Heard the name ‘Vipassana’ uttered by a friend in Mysore Ramakrishna Ashram about 2 months back. He said that he found the concept to be very interesting. A Brahmacharin who was present there said that Vipassana is to take out the impurities. I just heard their conversation and got some new information. Later a friend of mine, Rudramurthy told me that he took a course of Vipassana for 10 days and that he found it to be very good. He strongly recommended me to try it. Since I knew Rudramurthy to be a very serious person inclined towards Meditation and Yoga, I seriously took interest in knowing more about the course.
The website is www.dhamma.org. Here I got a lot of information about this course. It was my long term wish to stay at a place and meditate for a number of days. When I saw that this will be a ten day course, I felt this is the perfect opportunity for me to take some time off and relax myself. The application is online and I got the approval from the course manager over email.
Reached the Venue as expected on 22nd April 2015 in the evening around 4:00PM. Registration process was smooth. We were asked to handover our mobiles, wallet and other valuables to the office. They will be given back only at the end of the course. The same evening we were briefed about the program and the schedule. The briefing was done in both English and Kannada. We were all given individual rooms. The room had very good facilities. It had an attached bathroom with Solar.
The actual course will start the next day at 4:30AM in the morning. We are not allowed to talk to the other participants during the 10 day course and have to observe what is called the ‘Noble Silence’. Honestly, this was the first time I was ever doing that. There are both gents and lady participants. In our batch, there were about 45 gents and about 35 ladies.
This is the Dhamma Hall where meditation is practiced and discourses are given. All the participants will be given a cushion seat in which he or she can comfortably sit for a number of hours.
The schedule is tightly packed. The day begins at as early as 4:00AM. We are all expected at the Meditation Hall by 4:30AM. There will be a 2 hour meditation in the morning. Breakfast is served at 6:30AM. The next session starts at 8:00AM and ends at 11:00AM. Lunch will be taken at 11:00AM. The third session is between 1:00PM and 5:00PM. There will be a Tea with snacks at 5:00PM. No dinner is served. The fourth session starts at 6:00PM. After a meditation of 1 hour, there will be a discourse by Rev. Sri Goenka ji, the founder of Vipassana Movement in India for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Later there will be a brief meditation session followed by a personal interaction with the teacher. Lights are off at 9:30PM.
First three days, we will be dealing with simple breathing observation which acts as a preparation for the actual Vipassana Meditation that will be taught on the fourth day.
My observation on the course are as follows
- You need to make a firm determination to complete the 10 day course. Few people left the course midway and some people told after the course that they also thought of leaving the course sometime in the middle. As far as I am concerned, I had determined to stay till the very end.
- It was tough to get adjusted to the 4:00AM to 10:00PM routine. I was so much used to 9:00AM to 2:00AM routine that it was slightly difficult to get adjusted to the new routine but it went fine all throughout.
- The Technique is extremely simple and very natural
- The Acharya keeps on repeating that Vipassana Meditation is a deep surgical operation to remove the impurities of the mind. It sure was. In fact it was very tough for me on couple of occasions to bear with the impurities of my mind. Though I am not totally out of it yet, the course helped me to greatly understand the behavior pattern of my mind and the conditioning that it has undergone. This was a true reality check and coming in face to face with many of the unpleasant things in the memory. It was an extraordinary experience. This to me is the memory of the Vipassana course – Helping me understand certain behavior pattern of my mind.
- The daily discourses given by Acharya Sri S N Goenka were very enlightening.
- It’s a long term work. The 10 day course serves only as an introduction.
I liked this course very much and would recommend it to everyone. But I tell you, it’s not a very pleasant experience going through the course. Whatever that you might have done in the past, there has to come a time when we come face to face with what we did and how we can become better in the future. It was an incredible 10 days and by the grace of God and by some of my good Karmas in the past, I could attend this course and get a better understanding of my own mind which was visible in all its nakedness. There are many wonderful things in this universe which we ought to know. Vipassana Course is definitely one of them. I am very glad that 10 days of my life were spent practicing this technique which is believed to have been discovered by Bhagwan Buddha himself. Despite giving so many facilities there is no fee for this course. You can donate as much as you like to at the end of the course. That is totally your choice.
I strongly recommend you to try this course. More details are available at www.dhamma.org