For the next ten days (Dec. 4th-10th) I’ll be offline. That’s because I’ll be participating in a 10-day long Vipassana Meditation course in a meditation center (pictured above) in Bangalore. That’s a very big city about a 3-hour train ride north of Mysore. As you can see from the orientation material reprinted below, I’ll be forbidden to read or write anything during the retreat, so I won’t be able to do any direct postings on this blog site.
However, I have my homilies already written for the next two Sundays (the second and third Sundays of Advent). If all goes according to plan, they’ll appear automatically this coming Friday and the following Friday. I’ll appreciate your keeping an eye out for them.
In any case, here’s the orientation information provided for Vipassana meditators (It will give you an idea of what I’ll be up to):
Information For Participants
Bangalore Weather: Bangalore experiences a very favorable soothing weather throughout the year, neither too humid nor too dry, and is sometimes referred to as ‘air-conditioned city’.
Warmest month – April, temperatures range from 36 C to 21 C
Coldest month – January, temperatures range from 25 C to 15 C
Please arrive between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm on the day the course begins. This allows time for you to check in, get your accommodation and unpack. Late arrivals make it difficult for the staff to serve everyone efficiently and to start the course on time.
If you have an emergency and are unable to arrive at the requested time, please notify us as soon as possible. Also, after being accepted into a course, if your plans change in any way, please notify us immediately.
On registration-day, a light meal will be served at 6:00 pm followed by a pre-course orientation talk.
You are required to stay until the course is completed at approximately 7:00 am on the last day of the course. Although the course ends at 7:00 am, please allow enough time to clean your room before you leave.
When making travel arrangements, please allow sufficient time for travel to and from the centre.
What is Provided
The following items are provided by the Centre to all meditators
Top Check-list of Things to Carry
Confirmation letter/email printout
2 bed-sheets and a pillow cover with you for your use.
Enough comfortable, modest, loose clothing (preferably of cotton for your convenience) for the duration of your stay (3 sets recommended)
Torch with sufficient batteries
Basic toiletries kit – toothbrush, tooth-paste, shaving kit, soap, soap-case, shampoo, non-scented personal hygiene articles and feminine sanitary protection
Water bottle to keep at residence.
Lock and key
Umbrella / Raincoat / Sweater / Cap (as per weather)
Address, directions and contact number for the center
Bedsheet + pillow-cover
Watch (alarm clock) – though a bell will indicate the timing.
Piece of cloth for wiping feet
Nylon Rope / clips for drying of clothes
What Meditators Could Avoid
The following items are not allowed during the course. So even if brought to the center, they are to be deposited along with any other valuables, for safe custody with the management on day zero, till the end of the course.
Tight, transparent, revealing or otherwise striking clothing (such as low risers, shorts, short skirts, tights, leggings, trunks, sleeve-less or skimpy tops) should not be worn at the centre. Modest dress is required for both men and women
Books, diaries, journals and other reading/writing materials
Cell phones or palm tops. These may not be used as alarm clocks during the course.
Personal food items (see ‘Health and Food’ section below for more information)
Tobacco in any form.
Perfumes or strongly scented toiletries.
Religious or spiritual objects.
Jewellery or other unnecessary valuables.
Health and Food
A Vipassana meditation course is very demanding both physically and mentally. It is important that you are prepared for the rigorous nature of the course. After you have completed the application process if anything related to your physical or mental health changes, please contact the centre prior to the course.
For the health and safety of all the students, it is important that you are in good health when you arrive at the centre. If you are sick, or should become ill close to the start of your course, please reschedule for a course at a future date.
A simple vegetarian menu, developed to satisfy the needs of most students, is offered at all courses. Please note, no outside food is allowed at the centre and we are unable to accommodate special food requests. However, if you have food requirements because of a medically diagnosed condition such as diabetes or pregnancy, please contact the centre to see if we can meet your needs.