Saturday, February 19, 2011

10-day vipassana meditation course: Registration

This is one of multiple posts related to my experience at a 10-day meditation course. The first post is here.

Registration for the course is quite easy. They have a website with online registration. You select a center -- they have several all over the world. Each center has its own course schedule posted. Even though the centers all teach the same course, they are actually supposed to be autonomous; each center maintains its own finances and has its own managing committee, all of who are unpaid volunteers (at least as far as I know).

Course availability

For each of the courses they list availability for men and women. Even if a course is wait-listed, there is usually a very good chance of being accepted in it. Because there is no charge for the course, there is nothing to be paid at the time of registration. As a result, many people register and then cancel later because they cannot make it. Courses around holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas fill up quite fast.

Once you have taken a full 10-day course, you are considered an "old student" (as opposed to a "new student"). As an old student, you are eligible to sit courses part-time (i.e. only attend a part of 10-day course), but even with old students, they usually give preference to those that want to sit the full 10-day course. Only old students are eligible for serving at a course and for enrolling for shorter duration courses (3-day and 1-day courses) and longer duration courses (30-day and 60-day courses).

Registration form

Once you decide on a course, you fill out the online registration form. You will be asked to read the code of conduct before filling out the form. There are a few weird things about the information that is requested. They ask about current spiritual practices and other forms of meditation that the applicant may have been exposed to. They ask about psychological health, medications, etc. I wasn't ever questioned about things I wrote but it's possible they may be trying to determine the suitability of the applicant to participate in such a course -- it is after all quite physically and psychologically demanding.

One thing I would recommend with the registration form is copying & pasting a copy of the responses. I didn't do that and I kind of regret it. If you go for subsequent courses, or if you cancel and reapply later, then you will have to answer all of the same questions again. Also -- and this is really weird -- you have to fill out the same form again in paper form when you arrive at the course.

Once the registration form is submitted you get contacted soon after, usually within a day or two, about whether you have been accepted into the course or placed on a waiting list. If registering for a course far in advance of the course date you will be requested to confirm your intent to attend two weeks before the beginning of the course.

No comments:

Post a Comment