Anicha – impermanence

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The highlight of our recent Japan trip was definitely the 10 days silent retreat we had at the Vipassana Meditation Centre in Kyoto. Having no expectations we headed to the centre via a train ride from Kyoto. After all the bustling city activities, our hearts quietened when we saw the gorgeous mountains beckoning.

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The retreat centre was situated in a wooden house, beautiful in its simplicity. Everyday during meal times and breaks we wandered around the lush greenery around us. We saw all kinds of butterflies, insects, bees and even fireflies at night! Hubby Ro spotted a crab from the nearby stream traipsing across the fields after a downpour.

True to the highest Noble Truth: To not kill any being (including any sentient creature such as animals and insects), this place allows nature to fluorish in its entire potential.

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Throughout the ten days, we were told to observe noble silence and we slept separately in the ladies and men dormitory. No physical contact or forms of communication were allowed except for questions on meditation techniques directed toward the assistant teacher and administrative matters.

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I was the only non-japanese speaking participant and most of our dormitories are situated on the first floor of the wooden house.

Note: The pictures were all taken on the 10th day on the breaking of the noble silence.

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On the second floor, we gathered daily for a few group sittings as we meditated in silence.

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Meals were served in the dining room and everything was so organized. We had to clean our own dishes and the food served were simple japanese vegetarian dishes which were seriously good. I got a copy of the recipes from our 10 days course too.

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Breakfast started at 6.30am, lunch was served at 11am and tea time at 5pm. Usually, we got rice porridge, bread toast, plums and yogurt in the morning. For lunch, we usually had udon soup, miso soup, spaghetti, soba and lots of brown and white rice with the vegetable of the day. For tea break, we got to eat bananas, orange and apples.

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We were given natural coconut extract to wash our clothes with a spinner to drain all the water away. Not forgetting the toilets which were super clean.

Here is the time schedule we had to adhere to strictly in the ten days we were there:

THE COURSE TIMETABLE

The following timetable for the course has been designed to maintain the continuity of practice. For best results students are advised to follow it as closely as possible.

4:00 a.m.---------------------Morning wake-up bell

4:30-6:30 a.m.----------------Meditate in the hall or your own room 

6:30-8:00 a.m.----------------Breakfast break

8:00-9:00 a.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall

9:00-11:00 a.m.---------------Meditate in the hall or your own room

                              according to the teacher's instructions

11:00-12:00 noon--------------Lunch break

12noon-1:00 p.m.--------------Rest and interviews with the teacher

1:00-2:30 p.m.----------------Meditate in the hall or your own room 

2:30-3:30 p.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall

3:30-5:00 p.m.----------------Meditate in the hall or your own room

                              according to the teacher's instructions

5:00-6:00 p.m.----------------Tea break

6:00-7:00 p.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall

7:00-8:15 p.m.----------------Teacher's Discourse in the hall

8:15-9:00 p.m.----------------Group meditation in the hall

9:00-9:30 p.m.----------------Question time in the hall

9:30 p.m.---------------------Retire to your own room--Lights out

The meditation techniques were intensive but we found the results very effective in helping us cope with the turbulence of our daily lives. The techniques are simple to describe but difficult to execute.Basically, Gautama taught that to have right action and speech, one needs to have right thoughts. To have right thoughts, aside from knowledge, one needs to have control over the mind and emotions, i.e focus and awareness of our own
sensations.The techniques were to aid one in developing one’s awareness over one’s senses as well as the training of equanimity; to stop reacting to sensations experienced.

Indeed everything is impermanent.
Therefore stop reacting to everything.
Start acting from will.
The path towards right action starts from knowledge and will.

6 thoughts on “Anicha – impermanence

    • Hi!!!
      We would definitely love to go for it again but maybe not so soon as 10 days was pretty long. It was hard work and we gained so much. We highly recommend anyone to go for this. It changes your perspective in life and really helps in our day to day life. They have one in Singapore too:) Let us know if you decide to go or have gone for this.

      Cheers,
      Roland & Priscilla

  1. Hi! Happened to come across your blog as I was researching on frunatic! Love the restaurant. A 10 days meditation/silent retreat is definitely a huge challenge. Give me a choice between bootcamp or silent retreat… I have to say that I’ll choose physical pain over silence lol. Having said that, im still learning the basics of meditation as I see the benefits in it. (:

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Awesome to hear you enjoy raw food! We do too. By the way there is another great raw cafe called The Living Cafe at Bukit Timah too.
      The meditation/silent retreat was an eye opener for us and it was seriously amazing!
      It teaches the most basic knowledge that things come and go.
      Just like pain, pleasure and everything in life.
      So simple a message but a tough act to follow.
      But with meditation it is possible.

      Cheers,
      Roland & Priscilla

  2. Pingback: Home Cooking: Harusame Salad and Vegetable Miso Soup Recipe from Vipassana Meditation Centre | Mr & Mrs Vegan

  3. Pingback: Home Cooking: Japanese Udon with Homemade Mushroom Broth | Mr & Mrs Vegan

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