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.
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
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!

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