(15-21 July) 6 Day Transformative Vipassana Silent Retreat in Switzerland
(15-21 July) 6 Day Transformative Vipassana Silent Retreat in Switzerland
Vipassana is not a religion; it is a meditation technique.
Perhaps that’s what entices meditators from around the globe.
On a practical level, it improves focus and concentration.
“My teacher never asked me to convert to a religion,” says S.N Goenka, a leading lay teacher in Vipassana. “The only conversion is from misery to happiness.”
True, Vipassana is rooted in Buddhism, but there were no frills on the Buddha either. He didn’t speak in riddles. The message is simple and clear.
The Buddha’s message goes something like this: Our mind, and our mind alone, is the root cause of all our suffering. It creates ideas that are not real.
It becomes attached to situations, things, people, possessions, projections, expectations. In short, it’s a demanding child. The ego, some call it.
It’s this attachment that causes our suffering, because nothing in this world is permanent, including the mind. The mind will create an illusory world for you if you let it.
If you do associate yourself too closely with its temporary constructs of thoughts, emotions, and feelings, then — and this is in no way quoting the Buddha — you’re simply, quite … well, in trouble.
Jul 15 - 21 | Feb 15 - 21, 2019
Vipassana & Yoga
Moderate cancellation policy
What’s Included in This Package
5 days of deep Vipassana practice
Daily morning silent yoga practice (optional)
Nature surroundings and detox
6 days, 5 nights in a beautiful and rustic chalet in front of Lake Thun
Delicious, sativic meals (subtle energy)
Rediscover yourself after too long of feeling disconnected
Become stronger mentally and find inner peace
Drop out of “normal life” for a period
A chance to get away and step aside from all the hustle and bustle of city life
Guidelines for Meditators
Meditators must carefully observe the eight precepts.
Consuming alcohol and drugs, smoking, and chewing of betel are not allowed.
Restraint of the senses is highly beneficial for intensive meditation.
Meditators observe Noble Silence.
Talking is a great hindrance to progress in mindfulness meditation.
Meditators should stay alone and refrain from unnecessary speech.
Please keep reading and writing to an absolute minimum.
Socializing is strongly discouraged.
All unfinished personal, family and business matters should be taken care of prior to the intensive meditation retreat so that they do not interfere with one's meditation.
Communication with the outside world through telephone and e-mail should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Meditators should practice with the following qualities :
Sustained, continuous, moment-to-moment mindfulness from the time of waking to that of falling asleep at night
Respect and sincerity
Honesty and straightforwardness
Meditators are expected to do 10- 12 hours of formal practice a day.
Sleep should be limited to six hours per day.
Meditators are advised to perform all activities in slow motion.
Meditators must strictly adhere to the instructions of the meditation teacher.
Meditators will have six interviews per week.
Audio Dhamma-talks will be played every day.
Skipping interviews and Dhamma-talks is usually to the disadvantage of a meditator.
Do not practice other meditation methods while at this center.
Sound physical and mental health is a basic requirement for intensive meditation practice.
All meditators have to perform regular cleaning duties in the bathroom and bedroom.
This is a spiritual environment and we ask retreatants to wear non-distracting, modest clothing, which is loose and covers the body. Avoid wearing clothing that rustles loudly.
In order to maintain the quality at the center, we accept only meditators with serious commitment. New meditators will be on probation for 5 days.
Meditators who do not follow the guidelines at the center and who do not meditate seriously will be asked to leave.
Mental Health Questionnaire
This is your first exercise of Vipassana meditation at Energy School. At our school honest, non-judgmental communication with your teacher is a prerequisite for intensive meditation practice.
This bond and trust can enable your teacher to assist you to reach the fruition of this practice. Considering that knowledge of a meditator’s mental constitution will help the meditation teacher guide a meditator more effectively.
We ask that all applicants truthfully and comprehensively contact us for some questions regarding their health and mental condition prior to signing in to this retreat.
The Eight Precepts
Retreatants must carefully observe the eight precepts, during the retreat:
Abandoning the destruction of life, I abstain from killing living beings; with the rod and weapon laid aside, conscientious and kindly, I abide compassionate toward all living beings.
Abandoning the taking of what is not given, I abstain from taking what is not given; taking only what is given, expecting only what is given, and being honest at heart, devoid of theft.
Abandoning sexual activity, I observe celibacy, living apart, abstaining from sexual intercourse, the common person's practice.
Abandoning false speech, I abstain from false speech; I speak truth, adhere to truth, am trustworthy and reliable, I am not the deceiver of the world.
Abandoning liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis of heedlessness.
Abstaining from eating at night and outside the proper time, I take food only during one period of the day(forenoon).
I abstain from dancing, singing, instrumental music, and unsuitable shows and from adorning myself.
I abstain from using high and luxurious beds, in favor of valuing simplicity.
The Practice of Generosity (Dana)
Dana is an ancient Pali word meaning generosity, giving or gift.
It is directly related to the Latin word “donum” and through it to such English words as donor, donate and donation.
Dana is intrinsic to the 2500-year-old Buddhist tradition. Going back to the days of the Buddha, the teachings were considered priceless and thus offered freely, as a form of dana.
The early teachers received no payment for their instructions, and in turn, the lay community saw to it through their voluntary generosity, their dana, that the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine were provided for the teachers who in the early days were monks and nuns.
Beyond this practical dimension, dana also plays a crucial role in the spiritual life of Buddhists. It is the first of the ten paramis, or qualities of character to be perfected in one's lifetime or lifetimes.
When the Buddha gave a discourse to lay people, he would almost always begin with the importance and benefits of dana.
The act of giving itself is of immeasurable benefit to the giver for it opens up the heart, diminishes for a moment one's self-absorption, and places value on the well-being of others.
The simple gesture of offering even a flower, a kind thought or a simple meal is, in fact, a sincere form of practice. The size or value of the gift is of almost no importance - the act of giving itself generates a thought moment devoid of greed and full of loving-kindness.
In Asia, this tradition has been kept alive by the lay community supporting the teachings by contributing to the monastic centers or giving food to the monastics as they walk from house to house on their daily round of gathering alms.
Once a year there is also a formal giving of robes to the order.
Our school is keeping this old tradition alive and has operated from its very beginning entirely on the principle of generosity.
Monetary donations are used to maintain and further develop this meditation center for the benefit of present and future meditators.
Meditators are provided with two meals a day, following the Theravada tradition, namely breakfast and lunch.
In addition, juice is served daily at 7:00 pm.
Food is nutritious, balanced, clean, healthy and mostly lacto-ovo-vegetarian.
Breakfast usually consists of various cereals (muesli and cornflakes), fruits, milk and home baked bread.
The main staple for lunch is rice accompanied by a variety of salads and international dishes prepared from vegetables and soybean products.
Meditators can choose from a variety of hot drinks: coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate, etc.
Meditators with special food needs are advised to supplement their meals by bringing special food items along.
Water is naturally clean since we are very near the source where it originates.
The Vipassana Spring Retreat is being held by the Energy School International, which is located right in the front of the Lake of Thun, in Darligen, 5km from Interlaken and in a place of extraordinary beauty, in the heart of Switzerland.
The nature around this area is very generous and with an amazing view of the lake and the mountains, and nature walks nearby.
What Makes This Retreat Special
Vipassana is a form of Buddhist meditation from the Theravada tradition. It is a practice of training the mind in continuous moment-to-moment mindfulness throughout the whole day.
Through an unbroken and continuous observation of distinct physical and mental objects arising in one's meditation, a meditator will come to understand the three universal characteristics of all phenomena; i.e.: that they are impermanent, unsatisfactory and void of an abiding self.
The ultimate aim and primary benefit of this Vipassana practice is the attainment of the four noble path knowledges and noble fruition knowledges, which take "Nibbana", the State of Peace, as an object.
The mind has a tendency to be dominated by various unwholesome mental states such states as greed, anger, fear, ignorance, pride, wrong views, doubts, laziness, restlessness and worry, to name just a few.
These may be seen as the causes of suffering, both in us and in all beings. But through careful observation these unwholesome mental states will subside, allowing wholesome mental states to arise in their place.
Mental states such as effort, mindfulness, concentration, intuitive wisdom, joy, tranquility or peace, happiness, loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, contentment, and patience reduce suffering and increase a person's mental and physical well being.
This is known as the purification of the mind, which is another major benefit of Vipassana meditation. Thus it is contributing to peace in the world.
Below you can find a list of benefits of Vipassana Meditation:
Translated from the Thai teachings of Phra Dhammadhirarajamahamuni (Jodok Nyanasiddhi, PhD.)
"In the Tipitaka, the word “anekasahassa” is used, which means that cultivating Vipassana insight has literally thousands of benefits, thus making it impossible to list them all.
The following is but a short list of examples of the benefits of Vipassana meditation:
It brings one to understand the truth, both theoretically and practically, on a deeper level, for instance understanding mind, matter, the three characteristics, rapture, happiness, etc. as they really are.
It gives the mind stronger motivation, effort, patience and contentment than before.
It makes the mind able to sacrifice much more for the greater good of all, working without worrying about fatigue, happy to work, just the opposite of before practicing meditation.
It makes one want to learn about the truth, reading books and listening to teachings more and more without feeling bored.
It allows one to explain the truth much better and in greater precision than before, because one is able to explain theory, practice, and fruition, each being more profound than the last, just like the great ocean.
It improves recollection and memory, allowing one to memorize things well, not forgetting or confusing things that one has committed to memory.
It is great wholesomeness, creating goodness every moment in which one commits to practicing or teaching someone else.
It makes one not negligent because one is recollecting of both, body and mind most of the time.
It means the cultivation of morality, concentration, and wisdom according to the Buddha’s teaching.
It means following the middle way, the eightfold noble path.
It means following the one way, that way which has no other.
It means cultivating excellence in this life, preparing one for death before one has to die.
It makes one smart, understanding the fundamentals of reality, and understanding the fundamentals of everyday life better than before.
It allows one to realize supramundane reality, not being stuck in mere concepts and constructs, which are merely the playground of worldlings.
It makes people love one another, live in harmony together, be comfortable and friendly with each other, just like close relatives.
It makes people kind and compassionate towards one another, caring, sympathetic, rejoicing and congratulating others when good comes to them, not bearing jealousy towards each other.
It makes people better than people, more outstanding than people, more exceptional than people, nobler than people. It makes people special.
It stops people from oppressing each other, competing with each other, and envying or withholding from each other.
It makes people easy to admonish, not conceited or opinionated, not holding themselves up or being arrogant.
It brings people to know themselves, knowing how to maintain themselves on every occasion.
It sets one firmly in gratitude and appreciation, making one grateful and appreciative.
It causes people to reunite, because of lowering their respective egos and opinions allowing them to live together in harmony and peace.
It purifies one's thoughts, speech, and deeds, making one respectful, cool and calm.
It allows one to obtain the seven types of happiness – human happiness, divine happiness, meditative happiness from insight, happiness from the noble path, happiness from the fruit of the path, and happiness from Nibbana, according to one’s own practice or according to one’s own particular character and level of excellence.
It allows one to escape sorrow, lamentation, and despair of all kinds.
It gives one the wisdom to overcome suffering in both body and mind.
It causes people to walk the right path, to know the right way to live their lives, to not get lost, intoxicated or negligent.
It enables one to attain the noble path, noble fruition and complete and final freedom from suffering.
Even if one practice only until basic or beginner knowledge, if one works hard to keep it up and practice again and again, it can still protect one from the danger of states of loss.
If one practices until attaining udayabbayañana, seeing nāma-rῡpa arising and ceasing, seeing the three characteristics clearly 50%, one is said to be someone who has an exceptional life. It is held that if they die on that day, they are still better than someone who never practiced but lived for 100 years.
If one doesn’t yet attain the noble path, fruition and release in this life, it will be a condition for attainment in future lives as follows:
If one develops insight in the first stage of life, from 7 to 25 years, it will be a condition for attainment in the middle stage, 25 to 50 years.
If one doesn’t yet succeed in the middle stage of life, it will be cause for attainment in the last stage of life, 50 to 75 years.
If one doesn’t yet succeed in the last stage of life, it will be a condition for attainment in the maraṇasamaya, the time of death.
If one doesn’t yet succeed at the time of death, it will be cause for the mind to be pure and be born in heaven, as accords with Pāli saying “citte asaṅkiliṭṭhe sugati patikaṅha” – when the mind is undefiled and pure, a good rebirth is to be expected without a doubt. Once born in heaven, it will be support for allowing one to hear the truth before the end of the Buddha's dispensation when the bone relics of the lord Buddha will come together as one and expound the truth for 7 days and 7 nights. Listening to and practicing the teaching at that time, one will attain path, fruition and release then.
If one doesn’t yet succeed then one will be born in time for the Noble Lord Metteyya or a disciple of his or one will attain the state of private enlightenment in a suññakappa, a world period without a perfectly enlightened Buddha, realizing path, fruition and release privately.
It causes defilements – greed, anger, delusion, conceit and views, etc. to decrease.
It makes one totally and completely mindful, just like a car with good brakes.
It improves memory, allowing one to study well, and is a great benefit for students and scholars.
It can cause sickness and disease of all sort to disappear.
It causes one to be born in heaven.
It gives one firm and lasting faith and conviction in the triple gem.
It is helpful in regards to governance, in that those who have obtained training in Vipassana are easily governed, not making trouble for their peers or society at large.
It protects against stupidity, since mindfulness is the tool used to fix delusion, which is stupidity, since delusion is indeed the most important kind of stupidity that exists in every individual.
It makes one mindful in daily life and also at the time of death.
It makes people virtuous, cultured, civil and well-behaved; most practitioners will come to keep five precepts strictly at all times.
Students with poor memory or who do not well at school will find their memory improve and that they do much better at school as a result of practice.
It is very good for fixing bad attitudes; those who used to be foolish unruly, once they have gone through the practice of Vipassana meditation will once again behave themselves well.
Once one has good concentration one is assured good mental health.
It can be rightly said that one has paid homage to the Lord Buddha by way of the highest form of homage, according to his own words “even if the four assemblies (monks, nuns, lay men and lay women) take to paying homage to us with flowers and scents of all sorts, it is still not said to be true homage to us: as for those assemblies who have practiced the dhamma in order to realize the truth, only they can be said to have paid us true homage”.
It can be rightly said that we have worked together to preserve the good dhamma so that it doesn’t fade away.
It can be rightly said that we have worked together to spread the Buddha’s teaching, making it flourish and become well established for a long time to come, following the Lord Buddha’s reflection that “truly, for as long as these four assemblies continue to pay homage to us through the practice, so long will our teaching flourish like the full moon floating clearly in the middle of the night sky”.
It can be rightly said that one has seen the Lord Buddha, since one has seen the truth, as the Lord said, “one who sees the truth see me; one who sees me is said to be the one who sees the truth”.
It can be rightly said that one has undertaken a great and powerful heap of goodness as the Lord said, “O monks, when one is to speak of a heap of goodness, one must speak of the four foundations of mindfulness in order to be said to be speaking correctly”.
It can be rightly said that one has done away with doubt about whether the noble path, noble fruition and release still can be attained in this day and age, according to the Lord Buddha’s words, “O Subhadda, as long as they who see the danger in samsara practice correctly together, this world will not be void of enlightened beings”.
It can be rightly said that we have practiced according to all three parts of the Lord Buddha’s teaching, vis. the Vinaya, the Suttanta and the Abhidhamma, as was said, ”truly, the three parts of the Lord Buddha’s teaching in their entirety - that is, not leaving out one word that was passed on by those who have spread the Buddha’s teaching - can be summarized under a single teaching: to not be negligent.” And the heart of not being negligent is to never be bereft of mindfulness. And one who cultivates the four foundations of mindfulness is the very same one who is practicing Vipassana meditation."