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VIPASSANA MEDITATION 

Northern Insight Meditation Center 

WAT RAMPOENG (TAPOTARAM)
Tambol Suthep, Ampur Muang 
Chiang Mai 50200 
THAILAND

Tel: +66- (0) 53 278 620
Fax: +66-53-810 197
Email: watrampoeng@hotmail.com
Web: Wat Rampoeng
 

 

The Northern Insight Meditation Center welcomes all who are willing to learn the Vipassana-Meditation Practice to develop the mind. May you be happy, free from suffering, diseases, grief, troubles, difficulties and danger and be protected from all misfortune.


VIPASSANA-KAMMATHANA 
OR 
INSIGHT MEDITATION AND THE TECHNIQUE PRACTICED


Mental Development is a personal experience. It does not matter if you are Buddhist, Christian, Jewish or Moslem. Nor is it important what nationality or color you are, as each person in the world is longing for a better life. The Insight Meditation Technique taught here is the way to prepare a path to a better life of peace through the right understanding about one self.

MEDITATION is the English word for MENTAL-DEVELOPMENT.

There are two kinds of Meditation

  1. Tranquil - or Samatha Meditation develops concentration (samadhi) on one object to help calm the mind.
  2. Vipassana - or Insight Meditation develops self understanding through MINDFULNESS training.

The Teaching and Practice at Wat Ram Poeng (Tapotaram) is based on THE FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS.

  1. Contemplation of the body
  2. Contemplation of feelings 
  3. Contemplation of the mind 
  4. Contemplation of mind objects

Wat Ram Poeng offers a 26-day basic course in Vipassana (Insight) Meditation under the guidance of a Teacher on an on-going basis. For meditators who have completed the basic-course, a 10-day Insight Meditation Retreat can be taken which builds on the 26-day basic course.

For those who do not have time to join the full basic course, the Monastery offers the chance to try out the practice, but for not less than 10 days.

If you wish to join the Insight-Meditation course offered here, please come to the administration office with your intentions and further arrangements can be made. Once you have received official permission, please prepare the following items:


PREREQUISITES

  • The customary offering for the opening ceremony 
    • eleven white lotus (or other white flowers) 
    • eleven yellow or orange candles 
    • eleven incense sticks
  • A completed application form 
  • Your valid passport and visa 
  • Two passport photos 
  • Two photocopies each of a valid passport and visa with entry stamp
  • A working alarm clock or timer. You must be able to set the timer to five minutes exactly.
  • At least two sets of white clothing, which can be purchased from the Temple store.
    • For men: Loose, modest, non-transparent white trousers and shirt. White underwear is a must.
    • For women: Loose, modest, non-transparent white sarong or trousers, a loose white shirt with sleeves and a white `sabhai' ( a white scarf, which is worn over the breast and around the shoulder). White underwear (inc, bra) is a must.
  • All personal items, such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. should be purchased beforehand. However you can buy some essentials at the Temple's shop.

GENERAL RULES FOR MEDITATORS

What does it means to stay in a MONASTERY?

Inside of the Monastery, the 8-EIGHT-PRECEPTS are followed. Please read these in the "Opening Ceremony" notes. As well, the following points should be noted

  1. You and your clothing must always be clean, proper and hygienic. You have to wear white clothing by day and night.

  2. Please keep your room clean and tidy.
    The Precept: to refrain from killing / destroying living creatures is in itself an order not to attract insects or animals to stored food. Stored food leads to killing, which makes the precept of not killing easier to break, inadvertently or otherwise.

  3. Keep the bathroom and toilet clean in order to prevent fungi and bacteria.

  4. Meditators are not allowed to talk about their personal meditation practice or experience. Do not discuss or compare your meditation practice with each other. Your experience is your own and may not be the same as others. 

  5. You are not allowed to mix the practice with other techniques.

  6. You are only allowed to smoke cigarettes in your room, but sure it's better to avoid that burdensome habit.

  7. No kissing, hugging, holding hands, massaging or any other physical contact is allowed. No sun-bathing.

  8. While taking a bath or sleeping, make sure that the door, and window/curtains are closed and locked. 

  9. The Meditators rooms are for their privacy. Visitors are not allowed to enter the Meditators' rooms.

  10. Meditators should not visit others in their rooms. Men are not allowed to enter women's rooms. Women are not allowed to enter men's rooms.

  11. No socializing, gossiping etc.

  12. No reading; this includes BUDDHIST BOOKS. No writing (letters, dairies etc.). No listening to radios - tapes - CD's etc. No telephone-calls during your practice. Please leave mobile phone at the front office.

  13. Meditators are not allowed to leave the Monastery area without the permission of the Teacher.

  14. If you are tired during day-time, you may lay down and rest in your own room, but meditators are not allowed to sleep during day-time.

  15. Please unplug all electrical appliances when not in use and turn off all lights, fans, etc., when leaving your room.

  16. Temple Authorities reserve the right to refuse entry or expel in the case of disrespect regarding the rules or instructions.

  17. Upon completion of the course, meditators must pay respect to the Teacher at the Closing Ceremony and gain further advice from him/her about the practice.

  18. Meditators are responsible for the loss or damage of Temple properties.

  19. All Temple properties must be returned and the meditator's room cleaned before leaving. Consider yourself as the next person to use the room. Don't forget to give back the key to the office.

  20. Each evening before WAN PHRA-BUDDHA DAY meditators must share the ceremony in the VIHARN - main Temple - to renew the precepts.

  21. Donations are appreciated. All donations should be made at the Temple-office, where an official receipt can be obtained.


DAILY ROUTINE

4:00 am. 

The bell or your alarm-clock should wake you up for practice. Starting with the mindful prostration, you continue with the mindful walking practice and then sitting practice.
NOTE: Always start with 'mindful walking', then when you stop walking, take your place immediately for the sitting practice.

6:00 am. 

The bell rings for breakfast. It is your responsibility to follow the bell and arrive in the dining hall on time, because prayers are chanted before each meal.

 

  • Alms-food is considered sacred.
  • Take only as much as you will eat. 
  • Late-comers will not be served.
  • Eat slowly, mindfully and preferable alone.


To EAT ALONE means no talking. Do not make any conversation during or after meals as doing so is disruptive to mindfulness.
Wash your dish and glass immediately after eating. Take care of the rubbish and put it in its place near the sink.
After breakfast, CLEANING - WASHING - BATHING MAY BE CARRIED OUT.
Then, it is again time for practice, until the bell rings.

10:30 am. 

The bell rings for lunch.
Afterwards, it is time for Practice until REPORTING

10:00 pm. 

Sleeping time may begin while dressed in your white clothing.


REPORTING

Once a day you REPORT to the Teacher.

Here an example 
SAWASDEE - KA, AJAHN SUPHAN (women)
SAWASDEE - KRAP, AJAHN SUPHAN (men)

"You told me to do the first walking step acknowledging RIGHT goes thus, LEFT goes thus for 20 min. I was asked to do 20 min SITTING, observing and acknowledging the rising and falling of the belly as rising and falling. In total, I was told to do 7 hours. I did 8 hours.

The practice is both easy and difficult. Walking is easier than sitting, and pain is a problem, with cramped legs when thinking. I never imagined, that 20 minutes sitting could be so long. I have had doubt, anger, impatience and I was always looking at the timer. Sometimes I felt a little bit tired, sometimes the thinking became like a movie."

If the Teacher wants to know more, then he will ask you. Give short answers.

So no STORY about the pain, anger, or thinking is necessary. You do not have to find excuses as to why you are not perfect. You must just learn to understand your imperfection. Be patient with yourself.


THE PRACTICE


When you start the basic course, to learn the Vipassana Meditation, you are all YOGIES = Meditation students.

  • Acknowledging is the heart of insight meditation. It is the continual work of mindfulness to be aware and acknowledge. Insight meditation through the four foundations of mindfulness focuses on the body, feeling, the mind and mind objects. The body postures are standing, sitting, walking and laying down.

 

  • Mindfulness of the body is the acknowledgement of the bodily movement such as the rising/falling of the abdomen when breathing and the right or left foot when stepping.

 

  • Mindfulness of feeling is the acknowledgement of the happiness or suffering which appear while we are concentrating on the rising/falling. When happiness or suffering happens we stop acknowledging the rising/ falling to acknowledge the feelings. For example, when we feel the pain in any part of the body, we acknowledge "pain, pain, pain". For a while before we resume acknowledging rising/falling.

 

  • Mindfulness of the mind is the acknowledgement of our thoughts. While we are acknowledging rising/falling, our minds may think of work or home. We have to stop acknowledging rising/falling and acknowledge "thinking, thinking, thinking" for a while before we resume acknowledging rising/falling.

 

  • Mindfulness of mind objects is the acknowledgement of the five hindrances: like, dislike, drowsiness, anxiety and doubt. These exist in the minds of people of all nations. While we are concentrating on rising/falling, one of the hindrances such as pleasure may occur in the mind. We have to stop acknowledging rising/falling and acknowledge " pleased, pleased, pleased" instead. If it is displeasure which occurs, we acknowledge "displeased, displeased, displeased." If it is drowsiness that occurs, we acknowledge "drowsy, drowsy, drowsy." If it is anxiety that occur, we acknowledge "anxiety, anxiety, anxiety." If it is doubt that occur, we acknowledge "doubt, doubt, doubt." After we acknowledge the hindrances for a while, we resume acknowledging rising/falling.

 

  • The present moment is immensely important to meditation practice. Acknowledge the body/mind in the present moment develops and strengthens momentary concentration. Without acknowledgement of the present moment, meditation practice cannot progress because momentary concentration cannot occur.

 

  • Continuity is also important. Be mindful from the moment you wake up till falling asleep at bedtime. We have to acknowledge our daily activities. Once we rest after sitting we may do some work or talk without mindfulness. When that happens the mind, not acknowledging, wanders away, gets distracted, and thus the momentary concentration which has been developed will weaken.

 

  • The goal of insight meditation is to gain a clear, complete understanding of the three obvious characteristics: impermanence, suffering and non-self. Having gained an insight into the three characteristics, the meditator realizes that everything in this world is transient, subject to suffering and uncontrollable because it is not-self. Thus the mind abandons the desire to acquire, the desire to have and the desire to be.



Lord Buddha gave five purposes for insight meditations

  • To purify the mind. 
  • To get rid of sorrows and lamentation. 
  • To get rid of physical and mental sufferings. 
  • To understand the truth of life. 
  • To extinguish suffering and gain nibbana.

THE OPENING - CEREMONY


The following is the translation is of the Opening Ceremony.
The Teacher or assistant will speak the PALI-words one by one and you have to repeat them in turn.
It would be a benefit to read the translation before the ceremony.

HOMAGE TO THE TRIPLE GEM

With hands joined together in anjali, recite the passage in Pali:

Arahang Sammāsambuddho Bhagavā  Buddhang Bhagavantang Abhivādemi  The Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened and Blessed One,  I render homage to the Buddha the Blessed One
Savākkhāto Bhagavatā Dhammo Dhammang Namassāmi The Teaching so completely explained by Him, I humbly bow before the Dhamma
Supatipanno Bhagavato Sāvakasangho Sanghang Namāmi The Blessed One's Disciples, who have practised I humbly bow before the Sangha

(Prostrate after each passage)


REQUESTING THE THREE REFUGES AND THE EIGHT PRECEPTS


After prostrating three times, with the hands joined in anjali, recite the following request in Pali: 

ARAM (MAYAM) BHANTE TISARANENA 
SAHA ATTHA SILANI YACAMI (YACAMA) 
I/We, Venerable Sir, request the Three Refuges and Eight Precepts 
DUTIYAMPI 
AHAM (MAYAM) BHANTE TISARANENA 
SAHA ATTHA SILANI YACAMI (YACAMA) 
For the second time, 
I/We, Venerable Sir, request the Three refuges and Eight Precepts 
TATIYAMPI 
AHAM (MAYAM) BHANTE TISARANENA 
SAHA ATTHA SILANI YACAMI (YACAMA)
For the third time, 
I/We, Venerable Sir, request the Three refuges and Eight Precepts


GOING TO THE THREE REFUGES


With the hands joined together in anjali, repeat after the leader in Pali

namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa  Homage to the Blessed One, the Noble One, the Perfectly Enlightened One 
namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa  Homage to the Blessed One, the Noble One, the Perfectly Enlightened One 

namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa 

Homage to the Blessed One, the Noble One, the Perfectly Enlightened One

 

buddhang saranang gacchāmi (dutiyampi / tatiyampi) To the Buddha I go for Refuge. (For the second time / For the third time)
dhammang saranang gacchāmi (dutiyampi / tatiyampi) To the Dhamma I go for Refuge. (For the second time / For the third time)
sanghang saranang gacchāmi (dutiyampi /  tatiyampi) To the Sangha I go for Refuge. (For the second time / For the third time)



The Leader:
tisaranagamanam nitthitam  This completes the going to the Three Refuges

Response:
ama bhante  Yes, Venerable Sir


THE EIGHT PRECEPTS


To undertake the Eight Precepts, with the hands joined in anjali, repeat each precept after the leader in Pali:

1. panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from taking what is not given.
3. abrahmacariya veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from any kind of erotic behavior.
4. musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. surameraya-majjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating liquor and drugs, which lead to carelessness.
6. vikalabhojana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from eating at the wrong time.
7. naccagita vaditavisfjkadassana- malagandha- vilepana- dharana mandana-vibhosanatthana veramani sikkha padaivi samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to shows, wearing garlands and beautifying oneself with perfumes and cosmetics.
8. ucca sayana-maha sayana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on high or luxurious sleeping beds.


imāni attha sikkhāpadāni samādiyāmi 
imāni attha sikkhāpadāni samādiyāmi 
imāni attha sikkhāpadāni samādiyāmi 


I undertake these Eight precepts. 
I undertake these Eight precepts. 
I undertake these Eight precepts.


Leader:


imāni attha sikkhāpadāni silena sugatim yanti silena bhogasampadā silena nibbutiivi yanti tasmā silam visodhaye
These Eight Precepts have morality as a vehicle for happiness, good fortune, and liberation, Let morality therefore be purified.


REQUESTING THE KAMMATHANA

(Meditation-Practice)

Sitting in a kneeling position, with both hands together in anjali, recite the following passages in Pali:

1. Paying Homage and offering oneself to the Buddha
imāham bhagavā attabhavam tumhākam pariccajāmi
Holy Sir, the Lord Buddha, the Blessed One, may I humbly offer my body and mind to your for the purpose of practicing Insight Meditation.

2. Paying Homage and offering oneself to the Teacher
imāham ācariyā attabhavam tumhākam pariccajāmi
Venerable Sir, Teacher, may I humbly offer my body and mind to you for the purpose of practicing Insight Meditation.

3. Requesting the Meditation Exercise:
nibbanāssa me bhante saccikaranathāya kammatthānam tehi
Venerable Sir, please give me the instruction for Insight Meditation so that I may realize Nibbana.

4. Extending friendship to yourself
aham sukhito homi niddukkho homi avero homi abhayā pajjo homi anigho homi sukhiattānam parihārāmi
May I be happy, free from suffering, free from enmity, diseases and grief, free from troubles, difficulties and danger and be protected from all misfortune.

5. Extending friendship to all beings
Sabbe sattā sukhitā hontu averā hontu abhayā pajjā hontu anighā hontu sukhi attānam pari hārāmi
May all beings be happy, free from suffering, free from enmity, diseases and grief, free from troubles and difficulties and be protected from all misfortune.

6. Practice the exercise of mindfulness of death (maranasati) thus:
Our lives are transient and death is certain. That being so, we are fortunate to have entered upon the practice of Vipassana on this occasion, as now we have not been born in vain and missed the opportunity to practice the Dhamma.

7. Resolving to the Buddha and his disciples:
Yeneva Yanti Nibbānam Buddha Desanca Sāvaka Ekāyanena Maggena Satipatthānā Sanninā Ti
The path taken by all Buddha's and their Two Chief Disciples, their great disciples and their Arahant disciples to Nibbana, the path which is known as the Four Foundations of Mindfullness and is the path comprehended by the wise, I solemnly promise to practice to attain that Path, the Fruition and Nibbana, according to my own initiative, from this occasion onwards.

8. Imāya dhammānudhamma patipattiyā rattanatayam pūjemi 
With this practice of Dhamma, worthy of Dhamma, I worship the THE TRIPLE GEM


Khamapanakammam
Asking for Forgiveness

It is advisable, in the Teachings of the Lord Buddha, that when a person has done wrong to another - by thought, word or action - to ask for forgiveness of the wronged person. One should not have thoughts of revenge against the former, but should forgive the other for their wrong doing.

If a person undertakes the meditation practice with thoughts of anger, hatred or revenge against the Teacher, he will not be able to progress in the meditation. Therefore, it is advisable to beg forgiveness from the Teacher before beginning the meditation practice, during the course of the practice (when wrong doing has occurred) and upon completion of the practice, when taking the Closing-Ceremony.

To ask forgiveness, with hands joined together in anjali, recite the following passage in Pali


Ācariye pamādena dvārattayena katam
Sabbam aparādham kamatha me (kamathu no) bhante

Forgive me (us), Venerable Sir, for all wrong doing done carelessly to the Reverend One by way of the three doors -mind-speech-body.

The Teacher then responds

Aham Khamāmi Tayāpi (Tumhehipi) me Khamitabbam

I forgive you (you all), you should forgive me.

The disciples then responds


Khamāmi (Khamāma) Bhante
I (We) forgive you, Venerable Sir. Then the disciples prostrate three times.


THE CLOSING-CEREMONY

The steps of the Closing Ceremony is similar to the Opening Ceremony.
- Homage to the Triple Gem. 
- Requesting the Three Refuges. Change "ATTHA SILANI to PANCA SILANI".
- Change Eight Precepts to Five Precepts.


THE FIVE PRECEPTS


To undertake the Five Precepts, with the hands joined in anjali, repeat each precept after the leader in Pali:

1. Pānātipātā Veramanī Sikkhāpadang Samādiyāmi I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnādānā Veramanī Sikkhāpadang Samādiyāmi I undertake the precept to refrain from taking what is not given.
3. Kāmesu Micchācārā Veramanī Sikkhāpadang Samādiyāmi  I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musāvādā Veramanī Sikkhāpadang Samādiyāmi  I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Surāmeraya-Majjapamādatthānā Veramanī Sikkhāpadang Samādiyāmi I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating liquors and drugs, which lead to carelessness



Leader:

Imāni pañca sikkhāpadāni silena sugatim yanti silena
Bhogasampadā silena nibbutim yanti tasmā silam visodhaye

These Five Precepts have morality as a vehicle for happiness, good fortune, and liberation, Let morality therefore be purified.


ADDITIONAL ADVICE TO FOREIGN MEDITATORS

  • In Thailand, the feet are considered to be the lowest part of your body. Therefore, it is rude to point your feet at anyone. While sitting and during meal times, please be aware of this and sit with your legs either crossed in front of you or to the side.
  • Be also aware that it is rude to point your feet at any Buddha images.
  • The mats in the temple are to be used by the monks only, please do not use or remove them.
  • Do not touch the top of any Thai person's head, as this is also considered rude.
  • Don't hang your under wear and socks outside. Let them dry in your room.
  • Should you wish to leave the meditation practice earlier than planned, you must inform the office or the Teacher, so that a Closing Ceremony for you can be arranged. It is very disrespectful to leave the Monastery without informing the Teacher.

Atchan Suphan

Vipassana Meditation Teacher

PHRAKRU DHAMMATHON SUPHAN ACINNASILO
(short:  Atchan Suphan)

 

THE ABBOT OF 

WAT RAM POENG
(TAPOTARAM)