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4 Days Vipasanna

Route Kathmandu >> Mahadevbesi >> Kathmandu
Date Nov 30 – Dec 03, 2018
Coordinator Raghu Nath Pathak
Participants Bhuwan Shrestha, Kamal Pokharel, Madhusudan Bhusal, Milan Lohani, Mohan Thapa, Raghu Nath Pathak, Rudra Pandey, Shekhar Karki, Susma Pant, Tulsi Ramtel, Vijaya Sharma
Report By Kamal Pokharel
Photos By Milan Lohani, Raghu Nath Pathak
Video By Milan Lohani
Creative Support Milan Lohani

Kamal Pokharel Kamal Pokharel

Buddha said, “Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” So with this purpose we headed to our destination, Bhikkhu Sadhana Sthal located on the way to Raanibari from Mahadevbesi for our 4-days meditation retreat.

Our journey started from Deerwalk premises at around 1 pm. We had some snacks in Naubise. Then, after reaching Mahadevbesi bazaar, Dhading, we diverted from the main road and drove uphill for sometime. We walked for 15 minutes and then we finally reached to our destination around 6:00 pm and I found a very relaxing atmosphere. Also, the hospitality shown by the residents after arriving to the destination was very heartwarming.

The first hour-long session comprised of introduction to meditation, the process and ritual invocations to Buddha. During this phase we learned about the 5 practices known as Panchshil. They were:

To abstain from killing any being-जीव हत्या (हिंसा) नगर्ने
To abstain from stealing-चोरी (अनाधिकार चेस्टा) नगर्ने
To abstain from all sexual activities-ब्रम्हाचर्यमा बस्ने (पर स्त्री पर पुरुष प्रति अाकर्षित नहुने)
To abstain from telling lies-झुठो(कटु,निकम्मा)बचन नबोल्ने
To abstain from all intoxicants-मध्यपान, धुम्रपान लगायत कुनै पनि लागु पदार्थ सेवन नगर्ने

We were not allowed to speak throughout the retreat. A chalkboard contained the daily event details from 4 am to 11 pm. After paying our respect to the Guru we entered the meditation hall. Then it started.
Attention (dhyana) is the major tool of the Vipasana technique. But as I was new to this, initially my mind was occupied with the task that I was supposed to do in the office. Sometimes the familiar faces of my family used to occupy my mind. It was really hard to concentrate my mind on the sensations that I felt, but eventually I managed to get a small grip on the technique.

The first meditation session was for an hour and a half. To be honest, initially it was really really hard to sit for such a long time without moving my body. My back was suffering from extreme pain. I could see the pain in other’s faces too. I was looking at watch again and again just to know when the next break was coming (yes, I opened my eyes now and then). Finally, we took a break for a while. Then, we started again. This time, I was a bit more concentrated and my mind felt somewhat calm. Level of pain was also reduced. After the sessions, we watched some inspiring videos regarding the methods taught by Buddha.

We woke up at 4:30 AM the next morning with the sound of a bell. After freshening up, our second day of meditation started. There was a continuous two-hours session and then we had a breakfast of rice pudding and potatoes. Then after a short break we continued our meditation. After completing an hour, we had our lunch. It was light, delightful and healthy. Then we took a break for an hour. Then we continue our dhyana and with short breaks between different sessions, it continued up to 8 PM. At night we watched some more videos and the teacher gave us explanations on some of them. Same process was continued for third day too. The time seemed to pass easier, and I progressively felt nice and calmer, even though it was temporary and my mind returned back to its usual chatter later. I guess that is why meditation has to be made a habit so that it keeps on benefitting us.

At the ending session of day 4, bhantejee talked about the life of Gautam Buddha and told us about his transition from Siddhartha Gautam to Lord Buddha. After that, we ended the session with prayers. We also got a chance to look at the video where our senior ex-deerwalker Lekhnath Dai was taking his course in Burma and chose to live his life as a bhikkhu.

Finally 4 days of silence was broken, we turned on our cell phone and took some photos and videos including short lectures from bhantejee. We donated some money to the vipasanna center and packed our bag for return.

We returned back to Kathmandu discussing about the meditation experience and other different aspects of life. Overall, the journey was very fruitful and I returned home with a peaceful and inspired mind. Even though this experience was completely different and somewhat painful in the beginning, looking back now, it was a wonderful experience. It helped free my mind of the usual distractions and helped me feel peaceful, though for a short while. I really think everyone should learn the technique taught in this type of retreat, and try to integrate into their life.

For those who are interested in learning the scientific reasonings behind meditation are welcome to read the article linked below.
The Story of Enlightenment: The Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation