Introduction to Vipassana Meditation - Theravada Tradition
Vipassana meditation is a simple technique of purification of the mind which enables each individual to confront his/her problem and suffering without stress or conflict, to be fully involved in human relationships and the ever-changing nature of life, joyfully and with a balanced state of mind, and to lead a peaceful, productive and socially responsible life.
It is the tool with which the mind becomes becomes (delete) cleanse of the gross impurities of greed, attachment, anxiety, fear, selfishness and insecurity. This facilitates the unraveling of the knots of tension and stress and the development of true understanding, wisdom and self-reliance.
Vipassana is an ancient method of meditation developed 2,500 years age (ago) by the Buddha and preserved in its pristine purity in Burma, Thailand, and Sri Lanka for the past 2,200 years. Suffering, a universal illness of mankind, is no respecter(respector) of race, colors or creed and requires a universal cure, applicable to all beings transcending every difference the practice is now taught in different countries to student of all ages, denominations and nationalities. It is providing (provides) for very large numbers of people a stable and intensely practical foundation for their day to day living.
The basis of the practice of Vipassana is Sila, moral conduct. Sila is strengthened through Samadhi, Concentration of mind. And the purification of the mental processes is achieved through panna the wisdom of insight. Student (Students) who enroll for a ten day training course will spend the first three days learning to concentrate the mind by observing the inhalation and exhalation of the breath observing the inhalation and breath (delete) (Anapana) and the consequent sensation arising.
For the remaining seven days they are then shown how to penetrate their physical and mental structure, and gain (add in) profound understanding of themselves and each other. Each day's progress is explained more fully by an hour's evening discourse.
Experience has shown that within a ten day period the meditation technique can be grasped and the mind can achieve a degree of concentration and subtlety. A structured timetable and strict adherence to a few straightforward but very important rules is essential, however
PLEASE BE AWARE: No solid food is taken after midday. The only exception is for students requiring an evening meal for medical reasons, for whom soup will be provided.
1. Five precepts (Ten precepts, optional)
To achieve a state of mind perfectly attuned and in balance, it is essential to start with a sound and stable base of conduct. For the duration of the course, therefore, each student is asked to observe the five precepts as follows :
To refrain from killing.
To refrain from stealing.
To refrain from sexual misconduct.
To refrain from lying.
To refrain from the use of alcohol or drugs -including tranquillizers and sleeping pills.
If a student is on medication or has a query about the fifth precept, they are requested to consult the management before enrolment. No smoking, please.
2. Surrender to the Teacher and Discipline.
For their own welfare and guidance, students are asked to surrender themselves completely to the teacher and to the discipline of the course thus enabling them to draw maximum benefit from the training period.
3. Mixing practices.
The effectiveness of Vipassana meditation lies in the purity of the technique. During the training, therefore, any other from of religious practice which the student may be using should be put aside. Students should follow the instruction given by the teacher daily and practice only what they are instructed.
4. Music, reading, conversation.
The exclusion of sensory input which could prove a distraction to students is essential if the mind is to acquire the necessary degree of concentration and sharpness. Playing or listening to music, receiving visitors or leaving the hermitage are therefore not permitted and we request that all talk and discussion be limited to the teachers.
Reading should be limited to books on Vipassana (Insight meditation)
5. Yoga practice and other forms of physical exercise.
Limited accommodation may mean that students will be sharing rooms. Restricted space and the close proximity of other people requires that Yoga or other forms of physical exercise such as Tai Chi, etc. is not practiced out of consideration for fellow students.
6. Personal Appearance.
A high standard of personal cleanliness is essential and we recommend that loose, comfortable white clothing be worn. Please ensure that your choice of dress is simple, modest and covers you properly. Shorts and short skirts are not permitted.
7. Noble Silence.
Continuity of the practice both within meditation hours and in leisure time is of primary importance. To facilitate this training of the impartial observation of the phenomena of mind and matter, the major part of the course will be held in noble silence. Further details will be given by the management on enrolment in the course.
Shopping is limited to emergencies. Students should bring everything they need with them, toilet goods, washing powder etc.
Simple vegetarian food is provided - breakfast and lunch. Large numbers preclude the possibility of special catering. Any student who is required to follow a special diet for medical purposes should consult the management before enrolling.
10. The Teacher.
The teacher will be available for personal discussion on the technique at a specified time each day. Students are requested to give the teacher their full consideration and to limit the discussion to this period. It is most important that the teacher has proper time for rest, meditation and personal needs in order to serve the students as fully as possible .
11. Discipline and Self Effort.
It is only by taking a disciplined approach and the exertion of maximum effort that the student will achieve a good grasp of the practice and gain benefit. The emphasis during the ten days is on WORK. A golden rule is to work as if one was alone on the course, ignoring any distractions and inconveniences encountered, with one's mind turned totally inwards. We request that each student read the above rules carefully and only apply to enroll for a course if they are fully prepared to submit to the discipline.
The timetable outlined below, if followed meticulously, will enable the student to develop a sharp and concentrated mind, the tool for his work. It should be stressed again, however, that it is the continuity of the practice and this alone that enables one to penetrate the subtle layers of mind and matter and start the process of loosening and unraveling the congestion of stress and emotion, which is a common source of suffering and unhappiness.
5:45am Wake up bell
6:00am - 7:00am Meditate in own place or in the Hall
7:00am - 8:00am Breakfast in the nunnery
8:00am - 9:00am Group meditation in the Hall
9:00am - 11:00am Meditate in the Hall or in own place, sitting or walking. Attend to personal needs
11:00am - 11:30am Bell for Buddha Puja, get ready for lunch (Dana)
11:30am - 12:00pm Dana (mid-day meal) in the nunnery. Please be on time
12:00pm - 1:00pm Rest, study, attend to personal needs
1:00pm - 2:00pm Walking meditation
2:00pm - 3:00pm Group meditation in the Hall
3:00pm - 3:30pm Tea break in the nunnery
3:30pm - 5:00pm Private interviews in office. Meditate individually, sitting or walking. Attend to personal needs
5:00pm - 6:00pm Group meditation in the Hall
6:00pm - 7:00pm Free time
7:00pm - 7:30pm Tea break in the nunnery
7:30pm - 9:30pm Teacher's discourse, group discussion, group meditation
9:30pm Retire to own room
Please be on time and try to be mindfully aware of every movement you do.
Any variation in the timetable will be announced by the management during the course.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE WELL AND HAPPY!!!
WHAT TO BRING
- White clothes -long pants/trousers/skirts, blouses/shirts/T-shirts with sleeves
- A torch/flash light (taschenlampe)
- Towel and toiletry items
- A padlock (vorhangschloss)
- Washing powder
- Any special dietary requirements
Optional - an umbrella (April-Dec)
- a pillow (kisser)
- sleeping mat
Teaching and Courses:
In the quiet and beautiful environment of the ancient Wegiraya village, near Kandy, one can learn and practice Vipassana meditation under the guidance of resident teacher Ven. Dharmachari. Regular ten day courses include 3 group sittings per day, a dhamma talk or discussion and individual guidance.
Every month from 1st - 11th
there will be a group course - everyone is asked to stay for the complete course. There will be no possibility to come and go during this period and no refunds.
Registration closes on 1st by 3pm.
Course finishes after lunch on 11th
Every month from 15th - 25th
there will be possibilities for Individual Retreats with private interviews and guidance.
If possible one should enroll in advance by post, telephone, email or a personal visit. As meals are taken only twice a day, at 7:00am and 11:30am, students are requested to arrive after lunch or to bring some food (fruits, etc) along.
Upon arrival there will be a personal interview with the student by the teacher.
You must have your visa extensions in order before coming to Rockhill.
Simple, basic, shared accommodation is provided. Cold water showers are available
COST OF STAY
Mediators are requested to contribute a reasonable amount for food and lodging. A minimum amount of US $20 a day is payable. Any special donations for improvement of the Hermitage are entirely on a voluntary basis. All donations gratefully accepted. Payment on arrival, in cash, at the office please.