Tag Archives: #priceless

I am here to serve

I did my first 10-day Vipassana course in Delhi, Gurgaon. Vipassana meditators run all the Vipassana courses on a volunteer basis – nobody is paid. They do it because they want to and genuinely too. I had to do two more courses before the desire to serve arose in me.

I remember standing at the door in Dhamm Dipa in London and saying aloud for the first time in my life – “I am here to serve.” Vipassana changed my life and continues to change my life – it is hard work, I won’t lie, but it does change the grand canyons I have built in mind consciously or unconsciously. This blog is dedicated to Vipassana and S.N.Goenka who brought this course to the rest of the world from Burma.

If you have ever done one of the 10-day courses in Vipassana as taught by S.N.Goenka, then the following will resonate with you – more so if you have served.

One of the rules we have to observe is segregation between males and females – they have separate quarters, separate dining rooms, etc. When we (dhamma servers as Goenka Ji likes to call us) are preparing meals in the kitchen, you will hear statements like
– Is the female rice ready?
– Do we need Male Olive Oil?
Everything is divided into three categories – female, male or serve because that is how we partition food and prepare the dining rooms and set the food out.

Second, gongs – I never wear my watch in Vipassana because life is so simple and everything is announced with a gong. There is a morning gong that wakes you up, gong before every lunch, gong after breaks, gong before group sits. If you miss the gong – the course manager will make sure you don’t forget. And I remember the first time I rang the gong – the vibrations from the gong centered me to the core.

Third, silence. It is a silent retreat. You do not speak unless asking for supplies or questions for the teacher when you are sitting a course. While serving there is talking but very less, and all the students are silent. There is something about the quietness that lets you hear the incessant chatter of the mind and move towards just observing it and not becoming it. Nine days of silence increases the depth to which you explore with every course.

At the end of the course, Goenka Ji says that one of the reasons there is no charge for the Vipassana course is – “What price will you pay?” The teaching is so invaluable there is nothing you can pay that can compare to the value you get. There are some things in life which are truly priceless, and Vipassana is one such gem for me.

I am eternally grateful
– to Buddha for discovering it
– to all the teachers who maintained the teaching
– to Goenka Ji who helped spread it to the rest of the world where I could receive it
– that I got the human birth
– that I was born in a period where dhamma in its pure form is being taught

My heart overflows with gratitude.
May all beings be happy!

Priceless !

This blog is dedicated to all the priceless entities.

Vipassana meditation retreats that I keep mentioning in my blogs are free – they are run on a pay it forward or donation basis. You pay with what you can and pay only if you want – a lot of people come back and volunteer for another course as it is a completely volunteer run retreat.

The reason I mention this is because in one of his discourses Goenka Ji says, “What price will you pay for this teaching? This teaching is invaluable.” And I am beginning to realize more and more how invaluable it is. It helps us get out of the suffering that comes from being in the human predicament. If Buddha hadn’t figured a way out we would have to do it on our own. Buddha went through lifetimes to find this invaluable jewel – it is truly priceless.

Similarly, if you have gone to yoga class – the sequence of asanas has a reason behind it. And the asana itself – why lift your leg only this way, why not do only the right side – there is a lot of science and art behind it. Imagine coming up with a yoga sequence, be it Ashtanga – Iyengar – Bikram.

Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). This method of yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.

How would we ever put a price on yoga?

Creativity is another example. We recently went to a Taiko performance by a Japanese Group Dadan.

There was a moment during the performance where I had tears in my eyes and I am not the sentimental type. But the energy and the creativity is so pure that you connect with it at such a deeper level that it stirs your soul and you experience a glimpse of the ultimate peace – that is priceless.

If you think about even the other items that have a price tag on it – for example a carrot – some farmer somewhere put the seed in, mother earth brought up the carrot along with little help from the weather elements like rain and sun. Someone plucked it, put it in truck, cleaned and through many other change of hands it ended up in the grocery store. Does the price tag take into account all that?

Another movement which is picking up some speed is the pay it forward movement. Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. An example of this is the Karma KitchenImagine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu and where the check reads $0.00 with only this footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those who dine after you.”

This blog is my namaste to all these priceless items which have helped me in my life and without these it would be incomplete.