The Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana, “to see things as they really are”, is an age-old way of meditation that deeply involves purification from physical and mental ills by learning through self-observation and thus, engage concentrated restraint on the form and working of one’s physical aspect and how it links with one’s mental health. Over a course of 10 days, one learns to embrace and live in a transformation of self, which brings about a healthy balance in the mind and body.
Vipassana was actually re-discovered by Gautama Buddha nearly 2500 years ago. It is derived from Theravada Buddhism, which is one of the three primary schools in Buddhism, the other two being Mahayana and Vijayana. Taught as a universal remedy for all aches and tribulations, Vipassanna meditation has been passed down an unbroken link of teachers who do not engage in commercial profit but, rather, teach this way of living for free. The present teacher is Mr. S.N. Goenka. This art of meditation is supported by the many people who take part in it and later, leave donations with the good will of passing on the benefits of this ancient code of life.
In India alone, there are 73 locations that offer Vipassana mediation as taught by S.N. Goenka. Scattered liberally all over the nation and world, a handful of these various Dhamma meditation centers are revealed below.
- Dhamma Bodhi, Bodh Gaya, Bihar
The Bodh Gaya International Vipassana Meditation Center is located in Bodh Gaya, in the state of Bihar towards eastern India. This “Enlightenment of Dhamma” center couldn’t hold a better name signifying its importance. Bodh Gaya holds immense significance for Buddhists as this is the place believed to be the actual site where Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, attained enlightenment, or Bodhimandala, under the widely renowned Bodhi tree which was Gautama Buddha’s site for intense meditation. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being the site of Buddhism’s birth, Bodh Gaya holds a colossal meaning for Buddhists. Holding up to 80 students in every 10-day course, the months from November to February receive the biggest influx of learners.
- Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, Maharashtra
Photo by Piyushshelare, CC BY-SA 3.0
The largest western state of India, Maharashtra has 25 centers for Vipassana meditation, the largest and most famous of which is the Dhamma Giri in Igatpuri. The meditation courses are held twice a month as this site attracts huge influx of learners. Dhamma Giri, “Hill of Dhamma”, gave out its first course to the public in 1976.
- Dhamma Pattana, Gorai Village, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Dhamma Pattana Vipassana meditation center is one of India’s newest centers, located in Mumbai. What makes it different from other Dhamma retreat centers is that it focuses on people involved in business and other high end vocations. Infusing the classic 10-day retreat along with teachings for applying the same principles to the strains and stresses of the business world, Dhamma Pattana (“Port of Dhamma”) has a relatively modern set up too, which includes Western amenities.
- Dhamma Sikhara, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh
This “Peak of Dhamma” is cozily situated in the Dhauladar range in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Serene, quiet and nestled in a beautiful forest of deodar and cedar trees, the Dhamma Sikhara holds its 10-day Dhamma meditation course from the months of April to November. The course is conducted at intervals of fourteen days.
- Dhamma Paphulla, Bangalore, Karnataka
Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0
Set in a humble location, the Dhamma Paphulla, “Cheerfulness of Truth” is located 30 kms away from Bangalore, the capital of the southern state Karnataka in India. Placed on a sprawling expanse of rustic beauty, the Dhamma Paphulla conducts courses once or twice in a month. The accommodations meet basic needs and provide for a comfortable stay with attached bathrooms and hot water facilities. In addition, the location enjoys a comfortable climate all year round and is easily accessible by city buses.
- Dhamma Puri, Machmara, Tripura
The first Dhamma center to be established in north-eastern India, the Dhamma Puri or, “Town of Dhamma” is a quaint location in the state of Tripura. Easily accessible by most means of transport, this Vipassana meditation center is 150 kms away from Agartala, the state capital and is very peaceful and idyllic.
- Dhamma Garh, Chhattisgarh
This “Fort of Dhamma” is found 120 kms away from Raipur, the state capital of Chhattisgarh. It was started in 2011 and can accommodate 18 male and 10 female students.
Vipassanna meditation reconstructs one’s outlook on life and how one interacts within internal and external surroundings. With dedicated practice, one can find the positive alternations to turn life around. Tranquility and confidence flow through one’s being and the wave of goodness passes on and on.
Himanshu is an enthusiast of living life to the fullest. He enjoys good food, positive experiences and goes for things that fuel his lively outlook on the world. He is an aficionado of Vipassana meditation and has taken multiple 10-day retreats. He writes on his website PearlsIndiaTour.com and keeps the various facets of his life in gentle balance with its teachings.