Tue, 18 Jun, 2024

Vipassana: A Must Have Experience

By Sushil Awale

Picture Courtesy: aravindhhealthcentre.org

Imagine yourself in a secluded place for ten straight days - cut off from the world, cut off from the luxuries of modern life. And, from morning to night, all that you do is sit wrapped in the dimensions of your own mind, exploring the truth inside you. Sounds daunting? Mystic? This is Vipassana.

Vipassana Meditation Course is a ten-day residential meditation course. It is offered in Kathmandu Valley by Nepal Vipassana Meditation Centre, Budhhanilkantha. Located in the serene hills of Shivapuri, the center runs the course twice a month – starting 1st and 14th of every English month.

In October 2012, I first took this course, and it was a life-changing  experience for me. It taught me the principles of objectivity, and how I can practice it in my life. This philosophy corresponds to the middle path taught by Buddha.

The first three days of the course teaches one to focus on one’s breath, its character, and its touch in the surrounding nasal area. Then, the next seven days is dedicated to focusing on different sensations felt in one’s body like pulse, etch, heat etc. The meditators sit with their legs cross-folded, eyes and mouth closed. During the first nine days of the course, the meditators are not allowed to speak, or gesture to fellow meditators nor are they allowed to communicate with the outside world.

With ten hours of meditation per day, this is the most challenging task I have ever taken. But, all the hardship and effort was worth it. Focusing on those sensations, I trained my mind not be biased towards those sensations. A living being’s natural response to a stimulus is an emotion; generally, good or bad. And, it’s these emotions that plant the seeds of misery in the long run. So, if we are aware of this fact in the deep unconscious level of mind, we can change the deep-rooted trait of our mind. I implement objectivity in my life as far as my mind is capable. But, obviously, this is not easily achievable. Buddha himself took six straight years of meditation to perfect this feat.

This ten-day course is just an entry-level course for Vipassana. It is strictly permitted only for people with sound mental and physical health, and for people above 18 years of age because it requires a high-level dedication and mental strength to complete the course. The officials interview the meditators before the course to check if the person is fit for the course or not.

Although Vipassana meditation is difficult, if practiced daily and implemented in the daily activities of life, it will bring tranquility, peace and harmony in one’s life. It is not just a meditation technique, it’s an art of living.

For more info visit: http://www.dhamma.org.np/