I am grateful for being able to enroll in Deerwalk paid leave employee wellness program of 10 days as described below that changed my course of life, thinking, working, and adapting to the environment around me:
At about 11 AM, I went to Jyoti Bhawan Kantipath, Kathmandu and stayed on the queue. After 1 hour, I knew I was on the wrong line. I attended an interview successfully after next half an hour. After One hour of discourse, I was asked to get in a micro bus heavily occupied with lots of baggage, people, and there were sparsely any space. We finally reached our destination: Nepal Vipassana Center Budhanilkantha Pani Muhan, just at the gate of Shivapuri National Park, entrance to thick forest north of Kathmandu. At this height, wind blows fiercely and it was chilling cold. We, called students, were ushered in. Our valuables were deposited including cell phones, pen copies, money to name a few. I took a glass of tea and a few biscuits. I was allocated to my room T2-6, which means bed no. 6 in T2 building. We started talking. An American friend from San Diego commented on my Deerwalk jacket: “ Wow, marketing at Vipassana”, and I smiled back. After some time, we were given a meal. At 7:45 PM, we were given instructions on not to speak a word with other students, not even signal with eyes, let other actions be (Noble Silence). We were also told to observe 8 precepts:
1. Abstaining from killing
2. Abstaining from Lying
3. Abstaining from Stealing
4. Abstaining from the violation of celibacy
5. Abstaining from Intoxication, and another 3 precepts from older students
6. Abstaining from high beds
7. Abstaining from entertainments, and finally
8. Abstaining from eating after 12 PM till next day morning.
Next, We were taught mini-Anna Pana (breathing in-out observance) for 15 minutes and we ran to our beds. I covered my face with blankets so I need not have to speak, express, signal my friends occupying nearby residency.
The First Day of Vipassana meditation course starts at 4 AM, when the Gong sounds for those who wants to freshen up themselves for the day. At 4:20 AM, there is another gong sound to remind us that 2 hour meditation till 6:30 AM is to be attended. I entered the DHAMMA HALL where all formal meditation is to take place. I started in mediation pose. I felt my hands /feet going numb, and I was heavily coughing due to cold weather there. I remember reading all schedules and timings properly so I don’t miss any event or ceremony. Finally hearing the gong sound, I ran outside the hall seeking my pair of slippers. Automatically I uttered,” Where are my slippers?” and Dhamma Server (volunteer, Sewak) pointed fingers at me not to speak again. The rules are quite strict here regarding making noise of any kind that disturbs other meditating fellow students.
The first breakfast on Day 1 started at 6: 30 AM with a limited breakfast as I did not refill again and again thinking its charity and I must be satisfied with what I get. Then, I went to sleep till 8 AM gong hit again. I ran to DHAMMA HALL again and started Anna-Pana (Observing breathe in-out around nostrils with inside awareness). There is another gong after some time for a 5 minute break, which I did not enjoy. Another gong sound for 5 minute break and I did not budge. Finally, at 11 AM there is another gong sound and I ran out of Dhamma hall, took my slippers and ran to the kitchen for the day’s only full meal.
The kitchen, Dining room was great: neat, clean, and organized. The Dhamma servers who served us food were neither smiling nor speaking because Noble Silence was to be observed here as well. This time too, many others went to refill their plates, but I didn’t remember its charity and if I eat less, it will benefit others more. I washed my utensils and ran to bed.
From 12-1 PM, students can seek teacher’s help by asking questions and getting answers. I had none, so kept on sleeping until 1 PM till the gong sounded again. As a routine, there was a five minute break after 1 hour, another 5-minute break after 1.5 hours, and final evening gong at 5 PM implying we can now run for tea and light snacks. I ran as fast as I could and grabbed my cup of tea and light snacks. Another 13 hours and I could see breakfast at 6: 30 AM on Day 2. I ran to bed again until 6 PM until the going hit again. At 6 Pm, I ran again to the Dhamma hall for final discourses and meditation of the day with 5 minutes break after 1 hour, next 1.5 hour and final gong at 9 PM. Those wishing Teacher’s answers can take up to 9: 30 PM but, I had none to ask, so went to bed early.
Day 2 and Day 3: As usual like day 1.
Also known as “Vipassana Day”, it’s a special day. Now, we concentrate our awareness into meditating in our temple (head top), eyes, nose, ears, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, hands, stomach, thighs, knees ankles, and up to feet. On this day, we find another rule to start from day 5 such that, there will be 1 hour meditation session in which we cannot move any body organ at all. It troubled me so much that, I wanted to run away. I could not lie due to vow on the precepts. So, I talked with teacher at 9 PM. The teacher said,” you look so healthy, so don’t worry. No One has ever died during Vipassana”. Most assured, I went to bed.
The “Not-To-Move-At-All” rule had came into effect at 8-9 AM , 1-2 PM, and 7-8 PM. However , the Dhamma Servers changed my seat at back side, out of the rows of 70 males, so I was a little bit freer to move a little bit at times not disturbing others. At times, I would open my eyes and compare 40 females with males: wow, women moved least, they were so devoted and committed to meditation than partially moving men team. So, I recommend Vipassana for females more.
Day 6, 7, 8, and 9: As usual like day 5.
By 11 AM, we observed “Metta Day” Day of friendship and love and our rule of “Noble Silence” was broken. We could now speak with the ladies at selected area, but hand shaking and hugging was not allowed. We got our monetary deposits back and We could now donate as our wish. I did not have debit or credit card, so could donate little cash I had with me promising to donate more in coming days. It satisfied me a lot as I had observed all vipassana rules for 10 days.
Once again, we observed “Metta Day” and we were set free after breakfast at 7:00 AM. I could now, thank the kitchen team, the gong time keeper team, the Dhamma Server team and to our Teacher, master for their noble efforts in Vipassana mediation, enlightenment and salvation. I promised to come back again as I got my 10 years extra by this 10 days of Vipassana mediation.
Thank you Deerwalk for the Paid Employee Wellness program of Vipassana leave.