Maha Satipatthana Sutta

I am back from Igatpuri after attending the 8 day Satipatthana. Well, it goes without saying that the course was brilliant. Again nothing new in terms of practice but the discourse is different. It explains teachings of the Buddha himself. Maha Satipatthana is the first discourse given by Gotama, the Buddha in a place called Kuru. He explains the path for getting free from the whole process of becoming( birth after birth). Of course the path is Vipassana or to put it simply its just a process of observing objectively. To observe objectively is to maintain equanimity because it is impossible to observe anything objectively without remaining equanimous. Again, don't believe me, find it experientially. Thats the beauty of this technique, you experientially discover the truth. If we can just sit doing nothing but observe what ever sensations are cropping up on the body, nature will start revealing the whole of existence to us. It is in this context, that the Upanishads talk about non-doing.

Satipatthana is a course only for old students, hence the people are much lesser and also quite serious about the course. Indeed, its much more intensive and fulfilling as compared to the normal 10 day courses probably because the seriousness of the others rubs on to you which in midst of new students tends to be lesser. An important change that I consciously incorporated in myself was straightening my posture. I had realized that my back used to bend automatically when sitting for longer hours. Hence, I made a conscious effort to keep a straight back during Adhithana period. Of course, it was quite painful the first 3 days but the wisdom of anichya saw me through it quite peacefully. I found that for almost more than 80% of the time, I am able to observe pain as just pain and not identify myself with it. But this is only during times of meditation. The Buddha says

Atapi Sampejano Satima

which means, that a diligent student will every moment be aware of the process of ariving and passing away. That sums it all. Also, I am strongly beginning to feel that meditation is not an act, but a quality. Right now, we meditate for a few hours and do it like an act. But if it remains an act then we will need to be performing this act every moment and hence wont be able to do anything else. But when it becomes a quality, one becomes meditative and does not need to do meditation. Only when we build this as a quality, we will be able to remain aware every moment and keep doing other thingys.

I met a lot of interesting people whom luckily I have been able to keep in touch with. Kenny ( Ken Walpole ), Bunty ( Surendar Singh ), Sunil, Simon are some of the people I interacted with.

  • Kenny - Works for NGO Rids-Nepal. Provides electricity to remote villages in Nepal using solar panels. An excellent writer/poet doing very inspiring work.
  • Bunty - Owns a production company and deals in ad films. I feel he has read every book on philosophy, spirituality and religion ( a lot other areas too!). He can go on talking for hours continuously and still keep you amused.
  • Sunil - A film director. Is currently directing a film called Waiting Room. Has made a documentary on the life of Buddha. Wow, at least i know someone in the film industry.
  • Simon - Works on Intrusion Detection Systems. He is currently on a dream trip going from Igatpuri to Dharamsala to Bodhgaya and of course attending Vipassana courses as well.

Kenny, Bunty, Sunil and me met up at Bunty's office, watched the movie Johnny Gaddar ( as Kenny wanted to watch a Indian movie ), ate some tasty spicy misal pav, lots of chai and had a wonderful group meditation. Nothing better than meeting up with fellow Vipassi's with whom you have done a course with.