My Vipassana Course Experience : 10 days of Noble Silence

Vipassana1

I just finished 10-day Vipassana course from 6th Aug to 17th Aug 2014 in Bangalore centre and this article is to provide a brief summary about my experience and inspire others to attend this course 🙂

Vipassana (pronounced Vipashana , is a Pali word) means ‘seeing things as they really are’ not ‘as you would like them to be’.

To keep this article short, I will give a couple of links for you to read and understand the history and course schedule.

About Vipassana : http://www.dhamma.org/en/about/vipassana

Code of Discipline during the course : (Basically you live like a monk for 10 days).

Please remember read the timetable at the end of the page!  http://www.dhamma.org/en/about/code

There were 70 people in our batch (46 men and 24 women). We reported at the venue on 6th Aug 2PM and deposited all our valuables at the centre. Mobile phones were switched off by 5PM. The noble silence began at 7PM on day zero. We all took a vow to follow noble silence for 9 days. Noble silence means no communication with anyone – no talking, no gestures, no eye contact, no sign language and no physical contact with others.

Each day we would get up at 4AM, meditate 10.5 hours every day and 7 hours sleep J very strict and rigorous schedule. S N Goenka’s video discourse was played each night from 7PM to 8.30PM. These are amazing talks where he explains the science of mind and matter, history of the technique and Budha’s wisdom and many other relevant details. These videos are true gems of wisdom! They are also available on YouTube.

On days 1, 2 and 3 we practiced Ana Pana (means breathing in and out in Pali language) meditation technique to become aware of our breathing pattern. I felt a like security guard standing at the door of my nostrils watching every incoming and outgoing breath for 3 full days , 10.5 hours each dayJ. Initially, I was able to focus on my breath for just 2 minutes and suddenly an army of thoughts would hijack my attention and take me to either past movies or future fantasies of my life. It was so frustrating to feel like a slave of my own mind. By 3rd day, the army of thoughts curtailed to few soldiers and I was getting less distracted and more focused on my breath. I felt like a winner on 3rd day!

On 4th day we were taught the Vipassana meditation technique, paying attention to our body sensations and develop equanimity of mind regardless of the type of sensations. The real fun begins on day 4 onwards; we need to be patient and persistent to get there.

Day 5 to Day 9 was totally focused on mastering the Vipassana meditation technique with two simple goals – awareness of breath / body sensations and equanimity of the mind. I made good progress in these 5 days and got a handle on the technique.

The noble silence ended on Day 10 morning (16th Aug) 10AM. Participants were allowed to talk to each other and make telephone calls. A new meditation technique Metta Bhavana (Sharing Compassion and Love) was also taught on that day.

The course was formally ended on 11th day morning (17th August) at 6.30AM and I reached home by 8.30AM J .

A few things I experienced during the course,

  • I felt very tranquil and peaceful all the time
  • I wasn’t feeling hungry and ate 50% of my actual food intake (and still felt high energy)
  • I lost 2KGs body weight in this duration and I become an expert in cross-legged sitting (10.5 hours every day)
  • Our course was funded through donations of other people; it’s a unique experience to eat food that is sponsored by others 🙂 . I felt grateful and was humbled whenever I went to the dining hall
  • I realized most times I was thinking about past or future, these 10 days helped enjoy the present moment and be mindful at all times
  • I learned that we all talk / eat / worry / sleep more than the required amount 🙂
  • My senses became very sharp (specially auditory and kinesthetic)
  • I learned how to be mindful even in the waking hours (awareness of breath and sensations). This is a great way to leverage Vipassana at every moment with open eyes
  • I understood through experience that life is short and every moment is important. Also experienced the law of impermanence is the supreme law of nature (through the meditation technique)

Prescription for participants for daily practice

1) The participants were asked to practice the meditation twice a day

2) In all our waking moments, we were asked to be mindful of our breath and body sensations all the time.

Essentially the course teaches you to be equanimous at all times with the real understanding of the law of impermanence.

 I can write several more pages; since I want people to read this – I will stop now. I promise to write additional short articles on several other aspects of learning during those 10 days.

I strongly recommend everyone to attend this 10-day course at least once in their lifetime. I really loved this and I plan to attend more courses in future 🙂

11 thoughts on “My Vipassana Course Experience : 10 days of Noble Silence

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.Surely I’ll go there at some point to experience all those wonderful things you had mentioned in the article above

    • Hi Pramoda, Thanks for sharing. I am sure you had an amazing experience indeed! very inspiring. Shankar and I are very keen. Will be in touch with you. Best wishes.

  2. Good to know your experience.. your article is soo insightful and great inspiration to all.. will definitely attend the program in future.. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the insight on Vipassana. I think I all can try to implement most of these in my daily life. Will give a try 🙂

  4. Pramoda, I am inspired to look for something similar here in the US, it sounds like a grand experience. I am interested in what you will or already have changed in your life after going through this?

  5. Congratulations, Pramod. I’ve heard this is a very tough retreat. Very interesting to read about your experience.. I have been on some retreats and experienced some of what you write about. Keeping it alive in the everyday world is a challenge. But retreats like this at least show us what is possible..

  6. Great to know the experience. 10 days is a bit longer. Eager to hear on how this has impacted your day to day life..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s