The Vipassana Research Institute (VRI) was established in 1985 for the purpose of conducting research into the sources and applications of the Vipassana Meditation Technique. The VRI is adjacent to the Vipassana International Academy (VIA), known as Dhamma Giri located in Igatpuri, a small town about 136 km from Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra, India.
The Academy is one of the world's largest centers for the practice of Vipassana, offering on-going 10 day meditation courses, serving upto 600 people per course, throughout the year. The Academy now includes a long course center - Dhamma Tapovana as well, offering advanced long courses for mature old students.
PROJECTS OF THE INSTITUTE
The VRI's research work focusses on two main areas: translation and publication of the Pali texts, and research into the application of Vipassana in daily life.
Tipitaka Project: Twenty five centuries ago Pali was the lingua franca of northern India, the dialect in which the Buddha taught. Just as Sanskrit is the canonical language of Hinduism and Latin the canonical language of Catholicism, Pali is the classical language in which the teachings of the Buddha have been preserved.
The Pali sources are the Tipitaka (the Pali canon); the sub-commentaries, called the Atthakatha, Tika and others such as Anu-tika, Madhu-tika, etc.
The entire Pali Tipitaka in Devanagari script and a few in Roman script has been made available in book form.
The entire Pali Tipitaka in Roman, Myanmar, Devanagari, Thai, Sinhalese, Khmer, Mongol scripts are available in the CSCD-ROM compiled by the Institute.
The entire Pali Tipitaka in Roman script is now available on the internet.
A translation into Hindi of Anguttara Nikaya -1 has been published.
Research: In addition to researching the Pali Texts, the Institute conducts research into the personal and interpersonal effects of Vipassana Meditation. This work includes studying the effects of controlling and purifying the mind, and improved moral conduct and harmonious personality development; and, as well, the application of Vipassana in the areas of health, education and social development. The Institute has also studied the benefits of Vipassana on drug addicts and jail inmates in particular. A study of the impact of Vipassana in Government has been published. All these studies enable a comparison with the results that are mentioned in the Pali texts.
Seminars: From time to time, VRI sponsors international seminars on various aspects of the research work as it applies to the actual experience of Vipassana. It features an opportunity for the participants to participate in a 10-day Vipassana course after the presentation of the seminar papers and this experiential aspect has proven to be popular as well as beneficial. In a very tangible way, the practice of meditation throws light on the research presented in the papers. It gives an opportunity for the participant to experience what was presented in the seminar.
Vipassana Newsletter: This is a monthly issue, published in Hindi and English and contains articles by S.N. Goenka and other students sharing their experiences. It also serves as a means for Vipassana students all over the world to derive inspiration from and stay in touch with the teachings.
Other Publications: The Institute has published several invaluable books in various languages by Goenkaji and others over the last few decades. They are a real source of inspiration to meditators and non-meditators alike. Click this link for a complete list and ordering details.
Audio CDs, Video CDs and DVDs : Goenkaji's 10-day course discourses, Satipatthana course discourses and other discourses are a product of thorough research of the Buddha's teachings. These valuable discourses, group sitting instructions for daily practice, documentaries related to Vipassana, Urja serials regarding Vipassana on Zee TV, introductory material in Hindi and English are made available by the Institute. They are a useful medium, helpful in spreading Vipassana as well as maintaining the practice of Vipassana in daily life.
Vipassana and Pali Studies Programme: Clearly research work is best done by those with direct experience of the Buddha's teaching. VRI offers an annual year-long residential programme in Vipassana and Pali studies. The programme provides a foundation in both the theory and practice of Vipassana. This system of scholarly and meditative approaches makes the programme unique. Periods of academic study are alternated with participation in the VIA meditation courses. Daily meditation practice, intensive retreats and service at the Academy are part of the curriculum and this in turn deepens the experience of meditation and service.
The first version of the VRI website was built and launched on 11th May 1998 in Mumbai. Over the years, it has tried to provide useful information to Vipassana meditators in India and abroad.