Vipassana Meditation Centre, Cheriyanad, Kerala, India
Meditation courses for Children
Mastery over the mind is important in all human activity and purification of the mind. It is essential for true peace and happiness. School is an appropriate place to introduce this to children. Children can learn the first step of Vipassana - the technique of Anapana - at an early age.
The technique of Anapana is a simple and practical way to achieve mastery over the mind and lead a happy, wholesome life. Anapana means observation of natural, normal respiration, as it comes in and as it goes out. Observation of breath is an ideal object for meditation because it is always available, non-sectarian and natural. It is closely related to the mind. Anapana is, in this way, different from techniques based on artificial regulation of the breath. There are no rites and rituals involved in the practice of Anapana.
the first step in the practice of Vipassana Meditation. Vipassana means,
"to see things as they are". Vipassana is one of
The ideal time to begin the first steps of this mental training is in childhood. Besides helping children to calm and concentrate their minds, Anapana helps them to understand themselves better and gives them an insight into the workings of their own minds. They develop an inner strength that helps them to choose right and appropriate actions over wrong actions, control and become master of their own mind.
Anapana provides them with a tool to deal with the fears, anxieties and pressures of childhood and adolescence. Because of its simplicity, children find the technique easy to understand and practise.
To learn Anapana it is
necessary to take an Anapana Course under the guidance of a qualified
Next they learn &
practice Anapana meditation - focussing attention on the breath as it comes
in and goes out naturally.
The course concludes with the practice of Metta-bhavna (loving kindness or good will towards all) in which peace and happiness gained during the course is shared with all beings.
Course Eligibility & Duration
Anapana courses are held regularly at permanent Vipassana centres and rented sites in different countries for children between 8 to 16 years. Generally separate courses are organized for age groups 8 to 12 years and 13 to 16 years. The courses are of different duration to suit every section of the society. Residential courses are for 3 or 2 days. There are also non-residential courses for 1 or 2 days. Children have to stay within the course premises for the entire duration of the course. They are also expected to refrain from all kinds of religious practices or other disciplines for that period. Girls and boys stay separately at all times during the course. To participate in the course children undertake to observe five precepts as mentioned above and observe course related disciplines.
Anapana courses are also being conducted at various Institutions like Schools, Orphan Homes, Homes for the Blind, Juvenile Homes, etc. at their request and subject to certain formalities for the benefit of their children.
Continuing the Practice after the Course
Continuity of practise is essential for children to get the true benefits of the technique. It is therefore recommended that the child be given an opportunity at home to continue practicing Anapana for a short period of 10 -15 minutes each day, after the course. They can also be encouraged to attend refresher courses.
All courses are run solely on the basis of voluntarily offered donations. There is no fee charged. The courses are financed by donations from the students who have completed a prior course and wish to share the benefits they themselves received by giving donations for the students who come after them.