Imagine taking a vow of silence, cutting off all contact from your loved ones and the outside world, giving up grog and only eating vegetarian meals – all for the duration of a 10-day, live-in meditation course, in the name of personal enlightenment?
Personally, I’d struggle on all fronts – particularly with not being able to see my husband and two toddlers for that long – but for countless others, this is nirvana. For in the eternal quest for peace of mind and happiness, people are flocking to a residential meditation centre in regional South-East Queensland, set in landscaped gardens within 60 acres of bushland.
And once there, thousands of meditation students will, each year, willingly take a vow of “noble silence” for the duration of a 10-day adult course which caters for up to 70 people.
Participants must also eschew all modern luxuries, such as the use of technology, including all electronic devices. Eek!
Following the age-old technique of Vipassana meditation – one of India’s most ancient practices hailing back to the time of Buddha more than 2500 years ago – Dhamma Rasmi is located at Pomona, Queensland, about two hours north of Brisbane.
This Vipassana meditation centre is hugely popular with both men and women and even offers 20-day courses for “old students”. About 40 courses in total are run annually, including one-to-two day classes for teenagers and children, and pregnant women are welcome at the adult courses.
So, why on earth would you do it? The benefits of such a 10-day meditation course are said to include:
- It’s a practical way to achieve peace of mind and boost your happiness and productivity.
- A 10-day residential course with a qualified teacher gives students the opportunity to be “free from distractions”, according to the course terminology. This apparently helps you tap into your reality within.
- This technique is said to help participants “come out of suffering”.
- The course is non-sectarian and so suitable to all people, regardless of religion, gender, race or nationality.
- It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, and “dissolves mental impurity”, resulting in a balanced, uncluttered mind full of love and compassion.
And a word of warning, dear reader: this residential meditation course is a serious undertaking and not for the faint-hearted.
Before you apply, you’re encouraged to “read and accept the code of discipline”, including what is expected of you, lest you get chucked out. And note well: all journalistic attempts were made to interview a course convenor or teacher for this story, but all such requests were declined. Apparently, publicity is neither sought nor welcomed, hmph.
For more information, visit www.rasmi.dhamma.org or www.dhamma.org.au.
Images, in order, via www.dailymail.co.uk and www.popscreen.com.