Shri Satyanarayanji Goenka was born in Mandalay, Myanmar in 1924. Although he
topped the list of all successful candidates in the whole of Myanmar in the tenth class, he
could not continue his studies further. At a very early age he set up many commercial and
industrial institutions and earned fabulous wealth. He also established many social and
cultural centres. Because of tension he became a victim of migraine, which could not be
cured by doctors of Myanmar and of other countries in the world. Then some one suggested
him to take a course of Vipassana. Vipassana has done well not only to him but it has also
been benefiting many others.
He learned Vipassana from Sayagyi U Ba Khin in 1955. Sitting at the feet of his teacher he
practiced it for fourteen years He also studied the words of the Buddha during this period.
He came to India in 1969 and conducted the first vipassana course in Mumbai. After that a
series of courses were held. In 1976 the first residential course of vipassana was held in
Igatpuri and the first centre of vipassana was established here. Up till now 170 centres have
been established all over the world. New centres also are coming up. At these centres 1500
trained teachers teach vipassana in 55 languages of the world. Not only ten- day courses are
conducted at these centres but also at some centres 20-day, 30-day, 45-day and 60-day
courses are conducted. All courses are free of charge. The expenses on food and
accommodation etc are met by the self-willed Dana given by those who benefited from the
course. Seeing its benevolent nature vipassana courses is held not only for the inmates of
jails and school children in the world but also for police personnels, judges, government
A Seminar on Vipassana Meditation was held from 28 November to 9
December, 1989, under the sponsorship of the Vipassana Research Institute. Its
twin objectives were: to study and explore the application in life of Vipassana as a
technique for improving health, and to look into its use as a rehabilitative
instrument for those using, or addicted to substances such as alcohol, drugs, etc.
Participating in the Seminar were distinguished scholars, Government
officers, members of the medical, legal and other professions, social workers and
Vipassana meditators. 300 participants and guests attended the Inaugural Function
and Scientific Session, of which nearly 250 of them continued on for a ten day
Vipassana Course conducted by Mr. S.N. Goenka. After experiencing the effects
of Vipassana for themselves, within themselves, the participants engaged in a
discussion of its various aspects and made recommendations.
The Chief Guest was Dr. V.N. Bagadia, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry,
Seth G.S. Medical College & K.E.M. Hospital, Bombay, and Honorary
Psychiatrist, Bombay Hospital é& Research Centre. He discussed Vipassana as an
important psychological treatment method, and mentioned that though its
beneficial effects are seen clinically, research needs to be conducted with a
rigorous scientific methodology.
The Scientific Session was inaugurated by Dr. Yusuf A. Merchant, President,
the Drug Abuse Information, Rehabilitation & Research Centre, Bombay, and
Member, The Central Advisory Board for Drug Prevention & Control, New
Delhi. Dr. Merchant spoke on the threat posed by drug abuse to the world at large
and India in particular; he further expressed confidence that Vipassana can play a
vital role in the rehabilitation of addicts.
The Principal Vipassana Teacher, Mr. S. N. Goenka, gave the closing
address, in which he explained how Vipassana enables one to be free from not
merely addiction to drugs or alcohol, but also the strongest and deepest
conditioned mental reactions which are the root cause of misery. He called
Vipassana a non-sectarian art of living in harmony with the universal Dhamma
‘the Law of Nature, whereby freedom from suffering may be attained.
The present volume has been prepared to stimulate interest and a scientific
pursuit in this ancient yet new meditation technique. Therefore, in addition to the
papers presented at the Seminar, other relevant articles have also been included.
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