Every year I spend my annual retreat at Vipassana, a great “resort” which has thousands of branches all over the world. Their foods are healthy, their rooms are quiet, their services are great and… they are totally FREE. Yes, you will have ten days for FREE, you will be free from all concerns, even money. Yes, it won’t cost you any money to stay there. Hey, where is this great place? Actually, It’s not a place. It’s a special 10 day meditation course.
Reason #1 to go to Vipassana
Nobody can bother you, not even your boss
When you are in the course, you won’t be allowed to contact to anybody outside. The organizer will also limit the outsiders trying contact to you, including your boss, and even your wife. To some people, this is paradise. Moreover, every students in the course will keep noble silence. This means no talk, no chit chat… so if there is any intruders can distract you from your holiday, they must be your thoughts!
Reason #2 to go to Vipassana
No high-tech stuff, so you can communicate better
During the course, you are not allowed to use cell phones, laptops or any electronic devices… even writing materials are prohibited, no writing, no reading… What? Are we going back to the stone-age? Yes, perhaps. But this is the reason why I like this course. Have you ever watched the famous clip below?
After watching it, the first thing I wanted to do was throw away my smartphone, then get acquainted with the first girl who picked it up on the street. Of course, I didn’t do that because I was still a prisoner of my smartphone. But after the Vipassana course, I was free. I bought an old phone and I’m happy with it now.
Reason #3 to go to Vipassana
Eliminating stress totally
Have you ever worried about something? The worry overwhelmed you and you could do nothing to run away from it. It was exhausting. You were advised to focus your attention on something else but still it did not help. Because that is not the proper way to deal with stress. It’s just like mud in a pond, and you are trying to stir them up.
With Vipassana technique, you learn to observe your mind, observe all of your concerns. Stress is like mud in a pond, when no one stirs them, they will settle down. Your mind will be purified, you will smile at your concern, then the stress will go away forever.
Reason #4 to go to Vipassana
Experience the true happiness
There are many definitions of happiness. To the Vipassana Students, happiness is very simple. If you are not suffering, then you are happy. Furthermore, when you are not clinging to the things which cause suffering, you find true happiness.
Like a prisoner who knows the chains that bind him, Vipassana helps you see clearly what is the root cause of your suffering in your subconscious mind, then eliminate it. Once the root cause of unhappiness has been removed, your happiness will last forever.
Reason #5 to go to Vipassana
Meet past-life friends, it’s true!
Despite that there was no communication for 9 days, everybody talked to each other as if they were best friends on day ten. Some people said that perhaps in their past lives, they had been friends who meditated together. It’s hard to believe, but I was there, and everybody felt so familiar.
It’s also very easy to make friends with Vipassana students. Each time returning from a Vipassana course, I get acquainted with many new interesting friends. From a famous architect to a mushroom farmer, from a traveler to an abstract artist, from a famous speaker to a… beautiful young woman ^^!
Reason #6 to go to Vipassana
Extremely reputable and not related to religion.
Although Vipassana technique is the teaching of Buddha, the course is completely not related to any religious rituals followed by Buddhists. I also learned that the Buddha is a historical character, not a Divine Being like my grandmother often told me about.
When Prince Siddhartha saw his people suffering, he decided to leave his citadel and search for ways to stop the suffering. After he found a way to stop his suffering, he became known as The Buddha. The word Buddha means “The Awakened One, one who understands the true nature of the mind, the world and all sentient beings“
Over the course of 2500 years, the teachings have been lost their pure form. Fortunately, S.N Goenka, a great man has brought it back. Now Vipassana Centers are very popular in the world with thousands of students enrolling each year.
Reason #7 to go to Vipassana
It’s totally free, yes, no cost at all!
I had spent a lot of money on learning meditation but failed. I couldn’t maintain any technique for longer than 3 months. But now it’s been 4 years since I participated in the first Vipassana course in Ho Chi Minh city, and I had many great results. And the most surprising thing of all, Vipassana is totally free! The only cost involved is for your transportation to the center.
So how do they raise the funds to organize these courses? The money comes from past students who gained valuable lessons from practicing Vipassana. Once the course has been completed, you can either make a donation in the form of money, or your time, serving others at the centre. This is called Dana, giving away without thinking.
When you do not have at least one reason to do something, there will be hundreds of reasons for you not to do it. Therefore, I wrote this article for 2 reasons : The first reason is to motivate myself to go to Vipassana every year. The second reason is to inspire someone who wants to discover themselves and experience the joy of true happiness.
If you want to learn more about Vipassana, you can visit their official homepage here. And finally, I invite you to watch a video clip which shows how Mr. S.N Goenka helped 10,000 prisoners in India become better by practicing Vipassana. If a prisoner can transform into a good person, why can’t Vipassana help you become better?
Hope to see you at the course someday!
See you with good news!
Fususu - Nguyễn Chu Nam Phương
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