This of yours is a valuable sharing to me. Thank you for it. I wish I could
attend a retreat as the one you give description about.
It also sounds as this retreat was a big boost to yourself practise zen. I
come across years ago the sutra of the breathing translated by TNH. I had an
straight away affinity to it. Then, some years later I had the chance of
attending that 21 retreat about the sutra of the breathing . In spite of being
an overcrowded retreat and not particular silence, it was a big boost into the
practise. I slept very little on that retreat, perhaps between two, three and
some lucky days four hours. The reason of this was because when all the
monastery was at sleep, the silence of the night was overwhelming magic and so
I spent it listening to the sounds of the night, sensing all those fresh spring
smells, looking at the clear sky with so many stars...It was marvellous. So the
sutra of the breathing between the day and the night kicked by the passing days
like a gentle rain.
Were there many people in your retreat?. Were you the only westerner attending
It was wise of the ones who guide the retreat not to put a particular emphasis
in the way attendants would sit down. As you know I suffer from a disability
that deteriorated and can't do a sitting down on the floor. I can sit down in
some chairs. Not as easy as sitting down, though some people think that in a
chair is much easier. But it's not. It's actually very challenging as it takes
much longer to have the oxygen going into smoothly and circulating in harmony
through all body. It takes patiente and much longer time to achieve that while
sitting on a chair that it takes when sitting down. To make matters worse,
the chairs from the monastery were not good chairs and took me several days in
a row before I could make my little throne and sit down for as long as I wanted
there. And then yes, free from pain...wow, what a pleasure to feel my breath
going out and out!. Do you think were the endorphin es too?.
How did you manage not to fall into sleep after such long hours?.
A big smile to you
--- On Thu, 14/10/10, mike brown <uerusub...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
From: mike brown <uerusub...@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Zen] New member.
Date: Thursday, 14 October, 2010, 12:28
Well, a 10 day vipassana course is pretty much like an 8 day sesshin except in
the following ways. The vipassana course goes for 10 days and there is
absolutely no talking, reading, writing or any form of communication
whatsoever. Wake up at 4am; last meal 11.30am; lights out at 9.30pm. Mediatate
all other times. There is no emphasis on how you sit to meditate and you can
use whatever you like (any number of cushions etc). The first 4 days just gets
you to concentrate on the air moving in and out of you nostrils with the 4th
day concentrating only on the space below the nostrils where the breath
enters/exits. On the 5th the Vipassana 'technique' proper begins which involves
a kind of 'scanning' of the body (from head to toe) or subtle sensations. This
has the effect of pushing the consciousness into very subtle levels. On the 5th
or 6th day you're expected to not move for one hour - not one movement! This is
realllllllllllllly difficult and pushes you
into levels of pain you cannot begin to imagine! However, an amazing thing
happens. You can be in intense pain around the 40 minute mark (if you haven't
moved), but suddenly the body/mind experiences a letting go of the pain and
changes to intense bliss and euphoria - and I mean ecstasy (personally, I don't
think this is anything 'spiritual', but just the effect of endorphins). The
lesson learnt is that nothing lasts (pleasure - pain) and so not to
cling to/avert anything. Equanimity is the state that walks that middle line.
Now, this may all seem pretty obvious to those of us aquainted with Zen and
Buddhism *but* reading or imaging pain/pleasure is one thing, but the intense
experience of it (try not moving *at all* for one hour) is
another. Furthermore, the course is absolutely free of any religious
icons/paraphenalia and is also completely free of cost (incl. accom. and food).
An amazing experience. The SAS of the meditation retreats!