The whole point of Vipassana is to decondition the mind so that one can live a happy life. A life full of love, compassion, and goodwill for all.
-Satya Narayan Goenka
When one talks about meditation, it is mindfulness meditation that usually takes a center stage. However, Vipassana has also grown in popularity over the past few years.
It is one of the oldest meditation techniques originated in India but very few people know what is Vipassana meditation in real.
If you’re one of those beginners, this article is for you. Today I bring you 7 surprising facts about Vipassana meditation that you might have never known:
1. Vipassana meditation is taught free of cost in 10-day meditation retreats all over the world
Yes, that is right! All vipassana meditation retreats are run on a volunteer and charity basis. People do not have to pay even a single penny for attending these retreats.
They provide accommodation as well as vegetarian meals three times a day to all participants. Participants have to abide by the strict rules and regulations and code of conduct of the retreat.
I’ve been to one such retreat and my experience of 10-days in silent meditation was nothing short of spectacular and life-changing.
2. Vipassana meditation originated in India but eventually, the technique became lost from the country over centuries
It is surprising how many people in India are not even aware of Vipassana meditation. In fact, many people raise their eyebrows if you talk about meditation or some would even scoff on mentioning a meditation retreat.
And this is just sad and ironic, that the country once known for its spiritual power and heritage has become largely oblivious to it and believe so many myths about meditation.
3. There are 74 vipassana centers in India alone and total 168 centers all over the world
Since 1974 when first vipassana center became operational in Igatpuri, Maharashtra, India, it has grown over to 168 centers all over the world. In addition to this, vipassana students conduct meditation sessions at additional 129 non-centers in various locations.
4. The meditation center in Igatpuri, Maharashtra is the largest and the most popular meditation center
The first official vipassana center by SN Goenka, Dhamma Giri is located in the picturesque location of the Western Ghats in India in Igatpuri.
Due to its immense popularity, you would have to book your place immediately as soon as bookings open 3 months in advance to learn Vipassana meditation at Igatpuri.
5. Kiran Bedi conducted Vipassana meditation course first time in jail
In one of the most inspiring examples, first woman IPS of India, Kiran Bedi conducted a vipassana meditation camp for the first time in a jail. She conducted 10 day course for people in Tihar Jail in 1994. S.N. Goenka fondly called her Karuna Bedi after her efforts to uplift the lives of prison inmates through Vipassana.
6. Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment through Vipassana meditation 2500 years ago
Gautam Buddha rediscovered the technique of Vipassana while he was looking for enlightenment. He passed on the technique to his disciples in India after which it helped millions of people.
7. Practicing or learning vipassana meditation does not make you a Buddhist
Despite its popularity, some people develop a misconception that Vipassana is a religious practice only for Buddhists. This cannot be further from the truth. In reality, any person who is looking to improve his life and willing to get to know his true self can learn and practice Vipassana meditation.
In fact, not only Vipassana but also doing mindfulness meditation for few minutes a day can bring subtle yet significant changes to your life.
So, if you’re looking to seek mental peace or just want a break from your day to day life, going on a Vipassana meditation retreat can be immensely beneficial to you.
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