Has anyone ever done Vipassana meditation?

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Benwahwah
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Has anyone ever done Vipassana meditation?

Postby Benwahwah » Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:38 pm

So, lately I’ve been getting more in touch with my spiritual side, and being here in Thailand I’ve naturally gravitated towards Buddhism. This is interesting for me, as my Grandfather, and my mother are both Buddhists, and while I knew a bit about Buddhism I grew up going to Sunday School and things like that.

Anyway, I’ve signed up to take a 10 day meditation course here in Thailand. It is basic training in the Vipassana method as taught by S.N. Goenka if that means anything to you. I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with it? I’ve read up quite a bit on it, but I’d be interested to hear other people’s views.

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Postby Canuckster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:42 pm

I know masato has experience in structured meditation, I think he would be good to ask
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Postby Masato » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:52 pm

I don't know Vipassana.

I took 'Sahaja' weekly classes for maybe 6-8 months, mostly because it was free and 5 minutes from my house lol

In my limited understanding, I'm not sure that one system is any better than another; the goal of them all it seems is to simply learn to quiet the mind, control the 'chatter' in our heads, and basically get the channels flowing as smoothly through mind and body as possible.

I think this is undeniably healthy for anyone to do, no matter the style.

The only thing that stuck out to me is when people pump up their expectations of what its supposed to DO, the RESULTS. Many I think are tempted to think it will give them superhuman powers, or make their life problem-free, or achieve 'enlightenment' or something. Egos get way out of check. That's mainly why I stopped my class, it got a little cult-y.

Its like stretching once or twice every day. Its awesome for you. You will feel great. Your body will work better. But its not gonna turn you into a super athlete, ya know?

On the other hand I did have a few weird experiences, and it often makes me wonder how deep a person can go with it if they really devote more time for it. Like BJJ, once a week ain't gonna do much. But if someone goes all-in and starts serious meditation every day for longer and longer periods, after a few years I bet the results could get pretty wild. Or maybe not, lol I don't know

Enjoy your classes Big Ben! Don't go looking for any expectations or wild results, just know that its good for you, stick with it for at least a few months (I think consistency is important for anything), & don't let anyone suck you into believing they are gurus with magical powers, or get entranced with any particular dogma

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Postby Masato » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:06 pm

Here are the 2 most memorable experiences from my little stint of regular meditation;

1. The first day, we did this very specific sequence that Sahaja supposedly invented or whatever. You put your hands on different parts of your own body, and with each new position you say and think/meditate on a specific concept that goes with that spot. You move in order from one to the next, and its supposed to open up the channels and identify 'blockages' in them. Its kind of cool because if you do this mindfully, you can totally feel when a particular spot feels wrong or blocked. Then there is a diagnosis for each spot. But I didn't know this on that first day, and was just following the steps as best I could

Anyways, when I was done, my hands were BURNING HOT. Like really pulsing, almost hurting. Just on fire. I didn't know what this meant, but then the instructor told the class (not knowing my condition) that if a person has blockages they will feel heat in the hands, and if your left is hotter it means this, if its the right it means that, etc etc.

Well that impressed me.

I went back and sure enough after some time the hands started feeling cooler.

[* I must say however that this very thing is also why I left. You see it was all based on reading these sensations of hot and cool. If you are balanced you should feel a 'cool breeze' rising out of the top of your head, etc. I've felt this, there were times I swear I could actually feel on my hand a physical cool pressure of rising cold air... -But then again I also think that we can MAKE OURSELVES 'feel' this if we want to or imagine hard enough, and I think a lot of people there were doing this. I totally think there is a placebo effect that can fuck the whole thing up. So everyone was constantly reporting that they felt the 'cool breeze', even from each other. They even got kids to claim that they were feeling the cool breeze after sessions, and I really think the kids were just saying they felt it to please the group, while I could see in their eyes that they didn't feel shit. That was the breaking point for me, and left. I saw little value in constantly checking this or proving to yourself that it was 'working', and not knowing how much one is fooling themselves about it, lol. It seemed beside the point.


2. The other experience that I had that proved to me that meditation has serious potential is when once during meditation, I suddenly could feel my entire insides. We don't usually feel our lungs, heart, intestines, liver etc; its an unconscious system. Yet all of a sudden I could sense them all as clearly as I can sense my fingers, or tongue. I could totally feel everything, I felt like one of those transparent action figures where you could see all the organs inside. I could feel my lungs breathing, could feel my heart pumping, could feel everything working inside. It was so strong that it scared me that I might not be able to turn it off, was seriously spooked that I was gonna have to live like this forever lol.

Eventually it went away, and I never felt it again but it was one of the strongest and weirdest things I'd ever experienced while not on drugz lol

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Postby Masato » Mon Dec 17, 2018 3:13 pm

Enjoy!!

We all have too much chatter in the head. Learning to handle this and ignore/quiet them sometimes is always a valuable thing to be able to do, even a little.

'Be master of mind, not mastered by mind' ! :D


I do wonder sometimes what is possible with more serious long-term devotion.

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Postby Masato » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:39 pm

Hey Ben, it it a 10-day course as in 10 consecutive days?

That would be fun. Perhaps difficult but as with anything, immersion is a whole different ballgame than going once a week etc.

Hope you keep us posted I would absolutely love to hear about it. Post pics!

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Postby shankara » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:28 pm

Some people say Buddha never actually said "do Vipassana". Rather one would practise Samatha and out of this analytical meditation would naturally develop. Which to me makes some sense. From what I understand the Vipassana retreats are like guided meditation retreats using recorded instructions. Probably would work, a lot of meditation practices are similar, for example in the Tibetan thing usually the visualization is verbally invoked before the meditation.

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Postby Benwahwah » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:09 am

Masato wrote:Hey Ben, it it a 10-day course as in 10 consecutive days?

That would be fun. Perhaps difficult but as with anything, immersion is a whole different ballgame than going once a week etc.

Hope you keep us posted I would absolutely love to hear about it. Post pics!

Yep, it is 10 days consecutively. I will be staying at the centre which is a 4hr drive from my home. I will be taking a vow of silence for the 10 days (apart from being able to ask the teachers questions at designated times) and not eating food after 12:00pm each day. I don't know which of the two will be harder for me, but it will be an experience for sure.

Also, I will not have access to any kinds of technology either. Hopefully I can get some photos but I'm not sure to be honest.

One of the things that is very cool is that the courses are free. The teachers provide their services for free and the food and accommodation are funded by donations from past students. I have decided that I will try and find out how much it costs for one person to do the course. If I like the course I will pay for two people to do it in the future. If I dislike it I will pay for one person, that way I won't be taking advantage of anyone.

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Postby Masato » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:17 am

When does it begin?

I did 5 minutes of meditation today, I was terrible lol. Be ready, the first hours/days might be excruciating, coming face to face with just how short of attention span and how restless our minds truly are.

I’m guessing you won’t have access to computers for the 10 days... will you keep a diary or journal?

What specifically about Vipassana can you tell us so far?

Really looking forward to hearing about this. Excited for you man, hope you make the most of it/enjoy


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