Vipassana Center

Hawaii Vipassana

Hawaii Vipassana is a group of people who offer meditation courses at a non-center site and old student group sits that are dedicated to the teaching of Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.

The Technique

Vipassana is an ancient technique of India, as old as 2500 years and it means to see things as they really are.

It aims at the total eradication of mental impurities, resulting into the highest happiness of full liberation. Its main purpose is healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering.

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.

The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.

The Tradition

Since the time of Buddha, Vipassana has been handed down, to the present day, by an unbroken chain of teachers. Although Indians by descent, the current teacher in this chain, Mr. S.N. Goenka, was born and raised in Burma (Myanmar). While living there he had the good fortune to learn Vipassana from his teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin who was at the time a high Government official. After receiving training from his teacher for fourteen years, Mr. Goenka settled in India and began teaching Vipassana in 1969. Since then he has taught tens of thousands of people of all races and all religions in both the East and West. In 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers to help him meet the growing demand for Vipassana courses.

The Course

The technique is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants follow a prescribed Code of Discipline, learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results.

The course requires hard, serious work. There are three steps to the training. The first step is, for the period of the course, to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual activity, speaking falsely, and intoxicants. This simple code of moral conduct serves to calm the mind, which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task of self-observation.

The next step is to develop some mastery over the mind by learning to fix one’s attention on the natural reality of the ever changing flow of breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.

By the fourth day the mind is calmer and more focused, better able to undertake the practice of Vipassana itself: observing sensations throughout the body, understanding their nature, and developing equanimity by learning not to react to them.

Finally, on the last full day participants learn the meditation of loving kindness or goodwill towards all, in which the purity developed during the course is shared with all beings.

The entire practice is actually a mental training. Just as we use physical exercises to improve our bodily health, Vipassana can be used to develop a healthy mind.

Because it has been found to be genuinely helpful, great emphasis is put on preserving the technique in its original, authentic form. It is not taught commercially, but instead is offered freely. No person involved in its teaching receives any material remuneration.

There are no charges for the courses – not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to benefit from it also.

Of course, the results come gradually through continued practice. It is unrealistic to expect all problems to be solved in ten days. Within that time, however, the essentials of Vipassana can be learned so that it can be applied in daily life. The more the technique is practiced, the greater the freedom from misery, and the closer the approach to the ultimate goal of full liberation. Even ten days can provide results which are vivid and obviously beneficial in everyday life.


All sincere people are welcome to join a Vipassana course to see for themselves how the technique works and to measure the benefits. All those who try it will find Vipassana to be an invaluable tool with which to achieve and share real happiness with others.

You can apply for the course on

Course Location

The course site is located near Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii (19.3 miles from Hilo International Airport.) Detailed direction will be emailed out once you are confirmed for the course. The course is hosted on a 3.2-hectare (8-acre) farm located in a quiet area with views of the Pacific Ocean.




The accommodations offered are bungalow rooms & canopy covered camping sites. A larger tent serves as the meditation hall. Hot water propane showers are available for students and servers.





Arrival & Departure

Arrival time:

Please arrive between 2:00 and 4:00 pm on the day the course begins. This allows time for you to check in, set up your tent, and unpack prior to the 6:00 pm evening meal and following Pre-Course Orientation. Late arrivals make it difficult for volunteers to serve everyone efficiently and to start the course on time.

If you have an emergency and are unable to arrive between 2:00 and 4:00pm, please notify us as soon as possible.

Departure time:

You are expected to stay until the course is completed, which ends at approximately 7:00 am on the last day of the course. Although the course ends at 7:00 am, please allow enough time to pack your gear and help with the clean up of the meditation hall before you leave. We rely on students to prepare for the next course.

Flight Planning Information

Arrival Location and Time:

We strongly suggest that you fly into the Hilo Airport because there is limited to no rideshare support for the Kona Airport. When making travel arrangements, please allow sufficient time for travel from the airport to the Vipassana site. For those using the Rideshare program or taking Public Transportation it is best to come into Hilo prior to 2pm on the day of the course. If you cannot find a flight that arrives by 2 pm (Hilo Airport) please plan to arrive the day before and arrange to stay at a hotel or hostel in the Hilo/Pahao area the night before the course begins.

Public Transportation

Students or Servers can take the “Hele-On Bus” to Pahoa. From the Pahoa 7-Eleven bus stop we can shuttle you to the Vipassana Course Site. You must request a shuttle ride on the Ride-Share board stating you need a ride from Pahoa. Those arriving at the Hilo airport can take a taxi to the nearest bus stop, which is close to “Prince Kuhio Plaza”, approximately 2 miles from the Hilo International Airport.

Note: Many students arrive on the same flight so we suggest you try to find each other and share a taxi ride.

Hele-On-Bus: Visit “Hele-On-Bus” website to get routes, schedules, and fares.

(Note: there are not many scheduled buses and the schedules do change so be sure to check the schedule close to your travel dates.)

Taxi Info

You may also take a taxi to the site. You may also take a taxi to the site. Please let them know you are visiting Hawaii Vipassana.

* WJJ Taxi and Tours 808.938.8786
* Stan Taxi 808.443.8810

The cost from Hilo airport is approximately $75 for one person and $85 for a multi-person trip.

Ride Share

Start of Course:
We host a ride share board where you can offer or find a ride to the site. Once you are accepted to the course you will receive a website link that gives you access to the rideshare board for your course.

End of Course:
At the end of the course we will organize all the ride shares at the course site so there is no real need to request ride share on the ride share board for end of course travel. It is normally very easy to arrange all the rides on the last day of the course.

Additional Help:
For additional help you may contact the Rideshare Coordinator at



A Vipassana meditation course is very demanding both physically and mentally. It is important that you are prepared for the rigorous nature of the course. After you have completed the application process if anything related to your physical or mental health changes, please contact the center prior to the course.

For the health and safety of all the students, it is important that you are in good health when you arrive at the center.

If you are sick, or should become ill close to the start of your course, we ask that you reschedule for a future date. If you should need to cancel from the course because of illness, your next course application will be given priority.

Do Not Bring


Enough comfortable, modest, non-binding clothing for the duration of your stay.
No washing machines or dryers are available, so students should bring sufficient clothing. Small items can be hand-washed. Warm clothing will be necessary for mornings and evenings. Bathing and laundry may be done only in the break periods and not during meditation hours.
Plates, a mug or a cup, water bottle, bowls, silverware, flatware, chopsticks, etc.


Tent, tarp, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clock, umbrella, flash light, lantern, raincoat, rain boots.
Bring large enough tent to be able to sit up and meditate in, but not a huge tent. Tent space is limited.
(the site is in the middle of the rainforest…if you do not bring necessary items you will have to do without.)


Towels and all needed toiletries, non-scented personal hygiene articles and feminine sanitary protection (the site is in the middle of the rainforest…if you do not bring necessary items you will have to do without.)
Sunglasses, flip flops, easy slip-ons e.g clogs,

A shawl or light blanket other than your sleeping blanket for use in the meditation hall



Modest dress is required for both men and women. Tight, transparent, revealing or otherwise striking clothing (such as low risers, shorts, short skirts, tights, leggings, sleeveless, tank or skimpy tops) should not be worn at the center.


Cell phones
Tobacco in any form
Non-prescribed drugs
Perfumes or strongly scented toiletries >


These may not be used as alarm clocks during the course.
No musical instruments


Personal food items

Jewelry or other unnecessary valuables


or diaries, journals and other reading/writing materials.

If you arrive with any of these items you will be asked to leave them with the management until the end of the course.


Leave a Comment