For the first three and a half days, the class wasn’t practicing Vipassana, but Anapana, awareness of respiration. This was used as a way to train the students’ mental concentration and to get them ready for Vipassana meditation. So today, after observing my own breathing and my nose for so many days, I finally got to learn Vipassana!
To liberate from suffering, there are 3 trainings/steps – sila (戒, morality, purity of actions), samadhi (定, concentration, control of one’s own mind), and panna (慧 wisdom). To gain wisdom, one should start with sila. The precepts of this course and Noble Silence are some means to help students to stay moral and keep purity of actions, so then, the students can obtain a calm, focused mind. And only when the mind is calm and focused, one can gain wisdom and insight which purify the mind further.
And after listening so much about the teaching of the Buddha, having a strict vegetarian diet, and living by a tough 4-to-10 schedule, sometimes I felt like I were a monk in the Shaolin Temple, practicing some high-level internal chi gung (內功心法) or something from a kung fu instruction manual (武林秘訣). Haha 😀
Today discourse talked about 3 basic characteristic of nature – anatta (無我, egoless), dukka (苦, suffering), and anicca (無常, impermanent). While I understood anatta and anicca, I didn’t get why dukka is a characteristic of nature. So I asked the teacher and he explained that instead of suffering, dukka in Pali actually means no perfection (無十全十美). Okay, that made more sense, at least it sounded less pessimistic.