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Vipassana Meditation Center

Dumbrava de Sus, jud. Hunedoara, Romania


 

 

Vipassana Meditation

Such as taught at the Dumbrava Vipassana Meditation Center

 

An introduction to Vipassana

Vipassana is one of the oldest type of meditation. In a time when it was for long forgotten, it was re-discovered 25 centuries ago. Vipassana means “seeing things as they really are”. It is a personal cleansing process, through self-observation. One starts by paying attention to ones natural breathing, so as to develop the ability to focus. Once attention becomes very accurate, one goes on to observe the changing nature of the body and spirit and see the universal truths: impermanence, suffering and egolessness. It is this awareness, through direct experimenting, that leads to the process of cleansing. The Path, on the whole (Dhamma – in Pali), is a universal remedy for universal problems and does not represent some religion or sect. For this reason, everybody can practice it freely, anywhere and anytime, with no distinction of race, or religion, and the result will prove beneficial to all.

Vipassana is NOT:

Vipassana IS:

Vipassana meditation allows one to reach the highest goal: total spiritual liberation and enlightenment. Its purpose is not to cure physical illness, yet mental cleansing has the side-effect of curing many psycho-somatic diseases. In fact, Vipassana ousts the three main causes of our misery: craving, aversion and ignorance. Through constant practice, meditation eliminates the tensions that gather in everyday life and unties the “knots” created by excessively reacting to pleasant and unpleasant situations. This type of meditation works on the principle that all human beings have the same problems, thus the process of eliminating these problems must be universal.

Persons belonging to all religions have experienced the advantages of Vipassana meditation, without ever being in conflict with their beliefs.

Of course, working to purify one’s being through introspection, is never easy. One truly cannot take it easy. Meditation students achieve personal realization through their own effort. It is because of this, that meditation will only be profitable to those who work seriously and respect the discipline that was conceived for their own good and protection. The rules of discipline are part of the meditation practice.

It is true that ten days is too short a span of time to reach the most profound levels of the subconscious and learn how to eliminate deep-rooted complexes. Continuity is the secret of success with Vipassana. The rules of discipline have been established out of practical reasons and not to satisfy the teachers or organizers. Nor are they the expression of an attachment to some tradition, or blind devotion towards some religion, but have as a basis years of practical experience of thousands of students and are, at the same time, both scientific and rational. Respecting these rules, one creates an auspicious atmosphere for meditation, where as breaking them, one would disturb it.
A student have to remain within the Center until ten days are over. The other recommendations must be read and examined very carefully. Only those who feel honestly ready to rigorously respect the discipline, should apply to a course.

Those who are not ready to make an honest effort, will only waste their time and, worse, disturb those who want to work seriously. Any person intending to take part in this course, must know that it would be harmful and disagreeable to leave before the end, just because they find the rules too hard to follow. Also, it would be unfortunate to be asked to leave in the case they will not respect the recommendations, despite repeated warnings.

The precepts

All participants to a Vipassana meditation course must rigorously respect the following five precepts, during the entire period:

  1. You shall not kill.
  2. You shall not steal.
  3. You shall abstain from any sexual activity.
  4. You shall not lie.
  5. You shall abstain from any intoxicant (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs etc.)
  6. Older students will be asked to respect three precepts more:

  7. You shall abstain from eating after midday.
  8. You shall abstain from any sensual entertainment and from wearing jewelry.
  9. You shall not sleep in high and luxurious beds.

Old students will respect the sixth precept by having lemon water during the break at five o’clock, while new students will be having milk or tea and fruit. Health not permitting, the teacher will absolve an old student from this precept.

Noble silence

Must be respected from the beginning of the course, till the tenth day, at ten o’clock in the morning. Noble silence means bodily, verbal and mental silence. Any form of communication through gestures, written words, signs etc. is forbidden. Nevertheless, students will be allowed to address the teacher if they think it is necessary; also, they will be allowed to contact the organizers about any problem regarding accommodation, food etc. These contacts should be reduced to a minimum. Students must work in complete isolation.

Acceptance of the Teacher and the teachings

Students must declare themselves willing to comply fully and for the duration of the course with the teacher's guidance and instructions; that is, to observe the discipline and to meditate exactly as the teacher asks, without ignoring any part of the instructions, nor adding anything to them. This acceptance should be one of discrimination and understanding, not blind submission. Only with an attitude of trust can a student work diligently and thoroughly. Such confidence in the teacher and meditation is essential for success in meditation.

Other Techniques, Rites, and Forms of Worship

During the course it is absolutely essential that all forms of prayer, worship, or religious ceremony � fasting, burning incense, counting beads, reciting mantras, singing and dancing, etc. � be discontinued. All other meditation techniques and healing or spiritual practices should also be suspended. This is not to condemn any technique or practice, but to give a fair trial to Vipassana in its purity. Students are strongly advised that deliberately mixing techniques of meditation with Vipassana will impede and even reverse their progress. Despite repeated warnings by the teacher, there have been cases in the past where students have intentionally mixed Vipassana with a ritual or another practice, and have done themselves a great disservice. Any doubts or confusion which may arise should always be clarified by meeting with the teacher.

Couples

A total sexual segregation will be respected. Married or unmarried couples must not have any kind of contact during the course.

Physical contacts

No physical contacts must occur between persons of the same or different sex.

Amulets, religious objects etc.

Such objects are to be left at home. If, out of negligence, they are brought, they will be entrusted to the organizers for the ten days of the course.

Intoxicant substances, drugs, medication

It is forbidden to bring to a course any kind of drug, alcohol, or other intoxicant, including tranquilizers, sleeping pills and sedatives. Those who follow a medical prescription should inform the organizers.

Tobacco

Smoking is not allowed during the course. Those who have this habit must understand that by braking this rule, they might create a wish to smoke inside those who, honestly, want to stop smoking.

Food

It is impossible to satisfy every culinary preference of every student. They are asked to adapt to the simple, vegetarian cuisine at this course. If, out of health reasons, a student is forced to respect some special diet, they must inform the organizers in the e-mail for application.

Clothing

Cloths must be simple, not extravagant but comfortable. Cloths that are transparent, close to skin or gaudy, must be avoided. Basking in the sun topless, or any other form of nudity, are not authorized, so as to reduce distraction of attention among students.

Cleanliness

As students must live and practice in common, it is essential that they wash everyday and wear clean cloths. Students will wash their own cloths during breaks. Some will prefer to come with their own sleeping bag.

Contacts with the exterior

Students must remain within the Centre until the end of the course. They can only leave with special consent from the organizers. Any type of communication through telephone, letters, any contact with visitors will have to be suspended. In case of emergency, a visitor may contact the organizers.

Music, reading and writing

Singing or listening to the radio etc. is not allowed. One must not bring to a course reading and writing materials. Students shouldn’t distract their attention by taking notes. This restriction helps to strengthen the practical character of this meditation technique.

Electronic objects

Cameras, mobiles, laptop, I-pods, music devices etc., may only be used with organizers’ consent.

Persons with serious mental disorders

Persons with serious mental disorders have occasionally come, urged by the unrealistic desire to solve their psychic problems to a Vipassana course, manifesting instability towards the others. In such a case, it is highly unlikely that they can benefit from a course or that they can even finish one. As a nonprofessional voluntary organization, it is impossible for us to take care of persons dealing with this kind of problems. Vipassana is not a substitute for psychiatric treatment and is beneficial especially for normal, healthy persons. We do not recommend Vipassana to persons with mental disorders.

Financing the course

In accordance with pure Dhamma tradition, courses are exclusively financed through donations. They are only accepted from old students, that is, from those who have completed at least one ten day Vipassana meditation course.

The reason is that a donation can only be accepted from someone that has personally experienced the advantages of Dhamma. This way, a donation will be a part of the practice. One can donate according to means, with the intent to share the advantages of meditation with others. Even a small donation can prove to be very useful, as long as it is made with the intention to share even a little with the others.

This understanding is enforced by the awareness that it is important to make a donation according to one’s means. The possibilities of a poor person are, unmistakably, different from those of a wealthy one, although the desire to help the others could have the same intensity for both persons.

These donations are the only method of financing the courses. Neither teachers, nor organizers obtain material advantages whatsoever from these courses.

Thus, the teaching of Dhamma is made purely, untarnished by commercialism. Your donation should be made with this pure thought: “Because someone has donated to contribute to the expenses of my course, I would like to donate something in return, in order to contribute to the course of somebody else.”

To put the spirit behind the discipline that the students are asked to respect in a nutshell:

Be careful not to disturb the others with your behavior!

Do not let the others’ behavior distract your attention!

It can happen that a student doesn’t grasp the practical purposes of one or other of the above rules. They had better have an open talk with the organizers, rather than let doubt develop in their mind.

Only the discipline and sustained effort will ensure a good understanding of the practice and the obtaining of its benefices. During these ten days, the accent is on practice. One golden rule: practice as if you are alone, ignoring any distraction or exterior disturbance and set the course of your attention within.

Finally, we remind you that all the progresses of Vipassana students depend uniquely on their own Parami (good qualities), and on five factors: sustained efforts, confidence, honesty, health and wisdom.

May the above rules and advice help you get the maximum advantages from your meditation course. We are happy to serve and wish you that the experience of the Vipassana practice bring you peace and harmony.

Daily schedule of the course

The following schedule was designed so as to allow students maintain a continuous practice. You are advised to respect it as rigorously as possible, to obtain the best results.

4.30 Wake up bell
5.00 – 6.30 Meditation
6.30 – 8.00 Breakfast and rest
8.00 – 9.00 Meditation (Adhitthana)
9.00 – 11.00 Meditation
11.00 – 13.00 Lunch and rest
13.00 – 14.30 Meditation
14.30 – 15.30 Meditation (Adhitthana)
15.30 – 17.00 Meditation
17.00 – 18.00 Tea time
18.00 – 19.00 Meditation (Adhitthana)
19.00 – 20.00 Questions & answers
20.00 – 21.00 Meditation
21.30 Lights out

The meditations are in the meditation hall. There are 10-15 minutes breaks between them.