Author Topic: Meditating in India  (Read 9413 times)

Lokuttara

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Meditating in India
« on: March 21, 2011, 02:33:14 PM »
Ive travelling around india the past five weeks. Its been fantastic and I spent some lovely time in dhamma giri doing a self course and being enchanted by the breathtaking mountains and sunsets!

Im a bit further north now and am hoping to spend a month in may at dhamma sikku in dharamsala. Ive also heard the centre at dehra dun is very nice. Any recommendations from my forum buddies?
Maybe some of you are even in india and we could catch up.

Im also hoping to spend some time at the krishnamurti study centres, has anyone been??
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

NickAWilson

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011, 04:06:29 PM »
I haven't been but India has been an ambition of mine for some years so I'm green with envy! I'd like to go on a culinary tour :)

Matthew

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 09:08:24 PM »
Though I've been there it was before I was Buddhist and I did not visit anywhere you mention ... but I'm sure there are people here who know something and there are definitely a number of Sangha in India.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

kidnovice

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 03:08:56 AM »
That's really inspiring Lokuttara! I don't have any tips for you, but I wanted to wish you a wonderful journey.

With metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Vivek

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 05:27:21 AM »
Welcome to India, Lokuttara! :) Are you by any chance coming to Kerala? If so, maybe we could meet. Since, you are planning to visit Krishnamurti centres, Vasant Vihar in Chennai would be a great option.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Gadfly

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 08:57:38 AM »
I watched Eat Pray Love recently and it just made me want to visit there even more.  :)

Crystal Palace

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 11:45:11 AM »
Dear Lokuttara,

Just a word about the Dehradun Vipassana Centre- it does not have any single accomodation, its all shared. You might want to take that into account before you go there.

Have a great journey! Do visit Bodh Gaya if you can...I haven't been there but that's a place I definitely want to visit.

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

thomas

  • Member
Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 02:01:17 PM »
bodh gaya was a worthwhile place to visit. Very nice gardens and ceremony. I still have a couple of fallen leaves off the tree. Some very nice cheap places to stay. The tree is just a symbol though really. I think the tree was grown from a cutting from (what is said to be) the original tree he sat under. Cant quite remember the whole story, but somehow the tree ended up in Sri lanka. Although this info is scraped from my poor memory so may floored.

Also, if you are in that area you must go to varanassi, my favourite city in India (so far). Blew me away. Blows most people away.

If you have more time - worthwhile getting up to leh/ledakh.. and if even more time get walking in those mountains! I saw dalai lama in Leh about a year ago. People walked through the mountains for days to reach him. quite a sight
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

Lokuttara

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2011, 07:08:33 PM »
Many thanks for all those tips,really appreciated!! Yes I hope to make it to bodh gaya and varanasi but dont if I will get th all in this time round.

I really encourage anyone to visit india. Even if you dont set foot in a meditation centre, just being here will be amazing for your practice. Those who have been will know what I mean :-)

Its so inspiring, beautiful, sad and challenging and mind blowing... At the same time.

Kerala was my first month and I loved it there. The beached and coconut palms were beautiful, as well as the friendly people.
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

Lokuttara

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2011, 07:11:45 PM »
I would also add that there is a feeling that the heart is really opening up during my time here, its a very strong and compassionate feeling towards other beings and also to nature and the animals.
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

thomas

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2011, 07:44:20 PM »
 :)
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

ivana

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2011, 08:43:16 PM »
Dear Sangha
These posts makes me nervous. My VISA to India will finish tomorrow. I do not have next ticket to India. I want to teach meditation in Srinagar to make peace there. (Do you remember thread Healthy spiritual transformation?) Please see an attached photo of Srinagar. I would like to go as well to other places, to learn more Hindi and .....
there is a lot of things.
Dear Lokuttara do not waste time at internet and enjoy as much as you can of course remember all to share with us after all. Sorry I do not know about krishnamurti study centres, sorry. But http://www.indiamike.com/ has many threads about them.
Take care
Ivana
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 08:56:44 PM by Ivana »

Daiho

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 02:58:53 AM »
I spent a month last summer in the Dharamsala area.  It's a beautiful spot, if a bit difficult to get around in.  You\re always going up or down.  I'm not familiar with "dhamma sikku," but even in one month I didn't see everything.  Are you perhaps referring to the Goenka center?  I didn't sit a full course but went most days to do the group sitting at 18:00.  Maybe when it was built it was a great location, but no there is a primary school just across the road and if the kids running around don't distract you, the monkey's jumping on the roof will!  If you have time, check out the Himalaya Yoga Center [http://www.hiyogacentre.com/hiyogacentre.aspx].  The teacher there is the best I have ever had.  Very strict and very precise and himself a vipassana practitioner.  Even if you've done yoga for years, you'll learn something new.

I second the recommendation of those who suggest a visit to Bodhgaya.  Nearly every school of Buddhism has a temple there and many conduct teachings and meditation courses.  It's great place to sample a wide variety of Buddhist practices and schools.

Varanasi is also quite amazing.  There is a Goenka center just outside the city in the much quieter town of Saranath.

Best of luck on your journey. 

Lokuttara

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2011, 06:00:04 AM »
Sorry, not dhamma sikku, I meant dhamma sikhara:
http://www.sikhara.dhamma.org/

The place looks very quiet and peaceful, although it wouldn't surprise me if it was beside a school or something because no matter where you go in India, there is an abundance of living beings of all sorts!

Also hoping to check out the rainbow gathering in Rishikesh :)
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

wildfox7

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 08:06:32 AM »
Lokuttara,

I have been to India several times for retreats.  Suggest you stay in the same tradition and take retreat at Jaipur, where it is very beautiful and much quieter.  The city is on the other side of a mountain ridge from the retreat center.  Visit Fatehpur Sikhri and Red Fort and Taj Mahal.  Quit India before it gets hot!

thomas

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2011, 10:58:04 AM »
This post motivated me to have a look at some india photos - These 2 are  in the Zanskar Valley (or near). Awe inspiring scenery.
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

ivana

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2011, 06:44:01 PM »
Thanks for photos, I think I have to Kashmir.
Take care
Ivana

Lokuttara

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2011, 04:53:50 PM »
Thanks for those wonderful photos! I spent some wonderful time in Rishikesh doing plenty of Yoga and meditation. Then I served 10-day courses in both Dehra dun and Dharamsala. Meeting some truly inspiring people and having an amazing time, especially on the mountain treks north of Dharamsala. 

Meditation wise, a lot of sankaras are coming up for me and I'm meditating my way through it. I'm having a lot of questions about the authoritarian side of Vipassana and after doing a lot of serving on courses, I've had a chance to observe more closely how the teachers operate. I'm having some issues with the way students are dealt with by the authorities, but I'm just observing and inquiring into it. Sometime I'm wondering where all the love and compassion has gone in these practitioners (another ego based reaction, I know). I've always had problems with authority in general, so I'm not jumping to any quick conclusions. But I keep on asking more and more, can spirituality and authority co-exist? Isn't real, serious meditation the denial of all authority? I think the answer is becoming clearer all the time.
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

Crystal Palace

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2011, 07:34:43 PM »
Hi Lokuttara,

Glad to hear you are having a good time.

I must say though that even I am beginning to realize the the Vipassana movement started by Goenkaji is now becoming more and more like a proper organized sect. There are some people over there who enforce the rules in an authoritarian way and deal with students in a way devoid of compassion or a genuine sense of concern for others. But then I suppose this was inevitable given how far and wide the movement has spread. There was bound to be some corruption sooner or later.

The greatest thing that Goenkaji did is record all those video and audio tapes so at least you are still given the teachings in their pristine purity. Otherwise, this movement is slowly drifting towards the way of other organized sects and religions. And I am sure once Goenkaji passes away things will only get worse. There are bound to be some people who will start calling Vipassana a religion saying "I am a Vipssanaite, I attend 10 day courses every year, blah blah blah" and it will only get more corrupt and messy from there.

Everything Changes.

Warmly,
In the Dhamma,
Crystal Palace 
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

torgeir

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2011, 08:34:07 AM »
...There are some people over there who enforce the rules in an authoritarian way and deal with students in a way devoid of compassion or a genuine sense of concern for others.


One thing that happens commonly when anyone meditates very deeply on a large Vipassana course, or even a small one for that matter, is that many negativities come to the surface of the mind. They are sticky, and the human tendency is to blame outside happenings or objects for our miserly human condition—we tend to stick these negativities onto others. So we find fault with others, whether it is actually there or not. Especially visiting a country like India, where the customs and general attitudes are so very different that even the most balanced and tolerant westerner will start to feel uneasy after some time.

Daiho

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2011, 10:36:17 AM »
Especially visiting a country like India, where the customs and general attitudes are so very different that even the most balanced and tolerant westerner will start to feel uneasy after some time.

I once traveled in India with an Indian friend.  He said he saw things daily he just couldn't believe.  His mantra was the Indian tourism authority's slogan, Incredible India!

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2011, 11:30:47 AM »
...
I must say though that even I am beginning to realize the the Vipassana movement started by Goenkaji is now becoming more and more like a proper organized sect. There are some people over there who enforce the rules in an authoritarian way and deal with students in a way devoid of compassion or a genuine sense of concern for others. But then I suppose this was inevitable given how far and wide the movement has spread. There was bound to be some corruption sooner or later.

The greatest thing that Goenkaji did is record all those video and audio tapes .....

The worst thing Goenka did was create a sect around himself by recording the tapes and using them - instead of actually bringing teachers up to a level of realisation whereby they can teach according to their realisation and the needs of their students. This created a dead tradition instead of a living truth.

Just another opinion.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Andrew

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2011, 12:54:04 PM »
Hey torgeir! Great to hear from you, I was wondering were you have been  :)

I hope you are well!

Well said, the sticky analogy is really visual, I like.
Ironic perhaps, but it was my interest in Vipassana Courses by Goenka that gave rise to me searching the net for vipassana related forums, I'm actually relieved I did that and not go to a course straight out, I think my sticky anger would still be clinging to the walls!

loving friendliness to you

Andrew (former 'daydreamer')
getting it done

Lokuttara

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Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2011, 02:00:38 PM »
Thanks torgeir. So even through I was serving on these courses, I was still meditating from 5 to 7 hours most days and I guess a lot of these feeling came to the surface of the mind. So it was the ego reacting to customs and attitudes to some extent. In the end I managed to regain equanimity, and I left it aside. But there are still concerns that don't have anything to do particularly with me.



I must say though that even I am beginning to realize the the Vipassana movement started by Goenkaji is now becoming more and more like a proper organized sect. There are some people over there who enforce the rules in an authoritarian way and deal with students in a way devoid of compassion or a genuine sense of concern for others. But then I suppose this was inevitable given how far and wide the movement has spread. There was bound to be some corruption sooner or later.

This is exactly how I was feeling. I think there was some inner attachment to this particular movement, and one was caught by surprise upon finding quite unfavorable things within it. Situations where vulnerable students were being treated harshly and with very little compassion, and all sorts of dogmatic stuff that is creeping in can make one more uneasy. I think for some practitioners it is becoming like a religion - I don't quite understand how that can happen when the whole practice should free one totally from authority (i.e. rites or rituals). In the "gypsy camps" that I'm usually involved in, the environment is very different. But comparing is rather pointless eh :)

Some of the problem is cultural of course, and also there are problems with Indian teachers understanding English, so one has to be compassionate towards them.



"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

torgeir

Re: Meditating in India
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2011, 09:53:27 PM »
It is true, Goenka is treated like a rock-star legend in India, drawing huge crowds of people and attracting a cult-like following. People report feeling tingly vibrations all over the body in his presence, and feel a natural inclination to bow their heads... a surprisingly similar reaction to lots of reports from encounters with Bob Dylan.

It is generally the case in the East to treat teachers and the elderly with only the highest respect, an honor generally bestowed on rock-stars and TV talk-show hosts--at least where I am from.

Contrast that reverence for teachers to here in the West, where I heard an unfortunate but not too uncommon story about a school teacher who was regularly spat on and thrown rocks at by his pupils.

And then there is Goenka-Ji, both Very Old and very much a Teacher, and he doesn't teach just anything, but something which is regarded as high spirituality, in a country which considers itself the birthplace of all things spiritual, and multiply that highest reverence by a factor of X.

Tell an average Indian the story about the poor schoolteacher and good ole' Bob's status as a rock-god, and mention that rock'n'roll is considered by some a religion, with a huge following, and they are as likely to shake their heads in shock and disbelief, as Joe Doe is to just shrug his shoulders.

Now switch it around: Tell Joe Doe about how Goenka-Ji is treated and revered in India--see the same eye-rolling, disapproving head shake, hear the same comments: "Goodness me, he thinks he is such a great guru! Bah, making recordings of his songs and poetry and so-called spiritual messages and spreading his movement to the ignorant masses! It is turning into a sect!"--while Vinod Kumar will most likely just shrug his shoulders.

So naturally there will be some cultural hickups along the way. ;)



"Academics weigh up Dylan's poetry: Conference brings together Britain's most eminent scholars on the music star to mark his 70th birthday" -- taken from a mainstream newspaper. Apparently these days you can get an Oxford degree on Dylanology... that's enough to cause even a born and bred westerner *shock* :o & *disbelief* ??? -- even someone who once bought a Sex Pistols record and enjoys the occasional Jimmy Kimmel show

« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 10:32:27 PM by torgeir »

 

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