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admin | monk seal habits | 20.08.2015
Thursday morning, I will be leaving to a 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat from May 19th to May 30th, 2010..
To be honest, I’ve been thinking all week about writing some profound post about how amazing and life changing meditation is for all people. Sometimes during my meditations, passages from the Bible, Dao De Jing, and Buddhist Sutras spontaneously came to mind, and I realized their truth on a visceral level beyond (or is beneath?) the intellect. Vipassana Meditation technique is taught during ten day retreats which take place around the world.
By the way, all ye fellow caffeine heads, there are no intoxicants or stimulants allowed, so that means you must forgo your daily cup o’ joe. When it comes to stimulants, you will find how many non-chemical attachments you really have when you have to go 10 days without reading, surfing the internet, talking on the phone, listening to music, making music, making art, the list goes on and on… Even vigorous exercise is off limits! Men and women are kept separate, living in totally different areas, and meditating on opposite sides of the communal room. Finally, one of the most startling and life changing aspects of the Vipassana Meditation retreat is that it requires ten full days of silence! By the time the last day arrived, I had long since ceased to think about any of the people around me. Long story short, I had one of the most amazing and enlightening conversations with the women at my table. If you have not found yourself convinced enough by my accounts of asceticism or life changing results, perhaps you will be moved by this fact: The Vipassana Meditation retreat is 100% free of charge. Since the time of Buddha to today, the technique has been handed down by an unbroken chain of teachers.
Vipassana must be learned, experienced and practiced to be understood but I would describe it most simply as a way of self-transformation via deep self-observation with peace as the ultimate goal. Participants will learn and practice concentration and mindfulness, awareness, the development of unselfish emotions such as compassion and lovingkindness, and wise reflection.  Based on the teachings of Theravada Buddhism, these techniques help one develop insight, or vipassana, into the true nature of both mind and matter. The Sunday through Friday retreat includes all instruction and guidance, with daily dharma talks, instruction in seated, standing, and walking meditations, and short conferences with the teacher to address questions or doubts.   Most of the time is structured, moving from seated to walking to eating to working to walking to seated.
Instructor Paul Fowler has had a regular meditation practice ever since his first ten-day retreat in Thailand with Steve and Rosemary Weissman in 2000, followed by four additional ten-day retreats at Wat Chom Tong in northern Thailand.
As the days slowly approach the departure date and information is still not quite forthcoming, I panic and keep bugging Ms Zhuang, the person in charge for more details and itinerary and what to expect, etc.
So on 28 June 2009, 7 devotees together with Venerable Chuan Ren gathered at Changi Terminal 1 to begin our spiritual journey. On the first day, we met 3 other participants; 1 Australian couple and 1 Indonesian lady at breakfast table. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons, we had small group interview sessions with the Venerable where we were supposed to report our practice of sitting and walking meditation and also our daily activities. On Wednesday and Friday evening, Venerable gave Dharma talks relevant to vipassana meditation. The retreat ended on Sunday morning, followed by 3 days of sightseeing to some attractions in Lovina area, Mt Kintamani, Tanah Lot, etc. Our schedule was much more relaxed compared to an earlier retreat schedule at Brahmavihara where they start the day at 3:45am and end late in the night.

To be honest, I hardly practise my meditation at home and even if I do, never last more than 15 mins. Just a final note of thanks to Venerable Chuan Ren, BMC, Ms Zhuang and fellow retreatants for making this retreat possible and forbearing all my faults and errors.
I will be free from all the everyday distractions such as work, television, people, and extraneous thoughts leaving me to just face my self, whatever that is. If so, perhaps you should consider a Vipassana retreat for your next “get away.” Vipassana is an ancient technique of meditation, rediscovered over 2,500 years ago by Gotama, the Buddha. The technique, which is not aligned with any specific sect or tradition, was shared by the Buddha as a universal remedy for universal woes.
The word retreat generally conjures up images of catching up on your reading by the pool, spa treatments, intimate conversation with a lover by candlelight, steaks and champagne. Peering around at my fellow students during mealtimes and yes, at times when I was supposed to be in closed eye meditation, my mind spun with judgments, spinning stories. Deep attention to physical sensation, leads us to understand that sensation, desire, suffering and attachment are ever changing, constantly arising and passing away, arising and passing away… It is through understanding this basic truth of life that we can eventually exit the wheel of suffering.
There may or may not be a waiting list, but either way, someone will contact you upon completion of the application. This five-day silent meditation retreat held in the lovely pastoral setting of Stonehouse Farm and led by Paul Fowler will teach many tools and techniques based in compassionate understanding. Silence will begin on Sunday night and continue until Friday, when there will be time to talk and debrief. We arrived in Denpasar late in the night and the journey from Denpasar to Lovina where Brahmavihara, the place where we going to stay, is about 2? hrs journey by car. Having been to Bali before and not feeling top form towards the end of the retreat, I did not join the group on the second day of sightseeing but explored the monastery with Ah Swee instead and that was great fun too. The hall where the statue of Bante Giri is, the resting point beside the big stupa and little huts outside the women’s quarters are my personal favorites. In an unbroken chain, stretching forth from the Buddha,Vipassana Meditation is taught today by, Mr. The only moments where speaking is allowed is during a short daily one on one question and answer session with the instructors, for those who need clarification on technique.
There was a young lady, one of the few other young women of color who I quickly decided I simply had to speak to before leaving. As we conversed and ate, an occasional wave of ungraceful honking laughter would float over from Skull Shoes as she and the guys engaged in totally banal conversation! I say eventually because results come gradually through continued practice, far beyond the initial ten days. An alphabetical list of worldwide course locations is available on the website as well as a graphical interface of course locations worldwide and in India and Nepal.
Both beginners and more experienced practitioners will be guided on their evolving journey throughout the retreat. We seemed to travel for a long time uphill, downhill and up again along sharp winding road in darkness except for the headlights of the car before arriving at our destination. I felt it was Venerable’s skillful mean to allow beginner like myself to enjoy the meditation process and not bogged down by the procedures by fixing a more relaxed schedule and not enforcing the dos and don’ts strictly.

Due credit must be given to the other retreatants, who are my constant source of motivation to push myself a little harder.
While you can eat as much as you like, stu- dents are encouraged to keep the body and mind light by not overeating.
I found my Vipassana Meditation experience to be one of the most challenging, but also one of the most life changing, hands down. Stylish and beautiful, I envisioned great depth, mutual interests and scintillating conversation in her almond eyes. Of course, the lady I had internally dubbed, Skeletor, made a beeline for my table and asked whether she could join me.
I know, I sound terrible, but I definitely got the message that day about judging a book by its cover.
By the time we reached Brahmavihara, it was past midnight, and we quickly picked our rooms and settled in quickly to rest. The seven days of secluded bliss is really a refreshing break from the busy and noisy city life.
In addition to having a powerful tool in my spiritual arsenal, I also learned lessons that I will never forget. Next two other older ladies joined our table and I watched, vaguely wistful, as Skull Shoes joined a table of younger guys. All expenses are paid via donations from prior students who have experienced the benefits of Vipassana, and wish to pass on this gift to others. He has shared the technique with tens of thousands of people, including his appointed teachers, from all races and religions, all over the globe. These lessons began on the ride up, which I undertook with strangers and kept on going right through the final day.
I think that is beautiful and call me crazy, but I genuinely think the purity of intent is what has allowed Vipassana to remain untouched while so many practices, including yoga, have been sucked into the commercial vortex of the world we live in today.
The formal retreat starts at 1pm, where we were told that we will observe 8-precepts during the retreat. But I realized that those questions did not matter as much as I originally thought they were. She looked like a walking skeleton, sagging skin and bones with a halo of the driest, frizziest hair I’d ever seen. I thought that wasn’t so tough because I don’t usually take dinner, to others the hunger may get quite unbearable. The sound of stomach churning was frequently heard in the meditation hall, mine included, so embarrassing!
Other rules and regulations, like observing noble silence and not to engage in practices other than vipassana meditation, etc were not expressly told and I later learned that those are assumed knowledge for seasoned retreatants.

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