If you wish to really immerse yourself in Vipassana, or insight mediation, perhaps you should look into a Vipassana retreat. There are a number of centres across Australia, some of them dedicated solely to Vipassana and its practices, others which come from the broader base of Theravada Buddhist meditation and its wider philosophy, that run retreat programs. A meditation retreat is a wonderful way to take a true break from day to day life and focus on what exactly is it that you want to achieve in your personal or spiritual development. Many people reach major breakthroughs when they get away from all the million and one tiny, nagging, but ultimately unimportant things that weigh them down from day to day and move into a zone where all they can do is meditate and grow.
What To Expect On A Vipassana Retreat
If you are new to the whole spiritual retreat experience, the best advice is to check a number of retreat schedules and see which one dove tails best with your personal preferences. Generally, a Vipassana retreat involves periods of instruction on the teachings of Vipassana and tutor-led meditation practice, followed by private meditation practice. Most retreats will use the teachings of Vipassana as a framework around which they may hang other related studies, such as Buddhist talks, Dharma instruction, breathing techniques, yoga, meditation walks and other forms of exercise designed to promote physical and spiritual well-being. Retreat accommodation may be quite Spartan, or simple but extremely comfortable – depending on where to book your Vipassana retreat - and meals will almost certainly be vegetarian. Whatever the level of luxury in the accommodation, the setting for the retreat will invariably be a place of great natural beauty – gorgeous spots such as the Blue Mountains, Byron Bay and Ballina in NSW, Springvale in VIC, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Claremont in WA and many other places across Australia offer retreats. There is also an increasing move towards more general health retreats beginning to see the demand for more focused, spiritual development in their clients and many are starting to allocate time in their booking schedules for visiting Vipassana teachers and their devotees.
Staying on Aussie soil to learn about insight meditation is not compulsory as there are some fantastic Vipassana centres and retreats overseas. The serenely beautiful nation of Laos has a long history of Vipassana practice and some of its ancient Wats now offer Vipassana instruction to tourists, as well as the local Buddhist population. Bali, for so long a favourite for yoga retreats also has centres that run Vipassana courses, as does Thailand. And of course, India and her neighbour Nepal have a number of locations where those wishing to explore their inner consciousness can learn to do so via Vipassana.
How To Find A Vipassana Retreat
The best way to find a Vipassana retreat which suits you is to contact your nearest Vipassana, meditation or Dharma centre. If you already practice Vipassana through a meditation or yoga school, ask your teachers and other students if they can recommend anywhere. The world of yoga, meditation and Buddhist teachings is a surprisingly small and friendly place and you are sure to find someone who has done a retreat and who can lead you in the right direction. Alternatively, check out Vipassana retreats advertised over the Internet – Theravada Buddhists are pretty computer literate, even in the wilds of Asia.