The Ontario Vipassana Center offers courses to both Children (ages 8-12) and Teenagers (ages 13-17). These courses provide an introduction to Anapana meditation, which is a practice of the observation of natural breath to concentrate the mind. Students 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 group leaders who will personally accompany and assist them throughout the course, providing support and guidance as needed.
The intent of these courses course is serious. It is not appropriate for young people 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 child to the course. Parents or guardians who are students of Goenkaji or his assistant teachers are welcome to stay for the day. 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 students. Only those students 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 children 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 children during registration, but should then leave the center until the course is over. Barrie, Alliston and Cookstown as well as campsites are close to the centre.
Before applying for the course, please make sure that both you and your child have read and understood the Code of Conduct and Course information for the type of course: Children’s Course or Teen’s Course.
It is important that all parents and guardians read the Policy and Procedures for Children and Teenager’s Courses offered at Dhamma Torana.