Entry # 10: 10-Days of silent MEDITATION & Buddhist philosophy

Dharamshala Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 46 › view all entries
This is Tushita Meditation Center where I spent 10 days in silence!

MEDITATION: A lot of you (friends and family) have been asking me about my 10-day silent Buddhist meditation experience.  It's easier to explain in person, but let me try.... 

First, you should know that it was unimaginably unforgettable, amazing and priceless.  In a way, I feel as though I can come home now and that I've  gotten what I needed from my entire trip (and I still have 6 months ahead of me)!  It was far better and more valuable than what I thought it would be. 

I spent 10 days in silence at the Tushita Meditation Center in the forest above Dharamsala (home of the Dalai Lama).  I spent most of each day in a small Gompa (Buddhist Temple) sitting on old worn-out pillows listening to a fascinating monk teach us about Buddhist philosophy, practicing meditation and doing yoga.

No talking!
  In the evenings, I read, thought, and wrote a lot. 

Our geshe (monk-teacher) was mezmerizing.  He explained intricate Buddhist philosophy with simple clarity.  I actually looked forward to each 2-hour teaching.  Buddhist philosophy made so much sense to me that I was instantly able to relate specific teachings to my life.  This was the highlight.  And, it made for some very successful meditation experiences.

Meditation was interesting.  We alternated between:

1) "Analytical Meditation" (focusing on specific details about a question/topic/experience/person) and 

2) "Placement (or Mindful) Meditation" (focusing, or "placing" your focus solely on your breath while counting to four with each breath).

My breakfast spot.
  In doing so, each time you catch your mind wandering, you must STOP that thought immediately and focus again on counting your breath).  But after 30-40 minutes of Placement Meditation (focusing on your breath and counting to four), your mind slows down and doesn't "catch" your thoughts so quickly.  You tend to get deep into a thought before catching yourself.  Eventually you change from quickly catching initial thoughts about things like: the train ticket you need to buy,  the email you need to send, the childhood memory you have, or the girlfriend issue, the debt problem etc....  At a certain point, you don't catch yourself until you've actually had a pretty deep or clear thought about something.  But, when you DO catch yourself, you must STOP and again focus on your breath again.
My dorm room.
  So, in essence - the result from "stopping your thoughs" is actually a "more clear and deep thought".  Does that make sense?

In a long meditation session, I alternated between 'Analytical' and 'Placement' multiple times in order to have a solid and prolific meditation session.  We did this several times a day starting at 6am.

We had to keep silence for 10 days.  There was no talking.  But, actually - that was EASY!  The hardest part was sitting cross-legged (Lotus position for those who were flexible) for so many hours each day.  My legs fell asleep at least 2,500 times!  Aaah.  That was painful - but it is an important part of meditation.  The pain keeps you from being too comfortable/sleeping and (when you forgot you had pain) it reminds (each time you forget about the pain) that you were "in the zone" for a few minutes.

The Tushita Gompa
 

We had no watches, iPods, Internet, cell phones, Treos etc....  They asked us to turn all that modern lifestyle gadget stuff in prior to starting the course.  It was not so difficult for me.  There was a gong that rang 10 minutes before each session each day to help us know where to be and when to arrive. 

There were monkeys everywhere in the trees to entertain us at dawn and dusk.  It was as if they were being paid to perform trapeze-like fun.  They were incredibley cute and funny - traversing the tree tops, pushing one another, dangling around and approaching us to chill. 

The food was simple and vegetarian (so I am healthy).  In fact, I haven't eaten meat, chicken or fish for over one month.  Being vegetarian in India is too simple.

The Gompa (Buddhist Temple)

So - in summation, this was my experience in an "ashram" in India.  For me, it was the ultimate balance between Buddhist philosophy and meditation.  The whole experience was very important for me - and a much needed place for me to be.  I am so happy that I decided to do it.  Ask me about it when I see you....!

KarinaB says:
Hi. I really enjoyed reading about your experience. I'm currently looking for a retreat centre, so it's great to have found your blog on here :) Enjoy your time in France :)
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013
rararoxybrown82 says:
Thank you for posting your experience, It was very helpful.
Posted on: Jan 06, 2013
deedeecasby says:
Hi there! That sounds amazing. I am going to book a meditation course here and am wondering how do go about booking it. Thank you for posting your experience here. Im excited about doing it. Dee
Posted on: Sep 15, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
This is Tushita Meditation Center …
This is Tushita Meditation Center…
No talking!
No talking!
My breakfast spot.
My breakfast spot.
My dorm room.
My dorm room.
The Tushita Gompa
The Tushita Gompa
The Gompa (Buddhist Temple)
The Gompa (Buddhist Temple)
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
The Stupa at Tushita.  A place to …
The Stupa at Tushita. A place to…
The Stupa at Tushita.
The Stupa at Tushita.
Dorm rooms.
Dorm rooms.
My bed.
My bed.
My desk to read and write at night.
My desk to read and write at night.
My bathroom!  Ugh.
My bathroom! Ugh.
Meditation mates!  Harrison and De…
Meditation mates! Harrison and D…
Other meditators at Tushita.
Other meditators at Tushita.
Leaving Tushita.
Leaving Tushita.
Our daily yoga instructions.
Our daily yoga instructions.
My yoga instructor (and me with a …
My yoga instructor (and me with a…
Dharamshala
photo by: jeaniejeanie