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More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha Siddartha Gottama lived in what today is India. He taught tens of thousands of people a path to enlightenment, an end to all their suffering. This 8-fold path includes strengthening the concentration of the mind and developing wisdom through a meditation technique called Vipassana, which means "to see things as they really are."

More than 50 centers in 25 countries offer courses in Vipassana meditation. Students receive comfortable accommodations, nutritious vegetarian meals, instruction, and tranquil surroundings conducive to meditation- all free of charge. Donations from former students who have benefitted from the practice cover the cost of the centers.

Students agree to abide by a code of discipline, five precepts, for the duration of the course. They must refrain from killing (including ants, mosquitoes, etc.) telling lies (not difficult since talking is forbidden), sexual activity, using intoxicants, and stealing. Students do not read or write and must maintain complete silence, except for designated times when they may ask questions of the teacher.

Students meditate for approximately 10 hours per day. At the start of each meditation sitting, the teacher begins with instructions and chanting. Through their own efforts students arrive at their own realizations.

For the locations of meditation centers worldwide, course schedules, online applications, and more information on the technique go to www.dhamma.org or contact: California Vipassana Center, P.O. Box 1167, North Fork, CA 93643; 559-877-4386 or Dhamma Giri, P.O. Box 6, Igatpuri 422 403, Dist. Nasik, India, 011-91-2553-84076.