I have a strong attachment to Asia and a willingness to do Vipassana again. Vipassana is around the world. And I did for the first time in England. I read what I wrote in the past now and it touched me. I try to translate for my friends who do not speak portuguese.
Vipassana is based on the following: the idea that suffering comes from the pattern of our mind from never being in the present. From being thrown from the past to the future by our emotions and thoughts all the time. We always react with an aversion to what we do not like and with attachment to what we want and how everything is impermanent and we suffer. But everything that exists in the present is sensations. That is why they say Buddha believed that if we learned to become fully aware of our senses, and learn to be equanimous (not reacting with attachment or aversion to them) we would deeply break the pattern of the mind’s reaction. Vipassana, therefore, trains you to become aware of the body sensations (heat, pain, tingling, vibrations, etc.) and to practice equanimity (not reacting, observing the sensations “as a scientist” objectively).
Then, during the last 7 days you learn to observe the whole body. Beginning with the head, and bit by bit scanning the whole body and watching the sensations down to the tips of the toes. 3 times a day, there is a determination to sit for an hour without moving by observing what is going on, what is to feel detached, for everything is impermanent. During the retreat he observes noble silence. Silence of speech, gestures, thought, etc …
I had of course many philosophical doubts, cognitive. Being in silence was easy. Once there is a sense of tremendous support, tremendous gratitude. Since nothing is paid to go when you arrive, and as the days go by, and it is observed how everything is well maintained, it becomes increasingly evident that all that is possible because the people who were there before you donated money, so that this opportunity was also given to other people. All the delicious food you eat is prepared by volunteers who, in addition to meditating, wake up early to cook for you.
I was very lucky with the weather. The days were beautiful. Spring was coming and, symbolically, I felt the life coming back. I confess I did not notice the flowers when I arrived. Maybe it was on the third day when I was really concentrating that I noticed that the cherry trees in front of my room were blooming. I fully understood Kurosawa this time in one of his “Dreams.” I understood more Japanese who talk so much about the beauty of cherry blossoms. The festivals (hanami) to see the blossoming cherry trees (sakura) take place in Japan since the seventh century.
There are some precepts that one observes when practicing Vipassana, and one of them is not to kill. In my first three days I was sick, I had diarrhea, and a lot of stomach pain, but observing the silence, and not having much to do, I was silent. My roommate who must have noticed my massages in the stomach, placed a small glass next to my bed. When I returned to the room, without looking at her, avoiding any communication I noticed the presence of an unknown green bottle on my side of the table. I was surprised, I took the bottle and saw that it was a natural remedy for stomach pain.
It’s incredible, as little gestures like these touch you. It had been three days since I was silent and I knew that despite the silence we were there one in the support of the other, and all mutually leaning in silence. I could not say thank you, I could not write thank you, I decided that in gratitude I would put a flower on her side of the table. Since I did not want to kill anything, including a flower, I looked for a flower that had fallen. I placed it next to the table next to Liz’s bed.
The days passed, and every day I looked at the cherry trees to see how they were that day. I felt touched by my retreat to accompany the blossoming of the cherry trees. By the end of the 10 days they were completely in bloom. I finally understood all the Japanese literature I had read. It is not only that they are beautiful, but it is the process that happens every year, an impermanent process, where one day is equal to the other, where petals fly, where everything moves towards perfection, to what may seem like a a fleeting moment of beauty, to which you can not cling. I watched the process, and experienced experientially the beauty of a blossoming cherry tree. The brief, fleeting, impermanent beauty of the cherry tree though “breathtaking” is not its greatest power. The most touching thing is observing the daily process. Perhaps the most powerful is the permanence of the impermanent. Watch the cherry blossoms bloom, and know that although spring is every time different, it is always spring. To observe a cherry tree in bloom is to observe the coexistence of chronological and cyclic time.
On the tenth day, when the silence was raised, Liz came to tell me the flower on her side of the table. I explained to her that I had taken a dead flower because I did not want to kill a flower. She had clearly understood this in our silence. And of course if I had picked a living flower, it would have been killed in the act. However, somehow there, the impermanence of life and beauty of the flower mingled. The gratitude, however, symbolized in the impermanence of the material was dissociated from the material.
Maciek Turzynski Luca Boccia Andrew Tope Isabel de Pastor Giovanni Il Camminatore Saengchan Kotchakorn Alo Pavón Elizabeth Ings