The teenagersí course at the California Vipassana Center offers young people
between the ages of 13 and 16 an introduction to Anapana meditation, which is a
practice of the observation of natural breath to concentrate the mind. They
will learn to practice Anapana and begin to take their first steps on the path
of Dhamma. The entire path of Dhamma, rediscovered and taught by Gotama the
Buddha more than 2500 years ago, is a universal remedy for universal problems
and has nothing to do with any organized religion or sectarian tradition. For
this reason, it can be practiced freely by all, in any place, at any time. Its
practice does not conflict with any race, community or religion and will prove
equally beneficial to one and all.
Young people who have started practicing Anapana have realized many benefits.
Their ability to concentrate becomes enhanced, their memory gets sharper, their
ability to comprehend a subject improves and they become calmer. In general,
they feel they have a practical tool to use in the face of any type of
adversity or challenge.
During the course, there will be meditation instructions as well as other
activities such as games, art, and storytelling. The children will be divided
into groups according to their age for many activities. They will be assigned
counselors who will personally accompany and assist them throughout the course,
providing support and guidance as needed.
The intent of the teenagersí course is serious. It is not appropriate for
teens who are unable to follow directions or to participate in organized,
self-modulating activities. It is also not appropriate for teens who are unable
to understand the meaning or purpose of the daily schedule and Code of Conduct.
Students attending the course will be asked to maintain silence for extended
periods of time. Segregation of the sexes will be maintained at all times in the accommodations as well as in the meditation hall and during much of the course.
It is not mandatory that a parent or guardian accompanies your teenager
to the course. For a residential course: Parents or guardians who are students
of Goenkaji or his assistant teachers are welcome to stay at the center and
participate in work projects. Since parents or guardians will not be
participating in the course, they will follow a separate schedule. They will also
be accommodated separately from the teens. Only those teens who feel comfortable
staying in separate accommodations from their parents are encouraged to attend.
We ask that parents and affiliated adults refrain from communicating with or
contacting their teens throughout the course.
Parents or guardians who have not completed a ten-day course with Goenkaji
or his assistant teachers are welcome to stay with their teens during
registration, but should then leave the center until the course is over. There
are numerous hotels, motels and campsites in the area.
In a one-day offsite course, parents or guardians are asked leave the course
site after registration and orientation is over and come back at the end of the