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'Vipassana' 10 Day Silent Meditation Course at Vipassana Meditation Centre

Home > Sydney > Courses | Escape the City | Nature | Spirituality | Vegetarian
by Brooke. A. R (subscribe)
Freelance writer from Sydney. Images are my own unless specified otherwise.
Published November 13th 2016
A challenging life experience
Vipassana meditation centre Blackheath sign
Vipassana Meditation Blackheath

Vipassana Meditation Centre is nestled in the peaceful Blue Mountains bushlands. It's a 20 minute walk from Blackheath train station, but you may want to call a taxi if you are lugging heavy bags.

'Vipassana' is a meditation technique which takes time to learn. The courses are held regularly at the Blackheath centre. They run for 11 days, of which 10 days are held in silence. The 10 days consist of intense, unbroken meditation. This means you will be sitting in stillness for at least 10 hours a day. Most of this is conducted in the pleasant meditation hall. Men and women are separated. You can speak with the course organisers if you need something. This vow of silence strictly includes no touching and no eye contact with others.

The good:

It's free. Yep, you read that right. Accommodation, meals, everything is free. If you feel the course has served you, you can donate money at the end. $300 will cover all costs incurred, but this is 100% optional. There is no pressure to donate.
Epic food. Despite the fact that dinner is a meagre two pieces of fruit, the breakfast and lunch are phenomenal. They serve home-style vegetarian curries, big nutritious salads and even an epic lasagne on the last day. Meal times are the part of the day you will most look forward to. It provides welcome relief from the painstaking boredom.
Breathtaking views everywhere you look, especially from the dining hall. Your eyes will have never been so spoiled.
The accommodation is modest, but neat and tidy.
Fresh air and clean filtered water.
Warm showers (communal).
Vipassana Blackheath Meditation Views
Vipassana Blackheath Meditation Views

The bad:

Painfully sore back and leg muscles from sitting for hours on end without movement. This begins to subside after the first few days. Definitely take as many of the provided cushions as you can carry. If you have a bad back, request a back support.
The loneliness. It is very isolating to be without human contact of any kind for 10 days straight. It is hard to prepare emotionally for this combined with the boredom. You will probably cry at some point.
The rules. These can get exhausting. There are many rules, including abstaining from eating meat, drinking alcohol and exercising. You also can't wear tight or revealing clothing. And no phones allowed.
The strict routine is tough to stick to, especially for us adults who are used to doing what we want, when we want. It's a 4am wakeup gong. Everything runs on a tight schedule at Vipassana.
The chanting. You will go through three stages with the chanting. You will find it humorous, amazing and then simply annoying. It plays over and over in your head at night. And you don't know the actual words.

Here it is in winter:
Vipassana Blackheath View from Dining Hall
View from Dining Hall

Vipassana really isn't for the faint-hearted and many people choose to leave before the full 10 days are up, though they strongly advise against doing so. If you can manage to tough it out you will reap the rewards of feeling at peace and having learnt valuable life lessons.
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Why? Spiritual enlightenment challenge
When: Held twice a month
Phone: (02) 4787 3600
Where: 212 Station St, Blackheath NSW 2785
Cost: Free
Your Comment
That would be challenging, Brooke, I would find it exceptionally difficult to sit still AND keep quiet all day!
by Elaine (score: 3|8513) 1806 days ago
Sounds difficult but very rewarding!
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 1806 days ago
This one was very challenging indeed. Love the article
by Amy (score: 1|51) 1752 days ago
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