Long-term service

This form of service allows students to really develop a strong foundation in their practice that will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

Long-term servers stay on at the centre for a period of time, maybe one or two months — some as long as half a year — over which time they serve many courses.

They have the joy of watching nervous students come for their first course, go through the progress of daily learning in the hall and come out shining at the end. They enjoy the privilege of serving the meditators as they work, providing them food and a peaceful environment.

They sit regular sittings every day in a very supportive environment and also sit full 10-day courses several times during their stay. They get to really understand how Dhamma works and how the centre functions as a volunteer organization. They begin to gain an understanding of the reasons behind the guidelines Goenkaji has provided.

Long-term servers’ understanding of the Dhamma grows and their practice deepens being in a Dhamma atmosphere for extended periods of time and having more consistent contact with teachers.

If you would like to participate in a period of long-term service, please send email to [email protected].

Guidelines for Long-term Dhamma service

Long-term Dhamma service is for those who wish to develop their paramis by serving for longer periods of time. It gives students the opportunity to bring depth and maturity to their meditation practice by integrating what they have learned during courses and applying it while serving.  Students will learn to serve properly with an attitude of humility and renunciation.

Mature old students who are practising this technique exclusively and maintaining the five precepts in their daily life are eligible to stay at the centre for longer periods of time. Acceptance is upon assistant teacher approval. Long-term service is intended for students who are able to work hard in a surrendered and co-operative way, and who are eager to learn how best to serve in this unique Dhamma environment.

Long-term servers will follow the regular Code of Conduct for Dhamma servers. In addition, the following points should be clearly understood:

• Five Precepts – Long-term servers must observe the five precepts for the duration of their stay, whether on or off the centre property.

• Daily practice – They must sit the three group sittings (the 6-7 pm sitting in the hall) and evening metta (if on the sit/serve program) in the meditation hall unless a Centre AT has specified otherwise.  Attendance at morning chanting is optional.  Lights out at 10.00 pm.

• Facilities – There is self-contained accommodation for long-term servers.  However, in busy periods or when there are more long-term servers, they may have to share accommodation with other long-term servers or with course servers. All efforts are made to avoid this for extended periods.

• Meeting with Assistant Teachers – Long-term servers have regular  meetings with the centre teachers.  In addition to this they can meet with the AT conducting the course, or ask the office to arrange a meeting outside a course.

• Sitting courses -Long-term servers must sit a course at least once every year. They may be able to sit more if there are enough servers for each course, have their responsibilities covered, and there is enough accommodation space, but should understand that the purpose of their long stay at the centre is mainly to serve. 

• Serving courses – While serving on courses Dhamma servers should put aside their daily routines, give full attention to the course and remain on campus.   

 Between courses – In addition to serving on courses, there is a great deal of work to be done to keep the centre running smoothly (Those on the Sit/Serve Program are encouraged to take rest between course unless absolutely needed). The Daily Operations Team will help delegate work, and long-term servers are encouraged to join one of the Trust committees which manage the centre.

Long-term servers may leave the centre between courses, or during a course if they are not a course server, but must notify the office beforehand and inform them of when they intend to return. 

The centre should never be used as a base to go from one social event to another. If a server feels the need for a longer break or for some entertainment or extended socializing, then arrangements should be made to stay out overnight for a day or two.

• Time Off – Long-term servers should schedule regular time off, normally 2 days out of seven when not serving courses.  This should be done in advance and in consultation with the centre manager and the other long-term servers.  

• Segregation of sexes – To protect and preserve the strong Dhamma atmosphere of the centre, strict segregation of sexes must be maintained at all times, both during and between courses. There are separate accommodations for men and women as well as separate dining areas. Dhamma servers must be very careful to treat those of the opposite sex as their brothers or sisters. While Dhamma partnerships are not discouraged, the centre is not a place to develop them. Therefore, if two people find themselves attracted to one another and want to pursue a relationship, they should not continue to reside at the centre.

• Reading materials – Dhamma servers may use the library of Dhamma books, and listen to Dhamma talks given by Goenkaji on audio or video. Suitable newspapers and news magazines may be read in accommodation or rest areas only. Other reading material is not appropriate at the centre. Books should be returned to the library when finished so others can also make use of them for their practice. 

• Use of Centre property – As a Dhamma worker, one lives the life of a renunciate. The centre will provide the basic requirements of food and shelter; other expenses are the responsibility of the servers themselves. Dhamma servers should take care not to appropriate centre property for their own use without permission.

The centre is not a commune where one comes to live a householder’s life. Nor is it a place to come because one has nowhere else to go. Rather, the centre is, for all practical purposes, a monastery. It is a place of renunciation and celibacy where a student of Vipassana has a unique opportunity to grow in Dhamma. Dhamma service has enormous benefits for those who give it as well as those who receive. May more and more people share these benefits and come out of their suffering.

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+1 705-434-9850
[email protected]

+1 705-434-9850
[email protected]

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