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.

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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。

Health & Beauty











另外,科學家還發現,靜坐時大腦中出現的大量α波,可很明顯的促進一種荷爾蒙激素的增長,從而會使血管擴大和血液暢通,會使人體機構組織細胞進行新陳代謝不可缺少的物質— —

三磷酸腺甙明顯增高,會大大增加人體的免疫功能。 據《世界科技譯報》報導:美國瑪赫里希處置大學,自然醫學和預防中心主任羅伯特•施奈德經多年研究後說:「超脫靜坐似乎能夠恢復身體的自我修復機制和自我平衡的機制,它對神經激素和部分神經系統都起作用,從而有助於緩解心髒病和其它一些疾病的症狀……這種技術是一個自然輕鬆的過程,能使你達到舒適安靜的機敏狀態。」



久坐必有禪 小乘佛教講:「久坐必有禪。」 靜坐不但可增長功力及養生療疾,另外還可以開悟增智、頓悟宇宙人生大道。







《大智度論》曰:「 菩薩身雖遠離眾生心常不捨,靜處求定獲得實慧以度一切。」

《昭德新編》中云:「 水靜極形像明,心靜極則智慧生。」

超覺靜思是大腦充分發揮機能最高技術 根據地球物理學家測定得知,空間電離層與地球共振的休曼波是8至14赫茲,而這個頻率與人體打坐入靜時的腦電波基本相近,故在物我兩忘的空靈境界下打坐會發生人天共振證悟人生大道、宇宙真諦。科學家經實驗還證明:通過有序的訓練,人體完全可以學會控制和調節自己的大腦電波,而當身體和精神完全處於放鬆狀態時,其記憶力幾乎是無窮無盡的,並發現這些人的記憶沒有明顯的飽和點。


許多科學家認為:超覺靜思是大腦充分發揮機能最高技術,它能夠巧妙地激發大腦的左半球的力量去影響右半球,從而使右腦最大限度地發揮思維能力。 綜上所論,禪修的作用不僅僅是強身健體、袪病延年、開慧增智,它還對探討研究功法和人體生命科學的奧秘起著積極的作用,它甚至對科學技術的發展及揭開自然界之謎都有著深遠的意義和作用。


習練過冥想打坐的人都說,打坐使他們精力充沛,有些人表示他們只需要短暫的睡眠即可。雖然許多研究顯示,打坐時腦部活動的腦波形式改變了,且神經元自發放電節率會協調一致,但打坐是否真的會起到像睡眠一樣使人恢復精力的作用? 美國肯塔基大學(UniversityofKentucky)的歐哈爾與同事,通過「心理動作警覺作業」肯定了以上的問題。這是一種公認的測試睡眠缺乏對人思考敏銳度的影響的研究方法。研究人員讓受試者盯著計算機螢幕,只要看到一個影像出現就馬上按鈕。一般情況下,人們會在200-300毫秒內反應,但是一個缺乏睡眠的人則會花很長的時間,甚至有時根本就沒意識到影像的出現。歐哈爾等讓10個較為疲憊的受試者分別在經過40分鐘的睡覺、打坐、閱讀或者聊天后做以上的測試。

令研究人員震驚的是,儘管所有的受試者都從來沒有習練過冥想打坐,但經過40分鐘打坐,他們馬上就有卓越的表演;而40分鐘的小睡後,受試者則需至少1小時才能從朦朧中清醒過來,做出較好的表現;閱讀或者聊天對恢復精力沒任何幫助。 歐哈爾說,在冥想打坐40分鐘後受試者每個部份的測驗表現都得到了改善。在受試者一個晚上沒有睡覺的情況下,冥想打坐帶來的效果尤其驚人。




Beta / β波(14HZ以上)人清醒時大部份時間處於β波為優勢波的狀態。隨著β波的增加,身體逐漸呈緊張狀態,因而削減了體內免疫系統能力,此時人的能量消耗加劇,容易疲倦,若不充分休息,容易堆積壓力。適當的β波對注意力提升以及認知行為的發展有積極作用。

Alpha / α波(8——14HZ)α波為優勢波時,人的意識清醒,但身體卻是放鬆的,它提供意識與潛意識的橋樑。

Theta / θ波(4——8HZ)θ波為優勢波時,人的意識處於半醒半睡的入夢狀態,身體深沉放鬆,對於外界的信息呈現高度的受暗示狀態,即被催眠狀態。θ波對於觸發深沉記憶、增加靈感、提高創造力、強化長期記憶等幫助極大,所以θ波被稱為「通往記憶與學習的閘門」。

Delta / δ波(0.4——4HZ)δ波為優勢波時,為深度睡眠、無意識狀態。人的睡眠品質好壞與δ波有非常直接的關係。δ波睡眠是一種無夢很深沉的睡眠狀態,如果在輾轉難眠時自己召喚出近似δ波狀態,就能很快的擺脫失眠進入深沉睡眠。睡美容覺追求的就是這種時間短但深沉的睡眠。此外,根據科學研究,δ波亦是開發人類直覺雷達系統,以及超能神秘力量的關鍵。


根據2007年美國政府一份調查發現,美國打坐人口超過二千萬,也就是每11人中就有一人在過去有打坐的經驗。越來越多的醫學中心也開始教導病患打坐冥想以減輕疼痛和壓力。在各診所和醫院,各式的冥想課程有二百多種,多數都是將注意力集中在一個心像、一個聲音或者自己的呼吸上。雖然表面上看起來很簡單,但是這種做法的確起作用。 一些基金會也與學校合作,提供課程讓學生在校園練習打坐冥想。小學的老師說,教兒童打坐可使他們安定下來,同時能夠延長注意力持續的時間、增加專注、增進記憶力。





藉助先進的大腦掃瞄技術,科學家已經開始證明,打坐能直接影響大腦的功能與構造。以腦部掃瞄研究長期打坐的人,對照另一組從未打坐者,發現長期打坐的人其大腦中主宰專注、身體內部感覺敏銳度的區域增厚了。這些人會警覺到自己憤怒或忐忑不安時引起的肌肉緊繃。 今年5月加州大學洛杉磯分校的研究發現,打坐的人大腦中負責注意力與調節情緒的部份,其容積較大,而且大腦灰白質較多,可以提高智力功能。此外,大腦皮質有一塊區域會隨著年紀老邁而自然變稀薄,而打坐可以減緩變化的速度。


威斯康辛大學的神經學家理察戴維森說,他的研究發現,即使是打坐新手,其大腦中對人類有益的區域也有更多的活化作用。這些區域越活化,身體對流感疫苗的抗體反應更大,更能增強疫苗的保護作用。藉由改變大腦,打坐影響了許多生物過程。隨著研究的不斷擴大,科學家解開了更多圍繞著打坐冥想的謎團。而對於那些長期打坐的人,其效益早已不證自明。35歲的俄亥俄州眾議員提姆瑞安每天離家前至少打坐45分鐘,因為國會山莊喧騰的議事讓他非得養精蓄銳才能泰然自若地應對。他表示,打坐幫助他維持思緒清明,注意力更集中,使他能成為一個更好的聽眾,並能迅速作出具洞察力的分析。他說,我比過去更醒覺,也更享受我的生活。 對於「打坐」大家應該並不陌生,也知道是想要靜心或修行的人採用的方式。但是打坐到底有什麼效果呢?



紐伯格博士比較了西藏喇嘛在打坐中及打坐後,大腦皮層活動部位的變化。他利用一種叫作正電子斷層掃描(SPECT)的技術,通過比較喇嘛在打坐入定和出定後的大腦局部血流斷層顯像,觀察大腦局部血流量的變化,從而推斷打坐入定時大腦哪些部位活動增強,哪些部位活動減弱,來了解打坐冥想時大腦皮層的活動情況。 研究發現,打坐入定時大腦的額葉,也就是大腦的前部活動增強,但大腦的枕葉,即大腦的後部活動減弱。紐伯格博士解釋:「通常在人們集中註意在某一特定事物時,大腦的前部活動增強,同時,大腦的後部活動會明顯減弱,這個部位一般被認為是在方向感、立體感等方面起作用。這些結果可以說明為何人們在冥想打坐中,通常有忘我及失去時間、空間的感覺,這正是實驗中所觀察到的。」


紐伯格博士談到,自己從兒時起就一直在思考關於現實、真理和神的問題,這些思考也引導他日後利用神經科學及大腦影像技術的專長,進行大腦、心靈和宗教修習之間關係的研究,這些研究有助於了解宗教修習對心理和生理健康的影響。他談到研究發現健康與心理有直接的關係,且顯示打坐能幫助降低血壓,減慢心率,減少焦慮和減輕抑鬱,他也認為對物質世界和人類內在世界的研究,對人類來說是同樣有益處的。 紐伯格博士還發現到一個特別的現象。他在研究中發現,當人們在打坐時會感受到「精神心理」方面的神奇體驗,而這種精神上感觸到的體驗,遠比日常生活中所感觸的事物,要來得更真實。 這也說明,人們在精神心理方面所經歷的體驗,可能比我們日常用感官所感受到的,感觸更為強烈且更清晰,更具有真實感。


原文來源: http://www.nikki.orgs.one/show/331435

Health & Beauty, Hypnotherapy, Spiritual Enrichment

Breethe – Guided Meditation App

Do you have a favorite guided meditation app on your phone?  I have tried a few such as Headspace, Calm, RelaxMelodies, etc, and my favorite is this one, Breethe.  I started with their free version which only give you a taste of it.  I liked it enough and wanted more so I paid in order to unlock all content with a Premium membership (I choose the 2 year $120 plan)

你有最愛的靜坐冥想的App嗎? 我自己試用過幾個 – Headspace, Calm, RelaxMelodies, 而我的最愛是Breethe. 我一開始是先試用它免費版本, 當然選擇有限, 所以我後來就改用付費版本, 果然差很多.

Plans:  付費方式有月付, 年付, 或一次付二年.
Premium membership unlocks all content and features for the duration of the subscription.
Monthly: US$ 12.5 per month & Yearly: US$ 89.95
Monthly and Annual subscriptions automatically renew at the rate secured at the time of purchase unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period. Auto-renewal can be turned off easily at any time by selecting Manage Subscriptions in the user’s Account Settings after purchase.
2 year: US$ 119.95 does not auto renew.

Prices in USD may vary due to exchange rates. Payment charged to iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase. For more info, consult https://www.omgmeditate.com/terms-and-conditions/

Inside of the Life Situations, it has Morning, Night, Pressed for Time, On the Go, Breethers, Relationships, Happiness, Life, Personal Growth, Health & Wellness, Workplace, Performance & Success, Stress & Anxiety, Spiritual, Relaxation, total of 15 sessions.  From Wake up with Intention/Gratitude/Energy/Confident, to Transition to Sleep Meditation, Dealing with Confrontation, Loving Yourself, Finding the Ideal Job, Coping with Grief, Managing PMS, Weight Loss, Master your Memory, etc.

付費版本的內容真的很豐富, 包羅萬象, 而且時間有長有短, 很方便.

You can play this Youtube to get a sense of the voice, the speed, and the content.  I really like the woman’s voice (her name is Lynne Goldberg).  I listen to the night time meditation to fall asleep every night.

你可以試試這個Youtube版本感受一下. 我每天晚上都要聽入睡冥想版本的才睡得著.