has travelled Asia!!

Dhamma Ganga

The place is as good at its name: the Dhamma Ganga Vipassana meditation centre is located directly at the Ganga.  However this turned to be hardly an advantage as the centre is encircled by a big wall anyway and we are not allowed to leave it. On the other hand the mosquitoes had best conditions to send waves of waves of attacks from their breeding places near the water on us. And one of the precepts is actually to not kill any being, so we were quite defenceless… Actually the precepts can summarised quite easily: Anything is allowed unlike we tell you do so. And here’s our daily schedule:

4:00 am Wake-up bell
4:30 am Meditation
6:30 am Breakfast break
8:00 am Group meditation
9:00 am Meditation
11:00 am Lunch break
11:45  pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00  pm Meditation
2:30  pm Group meditation
3:30  pm Meditation
5:00  pm Tea break
6:00  pm Group meditation
7:00  pm Teacher’s Discourse
8:30  pm Group meditation
9:00  pm Question time
9:30 pm Retire to your own room–Lights out

In addition to meditating, eating and resting there is only few activities: washing, cleaning, walking up and down the 300 meters way from the entrance to the back of the centre. Communication is not allowed, in no form, to nothing; be it speaking, touching, eye contact, writing or whatever. That also applies towards animals, diaries and so on. The only exception is the teacher whom one reports his progress and may ask questions towards the technique or on administrative issues. I’m glad I already gained some experience on such strict rules when I did a six weeks ayurvedic treatment in India in 2008 and a For-The-One-Dance in Ireland in 2005.

Only few hours after I arrived at the centre (day 0) I began to feel weaker and weaker till I couldn’t even stand anymore but had to sit. It was as if all strength would leave me and by the evening when we had the first mediation it was so bad I couldn’t concentrate but fell asleep repeatedly. Like this I also missed the biggest part of the introductory teachers discourse and the practical implementation. Luckily the basic technique is very easy so I got the main idea anyway. However my health condition worsened and even attending all the meditations it was very hard for me to work on the technique. On the other hand being in such a delirious state gave me some interesting experiences while meditating. But as I wasn’t able to keep any food I approached the teacher on the second day. I had been hesitating to do so because I expected a lack of understanding and a call for perseverance. Instead he even offered me additional food, discharged me from the morning meditation and agreed on the medication I wanted to take. And indeed, the next day I started to feel  much better, even like newborn. With a lot of enthusiasm I continued and finished the course and it gave me some wonderful results! When I started meditating in the Indian seat I could hardly stand more than 15 minutes but up from the fifth day we were asked to not change our position during the group meditations, it est three times a day for an entire hour. You can not imagine how proud I was when I managed to fulfill this requirement already the next day! Having overcome the pain and keen to do well I couldn’t leave it at this but set myself an ambitious task: to meditate the whole day in Indian style, this is 10.5 hrs plus 1.5 hrs teachers discourse! And believe it or not, already the next day I managed. I’m not going to talk more about the technique here or my progress. I think Vipassana is a very individual process and everybody should just try it himself, without any prejudices or expectations.

I highly recommend everybody to attend a Vipassana course. It will definitely give you a tough time but it’s worth it! And no worries, I was the only one in the course getting sick!

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