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Traditionally Vipassana meditation is taught in a 10 day retreat. I have been trying to participate in one of those, but there is only one place where I live that offers this course, it is almost always fully booked, so it is very hard to match their availability with mine as I work pretty hard.

I have been practicing meditation for some time (different types) and went to a retreat in Asia, but I never had the chance to practice Vipassana in a traditional course.

I will keep trying to join the retreat, because this is important for me, but in the meantime is there anything one could try at home? Some glimpse of Vipassana perhaps?

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    I don't think there's anything fundamentally "traditional" about the 10-day retreat setting. In fact it appears to be a very modern invention. – tkp Jul 20 '14 at 20:44
  • good to know, I thought the 10 day retreat was a very old tradition, so what would you recommend? Any practice for a meditator to take one step further? – konrad01 Jul 20 '14 at 20:59
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    see related question: buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/2148/… – Robin111 Jul 21 '14 at 14:36
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This is possible but anything less than 10 days for you 1st sitting may not give you visible results for an average novice. Also anything shorter may not have the critical push to give results. This is the reason the courses are organised in such away.

Also some continuity or length of practice takes you deeper and give better results. Just when you practice playing a game, more frequently you do it better you become.

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I'm going to say that Vipassna or insight is possible outside of the 10 day retreat. Dipa Ma was wonderfully inspiring when working with the enlightenment experience in everyday life. One of her first students was a nursing mother. The account goes that this student achieved the first level of realisation (i.e. stream entry) by mindfully noticing the sensations of her sulking infant. No ten day Vispassna retreat for her - she never left the house. However I'm going to guess that you aren't a nursing mother (you might be!) so this isn't probably immediately and practically useful to you.

Depending on which sangha you are with (if any) they may be more or less willing to instruct you on Vipassna. I'm with the Triratna Buddhist community and my local centre has no problem discussing these techniques with people that have been around a while. It is all based on personal relationships within that setting though. I think there would be a lot more reluctance to go down that route with people who have just walked through the door.

I think the caution is that these techniques are strong and certainly within Triratna people are required to have a very good grounding in samatha practices before hand. There are resources that you can look at yourself. Daniel Ingram in his freely available book is very specific and I was also recommended this set of talks about Anapanasati practice as a route into insight practice.

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Having personally sat three days and served one ten day and many more short courses. I can vouch for the technique. It really does have this no BS approach towards dealing with your impurities/negativities/ defilements whatever you want to call it. YES. There is a rigorous schedule to follow for and a first timer you'll feel a tinge of discomfort but it's all worth it in the end if you don't let your discomforts overpower you. I would recommend you to go to the centre on day 0 because in my experience there always are a few cancellations and they mostly never refuse a student. Refusing Dhamma is like refusing water to the thirsty. You might find the rules and regulations overwhelming but everything in place there is with a good purpose. It will most certainly help your meditation if you follow them. Going in with a clean slate would definately help you. For the period of ten days please forget everything you have learnt about meditation or all other intellectual acrobatic exercises. Although do have a nature of inquisitiveness within you about the technique. Smart questions to the teacher will yield smart answers. Talks about suttas and other traditions, not so much. All this coming only from experience so please do not mind this answer. It's actually one of my first ones on here. I really hope this helps and may you benefit on the path of liberation. Metta. Rohit

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