Feedback about the benefits of Anapana has been collected from parents and the responses have shown positive results, especially in coping with problems, better behaviour, less aggression and less T.V. watching. Children themselves report that they use Anapana at school before examinations and in stressful situations. One parent reported that her teenage son’s attitude had completely changed after he had attended a course. Alienation that had existed before was replaced by a respect and closeness, brought about by an understanding of what his mother was doing at the centre. But, more than that, the boy himself experienced “huge” changes for the better in his own character as a result of his own practice, changed which he himself found difficult to describe. It is these profound benefits that make courses for young people so important.
Boys at UK Vipassana centre
Parents of a teen-age child who had attended a course at Dhamma Joti Meditation centre in Yangon expressed their joy and pleasure. "We have observed the children practicing Anapana-sati in the meditation hall. It was a great sight! Teenage children especially like to visit tea centres with their friends imitating some adults. They waste their time idling, talking, and may be tempted to smoke and use drugs. Our son has now managed not to take this dangerous path. Anapana -sati courses help the teenagers to avoid the wrong path and become more serious people. We would like to see such courses to being given throughout the country."
Creative work period at Dhamma Joti in Yangon
Hnet-aw-san in Myanmar is a training centre for boys who are serving sentences for various criminal offences. Children from other training centres of the Ministry of Social Security are also sent to Hnet-aw-san if they are unmanageable or when they become over the age 18 years. A teacher from Hnet-aw-san said: “Definitely we can see the difference. The children from the Kaba Aye Training School for Boys who have attended Breath Awareness courses, are more manageable, and more polite, than the boys at Hnet-aw-san who have not the opportunity of attending the course. I am glad that the boys from Hnet-aw-san will be getting the chance to attend the course and get the same benefits. We hope all the boys will become good and responsible citizens in future. The course will surely help them.”
There have been two children's courses at Oak-Pho town in Myanmar. Children from the state school attended the courses. The teachers said: "The children are more attentive and become smarter. They improved in their studies and other activities. They definitely changed for the better. Their characters changed in a positive direction. Breath Awareness Courses should be given for the children regularly". There is now a Children's Sunday group sitting at Oak-Pho.
Non-centre course in Myanmar
My little daughter who is eight years old has attended a one-day children’s Anapana course. One day I was shouting angrily and verbally abusing as usual about something which was not to my liking. My daughter came running and said, "Pa Pa Gyi! Please do not say abusing words. They are unwholesome and are harmful to you - my teacher at the meditation course told us so. And also Goenkaji said: ‘If somebody comes and abuses you would you like it? No, you won't like it! So you must not abuse and shout at others.’ Please Pa Pa Gyi - do not shout and abuse angrily because other people won't like it."
I was taken aback by surprise and thought, "My little girl knows the teaching of right and wrong. How wonderful!” With a rather bashful smile mixed with joy I told her: "All right! I will take your advice because you are right. I will not shout nor abuse in future.” I thought that I’d better be careful - I should be ashamed of myself. I smiled.
One boy’s father was a regular alcohol consumer. His uncle brought the boy to a one-day children’s course at Dhamma Joti in Yangon. After the instructions by Goenkaji, the children had three checking sessions where they discussed the qualities of noble people and their path, morality and breath awareness. They practised meditation and the course ended with a practice of sharing loving kindness in the evening.
When he got home, he timidly approached his father and said - "Father, we practised breath awareness meditation and moral conduct today. In the lessons we learned that it is harmful to take drugs and alcohol. If one takes the drugs and alcohol, one becomes the slave of drugs and the slave of alcohol, and cannot keep all the other moral principles. It is unwholesome and you can suffer from diseases and die young. We were told by our teachers that the best way to thank your parents is to help them live a wholesome life. Please do not take alcohol."
His father was amazed, but delighted, with the thought that his son has a higher standing in morality and in wisdom than himself.
“I will not take alcohol any more, I promise! Your mother also doesn’t approve, nor is it liked by the noble ones.”
Discussion group for boys in Myanmar
A mother expressed her happiness and pleasant surprise to see her child's change in behaviour after attending a children's course at Dhamma Joti, Yangon. Her son attended a 1-day Anapana-sati Course at the age of nine years. She thought it was indeed a great surprise and pleasure to see him practicing meditation every day. She noticed that his behaviour towards others is more polite and he is more attentive in his studies. She said that she did not have any chance to practice Anapana-sati when she was at his age, nor ever attended a meditation course even to this day. She said, "I am very much impressed by my son's positive changes, and I’m motivated to join a 10-day meditation course myself."