Vipassana Meditation Helps Prisoners, Businesspeople, Others

May 4, 2002

Source: The Seattle Times

On May 4, 2002, The Seattle Times featured an article "Breathing-in-peace tour: Noted teacher brings Vipassana Meditation to classes in the U.S." The article explained, "Vipassana is an ancient practice, taught by the Buddha himself. In spite of its roots, however, Vipassana's functional emphasis has attracted adherents from all faiths. 'Over 2,000 Christian priests have come to see us,' said S.N. Goenka in New York shortly before beginning a four-month tour of the United States to teach the practice. 'This is universal. You sit and observe your breath. You can't say this is Hindu breath or Christian breath or Muslim breath. Knowing how to live peacefully or harmoniously -- you don't call this religion or spirituality. It is nonsectarian.'" The article continued by outlining the impact of Vipassna in prisons: "The National Institute of Health is paying for a study through the University of Washington to examine the effectiveness of Vipassana on prison inmates ... According to another study, of inmates at an Alabama prison, the rate of rehabilitation among Vipassana students was dramatically higher, as measured by how many inmates returned to prison within two years of their release." Vipassana has also made its impact in the business world: "Executives from IBM and Monsanto, among others, have become firm believers. More than a hundred CEOs and business executives gathered Monday in Lenox, Mass., for the beginning of a 10-day Vipassana course."