before i came to india i had two goals for my stay there:
i wanted to do a yoga training and i also wanted to attend another vipassana meditation course. i already did one in new zealand but unfortunately i hardly practiced the meditation anymore so i wanted to do another course to get back in a good routine. i chose india as country because its a meditation technique which started in india many years ago. before we came to india we applied for a vipassana course and we didn’t get an answer the next month so we thaught the course is already full.
a week before the course started they wrote us an e-mail with a confirmation that we can come to that course.
the centre where we went was in a place close to kolhapur. we were around 100 students who did the course, mostly indians.
we were only 7 female foreigners and i had to take care of them because i applied to serve the course which means that i could volunteer there.
i dont speak hindi so i couldnt communicate too well with all the indians who hardly spoke english.
the foreigners were all really nice, uncomplicated and disciplined people so i didn’t have to run too much after them.
i was almost the only one who got a single-room and i was soo happy about that fact. there was even a bathroom with a western toilet inside the room and in front of the room was a big tree where monkeys were jumping around.
the course started at 8 pm on the first day and the noble silence for the next 10 days began.
there were other two indian women who helped there as well so their “job” was to communicate with all the indians who dont speak english if they need help.
our tasks included to ring the bell and wake everyone up in the morning at 4 am because the meditation started at 4:30 am until 6:30 am before we had breakfast.
the indian women didnt have so much discipline and they didnt want to get up in the morning so it mostly took pretty long until everyone of the women was meditating in the hall. we always had to ring a bell for the breaks between the meditation-sittings, also for the break, helping a bit in the kitchen, helping them when they have problems, …
vipassana centren have strict rules and a strict program:
meditating 12 hours a day, getting up at 4 am and going to bed at 9 pm.
during those 10 days you have to follow a code of discipline where you abide to 5 percepts.
those percepts are: to abstain from stealing, from lying, from killing (including mosquitos), from sexual activities and from taking intoxicants.
a day during the vipassana course looked like that:
setting an alarm at 4 am and open the hall and make everything ready for the students to come and meditate there in the morning. waking everyone up at 4:15 am and make sure that everyone comes to the hall. meditating with them until 6:30 am. having breakfast at 7 am and then ringing the bell again at 8 am for the group meditation.
watch everyone during the group meditation if they move a lot or have drinking bottles with them or wear glasses, if they open their eyes during that hour, etc.
ringing the bell again at 9 am. staying with them until 11 am and meditate in the hall. have lunch at 11 am and go to the teacher at 12 and wait for students who
come to ask questions to the teacher at that time. meditating again until 5 pm and have dinner at 5:30. group meditation at 6 pm for one hour and make sure everyone is there and wake people up in case they fell asleep (which often happened). taking the foreigners to another hall at 7 pm to watch a discourse for one hour and then bring them back in the big meditation hall for the last meditation until 9 pm! after 9 pm the other two helpers and me always had a group sitting where we discussed things for the next day and we did a metapana meditation where you share your peace and merits with others. then we went to bed at 10 pm.
the first three days the students learn a technique called anapana meditation where you observe the breath on a small triangle area on your body and observe the sensations within that part. it helps you to sharpen your mind and to get ready for the vipassana technique.
on day 4 the students got introduced to the vipassana meditation which is a technique where you learn to observe your whole body objectively. its a 2500 years old technique thaught by buddha with the goal to lead ones own mind to enlightenment. you learn to get to know whats going on in your body and observe everything objectively.
all the sensations that you feel in your body are either pleasant or unpleasant and you react with craving or aversion.
this technique teaches you how to eliminate to react to the sensations which then frees the mind from suffering.
when you get a sensation your brain automatically tells you something and you react.. the reaction makes the difference!
when you conditioning your mind not to react to your pain and observe it objectively – then you face the pain and you get in the truest reality in the here and now!!
when you practise vipassana you move your attention systematically from head to feet and from feet to head by observing every part of the body and feel all the
in those 10 days you learn about three main things:
sila – morality
samadhi – concentration, master of the mind
panna – wisdom
vipassana is a wonderful and powerful technique for everyone, there are centren around the world and all is based on donations. i had a wonderful time at the centre and it was a great experience. i learned a lot and developed a lot of goodwill and love for all the students!
may all beings be happy, be peaceful, be liberated!