My Vipassana Experience

Vipassana Meditation Hall

Way to Dhamma Hall

It was a very nice experience especially the routine which teaches you that there is no place for sloth here. Vipassana teaches you 3 things – Shila, Samadhi and Pragya. It’s a practical approach in meditation towards attaining liberation from cravings and aversions. Mr. SN Goenka says that the religion it has been derived from, which is Hinduism, also has various techniques to achieve this but during the process of aging it has got adulterated. This is the purest form of technique preserved in Burma(Myanmar) by guru-shishya parampara just the way it was taught 2500 years back. Even the Buddha’s written texts have been preserved just as it was in Pali. He goes on further to say that in other religions we have all these things as well but no religion teaches you a practical way to attain morality and wisdom. And the ones which does (Hinduism), has got adulterated over the years since it wasn’t preserved all that well.

The entire 10 day course is based on practicing Aana-Paana meditation for 3 days rigorously and when you become comfortable with that i.e, when you start feeling sensations (it can be anything ranging from tickling, vibrations, perspiration or whatever) on the triangular area just above your upper lip and below your nasal area, then you’re ready to learn Vipassana because its easy to concentrate on a small area first (and it even sharpens your mind), then you’ll be able to concentrate on various other areas all across your body. So you actually start learning Vipassana from 4th day onwards.

It is that kind of course which I would recommend everyone to do it once in their lifetime because it kind of sorts you out. Expect no miracles in 10 days. You will not be a Buddha or you maynot see a huge difference in yourself but yes you’ll definitely observe that there has something which has changed inside you which makes you a better person. If you do this course properly then you can might as well see a huge difference in yourself but the real test starts when you complete the course and then take this routine outside into the real world.

To tell you very frankly what I’ve gained out of this course is the routine (timetable) which I even follow today in my life with my work and stuff. Its tough to keep up but you become mentally very strong and determined after this course and if you want to follow it you will definitely do it. This is the 1st week which has gone by after vipassana and I’ve found it tough to keep up but inspite of that I’m determined to keep it going. I’ve stopped taking dinner instead I wake-up early and have nice breakfast after my routine-work then have a heavy lunch and a light evening snack in the office, that’s it.

Well that in a nutshell kind of defines my experience and take on the course.

Buddhism is a nice way to liberate you from any kind of suffering or miseries. It basically nullifies all the emotions which you might have inside you. It makes you just an observer. It teaches you to be mindful of anything and everything you’re doing. Vipassana teaches you that anything you feel inside you are just mere sensations which will automatically pass away if you don’t react to it. So you simply observe the sensations in your body, see it rise and then fall slowly without you intervening in between as you’re just an observer there.

Incorporating Meditation in our Daily Lives

I’m writing some of the ways through which we can incorporate meditation in our daily lives. First thing which are necessary to incorporate meditation in our daily lives are those things that are going to be important for us to abstain from if our meditation practice has to be effective or have good results in our daily lives. Meditation is equivalent to medication. As medication is required to heal your body when it falls sick, similarly meditation heals your mind but unlike medication if meditation is continued even after the healing is done, it will enable you to lead a good quality and fulfilling life.
Now, as we know with medication there are certain things we cannot take in conjuncture with it. There are certain things if taken with medication causes the medication to be ineffective or will be counterindicitive to the results we’ll get from medication. So for certain things which we have to take during medication, there are certain things we have to take out of our diet as well. With meditation this thing is somewhat similar. Meditation is something which is to bring about a certain state of clarity or natural state of purity in the mind – to bring our minds back to this state of clarity and sobriety which is free from suffering. So then, certain action, certain things which we can do by the way of body or by the way of speech which are going to be counterindicitive, which are going to have the opposite effect, which are going to create a more clouded state of mind, bring high states of anger, high states of addiction, high states of delusion – These things we have to take out of our diet, so as to speak, if we want our meditation to be effective.

The FIRST thing we have to take out is NOT TO KILL, we have to make a promise to ourself not to kill living beings – ants, mosquitos or any sort of living being which doesn’t wish to die. Number 2, We should promise NOT TO STEAL; for our meditation to be successful we have to respect the possessions of other people and should not take things without permission. Number 3 NOT TO COMMIT ADULTARY or sexual misconduct which involves a romantic relationship which is emotionally and spiritually damaging to other people. Number 4 NOT TO TELL LIES or not to deceive other people that would take them away from their reality and Number 5 NOT TO TAKE DRUGS OR ALCOHOL or not to take anything which is going to be intoxicating for our minds, that is, things which create a state of insobriety which takes us away from our natural pure state of mind. These are certain things we should take care to abstain from if the meditation practice is to be successful.

There are certain other things which can be undertaken in moderation for meditation to be successful. These are not gruesome but when taken in conjuncture with meditation, it reduces the effect of meditation when taken out of moderation.

These are things like – OVEREATING. We have to be careful about we do not eat too much. Even food is addictive and few people are obsessed with it. Overeating creates sloth, it creates an unhealthy bodily state as well. It is something which is overall not conducive for meditation practice. We should remember that we have to eat to stay alive and not live simply to eat.

Another one is ENTERTAINMENT – watching television, watching movies, listening to music. These are not gruesome things but when taken in excess it creates a state of addiction, it creates a state of insobriety in the mind and takes the mind out of its natural clarity. Use of the internet for instance should be done in moderation.

And the third one is that as far as SLEEPING. Now sleeping can be one addiction that we often overlook, we don’t realize that we enjoy sleeping so much. When any problem arises we often find ourselves going to take a nap or trying to sleep more. Some people become insomniac because they’re so obsessed about their sleep. We’ll find this through the mediation practice that we actually need very little sleep and lack of sleep is not a problem because our mind is so calm and so pure all the time. So these are things which have to be taken in moderation.
In altogether these are things which we have to start to take out of our lives if mediation is to be a successful part of our daily lives.

Now on to the question how do we incorporate meditation directly in our daily lives. Well, this we can do in two ways.
First of all we focus on our body. Now the body in general is in 4 major postures at all times. So either we’re sitting or we’re standing or we’re walking or we’re lying down. We can use these 4 postures as sort of a very clear or a gross base as to always find something to be mindful of or to create a clear thought. So when we’re walking instead of walking and simply let our minds wander, you can keep saying to yourself – “walking, walking, walking..” or when you’re standing then you can say – “Standing, standing, standing …” or if you sit you can say – “Sitting, sitting, sitting..” or if you lie down then say – “Lying, lying, lying …”. So this is done when we’re not actually in a meditation and we can undertake this practice at all times. Similarly with the minor movements of our body we can say, for instance, if you’re bending then you can say – “Bending, bending, bending…” or if you stretch -“stretching….” , if you move the hand – “moving…”, when you brush your teeth – “brushing….”, if you’re chewing – “Chewing…”, swallowing – “Swallowing…” and so on. Any movement of the body which we make, we can be mindful of like when you’re in washroom, taking a shower, when we change cloths, wash our cloths, whatever we do during the course of the day we can be mindful of, that is, creating a clear thought based on the movement of your body. This is the first way of incorporating the practice in our daily lives.

The Second way is we can use the senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Now when we’re seeing we either enjoy it or we get upset by it now we’re going to use it to create a clear thought not to create a judging thought. When we see something, just to know that we’re seeing we say to ourselves – “Seeing, seeing, seeing…”. When we hear something, instead of listening to it and getting angry or enjoying we say to ourselves – “Hearing…”, when we smell we can say smelling, taste – tasting so instead of enjoying it or getting repulsed by it we simply say “Tasting, tasting, tasting..” so as to keep our minds clear. If we feel something on the body, hot or cold, hard or soft, whatever the feeing we say to ourself – “Feeling, feeling, feeling..”

These two ways are part of a general practice we can take in our daily life if we want to incorporate meditation directly in our daily lives.

Casteism = Racism

Indian Caste System

I believe that this caste system was built on the basis of race. The Aryans who are believed to have originated from Europe (in and around germany) came to india fought few battles and as a consequence pushed the natives down south (only those who resisted them) and mixed with the general population and started living here. These guys felt the need to divide the society on the basis of the work employed by the people. They were the rulers (warriors and educationalists) so they kept themselves on top. For instance, the brahmins were the ones who used to teach their fellow aryans about the warcraft, politics, history, economics in short they were the educators and they were the ones who were given the responsibility to make the caste system. And they did by keeping themselves at the top of the ladder, then came the rulers (warriors) – the kshatriya, then came the bussinessmen – Vasyas and then came the slaves – Shudras.
Over the years this prejudice of the upper caste over the lower caste is going on. If you observe closely the shudras are the ones with dark skin in india. And brahmins are the ones with fair skin. The rajputs and vasyas mixed with the native indian population, so you would find them in mixed colors- some fair, some dusky and some dark. The brahmins to a large extent kept themselves away from the general population so they’ve kept themselves more pure and they by in large are more fairest of the indian population. There are people in kshatriyas and vasyas as well who are still pure but they are in less numbers as compared to brahmins. Where as the lower caste (shudras), now given various other names are more darker than the other indian population.
So this distinction was majorly based on the race where the whites (the top 3 of the caste system) sub-divided themselves from the dark indian population and enjoyed luxury & rights where as the native indians had no rights and they were treated like shit.
Now after so many generations, after so much of intermixing its hard to distinguish what from what but still if u have a look at various people from different castes, you’ll get a rough idea about it.
So in a real sense if you ask me, caste system is nothing but racism which is practiced even now in india in the name of religion. That is why you see many people from lower caste taking up other religions. The best example is kerela.And i don’t blame them coz they have nothing here in this religion which gives them right to live their life the way a free man should live. If they’re getting money, education and respect by converting then give me one good reason why they should be associated with this religion. I know there are various reforms going on in Hinduism to eradicate this prejudice but still. A food for thought, don’t you think?

P.S: BTW i’m a Rajput (Kshatriya –> Aryan) and i’m not a racist :-)

Here’s a short video which shows the situation of caste system prevailing even today in modern india:

Domestication of human beings

One should focus on individuality rather than personality. The word personality is misunderstood, it comes from the word persona which means ” a mask”. The society encourages u to develop personality because only then you will get domesticated and be its slave. That is why you have so many people unsatisfied with their jobs but still persevering with it. They trade their age with money but still not earn enough to challenge those who govern them.
The governing body doesn’t want them to question the system as they know that they’ll never be confident and bold enough to challenge them. And if they do, it will only take them a minute to crush them as they have one thing which could make most people do anything for it – Money. And those who are really good, who surpass all the challenges put forth by the rulers are given an offer which they cannot refuse and that is a place in their money making cult as rulers. And the process continues.
Men are nothing but working resources/programs/DLLs (employees) for various applications (employers) working under an operating system (Government). They’ll stay in the application’s module (Project) as long as there isn’t a different optimized program available which can replace them. That is why one should keep upgrading oneself. If you don’t then you will be replaced by a better program on any given day on account of you being an outdated version. Sometimes in the process the complexity of the source code reaches to a level that it starts degenerating. More lines of code means more probable bugs. If you don’t maintain quality then you will be overwritten/redesigned/replaced. And once you’re out of the current application and if other applications don’t find you useful enough then you’ll end up being just a junk file which aren’t much appreciated. Be careful not to hinder the performance of the OS, otherwise you’ll end up in the trash (Jail) until the User/Admin decides to empty the trash.
You must be thinking i’ve gone crazy, well no i’ve not. I just want to tell you that look where are we heading to. We’re becoming or have already become machines. Isn’t there any difference between humans and machines? Well, i guess not coz this is what the rulers of the world want us to become so that they can keep ruling us.
That is why they keep emphasizing upon Professionalism and Personality. They don’t want us to focus on Individualism coz they want to keep that for themselves. They think only they are individuals and rest of the humans who don’t belong to that league are nothing more than animals and we should be exploited (like we’ve done that to animals throughout our history) for their personal growth.

This is the reason why the kings allowed its people to be enslaved by religion so that people don’t start questioning him and ask him for answers coz if they do then they’ll end up revolting against him. But if they’re kept in the dark with irrationalism and the thing called faith then instead of questioning the king the people would question the god and themselves coz as they believe everything is managed by the lord. This ignorance even continues today and that is why it is so easy to enslave such people. And the smart people are enslaved in a smarter way with quasi reason and logic called professionalism.

Its time we understand it and get out of their gambit. Its time for us to act as individuals and not as persons. Lets focus on Individuality & Freedom and not on Personality & Slavery. Its time to brake the shackles of religion and professionalism & start living in a world where Science would be our religion and humanity our profession.

~Vivek

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