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Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana Meditation – My Journey

  • 2021-03-11
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First time I heard about Vipassana Meditation in the Kopan monastery when I was taking a November course in November 2017. 

November Course at Kopan Monastery 

It was One Month Meditation course, based on the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. We got Lam Rim book and the course was based on the content of that book. The course was full of learning about Body, mind, and speech; and meditating on Karma-the law of cause and effect, Impermanence, death, guru devotion, rebirth, the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the Four Noble Truths, the nature of our Mind, Conventional and Ultimate Truth. 

During the whole month, we have to follow Five Precepts i.e 

-to abstain from killing any being

-to abstain from stealing

-to abstain from sexual misconduct

-to abstain from wrong speech

-to abstain from intoxicants

It was also a great place to connect with people having an interest in spirituality, how we can become a better person through reflection and understanding concepts like; Emptiness; Samatha, Equanimity, Bodhicitta. Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the founder and spiritual director of Kopan and the FPMT taught during the last 10 days. 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche.jpg

In Kopan, I understand all these concepts on an intellectual level. It was an experiential course and when I was meditating on rebirth, I experienced something at a deep level. I don’t have words to explain that.

Some of my group mates and spiritual mates were talking about Vipassana meditation during our group discussion. I heard the word Vipassana for the first time and got curious. I was able to know from my research, that anyone can learn Vipassana in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

 

Random pic from November Course. These pic are taken at the end of the course.

November Course at Kop...

November Course at Kop...

November Course at Kop...

November Course at Kop...

November Course at Kop...

November Course at Kop...

November Course at Kop...

In 2018 I went to India for my exchange studies. In mid of 2018 after coming back from India, I went to Vipassana for 10 days in Buddhanilkantha after registering in Jyoti Bhawan, Kathmandu. 

1st time Vipassana

The first day (The day you enter the compound where the course will be given) is zero-day. That day, my orientation was given by Rupa Jyoti (former assistant finance minister of Nepal during the reign of King Gyanendra Shah) in Jyoti Bhawan.

From orientation day to last day, we have to follow the same five precepts i.e 

-to abstain from killing any being

-to abstain from stealing

-to abstain from sexual misconduct

-to abstain from wrong speech

-to abstain from intoxicants

When we entered the compound of Buddhanilkantha, The noble silence needs to be maintained. Noble silence means no talking, no smiling, no glancing, no notes, no gestures or any attempts to make communication in any form. Communication with the assistant guru and server (Volunteers) at a defined time is allowed but it is recommended to keep it as minimum as possible. 

I was a very talkative guy who will just open his mouth on a minuscule thing. It was very difficult for me to maintain my silence. But I tried. 

Meditation.jpg

On the second day (it’s the first day of the course), the silence was everywhere from the mourning 4 am till 9 pm. I wasn’t a morning guy so every morning a volunteer comes to wake up me (Thanks to him). Someday he was coming two times in the morning to just wake me up. The first day was Ok. I tried meditating and sitting down for a long time. This is the day, They will teach you Ana-Pana meditation. It is a meditation where one has to sit down in meditation posture and observe his/her breadth. No judgement about the breadth, no question about the breadth, only observation.

Just Breath.jpg

All I was doing was trying as they were saying in the speaker. Everything was fine. I was listening attentively to the discourse of 7 pm- 8:30 pm by S.N Goenka. The discourse was a summary of the whole day meditation. His lecture was very useful to understand dhamma or dharma. 

If you have to define dharma, you can say, the dharma of fire to burn. If it’s not burning, then it’s not fire. The dharma of Ice to be cold, if it’s not cold then it’s not ice. 

On the experience level; I wasn’t experiencing any change. I was just trying my mind to focus on breadth. I was just becoming an observer of breadth. Thousand of different thought about the past or future were coming and going and I was just trying to make my mind observe my breath. I was trying only but I was unsuccessful a thousand times due to lots of other thoughts.

The first three days you do Ana-Pana. I was not understanding much about why I am doing what I am doing. On the third day, I was fed up with the routine and talked with the guru about the distractions of thought during meditation. The guru said it’s normal for the first-timer. Don’t worry much. I started going with the flow. 

On the fourth day, you get Vipassana and you start doing Vipassana. Vipassana is making your mind observe the sensation (Any kind; it can be vibration, heaviness, lightness, sweaty, basically any kind) happened all over the body. You start from head to toe. You should start in order so that none of the body parts gets left out. 

After that interaction, I was just enjoying donated good meal, good sleep, and the silence around. Not taking much tension about distracted meditation. 

On the seventh day, I felt like I should leave the centre and I talked to the volunteer who was always coming to my room in the morning two times in 30 minutes to just wake me up. I said, “I want to leave because I am tired of doing this meditation, I can’t go longer. My different thought is distracting me so much that I am not even able to observe my breath for 5 minutes in one-hour sitting”. He said, “it’s OK. Look, you have completed 7 days. 3 days to go. On the 10th days, you are allowed to talk. You just have to stay silent for the coming 2 days.” 

I thought, If I leave without completing the course, I will regret the decision later. I just don’t want to have any regrets in my life. I continued. Those two days, I was skipping meditation session by tricking volunteer (I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do that.) Somehow I finished 10 days Vipassana course. 

On the 12th day, you have to donate so that other coming students can have a meal and other facilities. The whole organisation run on donation. There is no fee or any charge. Everyone donate according to their financial condition. Some donate their time and become a volunteer to serve others during the course. 

I came home on the 12th day. I wasn’t observing much changes in my behaviour. I was practising the meditation in my room. After 1 year, When I was reflecting on my life one day. I realised so many changes in my behaviour, attitude and a deeper level. That year was very productive. 

I got interested to go again for 10 days Vipassana course. This time, I and my friend applied for February 2021 in January for Budhanilkantha and the location was full but they recommend me to apply to Kotadada, Lalitpur. It was unknown territory to me but I was excited to visit a new place. We applied and got our seat reserved. We went. 

2nd time Vipassana at Koatdada, Lalitpur

All the facilities are great. There are only 8 Sadhak (male student) and 8 Sadhika (female Student). This time, I was a bit serious. I was trying hard to meditate and make my mind focus on breadth for a long time. Sometimes, I was doing the wrong way. Assistant guru Shree Suresh Shakya Ji was calling me for a private meeting. He was asking me about my unusual breathing. He was guiding me the right way. Slowly, Slowly, I learned the right way. 

Vipassana is effective way to throw our negative emotion like anger, hatred, lust, fear from inside and stay in equanimity. From my experience, when I get fear, my breath isn’t normal, the sensation in my body is also not normal or it’s completely different. 

That fear can be taken out if I just focus my mind on my breath and observe the sensation of my body without doing any reaction. The reaction is the action of body, speech, and mind to overcome any feeling like fear, anger, hatred, abused, or lust. I found that after a few minutes of just observing my breath, my breath becomes normal, the sensation in my body also become normal. That feeling (fear) has thrown out and I am not disturbed/distracted by the same feeling. If I am getting the same feeling again, it is due to other reason. 

That experience shows that my feeling and sensation of my body is temporary (impermanent). This is something I felt at my experience level. According to the discourse of S.N. Goenka, If One continue doing Vipassana, One can experience the whole body is made of minute particle which gets created and destroyed in the speed of light. That is emptiness. 

I finished the course and came back home. I do Ana-Pana and Vipassana every day. 

Benefits of Vipassana in my life

Vipassana Benefits.jpg

1. Have decreased my stress. 

2. I don’t react.

3. Decreased my sleeping quote

Recommend my friends and family to learn Vipassana Meditation. 

 

Random pic. These picture are taken at the end of the course. I have to live like a monk during the course, keeping my need at minimal. 

Vipassana Meditation i...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

Vipassana Meditation M...

 

Disclaimer: The author takes full credit and responsibility for the views presented in this article. South Asian Handicraft does not endorse a particular meditation over another. 

 

Some Useful Links:

Kopan Monastery

November Course at Kopan Monastery

Vipassana Medication Worldwide organization

Vipassana Meditation in Nepal

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