Courses are for children and young people aged 8 to 18 years. Anyone in this age group who sincerely wants to learn how to meditate is warmly welcome to apply for a course.
There are separate courses for older and younger children. The residential courses for those who are 12 years or older are separate for boys and girls.
The one-day courses are available for 8–15 year olds, or 8–18 year olds, depending on the number of teachers available.
S.N. Goenka (1924–2013) was recognised as one of the world’s foremost teachers of meditation. He began conducting meditation courses for adults in India in 1969, and in 1979 he started teaching in other countries. In his lifetime he conducted hundreds of meditation courses. He appointed more than 800 assistant teachers, who now conduct courses on his behalf.
The programme of Anapana meditation courses for children and young people began in India in 1986. Since then tens of thousands of children and young people around the world have participated in the courses.
Today, specially trained Children’s Course teachers conduct the courses on behalf of S.N. Goenka. They are assisted by other meditator-volunteers, all of whom have completed at least one ten-day Vipassana meditation course, and who are certified to work with children.
Courses run throughout the year and all details can be found on the course schedule page.
Courses take place at both Dhamma Dīpa meditation centre in Herefordshire, and at Dhamma Sukhakāri meditation centre in Suffolk. You can read more about these centres here and here. Other rented venues around the UK have been used for one- and two-day courses, including recently in Edinburgh, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Salisbury, Wokingham and Plymouth.
Residential two-day courses begin on the evening of the first day and end at midday on the last day. One-day courses normally run from 10 am to 4 pm.
The children adhere to a code of moral conduct for the duration of the course, which provides a strong foundation for their meditation.
They listen to MP3 recordings of instructions and short talks given by S.N. Goenka. The schedule consists of half-hour meditation sessions interspersed with creative and physical activities.
The Children’s Course teacher conducts the meditation sessions and gives individual guidance or explanations as necessary. Other course volunteers are on hand to supervise the children, to look after their material needs, and to organise activities.
A sample timetable for a one-day course can be found here, and for a two-day course here.
In keeping with the Vipassana tradition, all courses are run solely on a donation basis, and are therefore free of charge. All expenses are met by donations from those who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of meditation themselves, wish to give others the same opportunity. In this spirit, children and parents may give a donation at the end of the course if they wish. Any donation should only be what the giver may comfortably afford.
All of the food on the course is simple, wholesome and tasty vegetarian food. Some examples are: tomato and lentil sauce served with spaghetti and cheese; curry, dahl and rice; baked potatoes served with beans, hummus, cheese and coleslaw; nut loaf served with potatoes, vegetables and gravy.
Sometimes, if there is time, the students will bake pizzas or cookies during the course, which everyone enjoys afterwards.
For directions on how to get to Dhamma Dīpa, please visit this page.
For directions on how to get to Dhamma Sukhakāri, please visit this page.
Directions to the various rented course sites around the country are given during the application process for the particular course in question.