Vipassana in Nepal- A technique to unwind
~Painting of Buddha Meditating~
Vipassana is an age-old technique through which sages sought enlightenment. This technique has been passed down from generation to generation by means of the teacher to the disciple teaching method. One of the most famous sages to use this technique for enlightenment was Siddhartha Gautam known as Gautam Buddha. Vipassana is a technique of self-awareness, feeling one's sensations and trying to stay neutral to all that arises within us. Vipassana is not merely meditation by closing eyes rather it’s a learning process to properly meditate. It teaches us to control ourselves, our desires and asks us to be a better human being. The Vipassana targets core emotions which shape every human being- Raga (happy emotions), Dwaesh (bad emotions) and Moha (desires). All our actions and decisions are confined within these emotions. So, being able to sense them without acting according to the impulse requires a lot of training and proper method which is Vipassana.
When I made my mind to attend a 10-day course organized by Dhamma Shringa very few people encouraged me which is why I am writing this, so everyone interested can learn or least know what to expect when they are contemplating of doing the course. There are various types, of course, available but a Vipassana course for 10 full days is highly advised. The first day of enrolment is a zero-day and the last day is departure which is not included that in fact makes it a course of total 12 days.
All new participants must follow these five precepts while attending Vipassana.
- To abstain from killing any being
- To abstain from stealing
- To abstain from all sexual activity
- To abstain from telling lies
- To abstain from all intoxicants.
If any of these precepts are violated at any point during the stay participants are immediately asked to leave. Apart from these, out of 10 full days, 9 days requires participants to observe complete noble silence. Noble Silence means the absolute absence of communication either verbally or non - verbally. However, participants may communicate with servers if they have any issues, this needs to be kept to the minimum, else they will be warned. The only other time participants break their noble silence is during a private interview with the teacher(s) for clarity regarding the technique or problems faced during meditation hours due to bodily constraints.
Before the start of the course, these rules are repeated time and again at various levels so that participants fully understand and comply. Failure to do so results in immediate expulsion from the course. These rules are enforced to the letter so the participants can get the best and the most out of their stay.
Day0: We are transferred from the city office to the center. We deposit our cell phones and wallets and given our id cards. After being assigned rooms we unpack and wait for the orientation.
Days 1-3: Most people generally go for the 3 days course first and then move on to 10 days course. I would, however, advise against it, because in the first 3 days you are still full of distraction from outside. The mind oscillates between past mistakes and future wishes and in my experience, it took 3 days to fully relieve my mind and focus on what we are meant to do. In the first 3 days, we are taught Annapanna (breathing technique), which focuses on breathing and feeling the sensation on a small portion of our face.
~Inside Meditation Hall~
Days 4-9: On day 4, we are made familiar with Vipassana knowledge. After day 5 Adhisthana(steadfast resolution- a constant position) is added to the daily routine, an hour 3 times a day. This is to test our determination to maintain a constant position throughout. We are also asked to swipe our body and feel every part of it for minutest sensations. We are thoroughly guided with new techniques to progress throughout the course until day 9. At the nearing of the completion period, we asked if we can feel complete dissolution of our body and flow from head to toe and toe to head without stopping at one particular part of the body. All these experiences are subjective and depend on the earnest effort of the practitioner. There is no need to feel disheartened if two person’s experiences do not match as the continuity of the practice is the key to success.
~Dhamma Shringa and the Nagarjuna Hills~
Day10: After the morning sitting, we break our noble silence and meet and greet other participants, share our experience and get to know each other. Participants can also buy books and donations are also collected on this day. However, a donation is completely voluntary and up to the participants’ wish to help. This is a completely free course meant for the benefit and enrichment of the participants.
Final Day: After morning breakfast we can collect our belongings and part our way.
The DhammaShringa Meditation Center is established worldwide in many countries. This meditation is taught based on U Ba Khin's teachings and techniques taught by S.N. Goenka. I practiced in one of these centers located in the foothills of the beautiful Nagarjuna Hills of Kathmandu Valley. I have attached the link below to the website of the organization so that if you are interested to know more about the meditation center and the meditation technique, you can get further details from this website.