Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

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vibration
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Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by vibration » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:15 am

I just finished a 10 day course and am planning to continue this practice on a daily basis. I have my own experiences with this technique of meditation, but I want to hear your thoughts or any experiences you have had. Any questions you may have I would love to answer them. For me this technique has filled in the gaps not provided by other teachings and or provided personal experience to answer my own questions. I strongly recommend taking a course if it has ever crossed your mind or even if it hasn't.

best wishes,

Formerly Tommy6048

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by Sighclone » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:11 pm

Many people speak highly of this technique -- glad it was helpful for you.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

18andlife
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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by 18andlife » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:09 pm

Let it suffice to say that I'd give Vipassana a huge thumbs up.

Like most things in spirituality though, Vipassana is becoming kind of fractured. There are many different schools using various specific techniques to examine the same nature of all arrisen phenomena. Basically there are two main schools of Vipassana in the west: Goinka (using body scaning technique) and Mahasi Sayadaw (using noting technique).

The plus side to more and more schools popping up is that it brings some good variety and perspective into the mix. In the 1970's there was a big influx of teachers (Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, etc) who all had been studying in south east asia with Mahasi Sayadaw; so naturally the Vipassana which transmigrated to the west was originally very one-sided, but that is changing. These days there are more options and a lot more flavour.

Over all, it's a good community to be involved with. There are some astonishingly knowledgable people in the Theravada traditions; I don't think any branch of Buddhism that I know of has a better collective knowledge base. The other thing which might appeal to people in the west is that unlike some other schools of Buddhism (Tibetan Buddhism for example) there is basically zero theology in the Theravada schools. It's just about examining one's own experience, and de-constructing that experience until several key realizations are made.

Another good thing about the current Vipassana community is that it tends to spawn more than it's share of fully realized teachers. And hallelujah! Almost none of the western teachers are inaccessible to questions via letters or email, i.e. it's not a jet-set dharma culture with teachers whom you'll have no posibility of personal contact with. At this point it's still a real hands-on type of thing.

Vipassana, is not much fun, it's rarely ever blissful, but in terms of delivering on what it's meant to do... thumbs up. HUGE thumbs up.

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by Sighclone » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:15 am

18andlife -

Strong recommendation noted! What have your direct personal experiences been like (if you would care to share them with us.) I have not looked through all your older posts, and perhaps you have discussed this elsewhere, and can just post a link??

Thanks,

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by Quinn » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:25 am

Hi vibration,
I have been attending a Vipassana meditation class weekly for about four years. My at-home practice varies - sometimes daily, sometimes not at all and anything between.

I think it's pretty great. For me, it was a slow process. At first, just being able to note thoughts was a challenge. But over time, I'm now able to slow everything down pretty easily, note each thought (with a light touch) as it comes up, and see what arises. I've learned to take notice of thoughts that keep re-appearing and I've had some major insights rise up during meditation.

My teacher keeps pushing for me to do long retreats. I went to one and it was the most uncomfortable, unsettling, and inspirational 2 days I've spent. Torture and bliss. I'll probably go again at some point.

I think the most valuable part of my meditation practice is that it seeps into my every-day life. I've gotten into the "habit" during stressful or overwhelming situations of stopping, taking a deep breath, being mindful of what's going on around me.....and then acting or talking. I feel like my actions and speech are getting truer and closer to who I am and what I mean to say or do. If that makes sense.

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by vibration » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:05 pm

thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences. I am glad that so vipassana has effected others in such a positive way as it has for me.

Quinn- I agree with your teacher :D... I can't even describe how amazing the 10 day retreat was. Like you said torture and surrender in an endless cycle for the first half and the last half was mostly pure peace. I walked away from it so much more joyful and compassionate. I personally felt like I saw most of the benefits towards the end of the course so I would assume a longer course would be more beneficial.

18andLife- thanks for all the info! Goenka was my teacher and I wasn't even aware of alternate teachings of vipassana.

Andy- thanks for always being around the corner looking out for everyone :D Are you familiar with the teachings? I wasn't sure based on your response to 18andLife if you were interested in learning more about it.

best wishes,

Tommy

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by 18andlife » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:24 pm

18andLife- thanks for all the info! Goenka was my teacher and I wasn't even aware of alternate teachings of vipassana.
One of the things that I would say is a big plus for Vipassana is that lately another lesser known concentration practice called "Samatha" is starting to be incorporated with Vipassana teachings and this lends a lot of depth and enjoyment to the overall practice. If you're practing the Goenka method you're using what is commonly called "dry insight" it does not incorporate any Samatha practice. However, what Goenka is teaching is great, and personally speaking, I'm sure you'll agree, he is one of the most entertaining personalities you'll ever encounter. His Dharma talks are always captivating and often hilarous.

But yeah, some other western schools are now starting to bring Samatha in to play as well, and the thing that I like about practicing both Samatha and Vipassana is that it means that there is not much that can experiencially arrise which can't be de-constructed. Samatha allows you to differentiate various states whereas Vipassana allows you to de-construct the arrising and passing of phenomona. -I find concentration and Insight are a very potent combination.

I practiced instinctually on my own for many years before I ever encountered Vipassana, and for whatever reason, through trial and error, I had most of the realizations on my own first and spent years back-tracking through various branches of spirituality trying to figure out exactly what had happened during these awakenings. After bypassing Vipassana several times, eventually I took a good look at it and quickly realized that the process which had uncovered itself durring my awakenings was almost perfectly described by what Vipassana was teaching. Moreover, the Vipassana teachings said that these realizations are so fundamental that anyone who looked deeply enough at experience would eventually come upon these realizations with or without Vipassana. That was definitely what happened in my case, but only because it happened to present itself in that particular way and I was finally in a place to see it (the "I" being a manner of speaking of course).

The point is, it could have all unfolded in any number of ways, but personally I was really glad to eventually discover Vipassana because (for me atleast) it provided a perfect frame for a picture which paints itself eternally and effortlessly.

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by halojoe » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:17 pm

If I had three thumbs I'd put all up in the air for Vipassana.

I practice the SN Goenke method of Vipassana. But I had also done a course with Syamaji in the UK (a female teacher, who was also a disciple of Syaji U B Khin - bad spellings here sorry!) - her approach is softer than Goenke and they serve chocolates! (To which any Goenke student would be utterly amazed)

What has been my experience? A gradual unfolding of the true self. A gradual cessation of suffering. And a gradual arising of happiness. Not that I am happy all the time but I certainly am more aware these days. Still got a long way to go, many lifetimes but I'm on the right track for me.

I don't think I underestimate when I say that Vipassana saved my life. I started in 1996 and am still going. I was into drugs and alcohol at the time of commencement and suffering a lot. Having done about 10 x 10 day courses, one 6 months pregnant plus serving at centres in Europe I can say that every day is different.

As a note I would never incorporate any other technique into that which I have learnt from SN Goenke. He says in a discourse to stop digging wells all over the place to find water, just settle in the one spot and dig deep to find it. Meaning, decide on the technique you want to use and stick with it.

By the way, I am doing a year-long 'awakening' experiement and recording it in a blog. I have yet to discuss my Vipassana experiences there but I am sure that I will before too long because I am currently investigating 'suffering' and oh boy! have I suffered sitting on the cushion! http://aneweartheckharttolleinpractice.wordpress.com/

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by karmarider » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:32 pm

I took the Vipassana course the first time perhaps seven years ago and then I volunteered about two years ago. It's a valuable thing to learn, and is provided by a compassionate organization. Since then, however I feel differently about meditation. When I meditate now, it's an "effortless" awareness meditation.

The course is very valuable. It's valuable to just see that the mind is so squirrely it has a really hard time being still for an hour. The first four days are Anapana meditation, which allows the student to get used to concentration and sitting. And then it's Vipassana, or insight, and in this case, it is scanning the body for sensations.

The nightly lectures by Goenke are delightful.

Some people may find the course rigorous. You eat simple, vegetarian food twice a day. The evening meal is fruit and tea. You have to be silent for ten days. You are asked to meditate I think four times a day, for an hour at a time. For those not used to meditating, an hour is a very long time.

This is one of the resources I recommend for meditation. The others are ARO which offers a weekly graduated email course, and Adyashanti's book, True Meditation.

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by 18andlife » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:51 pm

karmarider wrote:...and Adyashanti's book, True Meditation.
We are certainly lucky to have the best of both worlds in practice, taught by two great teachers; I really appreciate the True Meditation approach, and I already ranted and raved the praises of Vipassana.

I like S.E. Goenka's idea to commit to one style and stick with it. Like halojoe points out, if you are looking for water it's better to dig one well 100 feet deep than 100 wells one foot deep. No question. Adyashanti would probably say the same.

Don't take this too literally, but as far as I am concerned Goenka's Vipassana and Adyashanti's True Meditation are just two ways of looking at the same experience. If you examine a waterway at it's source where it narrows down and forms a river that's similar to what Goenka is teaching; if you look at the river where it widens out into the delta that's similar to what Adyashanti is teaching. You can make all kinds of distinctions between the two, but it's still just a river you're lookin at.

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by Sighclone » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:15 pm

Don't take this too literally, but as far as I am concerned Goenka's Vipassana and Adyashanti's True Meditation are just two ways of looking at the same experience. If you examine a waterway at it's source where it narrows down and forms a river that's similar to what Goenka is teaching; if you look at the river where it widens out into the delta that's similar to what Adyashanti is teaching. You can make all kinds of distinctions between the two, but it's still just a river you're lookin at.
I agree. Of course, one result of effective meditation is to dissolve the meditator.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

PureLand
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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by PureLand » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:43 pm

Vipassana is mindfulness(presence), which is living in the present moment, experiencing the reality as it is. I think Samatha is calming the mind with focusing your attention to a concept. The concept can be visualisation, or the breath awareness. If you put your attention to the sensations in your body or rising and falling movement of the abdomen during breathing-that's is called Vipassana. If you just follow your breath with attention that's Samatha, because the breath is a concept, but the sensations that caused by the breath is reality. It's sometimes helpful to mix these two together. Eckhart also teaches methods that help you to calm the mind which helps you to put your attention to the reality(present moment) later. I listened Thich Nhat Hanh's speeches and I think he also tought these two methods to his diciples. The important thing is to be able to return to Vipassana sooner or later, to keep having insights that transform your painbody to conscioussness.

I think in the beggining it is better to do formal meditation less and practise general present moment awareness more in daily life. When I first started practising present moment awareness after reading Eckhart's books, I tried to do formal meditation few times but I didn't really enjoy it. Then I dropped the "formal" meditation and practised present moment awareness for long periods of time in daily life and tried to keep the practise all day long. I think that it was very much meditation, maybe even more effective than meditating for many hours. You just sit in a certain position in meditation, that's the only difference. Later on I decided to do formal meditation and it was really not a difficult thing for me to meditate for many-many hours. The reason for that is the present moment awareness that Eckhart teaches us is very effective that later on you can be a very good formal meditation practitioner. Eckhart also said that formal meditation can be helpful in some point but it is better to make the present moment practise a habit in your daily life before doing formal meditation for long periods of time.

In Buddhism there is walking meditation. So you do walking meditation as much as you do sitting meditation. If you meditate 4 hours a day(It can be up to 24 hours LOL but I never did more than 8-9 hours so it is better for me to don't recommend this LOL) then do 1 hour walking, 1 hour sitting, 1 hour walking and then 1 hour sitting again. Always sitting is a hindrance for spirituality. I used noting technique of Mahasi Sayadaw in the past, If you want to use different techniques of mindfulness that's fine too.

Later on, as a gift, The Divine/God will help you and you'll not have to use any techniques or even try to live in present moment with using extra effort. It will be totally spontaneous for you. So then all the methods, meditation sessions or "trying" to live in the present moment awareness will be totally meaningless. This state is not end of the road or freedom from suffering but it means that now the God is transforming you and doing all of the "work" for you that you need, and your job is to open your heart and allow the Divine process of disidentify you from the ego and identify with the truth(God) completely.

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Re: Vipassana: Your Thoughts/Experiences

Post by PureLand » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:19 pm

Note: If anyone wants to do meditation for long periods of time its better to take breaks for few minutes between two meditation periods. For example If you do 1 hour walking or 30 minutes walking, then take a break for few minutes before you do sitting meditation(Do the same after you finished the sitting meditation). Also, take the necessary informations of whatever meditation methods you use, and If it is possible visit meditation centers and meditate with the guidance of a meditation teacher. It is possible to meditate at your home too, but learning the details of the meditation methods you use is necessary.

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