A Travellerspoint blog

Vipassana meditation in Chennai

Posted 11.05.2010

sunny 30 °C

Well, I have been silent for a long time. I guess that since I now live with Bomi I don't have that many lonely hours anymore that I would use to write this blog. But anyway, it's due time to catch up.
First of all, the marriage was an April's fool joke. I don't think Bomi would have let me appear dressed in shorts and sandals ;-)

Vipassana meditation teaches Buddhism stripped down to it's core. There is Gautama Buddha's teaching and nothing more. I found this much more appealing to me than the Tibetan's Buddhism that is mixed with the old Bön religion and features demons and gods. According to Gautama Buddha's teaching, every person is in charge of his/her own destiny. No god, no outside power or control. I really like this because you have to accept full responsibility for your actions. No greater power that watches over you, and no devil that tempts you. There's only you and your life. He also describes the path to enlightenment. This path is universal and the same for everyone. One just has to walk it...
Here are pictures of the Vipassana center in Chennai:

Vipassana_DhammaHall.jpg
Vipassana_Pagoda.jpg

The cours lasted 10 days. Since it is a period of deep introspection you are expected not to communicate at all with anyone but the teacher or helpers until the 9th day. It does help to keep you focused. Wake-up call was at 4:30 am and we went to bed around 9:30 pm. There was breakfast at 6:30 am, lunch at 11:30 am, and a snack at 4 pm. No dinner. Apparently dinner is bad for concentration. Oh, well.

I will not go into the details of the course itself (I have started on it, but it may take some time. I may post it separately sometime in the future). In short they teach you some theory and practice in the evening and you are to practice this the next day. You have to be patient, though because they teach the practice before the theory. In the first half I thought nearly every day someting along the line of "My god, this is stupid!" or "What on earth am I doing here?", or "bored bored bored bored". The explanation comes later and it makes sense. So does the pain. Sitting cross-legged for 10 hours a day for 10 days develops a special kind of pain. It really really hurts, especially when you are a Westerner who has been sitting on chairs all his life. I was so happy when I overheard an Indian guy complain about pain to the teacher, I had come to hate them for looking so comfortable (one more reason why you shouldn't take notice of others during this course). In the end, even the pain has it's reason to be.

Vipassana meditation teaches a way how to feel better and live a more content life. In this life, not in a hypothetical afterlife or future lives. It is not based on prayer or faith, but on logic. The theory behind it is actually rational and modular, i.e. you can take just parts of it and reject others without losing cohesion. As such, Gautama Buddha's teaching is not a religion since there is no faith involved, but more like a technique for minimizing your anger and frustration. I recommend it. If you have the time, try one of the centers in your country:
http://www.dhamma.org

Posted by 5fingerfab 22:28 Archived in India Tagged round_the_world Comments (3)

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