I recently returned from a ten-day Vipassana meditation course at the Dhamma Pataka Centre in Worcester (South Africa).
This is something I have been curious about for a long period already and I finally found a gap, managed to apply in time and my application got approved. My last attempt to attend to course didn’t work because the course got unfortunately canceled and afterwards Covid made it impossible for a while.
To be perfectly honest, I went to Worcester with only small knowledge and understanding of what Vipassana actually is, but found the idea of spending ten days in noble silence, observing myself incredibly intriguing.
I knew that Vipassana is actually an ancient teaching from India, originally taught by the Buddha. But it is not a “buddhist” meditation – the teachings are universal and not connected to any religious or spiritual organisations and can be practised by anyone without causing conflict to existing beliefs. It is quite simply, an art of living.
But what does Vipassana mean ?
Vipassana means “to see things as they really are” and it is a technique in which the physical sensations of the body are observed objectively. The technique is based on Dhamma, the law of nature 🌱.
Although this technique is initially taught while sitting in a meditation hall, the idea and hope is that this “equanimous observation” is carried out into all aspects of one’s life, so that one’s life becomes a conscious, living meditation.
By learning to observe the sensations, the reactions and flow in one’s life without prejudice, one is able to cultivate greater peace and happiness. Without this kind of observation, most of us are on a constant emotional rollercoaster that keeps us miserable in either our focus on craving an experience or resisting that which is happening to us.
Our minds might even run ballistic and control our experience of living.
If it’s about controlling the mind, why the focus on bodily sensations?
It is the answer to this question that makes Vipassana so appealing. Our bodies are with us all the time. We cannot leave them behind when we go on holiday or into a stressful meeting. Body sensations are a culturally neutral, always available, non-ideological, realistic focus. It’s simple.
There is nothing one has to intellectualise or imagine. The body sensations simply are – and can be observed at any time, in any state, from anywhere.
It is in the observation of the constantly dynamic and ever changing sensations of the body, that wisdom starts to develop. But not the kind of wisdom which arises from intellectual thought, though. But rather a deep sub-conscious wisdom held in one’s body which starts to permeate the observation. We are our bodies as much as we are our minds, and the entire kaleidoscope of being is stored in our bodies.
Trauma, pain and fear from past experiences are there but so is peace and calm. And when we allow our minds to objectively and sensitively travel the bodies sensations, insight develops.
So lets try to move us all towards happiness through discovering ourselves. Start seeing things as they are.
The Vipassana technique teaches you to learn and experience that sensations are ever-changing which results in the fact that nothing is permanent. Nothing can be held onto forever. Everything changes, all the time. Every minute, every second, every millisecond, every microsecond.
The course and this technique of meditation is not an escape. It requires a lot of commitment and dedication. For some students it is one of the toughest experience in their lifetime.
There is nothing to distract yourself from yourself. There is no cellphone, no book, no TV, no journal, no exercise, no yoga, no nothing – but you will sit for many hours a day and meditate. It can get quite uncomfortable to experience this greater presence.
Here are some more of the pictures from the Dhamma Pataka Vipassana Meditation Center Worcester in South Africa:
Once you finished the course you will get back your cellphone and can take pictures …
How much does Vipassana cost? #Dana
One of the most asked questions is about the cost of the course.
You don’t pay anything for 10 days of teaching, accommodation & food.
Courses in this Vipassana tradition are run solely on a Dana (donation) basis. Dana is accepted only by those who have completed at least one ten-day course. Having experienced the benefits of Vipassana, students donate (give) dana on the last day of the course, Metta Day for the time spent at the Dhamma Patākā.
Students can donate according to their volition and means. The average cost per student per course is at the moment about 165 USD (R 2,850). These are just the running costs, not including centre development and infrastructure.
These donations are not payment for one’s own course but are an expression of generosity to help others get the same opportunity.
“As I got to benefit from this course learning about this wonderful path, may others also get benefit from courses as I have.”
What to bring:
Once you successfully applied for the course you will get a list of what to bring. No need to stress about it now 😀
Much more interesting is the list of
What not to bring:
Please do not bring any unnecessary items to the course.
If you arrive at Dhamma Pataka with any of the following you will be asked to place them in a locker and you will not have access to them until the end of the course:
Mobile phones or any other electronic/internet devices
Books, writing materials, radios, cameras, etc
Food (this is provided)
Alcohol, tobacco, sleeping pills, tranquilizer, sedatives, or illegal drugs
Crystals, talismans, rosaries, or other religious objects
Jewelry or valuables (facilities are provided for safekeeping of money)
Furs, leather, or animal skins are not permitted in the hall.
If you wanna know more about vipassana, google or drop me a message.
With this post I want to share with you, that I had the most awesome 10 days in pure solitude & peace ☮️ ☀️. But probably also the ten longest days of my life 😉
If you ever get the opportunity to take ’10 days off from you normal life’, I can highly recommend to grab this opportunity. It is a true gift to yourself.
I am already looking forward to go back again.
See you next time Worcester 📿🧘🏼♀️💟