Mr. Goenka conducted first courses outside India in France and England in 1979. Thereafter Europe benefited regularly from Mr. Goenka's visits, during which he conducted courses and gave public talks, attracting thousands of people from many countries.
The recurring memory of Mr. Goenka's visits is of him sitting on the Dhamma seat and smilingly explaining Dhamma to a questioner, with kindness, intelligence, humour and common sense. The quality that shines through all the memories of his visits to Europe is his indefatigable service to others.
To date, thousands of courses have been held in European countries. The course instructions and other literature have been translated into most European languages. Annually, over 250 ten-day courses and a number of 20-day, 30-day and 45-day courses are held in Europe. Presently there are sixteen Vipassana meditation centers and thirty-eight non-center locations spread across Europ.
UK – There are three centers in UK. The first center, Dhamma Dipa, was establsihed in 1991 on 22 acres of land in Herefordshire in the west of England, with facilities for 128 students, and with an adjoining long course center Dhamma Padhāna. The third center Dhamma Sukhakari, established in 2010, in Suffolk county conducts regular 10 day and children courses. Two temporary centers are located in Northern England and Scotland.
France – Two Vipassana centers are present in France. The first center, Dhamma Mahi, was establsihed in 1988 on 40 hectares in the countryside 165 km south of Paris, accommodating 100 – 140 students. The second center Dhamma Nilaya in Saints region conducts regular short courses for old students. Two temporary centers are located in South-East and South-West of France.
Germany – Dhamma Dvāra Vipassana center, situated on a hilltop in the Saxonian city of Triebel, is easily accessible from Berlin, Dresden and Frankfurt, serving 100 students. Two temporary centers are located in South-East and South-West of Germany.
Italy - Dhamma Aṭala, Center in Italy, was established in 2002 on 22 hectares of land in the northern Italian province of Florence.
Switzerland - The Swiss Vipassana Center, Dhamma Sumeru, was established in 1999 on the Mont-Soleil ("Mount Sun") in a village of the Swiss Jura mountains on an altitude of 3600 feet surrounded by pastures and forests.
Spain - The first Center, Dhamma Neru, was established in 1999 amidst hills near Barcelona, with multi-lingual facilities serving 130 students. The second center, Dhamma Sacca, situated in Ávila town, conducts regular 10-day and other courses. Courses are also conducted in temporary facilities in Balearic Islands, Canaries Islands, East, North-West and South area of Spain.
Belgium – Dhamma Pajjota Vipassana center was established in 2000 on 11 acres of land in Dilsen, close to the borders of Netherlands and Germany, offering multilingual courses for 85 students.
Sweden – Dhamma Sobhana Vipassana center, with a capacity of 80 students, was established in 2007 in central Sweden. Surrounded by forest and farm land, it is easily accessible from Norway, Denmark and Finland.
Russia - Dhamma Dullabha, Vipassana center in Russia, was established in 2011 with a capacity for 100 students. The center, surrounded by pine forests, is 100 km from Moscow and is well connected railway and highway. Courses are also conducted in temporary facilities in Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg.
Poland - Dhamma Pallava, Vipassana center in Poland, regularly conducts 10 day and other courses.
Courses are also conducted in non-center locations in Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Croatia,
Greece, Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia and Slovenia.
A dedicated European long-course center, with individual meditation cells, has been developed in the UK. A major Europewide collaborative project, the first phase of the long course center, for 50 students, became operational in April 2010. Earlier collaborative ventures include the purchase of the first European
Vipassana center in 1988 in France and the joint acquisition of a centre in Belgium by the Belgian, Dutch and German Trusts.
Courses specifically for European executives are also held in the UK and Belgium.
Courses have been held in prisons in Spain and in the UK. A rehabilitation center for drug addicts, in Zurich, Switzerland uses Anapana and Vipassana for treatment.
Demand for Vipassana courses is increasing throughout Europe. Irrespective of the form of government (communism or capitalism, democracy or dictatorship), there is suffering. The qualities of compassion, tolerance, morality and generosity developed through Vipassanaa meditation can provide real peace and relief from suffering. Hence Europeans of all backgrounds are adopting the practice, developing these qualities and serving others.