The Vipassana Aranya project was conceived early this century to address a predictable need within the Vipassana community (which follows S.N. Goenkaji in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin): for a place to live the meditative life for those amongst us who have ordained as monks and nuns, or would like to. A place was also required by other sanyasis and serious students practicing Vipassana, to live the meditative life uninterruptedly for longer periods.
The aranya is physically one part of the three proposed projects which share a common location and boundaries. The other two projects are 1) a Vipassana Centre, and 2) a residential village where Vipassana meditator householders will be able to buy a residential property. The three projects together are to be located in approximately 35 acres of land which was purchased some time ago. It is approximately 40 kms from the centre of Jaipur. The site is wooded and is on the banks of a seasonal river bed; while much progress has been made in the building of the aranya, the other two projects are to follow.
For the exact location, go to ‘Vipassana Aranya’ on Google maps:
At the aranya, a Dhamma Hall of approx. 25’x35’ and a kitchen-dining-office complex are already in place. In addition, there are 2 small bungalows with 2 rooms in each, being used by resident and visiting meditators. 11 new rooms with attached toilets have recently been added. The Aranya is planned for finally accommodating 20 male residents.
Where the aranya differs from a Vipassana Centre is that here, reading and writing is allowed. Noble silence is in place at all times in the residential areas, but lifted in the office and library area where internet access is also allowed. A dedicated covered location has been created for meeting visitors and making phone calls. Leaving and re-entering the premises is self regulated, within reason. In short, it’s a sort of minimalistic monastery for meditators, ordained and otherwise. The aranya is sustained on donations.
Guruji is on record giving his blessings and guidance for this project. Moreover, soon after parts of the land had been bought, Guruji’s then secretary made an overnight visit, circumambulating the land in the morning while describing it to Guruji over the phone in detail.