Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sutton, quebec, Canada: 2-13 July 2008

My grandfather passed away when i was in this course. May he gained a good rebirth and always be guided with dhamma in his coming lives.
May all my merits of participating this retreat be dedicated to him.
May all beings be well and happy.

Ten Days Vippassana Meditation Retreat

Day 0:
Taking of 8 precepts for old students. i joined the same course last year in India, so i am an old student now. i get my own cabin for this reason, instead of sharing with others in the dorm or double room.
The cabin was right in the middle of maple trees forest, so it was always cooling and calm.
There are only 5 cabins.
The disadvantage of living in the cabin was: No toilet.
So i made sure that, i drank a lot of water 3 hours before sleep and after that, drank only a mouthful or so during each resting periods.
With this tactic, i never had to go to the toilet in the main building in the middle of night. It was like 5 minutes walk uphill.

In my memory, i do not remember Goenka ji speak English in an Indian accent. (i paid so much attention to 'accent' now because sometimes, people do not understand my English due to my accent.) When i heard his chanting, i felt moist in my eyes. A kind of feelings that, i am backed to a "place" that i used to go.
Noble silence started after the precepts taking. For the coming 9 days, we are not allowed to speak or to communicate with others.
For old students, we had our last light dinners before the precepts taking ceremony and we could only drink liquid: lemon water, for the coming 9 days.

Day 1: Observe the in-out of air through your nose.
Day 2- Day 3: Observe the sensation at the triangle areas between your upper lip and your nose.
Day 4: Vippassana Day. Observe the sensation of your whole body, from head to toes. After this, 3 times a day, the participants are supposed to sit still without moving at all for one whole hour.
Day 5 - Day 10: Observe the sensation from head to toes and toes to head.

Let me save the details of each day, in fact, i couldn't remember that much details after more than a month. But the peace from the meditation has imprinted in my brain. i think, this is what made me go for another retreat after the first one.
There are a few "interesting" realisations though:

i always thought i am quite a simple and 'kind' person. But from this retreat, i was surprised to find out that, i have so much anger within myself. i always try to be nice and be a good buddhist, but sometimes, i force myself to do things that i am not that much willing to do or i am just supressed my needs so that others can be happy (at least i think they will).
There are times that, i am just act out of fear. i am scared that, by saying "no", people will not like me anymore.
i guess i accumulated stocks of angers within myself. Pile and pile of anger appeared in the form of 'heated' vibration.
(During "good" meditation, in simple words, when one do not have that much of the wondering minds, the sensation of the body is very very clear that you can even fell the tiny tingling or pickling of your skin.)
Ajahn Brahm said, compassion to ourselves is equally important. May be i have just missed this points for all this while.

From that little bit of peace and calm and joy that i felt from the retreat, for first time in my life, i understand what does it really mean when the sangha said, it is out of compassion that the Buddha had taught dhamma to others. He could just stay in the cave and enjoy the fruits of his serene and happiness without sharing with others.
(If you had enjoyed the "zest" from the meditation, then i think you know what i mean.)

One bizzarre thing:
One of the girls that i met last year in India was in this meditation as well! It is kind of difficult to believe it when we saw each other again during the registration! She was the dhamma server in India and even at Sutton, while i was the participant for both retreats.

* No pictures are taken from the retreat centre. :) i was not there for pictures taking. :)

Regional Park of the waterfalls: Monte-a-Peine-et-des-Dalles, Quebec. Almost 3 hours from Montreal.

Lac de l'Argile, Quebec.

St Gabriel, Quebec.

Montmorency Chute, Quebec City.

Lac Breeches, Quebec.