What is Vipassana Meditation Retreat & Its Process
Running through all the turmoil of the chaotic lifestyle of the twenty-first century can be challenging and exhausting for a pure and free soul like you.
Sometimes we just want to get out of this hectic schedule and spend some time with oneself, but where to begin from?
Vipassana meditation retreat can be the end of your search, a ten-day Buddhist way of silent meditation experience which have changed the life of many people around the globe.
Table of Contents
- What is Vipassana Meditation
- Vipassana Meditation Process
What is Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana, which means ‘to see the things as they are’, is an ancient meditation technique that is rooted around 2500 years back in early Buddhism.
Vipassana meditation retreat courses are offered throughout the world by many meditation organizations where the dhamma.org stands out, they have Vipassana centers all over the globe serving the people with peace of mind and technical meditation and that too with no prior fee.
At the end of the course if you feel that you benefited from the course you are welcome to donate for the upcoming students.
Exploring the Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana is a kind of meditation that can help you out to transform yourself by aligning your body and mind.
Vipassana does it by focusing all the attention on the physical sensations of the body which forms the interconnections to the mind during the 10 days long period of complete noble silence.
Vipassana is a concentrated focus on self-exploration and to balance the mind and the body to feel the utmost peace of mind and to see things clearly.
Vipassana meditation retreat used to to be a seven-week long course but due to the scarcity of time, teachers compiled it into a shorter format and made it a ten-day retreat program.
Vipassana Meditation Process
Vipassana meditation is a life long process to detach yourself from any materialistic attachment as the attachment is the sole reason for all the sufferings.
Vipassana introduces you to this meditation during the course gradually, It begins with the zero-day where all the students are allowed to speak and set themselves up for the upcoming ten-day course.
From the first day ‘Noble Silence’ is maintained with all the dedication and you are supposed to meditate ‘Annapana’ meditation for the first three days, Annapana meditation deals with the awakening of the consciousness for your breath.
Annapana makes you sensitive to the minor changes in your inhalation and exhalation. It’s a soothing experience to meditate for ten hours focusing completely on your breath, though it could be challenging, it prepares you for the main Vipassana meditation.
Vipassana is introduced to the students on the fourth day from where you are asked to expand your consciousness from your nose and breath to the entire body by concentrating on the subtle sensations of the body in the complete silence.
You are asked to acknowledge it without making any impactful opinion about the sensation and not to judge it in any way, just to experience it as it is.
By removing emotions and feelings from bodily sensations, the ego begins to fade away and we begin to remove the attachments which lead to the worldly sufferings.
From the introduction to the daily practice of Vipassana, a student goes through a drastic change within and the 10-hour long meditation sessions can be exhausting and a test of his strong determination.
Sitting cross-legged during the group meditation in the hall is something that will add up to your tolerability. The noble silence will enhance the quality of your thoughts and your detailed body scans of your sensations.
These 10 days full of silence and meditation will go with you for a very long time. The meditation techniques which you learn here will end up being ever helpful to you.
By the end of the course, you would be able to sense even the minute sensations of your body clearly and experience them dissolving inside yourself, It is an out of the world experience which fills you with the utmost peace of mind.
Vipassana Clarifies the Teaching of Buddha Which States:
“Peace comes from within, Do not seek it without”
Things You Must Know About a Vipassana Meditation Retreat.
The knowledge of Vipassana is as broad as the concept of meditation itself but still having an overview of the course can end being very crucial for someone willing, to begin with, the Vipassana meditation retreat.
The very first thing about the program is that it is not a ritual based on beliefs but a tried and tested technique to eradicate the sufferings and make your mind purified up to the extent so that you can face life’s tensions and problems in a calm and balanced way.
The basics of the program are simple and clear, that you will have to sit for a 10-hour long group or individual meditation session daily, eat simple vegetarian food, sharing of the bunk beds and enrich your experience by understanding the concepts and meanings behind the teachings of your meditation teachers.
The other things which you should know about the Vipassana meditation retreat are that during your stay you are supposed to maintain noble silence.
You must respect this rule by your heart, though it can be slightly difficult for you at first, you will be used to it after some time and it worth it to get the utmost silence for the concentration of your body sensations scans.
The Other Things You Should Completely Abstain From are
- 1. To abstain from killing any being.
- 2. To abstain from stealing.
- 3. To abstain from all sexual activities
- 4. To abstain from telling lies.
- 5. To abstain from all intoxicants.
The other important thing one should be aware of is that any sort of religious practice e.g fasting, burning incense, counting beads, reciting mantras, singing and dancing e.t.c should be discontinued for the period of the Vipassana meditation retreat.
Complete segregation of men and women is to be maintained during the course and no physical contact should be there with the person of either the same or opposite sex.
The clothing of the student should be simple, modest and comfortable and tight, transparent and revealing clothing should not be worn as it could be a distraction to the other students.
Food severed in the centers is simple and vegetarian and meals are prepared to provide a balanced and wholesome diet to the student.
No other hobbies e.g reading books, music, writing e.t.c should not be entertained and any physical exercises including yoga should be discontinued for that period.
Benefits of Vipassana Meditation Retreat
Vipassana gifts you with many benefits and enriches your soul with peace and consciousness for your own body and mind.
It allows you to get detached from the uncontrolled materialistic cravings and make you realize the meaning of seeking within.
The silences of the Vipassana give many people a chance to come out of their mental trauma and hypertension by providing them with the solace and time to look inside and make them more tolerable for life problems.
It opens many dimensions of spiritual awakenings and empowers the meditator to live his life with complete consciousness.
People even gave up smoking, drinking, and drugs after an influencing course in Vipassana meditation.
However the benefits of the Vipassana can be subjective, so it’s more up to you that what are you seeking for and there is a high chance that the ‘Noble Silence’ with yourself will not let you down.
In the words of S.N Goenka, a world-renowned teacher of Vipassana,
“The only conversion involved in Vipassana is from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation”
The Vipassana meditation retreat is disciplined and designed for the people willing to make there first step toward self-awakening and detaching themselves from the root cause of all sufferings which are Desire and Ignorance.
So if you are thinking about taking a dip in the sea of self-consciousness and to enrich yourself with the most peaceful experience of your life, Do not hesitate to go deep into the art of the Vipassana meditation retreat. Vipassana will not let you down.
Q.1 How Much Vipassana Meditation Retreat Cost?
Ans. Each student who attends the Vipassana course is a gift to him from any previous student. There is no charge for the food, stay or the teachings. At the end of the course if you feel like to donate to the organization any donation is welcome.
Q2. I Can not Sit Cross-Legged. Can I Attend the Vipassana Meditation Retreat Course?
Ans. Sure, chairs are provided for those who can not sit cross-legged and for the ones with physical problems.
Q.3 Will I Be Allowed to Arrange My Food During the Vipassana Meditation Retreat if I Have Some Specific Choices?
Ans. No, the students are not allowed to bring their food but to choose from the food provided to them. Most of the students enjoy simple vegetarian food so It’s not something to worry about.
Q.4 Can I attend the Vipassana Meditation Retreat During My Periods?
Ans. Yes, you can attend the course during your menstrual cycle. Remember to take sufficient tampons or napkins or whatever you use.
Q.5 Do the Vipassana Meditation Retreat Cure Depression?
Ans. Vipassana is not meant to cure diseases. The people who practice it daily learn to be happy and balanced in all the circumstances of their lives but a person with severe depression should prefer the proper medication and prescription of a physiotherapist.
Q.6 Can a Child Attend the Vipassana Meditation Retreat?
Ans. There is no certain age limit for the course but a young child should be ready to make his own decision. He can surely attend the Anapana meditation course which focuses on breathing.
Q.7 Can I leave the Vipassana Meditation Retreat in Between?
Ans. Vipassana is taught step by step, each new day brings a new step. If you leave the course in between you will not be able to use the technique in your daily life and your time will be wasted.
Q.8 Do I Have to Be a Buddhist to Attend the Vipassana Meditation Retreat?
Ans. Not at all, people from all the religion or no religion attend the course and get benefits from it. It is the cultivation of human values and compassion to help the student considerably.