A very sad experience. I went on my wish to learn a new form of technique and not to torture myself. People were sulking, villagers from around the place who were there had come just to eat, fart,burp and sleep during meditation hours. No this is not the way to teach something. Please learn it from your friends who have already done it but do not go there to feel like you have been jailed. :(

  268. Atula Siriwardane said on March 6th, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Once in a while, someone feels bad.
    It is natural, because it requires a lot to change one’s life style for ten days. Much depends on how much one is following the instructions. It is a journey within. When a hall full of people goes in and I remain outside, I naturally feel lonely.
    No matter how one feels in the first course, the second will show that he has grown with the first.

    Vipassana works if we work.

  269. Sarah k said on April 20th, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    If you feel you are ready… Do it. It is amazing. Here is my light hearted story on it =)

  270. val said on May 28th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Just read Sarah k story ! How true … I can really relate to what she says . Trouble is I was fine with the prunes , It was the lunch time food … (raw veggies grains and pulses ) that made my meditation in afternoon a little difficult ha ha !!
    Its now been a full six months since I experienced the vipassana retreat .
    I can honestly say that it has changed me in lots of subtle ways … it really is a very valuable experience , but you must work at it after you come back and try and keep up the practice . I combine it with my yoga routine and its also good after tai chi .
    Rahul has done a great service in this blog … I know I would never have attempted
    the retreat with out reading all the comments here .

  271. Karen said on July 18th, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for sharing all your experiences. I am relatively new to meditation. I remember when I first read about TM and was intrigued…but the 80’s caught up with me…swept me away in a fugue of selfishness…then marriage and family ….and life in general. Older and definitely wiser…I have been back into yoga on a daily basis for the last few years and of course meditation is a logical addition to the lifestyle. I have had an interest in Buddhism for the last year also. Sooooo now …I am considering doing the 10 day course in Bogor Indonesia, the next time I am in SE Asia…has anyone been there lately? I would love to hear anyone’s experiences. Thanks in advance.

  272. pooja said on July 25th, 2014 at 6:10 am

    i want to send my 14 year daughter because shes dealing with all the issues of a teenager and i think this is something that can really benefit from.but im a little reluctant as she is still only there an option of the parent being with their child?hoping it’s safe environment for kids this age too.thanks.

  273. VISHAL B. BAGADE said on August 31st, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Hello Rahul Sir,
    My registration for Vipassana meditation at igatpuri has been confirmed. But i am thinking to do it later on due to my academics. but Since i have lost all my focus from studies, i am getting it so much difficult to decide whether to attend VIPASSANA or not. What your experience says..SHOULD I ATTEND IT?
    you explained all the things in very systematic manner regarding your first experience. It cleared all my doubts & inferiority complexes. A BIG THANK YOU FOR THAT.

  274. Rahul said on September 4th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Vishal – Do it.

  275. April said on September 27th, 2014 at 4:20 am

    My boyfriend comes home from his 10 day retreat Sunday. I have been listening to S. N. Goenka’s 10 days discourses on youtube. I wanted to also go on the retreat but could not take the time off work. I’m very curious to know from someone who has gone through this retreat, how it felt to come back out into the world. I’m sure everyone is different but any experience or thoughts you would like to share would be greatly appreciated.

  276. Atula Siriwardane said on October 7th, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I was 34years old, and almost suicidal for no reason..
    I felt that it could be the solution…
    Goenka Ji himself was the teacher.

    I followed the instruction very seriously…
    Course was a suicide in a way…
    I was born again and after that no looking back.
    I have never wavered for a moment…
    This IS it..

    I am so grateful to Buddha, Goenka Ji
    and everyone else who preserved this technique.

    Vipassana saved me..
    and it continue to save me day to day..

  277. Rahul said on October 12th, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Atula – Thank you for your powerful sharing.

  278. vishal said on October 16th, 2014 at 4:42 am

    thanx rahul sir for suggesting me to attend the course.
    i attended the course successfully in last month. m observing many changes in my attitude. -VISHAL

  279. Rahul said on October 17th, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Vishal – Amazing! Thank you for coming back and sharing that with me. I am glad to hear it.

  280. lata said on October 30th, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you for the information and positive reviews, I am planning to attend vipassana meditation course at pune river side in NOV. I would like to know if it safe for women? Especially when you are not allowed to take even phone and vallet.Has anyone done a course in pune river side or bangalore? This info would give me lots of confidance to attend.

  281. Atula Siriwardane said on October 31st, 2014 at 4:37 am

    I have been practicing Vipassana from 1991. I have been working with Igathpuri, Hyderabad and Sri lankan centers and done many courses. But I have not seen or heard a single case a female meditator treated with disrespect.
    To make the decision to sit for ten days without talking and outside contact one needs to have a lot of self control. So basically every one is safe from their own self. Segregation is maintained strictly. Even Dhamma workers are not supposed to discuss a matter more than 5 minutes.
    Rules are quite strict in this tradition for the good of the meditator, the practice, the center.
    One can visit a center on a Metta day which is the tenth day of the course and see the results of the course and experience the joy.

  282. Queen said on November 16th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Rahul! I’ve been looking for reviews all over about Vipassana courses and have to say this is possibly the most extensive and long running post! You’ve got a lot of information here and since a very long time! I’ve enrolled for a course starting this week at the Mumbai center. I’m really excited but tense at the same time. Really anxious about how the surroundings will effect me along with the physical pain – I’ve never really meditated before (apart from P.E some 15 years back) and have 0 experience in sitting up straight beyond a few seconds.

    and I have a few questions…

    1) How hygienic is this place? Frankly, I am wondering if I need to carry my own toilet paper and what nots!? 😛
    2) Are there any medical or general stores in the premises in case I need something?
    3) How accommodating are the management in case of emergencies?
    4) Can anyone help with kind of staying facilities they have and how cold can it get around this time? Do I need to carry extra pillows and bedsheets and the works?

    Thanks much for your help!

  283. Rahul said on November 17th, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Queen – Everything will be just fine. Vipassana is run extremely well, across the world, and I have only heard great things about all of the locations. You will be taken care of, and if you have any special needs, you can chat with the staff beforehand, and they will alleviate/address all of your concerns. Go in there with the peace of mind of knowing that all will be taken care of so that you can focus exclusively on getting the most out of your 10 day experience. Much love.

  284. Diane said on December 17th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you so much for all the information you have given us. What location did you go to? I can’t find one with private rooms – only bunk beds and I might snore!

  285. Rahul said on December 25th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Diane – I went to the location in Kaufman, right outside of Dallas. It was a beautiful center.

  286. azmatg said on February 7th, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Did anybody go to Dhamma Sikkim? If Ao can you please share the experience. I am in Kerala and I am planning to go on5th of March.

  287. Vandana said on April 16th, 2015 at 9:00 am


    Just to say your patience and concern for others’ well being is incredible! May you have happiness always! My course starts in couple of days :)

  288. Rahul said on April 16th, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Vandana – thank you for taking a moment to share your kind words… they are wonderful to receive. Enjoy your course.

  289. Diane said on April 19th, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Rahul – thank you again! I went! I did it! And your words came to me from time to time… Just stay … I found out some new things about myself too – I’m very funny, I’m good company and I’m just a so-so meditator but I learned new things about myself and I’m very very grateful that I was willing to give myself such a precious experience.

  290. Rahul said on April 19th, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Diane – You are so welcome! I am glad you enjoyed your course! And yes, I can feel you are a funny person :) stay light hearted. Much love.

  291. Vandana said on May 12th, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Thank you Rahul ! Your blog reassured me. :)

    Glad I attended and gave myself an opportunity to experience this truth- Vipassana ! Be blessed !

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Who's behind this blog?

Welcome to Take 20 – a Blog exposing readers to unique personal development concepts and ideas. Hi. My name is Rahul Bhambhani. I was previously a student in the Business Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin. Somewhere in the midst of my education, I began to question whether it was contributing to […]

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