Vipassana in Australia
The practice of Vipassana has taken strong roots in Australia. Mr. Goenka first conducted courses in Australia in Sydney, New South Wales and Perth, Western Australia in 1980, for 195 students. By 1982, he had conducted three more courses, attended by an additional 452 students. The land near Sydney was donated for the first center in 1981.
There are now seven Vipassana centers spread across every state in Australia.
New South Wales – There are two centers in this area. The first center Dhamma Bhumi is located on 40 acres of land at the highest point of the Blue Mountains. Established in 1983, it has good facilities and is landscaped with ponds, paths and gardens. The center accommodates 120 students and holds annual 30-day and 45-day courses. The second center Dhamma Passaddhi is situated in the Northern Rivers area.
Queensland – There is one center in this region. Dhamma Rasmi, established in 1989, is located in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, with comfortable facilities for over 60 students amid sub-tropical gardens in 65 acres of bushland. Families of kangaroos are frequent visitors.
Tasmania – Dhamma Pabha, the center in this region is nestled in a forest on the slopes of Mt Dromedary, near Hobart. Established in 1994, the center is surrounded by tall trees and bushland, setting it away from the noises of civilisation, with only the sounds being those of the native wildlife.
Victoria – Established in 1995, Dhamma Aloka is located on the outskirts of Melbourne, on a hill rising above the Yarra River, surrounded by forest. The 17-acre site has facilities for 60 students.
Western Australia – Established in 2001, Dhamma Padipa is located in a rural setting about two hours from Perth. The center offers regular 10-day residential courses in Vipassana meditation. The facilities at the center include the meditation hall, kitchen/dining facility, shared accommodation and ablution blocks. There are camping sites under shelters and in treed areas.
South Australia – Established in 2008, Dhamma Ujjala is located in the pristine Clare Valley, one and three quarter to half hours north of Adelaide..
Thirty years after the first Vipassana course was held in Australia, over 30,000 people have taken courses and experienced the benefits of Vipassana. Although a tiny proportion of the population, it is an indication that Vipassana is beginning to establish in Australia. The sheer number of new students (over 3000 each year) taking courses, the establishment of regular long courses (20, 30 and 45 days), and the emergence of a strong old student community, together indicate the depth and strength of the roots of Vipassana in this land.
For more details regarding the spread of Vipassana in Australia, please click here.
Vipassana in New Zealand
The New Zealand Vipassana Center, Dhamma Medina, was purchased in February 1987. It is located in a very quiet rural area within one hour of Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. The land is over 100 acres and has large areas of forest, which makes it very conducive for meditation.
The original facilities were very rudimentary. In 1992, building permission was granted by the local Council. The kitchen/dining block was completed in 1995. A new meditation hall, able to seat over 100 students, was completed in 2002. There are 68 single rooms for meditators. The capacity is around 80 to 90 students.
Student numbers are growing rapidly, with about 900 students currently attending the 10-day courses each year. Construction of the first mediation cells started in 2012.
To read the deatailed account of spread of Vipassana in New Zealand, please click here.