(Conclusion of a series of blogs describing Vipassana Meditation and the retreat program. Unless otherwise noted, all information is taken directly from the Dhamma.org website.)
According to the tradition of pure Vipassana, courses are run solely on a donation basis. Donations are accepted only from those who have completed at least one ten-day course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assisting teachers. Someone taking the course for the first time may give a donation on the last day of the course or any time thereafter.
In this way, the courses are supported by those who have realized for themselves the benefits of the practice, wishing to share these benefits with others, one gives a donation according to one's means and volition.
Such donations are the only source of funding for courses in this tradition around the world. There is no wealthy foundation or individual sponsoring them. Neither the teachers nor the organizers receive any kind of payment for their service. Thus, the spread of Vipassana is carried out with purity of purpose, free from any commercialism.
Whether a donation is large or small, it should be given with the wish to help others: "The course I have taken has been paid for through the generosity of past students; now let me give something towards the cost of a future course, so that others may also benefit from this technique."
To clarify the spirit behind the discipline and rules, they may be summarized as follows:
Take great care that your actions do not disturb anyone. Take no notice of distractions caused by others.
It may be that a student cannot understand the practical reasons for one or several of the above rules. Rather than allow negativity and doubt to develop, immediate clarification should be sought from the teacher.
It is only by taking a disciplined approach and by making maximum effort that a student can fully grasp the practice and benefit from it. The emphasis during the course is on work. A golden rule is to meditate as if one were alone, with one's mind turned inward, ignoring any inconveniences and distractions that one may encounter.
Finally, students should note that their progress in Vipassana depends solely on their own good qualities and personal development, and on five factors: earnest efforts, confidence, sincerity, health and wisdom.
May the above information help you to obtain maximum benefit from your meditation course. We are happy to have the opportunity to serve, and wish you peace and harmony from your experience of Vipassana.