16 Apr 2009, 1:12am
4 comments

bhavatu sabba mangalam

this is a really sort of ridiculously long entry about the 10-day vipassana meditation course at the northwest vipassana center (aka dhamma kunja) from which a. and i returned home a few days ago. the first part of it is mostly context and my simplified explanation of vipassana and the content of the course. i’m probably getting some of it wrong. further down i talk more about my own reactions to all of it, so if that’s all you’re interested in, you can probably skim the first couple big chunks.

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so this is where i was for eleven days or so: a piece of farmland about an hour and a half north of here, in onalaska, washington. a few buildings with dimly-lit gravel paths between them. some woods, some bent and tangled grass with worn walkways here and there. deer wandering here and there sometimes, and rabbits, and birds, and i heard frogs but never saw them. on the third morning at 4:30am i walked to the meditation hall, following the path, listening to the gravel crunch under my boots, and i Looked Up, and There Were the Stars, the big dipper as bright as i’ve ever seen it. two hours later, the sun had risen, the whole land was covered in a layer of white frost, and the sky was clear. there in the distance, the two snow-capped peaks of mount rainier.

once, i saw a whole horde of black and red ants slowly picking apart and consuming a dead earthworm. i crouched next to it and watched. once, it was dusk and i was walking on the path towards the main building and my dorm, feeling very quiet and internal, when a woman ten or fifteen feet behind me said “oh!” and i turned, and there next to me, maybe ten feet away, was a young deer, staring at me, and i burst into happy laughter and the deer stared at me, stepped away, stepped back again, and bounded off.

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so this is what i was doing: meditating, sleeping, and eating. way more meditating than sleeping and way more sleeping than eating. at 4am every morning we were woken by a gong being rung. the gong rang periodically throughout the day to announce meals and the beginning of group meditation sittings (three a day). our schedule went something like this: two hours of meditation in the hall or in our rooms. breakfast, then an hour or so break during which i usually fell back asleep. our first group sitting of the day, followed by a brief break. then we received teaching (while sitting for meditation) and could usually either stay in the hall or meditate in our rooms for another two hours. then lunch and a longer break (an hour and a half or so). then an hour and a half of meditating in the hall or our rooms, another hour-long group sitting, more teaching, and another hour and a half either in the hall or in our rooms. then a break for tea and fruit, and then the last hour-long group sitting of the day. then, after a brief break, we all returned to the meditation hall, leaned against our pillows and wrapped ourselves in blankets, and our teacher, s.n. goenka, talked to us for an hour or an hour and a half about our practice and the theory behind it. then we meditated for a last half hour or so, returned to our rooms, and went to sleep by 9:30 or 10.

goenka taught us via recorded audio and video. there were also two “assistant teachers” who were present to administer the recorded teachings, speak with us personally, and answer questions. both of our assistant teachers were chinese women. this particular ten-day course was actually bilingual and taught in both english and mandarin chinese. the mandarin for anicca (impermanence) is something like “WOO-chahng.” i heard it a lot. i can also say “start again.”

we were asked to observe five precepts for the duration of the course: 1)to abstain from killing, 2)to abstain from stealing, 3)to abstain from sexual activity, 4)to abstain from telling lies, and 5)to abstain from intoxicants.

the five precepts make up sita, morality, the first of three parts of dhamma, the path to liberation that we were learning to follow (in his discourses about this, goenka referred to “sexual misconduct” instead of sexual activity… phew! haha). the second part is samadhi, which is something like wholesome actions that purify the mind, i.e. meditation, as follows (and i think some other stuff too, but the course focused on meditation, of course, and wasn’t really intended as a crash course in buddhist philosophy). the third part is panna, wisdom, which itself is divided into 3 parts or types: the wisdom you learn from books and wise people, the wisdom you get from your own intellectual processing and understanding, and the wisdom of personal experience, i.e. the wisdom you get from vipassana meditation.

we were also asked to maintain “noble silence,” which is silence of body, speech and mind. rather, silence of body and speech are supposed to help us begin to achieve mental silence… we were allowed to speak with the teachers and with the manager of our gender (an old student volunteer), but absolutely no communication was permitted with other students (though a certain amount of minutely gestural “you go, no you go” in the hallways and bathrooms was inevitable). there was total segregation of sexes from the evening of the day we arrived (”day zero”) to mid-morning of day 10 (we left early on day 11).

oh, and we were also not allowed to have any contact with the outside world via telephone or internet or anything else, or any cameras or reading material or (OMG) writing material. for a documentation addict like me this last was a big fuckin’ deal. i went into it feelin’ all good and confident, like, ok, i am not going to attempt to document this at all. i am just going to see what happens. it’ll be cool. in reality, i was writing this entry in my head all the time. mostly i was pretty un-obsessive about it, though. i had a couple points that i wanted to be sure to get down that i sorta checked on mentally every day or so, but of course the way i felt about those points changed as the course progressed.

for the first three and a half days, we learned and practiced anapana meditation, which my monkey mind immediately dubbed “nostril awareness” (from which small cleverness it derived a great deal of amusement). first, we were asked simply to breathe through our nostrils and observe our natural respiration, making no effort to control our breathing. since my only previous sorta meditation experience was pranayama (which is about regulating the breath) in yoga classes and such, this was actually a challenge for me. and, you know, my wandering mind. after a day (10+ hours of meditation, remember) of that, we were told to concentrate on feeling and observing the touch of our breath itself in and around our nostrils. then, after another day, we were told to observe any sensations we felt in the triangular area formed by our nose and the area about our upper lip, without reacting to them, ignoring any other sensations elsewhere in or on our bodies. on the fourth day that area was reduced to just the outer rims of our nostrils and the area between the nose and upper lip. all of this was to help us sharpen our minds, which we would use as a scalpel of sorts to cut to the deepest parts of our subconscious minds and remove deep-rooted complexes etc etc etc… more on this medical analogy later.

about halfway through day 4, after the second group sitting of the day, we were taught vipassana meditation. we were told to shift our attention from the spot above our upper lip to a similarly-sized spot on the top of the head. then we moved our awareness slowly from small area to small area, from head to foot, observing the sensations we encountered upon the way, all with equanimity and the awareness of impermanence, anicca (in pali/”the language of the buddha”; sounds like “ah-NEE-chah”)… over the next several days, as our minds (theoretically) grew sharper, we were supposed to start observing bigger parts of the body at once, simultaneously and symmetrically (so for example, rather than moving our attention down one arm from shoulder to fingertips, and then down the other arm, we should observe both arms at once). as goenka told us, there are always sensations on every part of our body, biochemical reactions, etc etc. it’s just a matter of our minds being sharp enough to observe these sensations. at first we are only aware of “gross, solidified” sensations (i.e. how much our back hurt, that itchy spot on our nose, our feet falling asleep, whatever), or certain areas are “blind spots,” but eventually we can observe “subtle” sensations, perhaps vibrating or pulsing sensations. the idea (not “goal” ’cause that wouldn’t be equanimous) is that eventually we would feel these subtle sensations over the entire surface of our body, head to toes and toes to head, in a “free flow.” then we observe internally as well, in the same way, and finally observe our spinal column, etc etc, until all we feel inside and out is this free flow of vibration, and mind and matter dissolve. there’s a word for this state which i can’t remember which starts with a b.

whether we were feeling painful “gross” sensations or lovely pleasant subtle vibrations, we were to observe them equanimously rather than reacting to them in any way. the idea is to stop generating reactions at all. the way our minds are used to dealing with things is to react to any sensation with either craving/clinging or aversion. according to goenka (and buddhists in general i gather; though goenka went on at length about how non-sectarian vipassana is, it’s definitely a buddhist technique rooted in buddhist philosophy and worldview), all of our misery (and we are all miserable) is caused by these reactions. we blame it on external things, but really the root of it is in our reactions. like, if something or someone makes you angry, that anger causes you a whole lot of immediate and lasting grief/pain/misery regardless of whether (and certainly faster than) you and your anger cause any grief for the person or thing that made you so angry. (i can definitely vouch for this with regard to assholes in cars who have caused me so much misery with a few stupid words–”bitch,” “get a car,” etc. after my not-an-accident i obsessed about these small incidents for days.)

the idea is not to suppress anger and other emotions, but instead to observe them objectively and equanimously. but since that’s very difficult, we instead observe the physical sensations that these emotions bring about in our body (in the anger example, maybe quicker breathing, heat, tension, etc). in meditation, observing our sensations equanimously rather than reacting to them is supposed to allow us to cease generating reactions of aversion and craving altogether. the pali/buddhist word for these reactions is “sankhara.” when we stop generating sankharas, the old sankharas that we have stockpiled in our subconscious minds, and which may be causing us all kinds of misery and psychosomatic illness and who knows what else, may one by one rise to the surface and manifest themselves in some sensation on the body. if we observe the sensation with equanimity, the sankhara will be eliminated. when, after a lifetime or maybe many lifetimes of practicing vipassana, all the sankharas are eliminated… that’s enlightenment, the final goal. something like that, anyway.

so we’re not supposed to react to uncomfortable sensations with aversion, even if a moment before we’d been feeling lovely subtle vibrations and all that, but rather see them as opportunities to rid ourselves of old sankharas of aversion. and we’re not supposed to react to pleasant sensations with craving or clinging, or we’re creating new sankharas of craving rather than eliminating them. similarly, we’re supposed to observe the reality of the present moment, even if it’s gross sensations and blind spots where yesterday it was a free flow of vibration, because equanimity is the yardstick of how far on the path one has progressed, not sensation.

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so this is how it went for me.

i actually spent most of the course pretty sure that when i was allowed to speak to a. again, i would say to him, “so, will you be disappointed if after all that i kinda shrug my shoulders and go, eh, not for me?” this did not really change until day 10. regardless of that, i was pretty sure the whole time that i was having a valuable experience. even if all i got out of the whole thing was the chance to watch where my mind went when deprived of much external stimulation, i figured it would be worth it. my mind went a lot of places. i got a playwriting idea that i am pretty excited about working on soon. i also thought a lot about puppets and painting. for the most part, my mind was fantastically optimistic about things. which was great. while i was doing nothing, my mind was listing all the things i would or could or should do later in the fabulous sunny summer and the Great Beyond of my adulthood. (the fact of) life is awesome.

i also spent a lot of time earnestly trying to meditate, ’cause after all that’s what i was there for, and i’d agreed to give ten days of my life to give a fair trial to the technique of vipassana, etc etc. i think that my mental experience with the meditation itself was probably fairly typical. my mind wandered, it wandered less, my back ached, i felt lovely vibrations in some parts of my body, and then i didn’t, and i tried to practice equanimity, and so on.

i spent the first couple days, like everyone else, experimenting with cushion combinations in an attempt to find a comfortable position on the floor. the center provided us each with a square slightly-padded mat in a designated spot on the floor of the meditation hall. in the foyer there were a bunch of shelves full of pillows and blankets and cushions and benches. my favorite arrangement was a little bench like this with a thin pillow on top of it and two more pillows under my knees. however! on the second or third day my right knee–the one that was injured last summer when i was hit by a car–began to ache. i tried sitting cross-legged. it ached more. i went back to the bench; i tried some strange positions in which one leg was tucked underneath me and the other extended in front of me; i tried more cushioning and less… my knee ached more. then it started aching when i wasn’t meditating, and then i started limping when i walked. i started worrying that i was aggravating the apparently-not-quite-healed-after-all injury. on the fourth day, by the end of the long sitting during which we were taught vipassana, i was actually crying from the pain. so at the end of the day, i stayed in the hall to wait my turn to ask the teachers a question. when it was my turn to sit in front of one of them, i told her my name, and then i said, “i have an old knee injury, and for the past few days i have been unable to find a position that doesn’t cause it to hurt a lot. may i try sitting in a chair tomorrow?”

the teacher smiled down at me and said, “ah, you had an accident, yes?” (at the beginning of the course we’d filled out a little form with what we thought was relevant information regarding past traumas and big events in our lives.) i nodded and she said, “yes, often things… come up. i will talk to the management and you may have a chair.”

after that i sat in a chair and my knee hurt less, though it still twinged sometimes. past sankharas rising to the surface? or just an old injury not quite healed? i found that my collarbone ached from time to time, too, more than it had in months. maybe it was because i was sitting in a position such that my elbow was unsupported for long periods of time, and my collarbone is still not quite as strong as it once was. or maybe it was “things coming up.”

that’s kind of how my thoughts went a lot of the time. maybe this… or maybe that.

every other day or so, we were called up a few at a time to sit in front of one of the teachers so she could ask us a few questions about what we were experiencing and give us guidance or help with any difficulties we might have been having in our meditation. every time i sat in front of the teachers, no matter how much my body had been aching a few moments before, or how much my mind had been wandering or whatever, i smiled, smiled, smiled. maybe it’s true what people say about enlightened and very spiritual people, that their inner peace and happiness radiate from them, that their harmony is contagious… maybe they were giving us metta (loving kindness)… or maybe what i was feeling was just the pure and simple joy of contact with another person (after days of noble silence), of receiving words and returning them, of being understood, of eye contact and communication, which i think is maybe the purest, most fundamental thing about being human.

goenka says that was separates humans from animals (he does not say “other” animals) is that we humans are capable of mastery over our minds, of practicing vipassana, of walking the path of dhamma. that to walk this path and to release ourselves from the cycle of craving and aversion is to be fully human. i had a lot of trouble with this. i thought a lot about what i think make humans human, and for me it came down to communication and creativity. and both of those things seem to have so much to do with reaction!

while goenka in his evening discourses told stories about siddhartha gautama buddha, i thought about hesse’s siddhartha, and remembered this quote that i copied down when i reread the book about a year ago:
“That may well be,” Siddhartha said tiredly. “I am like you. You too do not love; otherwise how could you practice love as an art? People of our type are incapable of love. The child people are capable of it; that is their secret.”

of course post-enlightenment buddha was so full of love… compassionate love, infinite love, loving-kindness, all of that. i want to feel all of that, yes, but i don’t want to give up passionate, messy, dramatic love, you know? goenka says that kind of love is really just self-love, an addiction to craving. but i feel like craving and aversion are the ways we really interact with and relate to our fellow humans. buddha’s selfless love is very well and good, but… i don’t know. to me, nothing seems more naturally human than drama. emotions are exquisite. graffiti i found five years ago in a bathroom in the reed library, words i have held and taken to heart many times since then:
i can’t pinpoint when i fell in love with the world. some days its intensity feels like a burden – but anything is better than the nothing i once had inside me. when i am overwhelmed with beauty, emotion, the sheer size of it all, so much that i am incapacitated, i must remind myself to give thanks – i am blessed to feel so much.

luckily, enlightenment is the end of a path that takes many lifetimes to walk, and chances are i’m never gonna have to worry about being entirely free of the craving and aversion i love so very much. hah. and loving-kindness and all that good stuff are not nothing. all i mean to say is, i like my small human life, child person though i may be.

the other thing with which i sorta have a bone to pick is goenka’s use of medical analogies. there’s the one i mentioned further up in this entry somewhere, about how we were at the course to sharpen our minds and perform deep mind surgery on ourselves to remove deep-rooted complexes. and another one i remember–he was mocking organized religions with rites and rituals, and he said, if you had an illness, and you went to the doctor, and he wrote you a prescription for this or that medicine to be taken once in the morning and once in the evening, etc etc, you don’t take that prescription home, put it on your altar, light incense to it, pray to it, memorize the words, chant them, and all that. the prescription is useless if you don’t do the work of actually following it. (in other words, it doesn’t make sense to express devotion to jesus, or rama, or buddha, or whoever, if you make no effort to emulate them or take their words to heart. in other words, do the work of meditation or you cannot expect to achieve the final goal of enlightenment.)

that’s all well and good, but i am not diseased. humans are not diseased. i don’t feel that there is anything fundamental about being human that requires purification and i object to the assumption that there is. we have no fundamental illness that needs curing. you know? we have some fucked up cultural and societal shit, and i think that dhamma and meditation are, or have the potential to be, great coping mechanisms. but, like, goenka talked a lot about how gifts of food are good, gifts of shelter are good, but gifts of dhamma are better. feed someone, and they will be hungry again later. teach someone dhamma, and they will have the power to take themselves out of their misery. yeah, they will peacefully and harmoniously starve to death. it’s all well and good when you are speaking to a room full of people well off enough to take almost two weeks off from work and life to learn a meditation technique…

so, i spent a long time having these arguments in my head, and my mind spent more than an entire day in the middle of the course singing “wild thing! you make my heart sing!” to itself over and over again, ’cause i am a wild thing and you are a wild thing and we are animals and i love my monkey mind and the crazy creative things it comes up with.

and on day 10 when noble silence was broken, and we all introduced ourselves to the people with whom we’d been eating and sitting and smiling at deer and bunnies for a week and a half, all the old students (people who’d taken at least one 10-day course previously; maybe half of the students were old students) asked all of us new students, “how was your course?” and at first i said, a little reluctantly, “well, it was… interesting…” and they would laugh and say, “well, yes, of course it was.”

but the day wore on… and maybe it was group psychology, and when i tell you this you will think i have joined a cult and the ten days were some sort of difficult initiation ritual designed to make our minds vulnerable to suggestion or something, but i was asked that question over and over that day, and slowly my answer became “it was good,” and then “it was really good” with a big smile. goenka had been dropping little references to day 10 all week, mentioning that students are always smiling on day 10, maybe even glowing. (slow glowing over 10 days–omg my blog name!) and yeah, he was right. (frustratingly right! in his last discourse to us, early in the morning of day 11, he said, “you don’t like this or that part of the theory? find, don’t accept. but practice!! someday, you will realize, ah, this part of the theory is also correct, and then you will accept.” aw damn, goenka; well, we’ll see.)

day 10 was the best day. on day 10, i was a human being surrounded by human beings. where for most of the course we had always walked separately, spread out, solitary–a strikingly unnatural sight, really–now we walked and ate and stood around and sat in groups of two or three or several, talking, talking, talking. on day 10 we were expected to meditate only during the three group sittings–other than that, we were left to our chatty devices. and ooohhhh we chatted. gender segregation ceased for part of the day, and a. and i spent a long time talking. i also talked with many of the other women. and that communication, and being forced to articulate my experience of the course… well, i am still no good at articulating it, i guess. i mean, i’m not sure i could say for sure what exactly was so good. which probably is not helping your she-joined-a-cult suspicions. does it help that i have those suspicions too?

but really it mostly felt like the positive reinforcement of community. the physical aches and the silence of ten days were overwhelmed by the good energy of day 10. also on day 10–maybe this is related, too, if you want to get a little woo-woo about it–right before noble silence was broken, we were taught the practice of metta, in which we infused the vibrations of our bodies with loving-kindness and compassionate love and sent those vibrations into the world around us. yup. goenka called it a balm for the wound we had created in our minds during the course by beginning that big mental operation, etc.

though i was never tempted to try to talk to anyone or anything like that–

–well there was this one day–i was walking up the path back to the main building at the same time as the woman i sat next to in the meditation hall. she was ten or fifteen feet ahead of me and had already gotten almost to the door when she turned around and saw me. she looked at me and leaped back over a little bench to come closer to me, make brief eye contact with me, and then turn her face up to where the sun had just begun to break through the clouds. i followed her glance, smiled a little, and she gave me the biggest grin i’d seen all week. later, i decided to give her one of the tiny paper cranes i’d made out of the copy of the code of discipline they’d given to me at the beginning of the course (the only paper i had). i left it on her boot at first, but then felt sort of bad about such an overt breech of noble silence, so before she saw it i moved it to the bench just above her boot. i don’t know if she ever spotted it–

–but anyway, noble silence was tough for me. by days 8 and 9, when goenka was saying, “you must work seriously, these are the last days you have to work seriously. meditate all the time, even when your eyes are open or you’re eating or falling asleep,” my mind had resorted to makin’ it’s own damn conversation if that’s what it had to do. my mind was wandering more than ever, and i found myself nearly incapable of the concentration required to meditate successfully. i needed day 10 and communication. i think it helped me to feel like that communication was being encouraged–like that hugely important aspect of my humanity was not in fact being squashed by the technique or anything like that.

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“bhavatu sabba mangalam” means “may all beings be happy.” goenka ended all the group sittings by chanting it three times, and then if we chose we could respond by chanting “saddhu, saddhu, saddhu” (i agree, well said). it’s sort of hard to disagree with, isn’t it? may all beings wish for all beings to be happy. i understand how one might believe that the way to make that happen is the spread of dhamma.

i am thinking about freedom in some different ways. enlightenment is liberation from craving and aversion, from attachment. “may all beings achieve liberation, liberation, liberation,” goenka said during metta meditation. a. and i got a ride home from a guy who talked with us about commitment (to people, places, livings, etc). always “where is freedom?” at the bottom of a well or the end of a path i must dig or walk? in a place i do not want to be? questions questions questions. they are good to have.

i’m still not a buddhist, ’cause i don’t really wanna achieve enlightenment. but i think that the awareness i am cultivating in the practice of vipassana meditation can really only do good things for me. i want to be able to feel deeply and passionately… when it is good for me and those around me. when it helps me to create useful change in my world. when it helps me to develop strong and supportive relationships with others. about my community. about my life and decisions. not when it immobilizes and blinds me, as it indubitably has at times in the past.

time will tell how this all manifests itself in my life, i guess. the past few days since we got back have been great. on monday when i rode home from northeast portland, it started hailing, hard. i kind of giggled and half-jokingly practiced my awareness of anicca. and the sun came out, and for awhile it was hailing and sunny at the same time, and the whole world took on this sort of golden vibrating wet glow. it was incredibly beautiful. and then the hail stopped and the sun stayed and by the time i got home i was almost all the way dry.

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oh, and here’s a sorta funny thing that happened. i was talking about the course to my mom, who is not a particularly woo-woo person, and i mentioned the way my wandering mind would focus with great determination on very silly things. “like, one day i spent a half hour when i should have been meditating pondering what color i would choose if i were looking for the perfect color to paint my bedroom walls.”

“oh, i’m sorry, that was totally my fault,” she said. “you were gone and i was thinking about colors for our new house, and i was wishing you were here so i could ask your opinion!”

i laughed and continued: “anyway, i decided that purple really is the best bedroom wall color; i love my purple walls in my current house and i loved my purple walls in the house in sammamish.”

“oh my gosh! so it was you!” said my mom. “they have this website where you can virtually paint walls to see what they’d look like painted various colors, and i sent jay [my dad] an email with one i did, it was shades of purple! i swear, i’ll forward it to you, you’ll see. he emailed me back and said ‘diana, that’s… purple.’” (so i guess no purple walls for them, then. oh well!)

yup. so there you go.

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if you’re interested (and these 5000+ words weren’t more than enough!), you can read a.’s account of his experience here.

I just read through your whole post. (long but TOTALLY worth the read!) Thank you so very much for sharing that experience with the world.

I just went to a spiritual retreat/session… Im not sure what to call it. And for the very first and only time in my life experienced Kundalini energy. I mean hard core, a red wave of something coming at my head and giving me the BIGGEST migraine a girl could have (and I must tell you Ive had some doozies!)

I had read about the Vipassana retreat but of course said no I cant do that when would I ever find the time to take off and go and the no talking thing would also be very, very difficult for me!

I practiced law for the past five years and recently changed professions. Meditating got me to realize what truly is important in life and that I was just not happy in the field that I was in.

I am now the owner of a site called My Meditation Garden which I have created to share the benefits of meditation to people, different meditation techniques, etc all in PLAIN ENGLISH… that is sometimes a problem when it comes to meditation!

I’d love to publish this post on my site with your permission and would really like to interview you about your experience in this retreat. Please let me know if this is possible and when you are available.

All the best,

Sonia Gallagher

10 May 2009, 5:18am
by Pernille


Thank you for your story. I wish in a way that I had read this detailed description before I did my course…I just arrived home yesterday after 11 days at the center in Shelburne Massachusetts.

WHAT a gorgeous and intense time it was. The meditation technique was different than I imagined…and I had with intervals the worst time quieting my mind. The ego wanting attention…

I could write forever and ever….in the end I came out feeling like I have received a HUGE and valuable gorgeous gift.

I appreciate your story, thank you. It was rather accurate…

Pernille

dear author of this site,

i was in dhamma-dvara in europe for ten days,
and had a long discussion with the assistant teacher about sharing the given techniques of anapana and vipassana, and i understood why he asked me to send my friends over there instead of sharing those techniques with them.
for a ten-day-retreat is an entirely different experience and led by experiences teachers who make sure you understand the tech the right way instead of lerning it yourself on some sunday-afternoons at home.
so you might wonder why i say this, the point it i dont really think this does the dhamma.org a really appreciated service with this description in the web, in the sense of the founder s.n. goenka.
if you look for it, youll nowhere find a description of those tech’s in the web, at least not of the dhamma.org intl.
this might have reasons, some of them been mentioned above.
maybe, in honorance of the school you learned this at, maybe you might want to think about taking the detailed description out of this blog, and leave it to your personal experience, what surely would make ppl curious to learn more, and maybe even go there and recieve that gift for themselves.
pls notice, i dont mean to criticise, but after that long discussion with the teacher, i believe its not in the sense of goenka to have this published in the web.
thanks for your consideration.

bhavatu sabba mangalam!

[...] at least a few years ago, i think by googling for blog entries about vipassana courses after i attended one in 2009. at the time he was living in korea, teaching english, and thinking about a lot of things i [...]

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