Vipassanā is not a simple class of meditation, it is an Art of Living. Vipassanā means to see things as they really are.
It represents one of the pillars of Buddhism although it is non-religious. The first Bouddha, Siddhârta Gautama, experienced this technique to release his mind.
It is based on three principles:
– SILA: Live a moral life, in harmony with others without taking any actions or having reactions that would harm others.
– SAMADHI: Learn the mindfulness, to feel the instant and not to think about the future
– PRAJNA: Purification of the mind through wisdom
Vipassanā meditation uses mindfulness of breathing, combined with the contemplation of impermanence, to gain insight into the true nature of this reality. By practicing Vipassanā we allow our mental to ged rid of emotional blocks and gain in peace and love.
It was taught in India for more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills.
More and more scientists study this meditation that became popular in Occident in the XX century especially thanks to Professors S. N. Goenka and Ajahn Chah.
The technique is taught during ten days for participants to learn the basics of the method to experience the beneficial results.
I decided to experiment Vipassana in Nepal, at Dhamma Citavana in the district of Chitwan, located in the middle-west of Nepal.
There was a dormitory for men and one for women, as well as a Meditation Hall with two separate raws not to distract them.
We had also a non-mixed dining room with two separate rooms in which there was a table along the walls to seat and eat in front of it and remained isolated.
The schedule of the day was as follows:
– 4am: Morning wake-up bell
– 4:30 to 6:30: First meditation
– 6:30 to 8:00: Breakfast time and rest (sleeping mainly)
– 8:00 to 9:00: Meditation class
– 9:00 to 11:00: Meditation
– 11:00 to 13:00: Lunch, rest and possible interviews with teacher
– 13:00 to 14:30: Meditation
– 14:30 to 15:30: Meditation class
– 15:30 to 17:00: Meditation
– 17:00 to 18: Snack and tea break
– 18:00 to 19:00: Meditation class
– 19:00 to 20:15: Video of S.N. Goenka to explain about the techniques and the benefits
– 20:15 to 21:00: Last Meditation
– 21:00 to 21:30: Question time in the hall
– 21:30: Return to our room. Lights out
With 5min breaks between the meditation classes.
To get the best benefits we had to respect certain rules: be silent during the 10 days, no material belongings with us (phone, books etc..), no reading and no music. The aim is to be self-focused at a spiritual level and to untie from the material world. It is a real introspection.
The first days were dedicated to the observation of the breath, it is called Anapana.
By observing the breath we become aware of the perpetual changes involved in breathing, and the arising and passing away of mindfulness. In other words,It makes the mind more accurate.
No need to specify that it was hard to remain focused without letting thoughts come into my mind.
After a few days of Anapana practice all days long, we started learning the Vipassana technique. It consisted of observing bodily sensations (wind on the skin, pains, thrills etc…) and their nature of arising and passing away as impermanence…ANITYA, ANITYA…everything is impermanent, everything is impermanent.
Staying seated during one or two hours in a row meditating (during 10h a day) is a physical and psychological hardship combined with the feeling of being in jail. However, afterwards you understand that it is a rich experience that helps you to know about your strength and weaknesses and to surpass yourself for a better-being.
After 7 or 8 days of suffering, you start feeling confortable with the technique and gain in harmony and peace.
The last day, we learn a new technique, METTA BHAVANA, meditation of loving-kindness, it consists of freeing ones energy and love to give the others.
Likewise, each meditation class ends with the quotation: “May all beings find real peace, real harmony and real happiness“.
In brief, this experience is a meeting with yourself to find your truth, your philosophy; teaching you to incorporate compassion and love in your life and interaction with others to find happiness.
I strongly recommend this experience to everybody although it is a REAL hardship!
There are centers (Dhamma) worldwide, you just need to be 12 days (10 whole days of meditation). There are no charges for the courses, it works with donations and participation of old students who wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.
Click here to have access to all the information.
Watch the Vipassana presentation by S.N. Goenka!