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Monday, July 19, 2004

 

Vipassana

During the 3rd weekend of July, my cousins, Nimesh & Harshil (~13 yrs old) went to the Vipassana Camp (or retreat – as they call it) near Yosemite National Park, CA. The California Vipassana Center, in North Fork, CA, is dedicated to the practice of Vipassana meditation as taught by S. N. Goenka. So here is a compilation of their feelings and some material I found over the Internet in their absence.

Over the years, various meditation movements have achieved popularity in America. In the 1950s, authors like Kerouac and poet Allen Ginsberg popularized Zen meditation. Later, with the rise of the Beatles, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's transcendental meditation became something of a fad.

Vipassana, which means "to see things as they really are" is one of India's ancient meditation techniques. Practitioners are initiated through a 10-day course, during which they sit for hours-long stretches in absolute silence, without eye contact, writing, or communication of any kind except with teachers at the end of each day.

The goal is freedom -- often from the self.

"Instead of wandering like a monkey here and there, the monkey mind gets calm," Goenka said. (Goenka story on LATimes)

The camp/retreat presented vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka, a Burmese teacher in the lineage of Gautama, the historical Buddha. It is a tradition preserved in Asia for twenty-five hundred years. Goenkaji was not there in the flesh, yet his spirit, humor, and wisdom filled the meditation hall, thanks to audiotaped instructions each day and videotaped discourses every night.

An Introduction to the technique is worth a reading.

Meditation Camp: 11 Days to an Enlightened You an interesting article in LATimes. (if you need a login: use abcd_ilu for Member Name and Password)



It is not our abilities that show what we truly are...
It is our choices - Albus Dumbledore

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