We are very fortunate to live in an area rich with people of different colors, genders, backgrounds, cultures and religions. The New York Vipassana Association (NYVA) welcomes everyone to our courses. We embrace and respect diversity of all people, identities, genders, and cultures. When we come to a Vipassana course, we are united by a common purpose: to discover the way to self-transformation through self-observation.
Although this teaching comes from Gotama the Buddha, it is presented in a non-sectarian format. The Buddha was not interested in converting people to a particular religion or sect. He uncovered the Path to the cessation of suffering, and his only interest was to share this with others. The same holds true today. The cause of suffering lies within each of us, and we need to look inside to find its solution. This works for anyone, regardless of their origins or traditions. And that is what you will learn here.
On most courses, we have many students whose native language is not English. Course materials are available in some 50 languages, and some courses are even bi-lingual. If English is not your native language, then someone from the center will contact you to see how we can accommodate you.
People of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome to our courses. The campuses at all the meditation centers in this tradition are separated into two sides, one for women and one for men. This extends to the residential accommodations, the walking areas, the dining rooms, and the meditation hall. This structure is designed to reduce the tension that can sometimes derive from the mixing of genders.
We recognize this doesn’t work for everyone and that sometimes members of the LGBTQ community may not feel comfortable on either side of the campus, nor having to identify as male or female. If conforming to binary gender separation is a concern for you, please let us know when you apply to the course, so that we can try to arrange a space for you, where you can feel safe and undistracted while you meditate. You can let us know about your concerns in the section of the application where we ask, “Anything you wish to add to the above information?” We will contact you, and together we will try to make a plan that works for you. Your private information is kept confidential for the teacher of the course and for accommodation arrangements only.