Saturday, August 29, 2009

Part 3: The Code of Discipline for the Meditation Course

(Continuation of a series of blogs describing Vipassana Meditation and the retreat program. Unless otherwise noted, all information is taken directly from the website.)

The foundation of the practice is sīla — moral conduct. Sīla provides a basis for the development of samādhi — concentration of mind; and purification of the mind is achieved through paññā — the wisdom of insight.

The Precepts
All who attend a Vipassana course must conscientiously undertake the following five precepts for the duration of the course:
  • to abstain from killing any being,
  • to abstain from stealing;
  • to abstain from all sexual activity;
  • to abstain from telling lies;
  • to abstain from all intoxicants.
There are three additional precepts which old students (that is, those who have completed a course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assistant teachers) are expected to follow during the course:
  • to abstain from eating after midday;
  • to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decoration;
  • to abstain from using high or luxurious beds.

Old students will observe the sixth precept by having only tea (without milk) or fruit juice during the 5 p.m. break, whereas new students may have tea with milk and some fruit. The teacher may excuse an old student from observing this precept for health reasons. The seventh and eighth precepts will be observed by all.

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