Author Topic: Thailand Vipassana  (Read 6638 times)

hamistagan

  • Guest
Thailand Vipassana
« on: April 07, 2010, 01:08:48 PM »
Hallo, everybody. I have a lot of to say, but try to make it short as possible.
I have decided to ask some question, because I have read some post here that are familiar. I live in Thailand and about three months ago I come back from 10 days retreat of S. N. Goenka meditation center. To be honest, 10 days was very demanding, but since then I quit smoking and I get drinking under control, so I succumbed the alcohol only twice this year. My self control and understanding of daily life get much better. But, there is always but…
I was warned by my friend that about 5th  or 7th day I can get strange feeling, as the impurity leave my body, so I was ready to face something unpleasant arise from my unconsciousness. I had some unpleasant times at night, waking sweat with the feeling of dozens ants crawling on my face. Still repeat myself that just impurity leaves my body and try to not scratch my face even while sleeping and be equanimous. One time I got heart beating and feeling dizzy, but just for short period of time. After I get back from retreat, just that afternoon, I feel like I have withdrawal syndrome, just like after big night with many drugs (I am not user, but tried some long times ago). Is that feeling suppose to be normal?

 Anyway all those feelings were something new for me, anyway I could handle them. Someone told me that second retreat should be worse, because you go deeper and worse thing can arise! I think that I am ready to face the reality, but I just don’t feel comfortable go to retreat to expect some horror experience as I clean my mind!
At the retreat was said many times, that Goenka is only pure Vipassana and nothing to do with sectarianism. But I have strange feeling sometimes, ask myself “Why the tapes and videos are so old and poor quality, why they make me feel that I am so lucky to get to this retreat, why everything is feel so unofficial and illegal, why Goenka build this monstrous Pagoda for some astronomic price, why his chanting make me feel strange, why now I am defending his school and question others?”
I must say that I am so grateful for the retreat and for learning meditation, but those questions just arise in my mind, I am only human.         

Anyway I keep meditate. I know that in daily life isn’t possible to make a progress comparable with retreat, but I am just not sure now. Should I try another retreat, or go to Goenka, possibly expect some strange feeling when impurity leaves my body?
I just wanted to express myself and now ask some actual question. I am just at the point when I am not sure what should be my main focus on.
Do you think I should try another vipassana retreat? Is it technique of observing body same in every Vipassana school? Does anybody have some experience in another retreat in Thailand? Should I buy myself some book to guide me? I will be thankful for any advises.

With Mettá. Dave.

Jhananda

  • Guest
meditation-induced psychosis
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2010, 03:30:10 PM »
Hello Dave, yes, you described a number of sensations that are common in the psychosis that can occur during a meditation retreat.  I have experienced most of these phenomena at one retreat or another, because I have sat about 50 retreats.  It is so common, but almost no meditation teacher discusses them, so I wrote a paper on it, and was asked to resign from the board of a meditation center here in the USA for writing it. The link to the paper is below

 Commitment as a Refuge, Dark Night of the Soul in Buddhism

People just do not want to realize there is meditation-induced psychosis exists.  However, Saint John of the Cross wrote about it 500 years ago in his book titled the “Dark Night of the Soul.”

I believe the cause of meditation-induced psychosis is people are not seeking the bliss component in their meditation, which explains why the Buddha emphasized the ecstatic aspect of meditation.  However, Goenka and most Theravadan priests do not emphasize bliss in meditation.  So, Dave, I would recommend that you study meditation from those who understand the value of bliss, joy and ecstasy, and avoid those who do not understand its value, or otherwise you are likely to experience more meditation-induced psychosis.

hamistagan

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2010, 03:36:26 AM »
Thank you for the response. I knew that answers won’t be easy. As I understand, no matter what vipassana school, long retreat can trigger these unpleasant experiences? I know that meditation is very personal experiences and that is why is hard to examine each personal experiences. I just want to be sure, that I have right direction and I practice right technique and practicing it proper way. I just won’t realize that I have been doing something wrong for many years, even possibly some damage done, because human mind is very sensitive object.
I always wonder if the Goenka observing body technique is the same as other Vipassana school? Goenka always said to not mix his technique with other technique, so it is impossible to get any comparison for me. Can you recommend some books?
My friend always talking about J. Krishnamurti. Do you have some personal favorite?
Thanks again and lot of Mettá for everyone.
D.

hamistagan

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2010, 03:45:25 AM »
Krishnamurti said
""...Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life-perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody, that is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority. When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy-if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation."

So maybe this is the answer for my question? Sit and observe.  :)

D.

Jhananda

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2010, 04:11:01 AM »
Hello hamistagan, my recommendations for studying meditation is to read the suttas, but know that most translations are quite poor, and read Saint John of the Cross.  Here are some links to suttas:

Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) “Mindfulness of the breath” is the sutta that describes Anapana, or breath meditation.   The Kayagata-sati Sutta (MN 119) “Mindfulness of the Body” is the sutta that describes meditation upon the body.  This sutta is closest to what Goenka teaches, but for some reason he does not seem to refer to this sutta, most probably because it refers to jhana.  The Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10) “the Four Paths of Mindfulness” uses the aggregates as a vehicle of meditation. The Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22), “Larger Discourse on the Four Paths of Mindfulness” is an extension of the Satipatthana sutta, but it includes a description of jhana.

Best regards, Jhananda

hamistagan

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2010, 04:33:21 AM »
Thank you very much, I will definitely read them.
Best Regards.
Dave.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2010, 06:24:45 AM »
Dave,

As you are in Thailand you have many, many retreat opportunities other than Vipassana with S.N Goenka. You might want to check out the Thai Forest tradition for example.

The questions you have are often raised.

Jhananda is right that Shamatha meditation is often a more useful first approach - particularly in the modern world.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

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

hamistagan

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2010, 01:51:11 PM »
Thank you again for help and some answers. I will focus on Shamatha meditation to calm down my mind at first. As I understand, those four Suttas will guide me there, and Anapanasati (which I have learned first three days at Goenka retreat) is the foundation of this Shamatha meditation, is that right? Should I buy some book about Shamatha meditation, or search some more info, or those Suttas will be right guide for me? Thanks again.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2010, 03:10:59 PM »
I will focus on Shamatha meditation to calm down my mind at first. As I understand, those four Suttas will guide me there, and Anapanasati (which I have learned first three days at Goenka retreat) is the foundation of this Shamatha meditation, is that right?

Dave,

This post: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,688.msg5460.html#msg5460

.. might give you some context regarding Anapana/Shamatha.

Warmly,

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

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2010, 09:11:34 AM »
Hi hamistagan  :)

Quote
and Anapanasati (which I have learned first three days at Goenka retreat) is the foundation of this Shamatha meditation, is that right?

I am no autority on meditation but felt to contribute a little. I would suggest you follow Matthew's advice (link). One should try not to hipnotise one self but rather do nothing but observe the whole body breathing and being aware of thoughts, feelings, sensations passing by. Do not attach to them do not re-press them simply as they come you notice and you go back to the Whole Body Bearthing Awareness.
J. Krishnamurti expalined that well I feel:
Quote
There are various schools, in India and further East, where they teach methods of meditation — it is really most appalling. It means training the mind mechanically; it therefore ceases to be free and does not understand the problem.

So when we use the word "meditation" we do not mean something that is practiced. We have no method. Meditation means awareness: to be aware of what you are doing, what you are thinking, what you are feeling, aware without any choice, to observe, to learn. Meditation is to be aware of one's conditioning, how one is conditioned by the society in which one lives, in which one has been brought up, by the religious propaganda — aware without any choice, without distortion, without wishing it were different. Out of this awareness comes attention, the capacity to be completely attentive. Then there is freedom to see things as they actually are, without distortion. The mind becomes unconfused, clear, sensitive. Such meditation brings about a quality of mind that is completely silent — of which quality one can go on talking, but it will have no meaning unless it exists.

[Meditations, p.80.]

Another one;
Quote
Analysis of What is Meditation by Krishnamurti:

Meditation starts in our dualistic, egocentric, time bound world.  Right where you are.  It starts like a drip.  Small drops.  Drip, drip, drip.  Like the beginning of the Ganges river high up in the Himalayas.  In the beginning, it is just small, just a drip.  Don't underestimate what the end is going to be yet.  Just start watching the mind and keep watching the mind.  Drip, drip, drip.

As you remain still and keep watching your thoughts and feeling, the thoughts and feelings run their course, loose momentum and finally start to wither and die.  Then meditation starts to pick up power and energy.  Be patient, persist.  As more energy is freed up, due to diminishing thoughts and feelings, the intensity of the meditation increases even further.  Remaining thoughts that now rise are comprehended at a glace and negated by intelligence at their very onset.  This then brings about great stillness within and makes available the Reality that lies beyond the dualistic, thinking mind.  Here the Ganges, which began with a drip, is now a powerful river, merges in the great ocean of Oneness.

What you need to do is gather all your energy, apply yourself and let the dripping begin.

This one helps me to stay on course About Shamatha Meditation for begginers;
http://www.deerparkthimphu.org/activities/shamatha.html

Remain relaxed,  :)

hamistagan

  • Guest
Re: Thailand Vipassana
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2010, 04:06:05 PM »
Thank you everybody.
D.

 

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