Spiritual Enrichment

Vipassana 十天內觀禁語靜坐營

What is Vipassana? (中文版故事寫在照片之後)

I went to a 10-days Vipassana Silence Meditation Retreat at North Fork, California in the end of October.  I would like to share my personal experiences and thoughts here.  You can google it to see experiences from others.

It was interesting how I signed up and attended this retreat.  I went to see an old friend in June who I haven’t see for three years or so. During our conversation, he mentioned that he has attended Vipassana 7 times in 4 years and he is going again in October which is a bilingual session (English and Mandarin that is offered once a year), and he recommend me to attend because it helps him a lot in many ways.  Few weeks later when I flip through my photos on my phone, I realized that someone else has told me about it years ago because I took a photo of a marketing piece of the Vipassana that has their contact info on it.

I totally forgot about it until now.  So I looked at it as a sign that I should really look into it this time.  In the end, I did submit my application and got accepted.  This retreat is totally free for everyone because someone else who donate money.  It’s a donation based and you can only donate if you have attended at least one 10-days retreat.  It has a long waitlist and people do drop out in the middle of the retreat so please take it seriously.

Personally, I don’t meditate in a regular daily basis so I really don’t know what I got myself into until I got there.  Stay silent, no eye contact or interaction with others wasn’t hard for me.  I kind of like the quiet time.  By the third day I can sit very still for one hour and not eating dinner but I want to leave on the fourth and sixth days . . . .and you wonder why?

All the chanting, English+Chinese instructions and discourse are all done by recording which is about 5 min long.  The chanting is in Sanskrit or Hindi, the English has a heavy Indian accent and the Chinese has Mainland Chinese accent plus the Chinese translation delivery has totally lost the original personalities, sense of humor and the temperature of the voice.  Moreover, they play the recording in the beginning and in the end of every hour meditation.

Guess what??  It play 11 times a day!!!  I was so turn off by the recording.  I want to skip the recording but can’t.  I especially hate to listen to the Chinese instructions and the discourse.  I want to switch to the English, and ask the assistant manager but her response was no, it’s better to stay in Chinese since it was my first time. Since I offer someone a ride from the Bay area and I didn’t want to leave him there so I stay through.

By the 11th day early morning (the day we are leaving), after we finished our last Chinese discourse, assistant teacher let us go into the meditation hall to watch English discourse video.  Wait a second, the English discourse is using videos??  This was my first time listen to the English version of the discourse, and got to see Mr. Goenka, and what a big difference did it make!!!!  He was funny and loving.  Even it was the last 5-10 min of the video but I was ended up in tears.  What the hell that I listen to the Chinese for that 10 days and totally disconnected when I should have listen to the English and have a totally different experience.

So seriously, If your English is good enough, I would recommend you to take the English one.  If your native language is something else, look up the website using your native language, google search some youtube videos, get familiar with some keywords that are in your native language, then I think you will be just fine with English.  I wish I have done that before I went because I would have a totally impression and experiences for the 10 days.

One good reason to take the bilingual retreat is the food.  They do offer some Chinese food such as porridge, rice, veggie, tofu, rice noodle, hot soup, etc for breakfast and lunch; otherwise, I think the standard meals would be oatmeal, cereals, toast, instant coffee and tea for breakfast, and salad for lunch.

If you are not a regular meditators, maybe you want to attend shorter one such as 3 days or 5 days with other organizations just so you get used to the idea of meditation.  “Sitting Still” for an hour long is harder than you think, let alone that you need to do that 5 times a day or more.

By the day three, I am fine without eating “dinner” (fresh fruits and tea) because I don’t feel hungry.  However, from the day four, I slept until 6:30 for breakfast because I was so tired.  Go figure.

I am back from the retreat for two months now and I wasn’t able to continue to meditation in a daily basis. I guess it will be on my 2019 resolution wishes!!!  LOL

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Now, let me share some logistics (besides what they say online or in email) with you so you can be more prepared for your retreat.

I went in the end of October in North Fork, California.  The weather was nice, 46F to 80F, no rain.

> I would suggest to have boonie/bucket + down vest during the day, and beanie + down jacket at night and early morning because it’s cold from your dorm to the meditation hall or the dining room during the 5-10 min walk. And it will get colder as day goes on.

> Bring a indoor flip flop.  The dorm is carpeted in the room and the hallway but tiled in the bathroom.

> Bring a Thermos if you want hot water.  All the water in the dorm is drinkable; however, you only get hot water during meal time in the dining room. You can bring a kettle if you really need a lot of hot water per day.

> Make sure your flashlight is bright.

> They have hair dryers in the bathroom

> In the bathroom wall, there are different signup sheets for shower time/shower room, and cleaning day.

* * * * *

A typical daily schedule:

4:00am Wake-up Bell call

4:30-6:30 Meditation in your room or in Meditation Hall or Pagoda Cell

6:30-7:15 Breakfast

7:15-8:00 Break

9:00-9:00 Group sitting in the Meditation Hall*

9:00-10:00 Meditation in your room or in Meditation Hall or Pagoda Cell

11:00-11:45 Lunch

11:45-1:00 Break

1:00-2:30 Meditation in your room or in Meditation Hall or Pagoda Cell

2:30-3:30 Group sitting in the Meditation Hall*

3:30-5:00 Meditation in your room or in Meditation Hall or Pagoda Cell

5:00-5:30 Tea and Fruits (Dinner)

5:30-6:00 Break

6:00-7:00 Group sitting in the Meditation Hall*

7:00-8:15 Teacher Discourse* (English and Mandarin in two different rooms)

8:20-9:00 Group sitting in the Meditation Hall*

9:00-9:30 Q&A or retire to your room

10:00 Lights Out

 男女的住宿, 用餐, 活動範圍完全分開/ Men and Women has separate dorms, dining room, walking area.

每天要走的路/You walk on this path few times a day

如果下雨, 就建議穿雨鞋了.

女生宿舍之一/one of the dorm

有三間廁所, 三間浴室/ 3 toilets and 3 showers in the dorm

男女共修/分二邊坐的大禪堂/ Meditation Hall, men and women sit on different side

Pagoda 小觀房的外觀, 裡面有很多小隔間, 獨立空間打坐.

什麼是內觀? Vipassana 台灣內觀中心. (聽說台中要關掉了, 那就剩高雄)

我十月底去North Fork, CA參加一場十天的內觀禁語禪修營, 這次會去是因為一位三年沒見的中醫朋友強烈推薦, 他四年內已經去了七次, 他說對他幫助很大, 所以鼓勵我考慮參加. 後來我才發現, 數年前已經有朋友告訴過我, 只是我當時沒放在心上.  這次大概是時間點對了, 因為我真的報名也被接受參加了.

我平常沒有固定打坐冥想, 都是想到才做, 所以完全沒有心理準備實際上每天要打坐五次以上, 每次一小時會是什麼樣的挑戰和感覺. 後來發現, 維持不動的一小時打坐是可以訓練而習慣的, 但我非常不習慣, 而且後來非常抗拒排斥的, 是每小時打坐時間的前後五分鐘所聽的錄音帶.

英文的指導是葛印卡先生所錄製, 中文版另有他人直接翻譯後錄製, 而我不習慣印度口音很重的英文, 也非常受不了冷硬死板的中文直譯的聲音和內容, 因為英文版的原音起碼很有溫度, 很有感情, 很有幽默感, 而中文的完全失去那個原味.

痛苦的是, 每天要聽十一次的五分鐘錄音帶, 內容大同小異, 但一樣痛苦, 我反感到很想離開, 後悔當初幹嘛不報英文版的就好. 不過報中英雙語營的好處是食物, 因為參加的華人多, 所以他們有特別準備一些稀飯, 米粉, 豆腐, 熱湯, 炒菜等, 不然的話, 早餐可能就是麥片或玉米片, 咖啡, 午餐就是沙拉.

晚上的開示, 中文和英文是分開在二個不同空間, 我到 “最後一天” 才知道, 原來英文的是看錄影帶, 所以他們看得到葛印卡先生實際說話的樣子, 我才真正感受到他的慈悲關愛, 當他說 “May all being be in peace, happy, liberate. 願一切眾生安詳, 快樂, 解脫”, 我的眼淚忍不住流下來, 而我們中文的還是聽錄音帶, 常常聽到我睡著. 你無法想像那二者的落差之大, 讓我後悔不已啊!!!

我強烈建議, 如果你的英文程度還行, 建議你是先在網上找Youtube, 看一些影片, 弄懂一些關鍵字, 你就直接參加英文營就好, 我覺得那個體驗會好很多.  如果你平常沒有打坐冥想的習慣, 建議先去參加其他三天或五天的暖身一下, 一下子參加十天的, 需要毅力和決心.

我回來二個月了, 完全沒有繼續打坐, 我看把它列入2019年的新年新希望吧!!! LOL

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古老的印度留給世界兩種實踐方法。一種是體能鍛鍊的瑜伽體位法(Asanas) 以及調息法 (Pranayama) 來保持身體健康;另一種則是内觀(Vipassana),心的訓練以保持心的健康。任何宗教信仰的人都可以學習並實踐這兩種方法。同時,人們仍可安詳與和諧地遵循自己的宗教信仰,完全不需要改變,改變信仰往往是產生緊張與衝突的主要因素。除非内心能獲得安詳,否則世界和平無法實現。焦躁不安與安詳和諧無法共存。要獲得内心安詳的一個方法就是內觀,這是非宗派、科學的,以成果導向來自我觀察與了解實相的方法。修持這個方法,能在經驗上體驗身心是如何相互影響。 每次當負面情緒自心中產生,比如焦慮, 生氣;身體上便會升起不愉悅的感受。而内心產生無私的愛、慈悲與善意時,整個身體就滿溢著愉悅的感受。修持内觀也體驗到,心的作用引導著身體和言語上的行為,從而决定了行爲的好壞。心是最重要的,這也就是爲什麽我們要找到實際可行的方法來使内心安詳與純淨。

Trip to Taiwan

腳底按摩: 皇家巴黎, 金樂足, 6星集

回台灣, 一定要好好享受一下腳底按摩. 今天來介紹三家在忠孝復興Sogo和微風廣場附近的三家按摩店和三位按摩師. 這三間的距離, 走路大概十來分鐘.

靠近忠孝Sogo的是皇家巴黎健康養生會館/忠孝會館 (7729-5580 / 復興南路一段146號), 推薦65號楊叡霖老師 (11:00-23:00). 靠近微風廣場, 在八德路二段上有二家,

金樂足體養生會館 (2771-1928 / 八德路二段324號), 推薦99號陳薇米老師 (12:00-23:00/休週三).

6星集足體養生八德會館 (8772-2286 / 八德路二段298號), 推薦7號王柏皓老師 (14:00-01:00).

Trip to Taiwan

永康街41巷: 藏喜, 蒔尚藝坊

家住永康街附近, 但卻一直沒有好好探索. 這次無意間在同一條街上, 發現二家商店, 想和大家分享.

紅線坐到東門站五號出口, 手扶梯上來往前直走, 遇到永康街右轉直走到50嵐/肯亞Aveda左轉, 遇到第一過向子右轉, 或者遇到公園靠左側, 直走穿過公園也可以, 那條街就是”永康街41巷”. 這條街上有二家店, 蒔尚藝坊和藏喜, 二家都在巷子的同一側, 附近還有永康階咖啡館, 築地壽司店, 還有其他茶店, 咖啡店, 家飾藝品店, 中國風的服飾店.

蒔尚藝坊 (臉書) 是一間很小的店, 但是裡面的飾品很有特色, 老闆娘/設計師Tanya將中式的材質(不同顏色的玉, 珍珠, 瑪瑙, 珊瑚, 土耳其石, 琥珀, 水晶), 搭配金銀銅鐵線, 混合西式的設計, 產生現代的款式, 而且價格親民, 想買禮物的人可以來看看 (款式很少重複)。你也可以把舊的首飾拿去給她重新改造設計, 給舊首飾一個新的生命. 你可以上她的臉書粉絲頁, 她貼了很多作品照片 (雖然不常更新). Tanya 也會插花, 做皮包, 我很希望她開課教做珠寶設計和製作, 因為她的作品很有風味, 很適合拿來自用或送人. (週休一天但不固定, 12:00-9:00)

藏喜 (臉書 / 官網) 是一家專賣西藏佛教相關物品的店, 舉凡藏香, 薰香座, 書籍, 音樂, 頌缽, 飾品等等, 我是來買淨化空間用的錐香, 還有要送人的放鬆安寧的線香.  店裡的小姐很有耐心的介紹, 讓我試聞, 店內不大, 東西不少, 有需要的可以來看看. (週一休, 週二到週日 12:00-8:30)

Trip to Taiwan


知名作家/催眠師/塔羅牌師/芳療師 – 夏霏, 是BNI 大大分會的一員, 這次我回台要換眼鏡, 就問她說你們BNI裡面有沒有眼鏡公司的, 出不其然, 她馬上說 “有”. 然後就介紹我給蘆洲榮總眼鏡的老闆之一 – 莊淑美大姐.

淑美姐很熱絡好客, 看到夏霏和我, 笑容滿面地招呼我們, 還買了隔壁的蛋糕請我們吃.

淑美姐和她的創業夥伴從1989年開始, 所以也做了近三十年了, 雖然她看起來很年輕啊!!!

這家眼鏡公司有很多漂亮的鏡框, 但是真的讓我很服氣的, 是他們驗光師在幫我檢查的那個過程. 他們有幾台不同的機器做不同的檢查, 除了一般常見的檢查視力度數 (有不同尺寸的數字和不同C 的開口方向), 還有我的主力眼是哪隻, 還有檢查散光度數和角度的, 還有檢查遠距和近距的, 最後是檢查二眼瞳孔距離的. 驗光師很有耐心, 反覆不斷的確認, 因為我有時候不是很確定到底是前面那個, 還是後面那個清楚, 所以他需要反覆變更讓我看.

驗光師還很會調整眼鏡, 我原本的眼鏡戴的不是很剛好, 但我又說不出來哪裡要調, 他只是看了我一下, 然後就幫我調好了.

戴上新度數的試戴眼鏡之後, 淑美姐還是仔細的檢查鏡片的度數和放置的位子, 做了幾次微調, 我才發現, 原來微調當中還是有差異的. 後來我決定平常戴的那個變色眼鏡要配上半是看遠, 下半是看近的減壓鏡片, 這樣我就不用因為要看近而拿下眼鏡 (開始老花了), 而備用的那幅眼鏡就配看遠的就好.

一週後拿到新眼鏡, 雖然度數沒差很多, 還是要適應一下, 而且發現減壓鏡片很好用, 眼睛直視可以看遠, 眼睛往下, 可以看近.

你可以坐橘色的中和新蘆線到三民高中站的一號出口, 往回走步行十分鐘到榮總眼鏡 (新北市蘆洲區中正路5號 / 2281-9811).

非常推薦各位去配眼鏡喔, 記得跟淑美姐說你是看我的文章而去的, 她會請你吃隔壁的蛋糕!!!

Health & Beauty, Shopping, Trip to Taiwan

植村秀: 全能奇蹟金萃潔顏油


植村秀是我以前在台灣常用的牌子, 它的潔顏油從經典的黃色款, 到後來的綠色和粉紅色款, 這次我發現他還有一款新的全能奇蹟金萃潔顏油 (ultime8∞ sublime beauty cleansing oil) 是含有人蔘, 山茶花和金竹, 450 ml (台灣百貨公司賣NT$3650 / 桃園機場賣NT$3100 或二罐特價組NT$5450/美國網路賣US$95), 另有150 ml 可選.

專櫃小姐示範使用方式給我看, 然後給我試用包, 今天剛好有上妝就來試試看, 發現效果非常好, 所以來跟大家分享. 專櫃小姐說每天都應該用這個潔顏油來洗臉, 不管有沒有上妝, 但是有上粉底, 眼妝, 才真正看得出來它的厲害之處啊!!

全臉的用量是按四下, 手是乾的, 直接將潔顏油塗抹在乾臉上, 輕輕畫圈按摩的方式, 把整個臉走過一遍, 如果有上眼妝和唇妝, 就在這幾處多按摩, 全部都卸好後, 將手洗淨, 手溼, 往臉上按摩, 第二次將手沾溼, 再往臉上按摩, 一共做四次, 再用水潑臉洗淨, 就算完成. 它真的把防水的眼線和睫毛膏都輕鬆卸得乾淨, 而皮膚也沒有乾緊的感覺, 非常好用啊!!! 再也不用棉花棒沾卸眼唇液慢慢的卸妝, 不用拉扯眼部細緻的皮膚, 更好.

美國現在沒有植村秀的專櫃了, 只能網上購買. 若有回台灣, 機場的價格挺好的!!