In May 2018 I attended a 10-day vipassana course in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Shortly after taking the course, I really wasn’t sure whether or not I’ll be taking one in the future. Fast forward to August 2019. I applied for a Vipassana course in Poland, made travel arrangements and a handful of weeks later I found myself in rural Poland, attending a vipassana course.
I ended up finding
Vipassana meditation has been around for more than 2500 years and
How much does it cost?
The Vipassana course in Poland, just like any other Vipassana course, is entirely free – the food, the accommodation – everything is free of charge. If you enjoyed your experience, you can donate money which will help the center tremendously. If you find a course for which you’ll need to pay, then it’s not a course as taught by S.N. Goenka. For more information about Vipassana meditation, I highly recommend checking out this website. For a list of Vipassana centers, click here.
How to apply
Applying for a vipassana course is super easy. You simply go to their website and pick a course in your desired country. They have courses all over the world and it should, therefore, be relatively easy to find a center near you. You only really need to fill out basic information (name, address, etc.) as well as a health questionnaire. I got a response within a week of applying to the course!
My 10-day vipassana course
I took a 10-day vipassana course in Dziadowice, Poland. As an “old student” (someone who has previously attended a vipassana course) you get one meal at 6 AM and the next one at 11 AM. At 5 PM we had tea. New students were allowed to have fruit (along with tea). As an “old student”
There are a couple of rules that are being explained in detail at the beginning of the course. This is a rough break-down of the most important ones.
- Follow the five precepts for the duration of the course (no killing, no stealing, no sexual activity, no lies, no intoxicants)
- Old students need to follow three additional precepts (no eating after midday, no sensual entertainment and bodily decorations, no high luxurious beds)
- Meditate exactly as instructed, without adding to or ignoring any part of the instructions
- Other techniques, forms of worship and rites must be discontinued
- Noble silence must be observed from the beginning of
the courseuntil the morning of the last full day. Any form of communication with other students is prohibited
- Men and women are completely separated at all times
- No physical contact between persons of the same or opposite sex
- No physical exercise
- No religious objects
- No drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants
- No tobacco
- Clothing should be loose and simple. No tight, transparent or revealing clothing.
- No outside communication
- No reading, writing or playing/listening to music
- No phones/tablets/cameras
Given that I had already attended a 10-day Vipassana course I expected my experience to be a little smoother than the first time around and it was. Of course, just like in Khon Kaen, we all needed to meditate for up to 11 hours a day.
Day 1 to 9
- Day 1 to 3: The first three days were a little rough and a whole lot smoother than the first few days at my very first course. There were certain aspects of the course that I resisted (dairy, male/female segregation, etc.).
- Day 4 to 6: I honestly really enjoyed getting up at 4 AM every day. It was dark, quiet, and I could best meditate in the early mornings. That being said, the things that I resisted, started really bothering me. I ended up talking to the teacher about the fact that dairy is being served at courses and that I find the male/female segregation a little outdated (lightly put).
- Day 7 to 9: The last few days were rough on me. I ended up getting distracted more easily, my mind was already making plans for what I’d do back in Berlin and I had a much harder time meditating.
The food was, overall, very very good. It consisted of lots of beans, cabbage, oats, carrots, beets, potatoes, and so on. Most of the food was vegan and they always had signs up indicating that this or that contains gluten, dairy, and so on.
- Breakfast: rice porridge, milk, soy beverage, rice beverage, almond beverage, pickles, bread, spreads, peanut butter, marmalade
- Lunch: potatoes, pasta, pickles, sprouts, cabbage, beet salad, cake
- Dinner: lemon water, ginger water, fruit (for new students only)
Dziadowice meditation center
Dhamma Pallava, the meditation center in Dziadowice, is located in the heart of Poland so no matter where you live in Poland, it should be relatively easy to get to. The center itself is absolutely stunning. It’s surrounded by forest and has lots of walking paths covered by trees. Each room is a single room that comes with a nice shower, single bed, clothing rack and a small shelf for your belongings.
The meditation hall was huge, there was plenty of space and the compound itself was rather small. Although male and female segregation was observed, you could actually see each other and it wasn’t as separated as it was in Khon Kaen.
How to get to the meditation center
The meditation center is in the heart of Poland and can easily be reached by car and public transportation. I highly recommend checking out the center’s website for detailed instructions. I took advantage of the center’s rideshare board and was lucky to find a ride from Berlin to the center and back.
What to bring
These are items that I either needed to bring, because the managers of the course said so, or that I would bring now, having attended a course.
Items that I needed to bring:
- Duvet cover (130×200 cm)
- Pillow cover (50×70 cm)
- Single sheet
- Meditation cushion
- Two pairs of indoor shoes (I highly recommend slippers)
Items that I didn’t bring and would definitely bring next time:
- Umbrella – Reason: It rained a little and there weren’t enough umbrellas at the center
- Alarm clock/watch – Reason: There are no clocks in the rooms and there’s only a limited number of alarm clocks at the center. While a gong does wake you up every morning, it’s nice to have an alarm clock/watch for keeping track of time during the day
- Thermos – Reason: As an old student I got served just tea at 5 PM while the majority of meditators (new students) got a bunch of fruit. I would have preferred to just fill a thermos up with tea and go to my room.
- Stainless steel mug – Reason: They had ceramic and plastic cups. We were allowed to take the
plasiccups to our rooms. I am not a fan of filling hot liquids (or any for that matter), in a plastic cup and would’ve preferred to have a stainless steel mug with me.
This was my post about my 10-Day Vipassana Course Experience in Dziadowice, Poland.
Would I do it again?
Let’s just say that I am thinking about it. I am definitely keen on doing another course, just not anytime soon. 😉