The time has come to express my gratitude and desire to help in the highest form of donation that can be given, the donation of Truth or Dhamma through selfless service at a Vipassana Meditation center. In many ways, for many years, I have been practising giving and donation through various activities; I do volunteer regularly in order to help on different projects and practice humbleness and compassion at the same time. But being part of the formal teaching of Dhamma and most of all the practical part of Dhamma, the meditation technique, is a totally new experience that I had to have, and I therefore did.
The Goenka Vipassana tradition
For the past 14 months I have been exclusively focusing on learning and practising the Vipassana meditation technique taught by the S.N. Goenka, it therefore seemed obvious to provide service at one of his tradition’s centers. I have already taken 4 courses at Goenka Vipassana centers in Malaysia, I am therefore familiar with the system of on-boarding and the courses schedules. I also had time to practice the technique for hundreds of hours, digest it, process it and derive my own conclusions in regards to the effectiveness of it; I was therefore certain I wanted to be part of it’s ultimate practical aspect, the Teaching.
A Dhamma server is a volunteer
Needless to say, a Dhamma server (that’s how a volunteer is called within the tradition) is not a Teacher in any way (even if the assistant Teacher is also a Dhamma server), he or she simply volunteers time and effort to help doing all sort of chores during a 10 Days Vipassana Meditation course. The 10 days retreat requires the Vipassana students to the stay on site for the whole duration of the period, therefore meals need to the prepared, sleeping arrangements have to made, the meditation center needs to be maintained and cleaned and the students need to helped in keeping up with the tight and hardworking meditation schedule. A Dhamma Server is an essential part in the process of teaching the Dhamma, without volunteers the whole system would not be sustainable and would be weak to the infiltration of capital with all the disastrous consequences we all know and can predict. Teaching of Dhamma has to be free, I fully understand the reasons for it and I am therefore willing to give my time to the cause; the cause of the Teaching of Dhamma, the most precious thing that anybody can receive, it is priceless.
Serving is not for everyone
In order to be a Dhamma server the only requirement is to have completed at least a 10 Days Vipassana course within the tradition, also a Code of Conduct for Dhamma server needs to be read and hopefully understood; I am saying hopefully because it didn’t take very long to find out that some people simply don’t get it, no matter how many courses they might have sat … or served for that matter. The harmonious and therefore efficient work of the servers team can only be achieved if there’s a deep understanding of the reason why each one of the servers is there. The ultimate goal of each server should be to provide every facilities and assistance to the students in order for them to be able to go through the purification and transformation process with the least possible number of distractions … that’s it. In order to accomplish the above, love, compassion and gratitude have to be the predominant aspects of one’s reality in the moment of serving; not having enough of each might end up resulting in wasted servers time and meditation center resources.
To be continued … maybe
I purposely kept this post short as an introduction to the topic of serving. As it might not be of interest to you, I would like first to gather interest. Feel free to leave a comment below asking questions and expressing your desire to read more about the topic. Thank you 🙂