The first 10-day course was held in Dhamma Giri in October, 1976. Currently, over 12,000 students annually participate in twice-monthly ten-days and longer courses, in the world's largest Vipassana meditation centre.
Over 150 Vipassana centres function independently worldwide; thousands of Vipassana centres will serve beings in coming centuries.
How much Vipassana benefits all beings depends on how much each individual meditator develops his or her practice of Vipassana - grows in purity, and shares merits gained.
The most crucial Dhamma service is to "Be Happy ! Meditate. meditate, meditate!"
By Dr. Geo Poland
In those days I was a hippy with long hair and long beard, as was my friend. But it also so happened that at the end of that course I decided to leave those hippy days behind. So I went to the local barber's shop and had my haircut and beard shaved off. Then we went on down to Bombay. The next day we went to Goenkaji's office and requested the secretary if we could have a few words with him and we were told to wait in the waiting room. I must admit I was a bit nervous as I'd never had any contact with Goenkaji, other than as a student sitting at his feet. After a short period of waiting, I was told I could go in and see him and so I walked into his office. As soon as he saw me, he burst out laughing. I couldn't understand what was going on and I reached nervously for my beard, which was my habit whenever I got nervous. Then I realized that my beard had been shaved off and that he didn't recognize me. I asked if we could go and meditate at the land. He was happy to let us do so and he was also happy that we had cut our hair short and shaved off our beards, because he felt that it was very important that the first few people that went to Dhamma Giri would be viewed by the townspeople as representing Goenkaji and the technique of Vipassana meditation.
So the next day we took the train up to Dhamma Giri and contacted Mr Bhojraj who showed us up to the land. At that time there were only three buildings on the property. There was an old farmhouse where some resident farmers were staying and a large warehouse. And then there was a three- room bungalow, which is still in existence at Dhamma Giri today. So Mr Bhojraj showed us up to the bungalow and opened the door and told us this was where we could stay. That night he came back with a few other meditators from the town and we had a small group sitting outside, under the stars. We stayed to meditate for a few days and then we had to leave, due to previous commitments.
We very soon received his inspiring reply: "Dear Geo and Graham, Be happy! Meditate! Meditate! Meditate! Clean yourselves and clean the atmosphere of the centre." So this became our goal.
For full article : Dhamma Giri - the Early Days
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