My Vipassana Meditation Retreat Experience,
Since so many people have had so many questions about my Vipassana meditation retreat, I got inspired to write this post.
My purpose with this post is to share a summary and hopefully give you all the answers about the meditation course. And maybe also inspire you to go for it and try this awesome technique!
I have divided the blog post into 2-3 different ones to keep each and every short and interesting:) This one is the “What?” part and the other ones are going to be the “How?” part and also my reflections.
I will also, in my next posts, share videos that I filmed right after the course before even comig out and before any calls with family and friends. I will show the retreat center and my thoughts and reflections.
What is Vipassana Meditation?
So, I attended a 10 day Dhamma Vipassana meditation retreat in Yangon, Myanmar. I did not do any research before going and had no idea what to expect. But this is what I have learnt:
Vipassana in one of India´s most ancient meditation techniques which was rediscovered by Buddha 2500 years ago. The word “Vipassan” means seeing thing as they really are, not how you wish them to be. It is the process of self-purification by self-observation.
The meditation retreat describes Vipassana as:
- It is a technique that will eradicate suffering.
- It is a method of mental purification which allows one to face life´s tensions and problems in a clam, balansed way.
- It is an art of living that one can use to make positive contributions to society.
The Vipassana is based on three leves
Sila– Morality. How to be a good person
Samadi– Concentration, mastery of the mind. You train your brain to do what you want.
Panna (read: pania)- wisdom insight that purifies the mind. You screen your body for sensations which are the roots for each action we take.
You start the process by observing your breath and sharpening your mind. With a sharpened mind and awareness you proceed to observe sensations and changes within your whole body, and that’s when the magic happens. The highest goal with Vipassana is total enlightment which in other words means total freedom from miseries and 100% pure happiness.
This technique can be done by any one regardless of religion, sect or traditions. It is not related to any specific ideology even though it was rediscovered by Buddha since the technique is based on you, your mind, your body and your own experiences.
While in the course, you are in total silence. You are not allowed to talk, have eye contact with anyone or even communicate through gestures. You are not allowed to use any phones, cameras, read any books, write, draw, listen to music or do any type of exercise, not even yoga.
The whole idea is for you to be one with yourself and go inwards, which you quickly notice is pretty dieffernt from your everyday life. Because usually we are much more “outwards” and almost only reflect over and act on what is happening around us.
They tell you to think as if you were a munk somewhere in a cave all by yourself. They want you to only focus on Vipassana and give it a fare try.
You are not allowed to use tobacco alcohol or any type of medicine. Should you need medication, just talk to your teachers.
Clothing and Sex
You are not allowed to use clothes that show skin and you are also not supposed to have any sexual activities with others or yourself😃
Men and women are divided into two different parts of the meditation center. And you basically do not see each other besides when in the big meditation hall, The Dhamma hall. And since the hall is very big and women and men sit on difefrent sides of it, you don´t see each other.
You have two meals a day, breakfast at 6 am and lunch at 11 am. They offer some sweets and juice at 5 pm. The food is vegetarian and very delicious. And when you eat, you are faced towards a wall.
How much does it cost?
The retreat is for free..seriously! All the food, your room, electricity and teaching is free. All the teachers, cooks, cleaners and organizers volunteer their time and afforts. Even the center is donated by someone who wishes to spread the word of Vipassana and Dhamma which is the path to hapiness.
Courses are run solely on a donation basis from old students who after finishing the course wanted more people to expernice Vipassana and Dhamma. So basically, when you are done and you feel like the technique has done something good for you and you would like to have more people getting to know the technique, you donate as much or as little as you want. Pretty awesome huh?!
I hope I covered most of it in this post. I will write next part in a couple of days where I will also share pictures, videos and my own reflections. I will also write about the 10 days.
And please excuse my english =) and let me know if you have any other questions or something you think I should cover in my next posts.