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Sayagyi U Ba Khin had a vision of Vipassana spreading from Myanmar back to India and from there, around the world. As he taught in both Hindi and English, the teaching became accessible to many western students. To help meet the increased demand for courses, Goenkaji appointed assistant teachers to conduct courses on his behalf from 1981.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, courses began in South-East and East Asia and the huge and enthusiastic response resulted in a great demand for courses and centres being developed in those countries. Looking eastward, in the centuries after the Buddha, his teachings slowly spread throughout Asia. However over the ensuing centuries, while the teachings penetrated deep into the local cultures, much of the specific techniques of meditation practice were lost.
Although Vipassana was lost in many areas, strong efforts were made to preserve the words of the Buddha for centuries. Today virtually all of East Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines have Vipassana courses and Vipassana meditation centres. Thailand: Six centres, serving over 10,000 students annually, are operational in Prachinburi, near Pitsanulok, Khonkaen, Kanchanaburi, Bangkok and in Lampoon, Chieng Mai. Indonesia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Mongolia: Each has one centre serving between 300 and 700 students annually. Non-centre courses are also held regularly in Singapore, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam and centres are under development in some of these countries. South Australia – with land purchased in 2008, a new centre is under development in the Clare Valley north of Adelaide.
Northern New South Wales – with 135 acres of land purchased in 2009 in a secluded rainforest valley, the centre is under construction. Thirty years after the first Vipassana course in Australia, over 30,000 people have taken a course and experienced for themselves the benefits of Vipassana.
Student numbers are growing rapidly, with about 900 students currently attending the ten day courses each year. Courses have now been held in the Central and West Asian countries of UAE (5 courses per year), Bahrain, Oman, Iran, Lebanon, and Kyrgystan. The Vipassana Centre in South Africa - Dhamma Pataka – was established in 2005 on 7 hectares of land near Cape Town. Translations in local languages of Kiswahili (Swahili), Afrikaans, Amharic (Ethiopia), Portuguese (Angola) are in use – besides English and Hindi. Kenya - the first course was in 2001 with about 3 courses every year since then and a Satipatthana course was held in 2009.
Zimbabwe - courses were held in 2001 and 2003, two courses each year in 2005 and 2006 and one in 2007. The recurring memory of Goenkaji’s visits is of him sitting on the Dhamma seat and smilingly explaining Dhamma to a questioner, with kindness, intelligence, humour and common sense. Vipassana courses are held in 29 countries around Europe, from Kyrgystan in the far east to Ireland in the west, from the northern snowfields of Finland to the Turkish mountains in the south.
A dedicated European long-course centre, with individual meditation cells, has been developed in the UK.
For many years, Vipassana courses were being held in the United States and Canada, but no course had been organised in any Latin American country.
The first Vipassana course in Cuba was held in 1996, in Bolivia in 1997, in Colombia and Peru in 1998, in Ecuador in 1999, in Uruguay in 2001, in Puerto Rico and Paraguay in 2003, in the Dominican Republic in 2004, in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica in 2006 and in 2007, Guatemala became the nineteenth Latin American country to host a Vipassana course. Goenkaji first came to North America in 1979 to conduct a Vipassana course in Montreal, Canada.
By 2008, eleven Vipassana centres had been established, offering about 200 courses and serving 10,000 students a year.
Research indicates that practice of Vipassana reduces incidents of indiscipline, aggression and other anti-social attitudes in the prison; and increases general psychological wellbeing. In 2002, Goenkaji conducted the first course in North America for business executives and government officials.

His continued efforts in India led to a dramatic growth in the number of Vipassana centres, the establishment of the Vipassana Research Institute, and courses in prisons, schools and other institutions. Thus Vipassana had circled the globe and when Goenkaji returned to Myanmar, people expressed joy at the spread of Dhamma around the world. With well over half a billion people, today Latin America is one of the most dynamic parts of the globe. Now, courses have been conducted in 11 African countries and there is a centre in South Africa.
Following traditional trade routes, they spread east to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, eventually reaching China, Korea and Japan in the north-east, Sri Lanka in the south and the Indonesian archipelago in the south-east. The translations of Goenkaji’s English and Hindi teaching material in more than 50 languages have brought the teachings within the reach of millions of Asians. 2007, serves both the Chinese and Tamil-speaking local communities, with over 1300 students annually. Goenkaji first conducted courses in Australia in Sydney, New South Wales and Perth, Western Australia in 1980, for 195 students. 1995, located on the outskirts of Melbourne, on a hill rising above the Yarra River, surrounded by a forest.
Although a tiny proportion of the population, it is an indication that Vipassana is beginning to become established in Australia. It is in a very quiet rural area within one hour of Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city.
May many people continue to benefit from the invaluable gem of Vipassana at the beautiful Dhamma Medini. It lies in a valley overlooking vineyards and farm lands with a magnificent mountain backdrop.
Since 2005 around sixty 10-day courses have been held at the Centre and the first 20-day course was in 2009. Children’s course instructions have been translated in Shona (Zimbabwe), Amharic (Ethiopia) and Xhosa (South Africa) language. To stimulate this further, a special course (called the African Heritage Course) was conducted at the Global Pagoda in December 2009 for African students.
Thereafter Europe benefited regularly from Goenkaji’s visits, during which he conducted courses and gave public talks, attracting thousands of people from many countries.
The quality that shines through all the memories of his visits to Europe is his indefatigable service to others. The course instructions and other literature have been translated into most European languages. 1991 on 22 acres in Herefordshire in the west of England, with established facilities for 128 students, and with an adjoining long course centre. 1988 on 40 hectares in the countryside 165km south of Paris, accommodating 100 – 140 students.
1999 on 4 acres in the hills near Barcelona, with multi-lingual facilities serving 130 students.
2000 on 11 acres in Dilson, close to the borders of Netherlands and Germany, offering multilingual courses for 85 students. 2007 in central Sweden for 70 students, easily accessible from Norway, Denmark and Finland. A major Europe-wide collaborative project, the first phase of the long course centre, for 50 students, became operational in April 2010. However, because of a mix-up by the local authorities, the police came and took the assistant teacher and the students to the local jail for questioning and the course ended on Day 7! In addition to the students from Venezuela, Vipassana students from a number of other Latin American countries came to sit and serve on this course.
2003, the centre is two hours from Rio de Janeiro and serves about 1000 students each year. Since then, executive courses have been held at several centres in North America, leading to very positive results and the spread of Dhamma in the business community.

Over the next 10 years, Goenkaji tirelessly conducted over 160 Vipassana courses in India and three centres were established in Igatpuri, Hyderabad and Jaipur.
Thus from 1979 onwards, the technique of Vipassana began to spread westwards around the globe as Goenkaji travelled to give courses in Europe, North America and Australia. In only a decade and a half, almost every one of the region’s countries has hosted courses, and the demand continues to grow.
These words of deepest metta come from Goenkaji when he hears about courses in so many new places and he sees the life-long wish of his teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, being fulfilled.
One area alone, Souvannabhumi (Myanmar) preserved Vipassana, the original meditation practice taught by the Buddha, for centuries. Today across Asia there are 19 centres offering over 360 courses and serving 4,000 students annually. 1989, is in Kyoto prefecture, and is set in a secluded valley surrounded by forested hills. Located on 40 acres at the highest point of the Blue Mountains, it has well-established facilities and is landscaped with ponds, paths and gardens. Located in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, with comfortable facilities for 52 students amid sub-tropical gardens in 65 acres of bushland.
The sheer number of new students (over 3000 each year) taking courses, the establishment of regular long courses (20, 30 and 45 days), and the emergence of a strong old student community, together indicate the depth and strength of the roots of Vipassana in this land. The land is over 100 acres and has large areas of forest, which makes it very conducive for meditation.
While only one African country (South Africa) has an established Vipassana centre, there are non-centre courses in many countries. The 43 participants of the course came from many African countries (including countries where no Vipassana course has been held so far).
Annually, over 210 ten-day courses, and a number of 20-day, 30-day and 45-day courses are held in Europe.
Earlier collaborative ventures include the purchase of the first European Vipassana centre in 1988 in France and the joint acquisition of a Centre in Belgium by the Belgian, Dutch and German Trusts. Even though the course ended prematurely, it was an important course as a number of students from the course later completed a full ten-day course and are now helping with organizing courses in Panama. With the successful completion of this course it became obvious that the time had ripened for Dhamma to start spreading throughout Latin America. Soon afterwards, he was welcomed enthusiastically for courses in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Japan. The first 20 day course in Australia was held there in 1986 and pagoda cells were opened in 1990. Also, after seeing the announcement of this course in the Vipassana Newsletter, students from other countries in Latin America became interested in organizing courses in their own countries. In October and November 1994, courses were given in Brazil and Argentina and again in Venezuela. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Alabama, a maximum security prison noted for being a violent and brutal facility, with significant benefits.
The sizes of the Vipassana courses at both centre and non-centre course locations have grown larger every year and the need for new centres continues to increase. Inspired by his visits, students established the first western Vipassana centres in the early 1980s. After the African Heritage Course 8 Africans attended the Gratitude Gathering at the Global Pagoda. The next year courses were conducted in Panama, Chile, and Mexico, as well as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

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