Honey, pears and ginger tea: My 10 day Vipassana Course experience
“Start again……… Start again………….. Start with a calm and peaceful mind.”
S. N. Goenka
If you have ever attended a Vipassana Meditation course taught by S. N. Goenka, I am sure you remember this line. If you are ever planning on attending an offering, you will hear this line many times during your ten days, technically twelve days, experience.
The current Vipassana Meditation course was started by S. N. Goenka (1924-2013). He based it on the Vipassana methods that his teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin taught him. His original intention by learning this method of meditation was to find some relief from severe migraine headaches, but he received much more than just migraine relief. He began teaching his 10-day intensive courses in 1969 and had the first center open in 1976 in Nashik, Maharashtra. There are currently a total of 182 centers and 134 con-center locations around the globe. There have been thousands and thousands of people who had gone through these consummate courses. Many of the students have completed the course multiple times.
What is it?
Vipassana meditation is an ancient practice that Goenka believes Siddhārtha Gautama, or more commonly known as The Buddha, used to reach enlightenment. Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. Not that there is some magic that is used to see things as they are. “It is a process of self-purification by self-observation.” You begin by following your breath for ten hours the first day. As the days progress you shift that attention to your whole body. Which leads to “a sharpened awareness.” One proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind, and experiences the universal truth of impermanence, suffering, and egolessness.” Further explanation of the technique of Vipassana Meditation can be found in one of their publications. This is from that publication.
What it is not
· It is not a rite or ritual based on blind faith.
· It is neither an intellectual nor a philosophical entertainment.
· It is not a rest cure, a holiday, or an opportunity for socializing.
· It is not an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
What it is
· It is a technique that will eradicate suffering
· It is a method of mental purification which allows one the face life’s tensions and problems in a calm, balanced way.
· It is an art of living that one can use to make positive contributions to society.
I am not going to go into the details. If you want to learn this deep meditation practice, you need to take the course (www.dhamma.org). As Goenka mentions many times during your 12 days, this is an experiential course, not intellectual training.