|It was late summer when I took my first ten-day
course at Dhamma Bahnu in
Kyoto, Japan. Pain in the legs, sleeplessness and daydreaming made my challenge
a very difficult one. Regretting to have taken the course from the start, I struggled
a lot. But somehow I managed and endured.
On the fifth day a strange thing happened. It was nearly toward the end of the
evening group meditation when I was about to complete the second round of
Vipassana on that hour. Observing gross and subtle sensations of the body inch by
inch, I was coming back near the top of the head where I had first started. Only a
few inches more to get there. Closing chanting had already begun. One last inch
more to go. And finally I made it !
The moment I completed the round, my body turned transparent and indigo blue.
It instantly became a starry universe. Millions of stars started sparkling inside of
me. It was a breathtaking view. Everything was so quiet and peaceful even for just
a second. Then all of a sudden those stars started to move in a whirl with an
incredible speed as if they were being blendered. Next moment I felt an electric
current running through my body. My arms were burning. My whole body was
trembling. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't comprehend what was
Then the group-sitting came to an end. Excited and overwhelmed by the unexpected
sensations, I still could not move and I kept sitting during the break and the following
discourse. Later in the end of the day interview I told Assistant Teacher about
my experince. He showed little interest in my story. Instead, he said "Those things
will change. Your job here is to remain equanimous and not to react." I repeated
it to myself. "Those things will change. My job here is to remain equanimous and
not to react." Yes, everything is bound to change.
I went out into the garden. There were already plenty of dewdrops on the grass.
A skyful of stars were twinkling and sparkling. The Milky Way was clear in sight.
Cassiopeia, Pleiades, Cygnus and other constellations were traced. I realized that
my body was void and gaseous just like this spacious sky where countless stars
were sparkling and moving so rapidly. My body felt solid and tangible. But the fact
was that it was gaseous and empty. It might be mine and it might not. Who was this I?
Suddenly it occurred to me that I had always been so selfish and egoistic up until
this moment. I apologized God, the creator of the universe, for having been so
self-centered in all respects. At the same time I thanked Him or Her for letting
me know all this truth. Tears rolled down my cheek. I cried out loud, not for sorrow
but for inexplicable joy. At least at that moment I was humble enoughto thank
everyone and everything.
Lying down on the log bench, I looked up at the sky again. The whole universe was
a vivid organic entity now. I could even sense it was revolving very slowly. The
starry sky way up there and the starry universe inside of me I glanced at a short
while ago were beautifully resonating. I felt so assured and secured, happy and
content. There were still those residual trembling sensations in my body that did
come and go like the tide.
Since then my meditation became calmer and easier. One big difficulty was that
I tended to crave for another extraordinary experience. Well, it did not happen
again. No more stars, no more Vipassana shocks. Instead, much finer ripple-like
vibrations came about.
The days passed and the course was about to end. Final discourse was given. The
story of swimology was impressive. "Now you have sown a precious seed of Vipassana,
water it everyday, make a fence around it, or a cattle will come and eat it away."
The Water is everyday morning and evening meditation. And the fence is@sila,
samadhi and panna. Then the prayer of Metta was given, the last lines of which
shattered me. I really did seek pardon and pardoned all.
|After the first course I took four other courses and
served twice now. My second
course was more or less quiet and I could see the whole world vibrating. But, the
third one was extremely difficult. Deep seated impurities came up and they over-
powered me. I thought I would have died with all those storms and turmoils. But
somehow I managed and endured.
Each time the result of meditation was different, but always fruitful. Some of the
changes I found are; (1)decreased anger and anxiety, (2)increased calmness of the
mind, (3)more objective observations, (4)efficient solution of the problems and
(5)positive environmental transitions.
One day I went to a local meeting held at a sushi bar. There were six people
including me. As the discussion got heated up, one member insulted another over
a small matter. The insulted fought back right away. Then a furious quarrel broke
out. Some tried to stop it only to fail. On the contrary, they all got involved in
the dispute, excepting me who was a lot younger than the rest of the group.
The scene became literally a touch-and-go. Since it was not long after my third
meditation course, I had been doing anapana all the while with my eyes open and
tried to observe the situation as objectively as possible. Then I honestly and calmly
expressed my opinion. Fortunately they turned ear to me and soon reconciled.
They thanked me for all this, but I myself was astonished by the instant effect
brought about by meditation.
Three years ago I had an opportunity to go to San Francisco to take part in a
seminar of Strain-Counterstrain, an osteopathic technique. Since my health was
not quite good then, I was worried about the long flight and the jetlag and all. I took
a pair of eyemasks and earplugs with me so that I could meditate well on the
airplane and elswhere. I sat up on the plane seat and meditated as often as possible.
I sat on the floor in my hotel room and meditated as many hours as possible. The
trip went uexpectedly smooth and wonderful. Besides, I met a Vipassana meditator
in that seminar who had learned it in India from S.N. Goenka about twenty years ago.
He helped me a lot during my stay in San Francisco. Dhamma works!
I do not sit everyday now as I am lazy. I still eat meat and drink alcohol, though
much less now. So I know my watering is not enough and my fence is not strong.
Nevertheless, it is more than obvious that Vipassana has changed my life. It should
really be the way to be.
Now I remember the striking remarks S.N. Goenka made in his discourse at
Satipatthana Sutta course which went something like this: I believe Vipassana is
the best way of life, but even to that I do not have attatchment.
Ota, Yohtaro (1999)