Throughout the world, people who practice Vipassana meditation according to the teachings of S. N. Goenka have created associations in order to offer courses in this type of meditation. These associations are independent and nationally recognized by their governments; they are the only ones capable of teaching courses in this tradition. All function according to the same principle, are non-sectarian and non-commercial.
The Vipassana Association in France was created in 1981 and is a non-profit association, the statutes of which, are governed in French law by the 1901 Associations act. It is managed without monetary interest and has been recognized to be of general public interest by the French Government. Its purpose is to develop and communicate Vipassana meditation as taught by Mr. S.N. Goenka, in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin and the lineage of teachers going all the way back to the Buddha. It’s main objective is the organisation of Vipassana meditation courses and all related activities. The association manages independently the Dhamma Mahi centre and courses taking place outside the centre.
It functions on the following basis :
Any person who has completed a 10 Day Vipassana course is called an “old student”. She or he can freely offer services in the following areas: organisation of the courses, office work, kitchen or cleaning help during a course, gardening or handiwork during a course, internal communications, website development, organising children’s courses, organisation of public events, etc.: for further information, you can refer to the presentation of each commission in the Old Student website.
In this way, courses are organized by old students who have already benefited from this meditation technique and wish to share it with others.
Within the association, temporary or permanent commissions prepare the agenda for the committee, the main central body of old students of the association which takes decisions for the running of the association’s activities. These activities concern the organisation of courses, kitchen improvements, maintenance, communications, finances, website, gardening, construction, long term planning, etc.
The committee meetings are held generally every two months. The members of every commission, the assistant teachers and the old students present at these reunions all take part in the discussion and in the decision-making process. One of its particularities is that decisions are not made on majority rule but by consensus. Members of the committee and assistant teachers work on a voluntary basis.
All operating costs, from housing to instruction, are covered by donations of old students who wish to share with others the opportunity of taking these courses, after having experienced for themselves its benefits. In this manner, Vipassana Organisations are entirely financed by donations of those who have taken a course. The Vipassana trusts around the world have no commercial interest whatsoever. The services rendered to the association by its different members are offered free of charge and cannot be remunerated. Exceptionally, for functions and needs not covered by the volunteers, financial aid can be proposed by the association to allow a member to offer continuous service over at least one year. Teachers, assistant teachers and committee members don't receive any kind of material compensation for their service.