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Translator: Yuko Niizeki Reviewer: Denise RQ
(Sound of airplane)
Do you feel it?
Anything on your body?
Sensations on your body?
How about if we combine image and sound together?
(Sound of nails scratching)
Most people react just like you did.
So quite a number of researches were made
on why we react the way we do
to nails scraping a blackboard.
One research found that it resembles
a sound of the alarm calls of apes,
and our ancient conditioning is reacting to it.
A more recent research found
that it has to do with our anatomy, the ear canal.
Our ear canal amplifies a certain frequency
and so nails scraping a blackboard has that range that our ear amplifies,
so it irritates us.
But we really cannot change everything
that causes us unpleasant sensations.
it's just impossible.
And we run into visions and sounds and smells and tastes and touch
everyday of our lives.
We cannot just wipe everything.
26 centuries ago, there was a brilliant scientist, The Buddha.
He made a six-year research
and at the end of that research he found
that every input, every data the mind receives through the sense doors
the sense bases,
every vision, sound, taste, smell or touch
evokes a sensation on the body,
and we are blindly reacting to it.
The mind also brings some dramas,
memories, thoughts, emotions, anger, fear;
it always comes with a sensation on the body.
The remarkable thing was that he found
that we actually react to the sensations
and not to the outside object;
the mind receives an image, a form, a shape
and it will immediately recognize it:
a human being, man, good-looking, scary looking.
And a reaction will come with a sensation.
If it's a handsome guy, pleasant sensations,
scary guy, unpleasant sensations,
and out breath will also start pumping.
That scientist realized
that we react with craving, constantly.
You just saw a number of examples before
which were gross and intense and you felt a sensation on the body
but actually, every moment in your life,
even right now,
your subconscient mind keeps producing reactions.
You changed your posture.
You were not comfortable.
You changed to a more comfortable position
because you don't like the unpleasant sensations, right?
Or maybe one of you came with real tight pants today,
a tight belt;
soon enough you may find the speaker is annoying
and you really would want to get out of here,
but it's because you didn't come with your pajamas or anything loose
that would make you enjoy today.
So we don't even know that we keep reacting all the time
to sensations being evoked on our bodies.
The Buddha gave a mental practice
to come out of the blind reactions.
And it is called Vipassana.
It means to see in a special way, like insight,
like to realize out of experience;
I was lucky enough
to get to know about a ten-day course in Nepal 26 years ago.
It was a silent retreat where they taught Vipassana meditation;
I didn't know what exactly what meditation was,
but I couldn't believe it when I sat there ten hours a day for ten days
and discovered that I'm actually not reacting to anybody who insults me.
It's not to the person.
It's to the unpleasant sensations he evokes on my body.
I don't suffer because of my sadness,
- which I had -
it's the sensations that came along with that emotion.
And so, at the end of that course,
I couldn't wait to pick up the phone [and call] everybody I knew
and told them, "You have to go."
I was living in Nepal at that time, I called the whole world, whoever I knew.
Some took it seriously, and even went,
but people like my sister, for example, she was like,
"Eiona, you sound like a missionary!"
(Laughter)
And when she said that, it sank in, seriously,
- I stopped telling people about this experience -
but I felt I had to do something.
So I decided to make a film.
I collaborated with Ayelat Menachmi, a very talented film maker,
who was also a meditator, and also wanted to volunteer and serve
in a way that people would know about these courses.
And we figured, "Let's do a round-the-world tour."
Back then there were 25 meditation centers
that were teaching exactly the technique we are talking about
by the teacher S.N. Goenka,
and we decided to buy all the equipment, a commando team,
150 kg of equipment, to go around the world, and to film in every center.
But what kind of film will come out of it?
I mean people are sitting there closed eyes ten hours a day.
What?
Going for lunch, drinking, sitting?
We started getting cold feet as we started touring
going from American centers, to French, German ones;
we came to Asia, and then it clicked:
[we could have a film at least in one place we knew]
and that was Tihar Jail in Delhi.
(Video) (Voice over) [For decades Tihar was notorious
for its inhuman conditions.
It was branded a veritable hell.]
Eilona Ariel: A horrible place,
but a change came to that prison with a program of Vipassana.
They decided to turn one of the wards into a Vipassana center
because they wanted most of the prisoners there
to go through this program.
And why?
Because they were fighting with recidivism:
criminals being released, committing crimes again,
coming back to jail; about 70% recidivism.
The Vipassana program brought it down finally,
so they really wanted it.
A glimpse of what it looked like is here.
(Video) (Voice over) [On the fourth day of the course, Vipassana is taught.
Students learn how to observe objectively
all the sensations in their bodies, whatever they may be,
without reacting to them.
They watch emotions come and go;
they watch pain come and go,
they watch pleasure come and go.
And they realize, not intellectually, but through their own experience
that nothing is permanent.
Hatred, passion, greed, are not abstract anymore.
By watching the physical sensations accompanying these emotions,
and by understanding their impermanent nature,
one can actually start changing the habit of blind reaction.
Between the two poles of expression and suppression,
lies a third option: mere observation.]
The film was successful, it showed on many television stations,
but then, it landed in the hands of Dr. Ron Cavanaugh,
and he was working with Donaldson Prison.
Ron Cavanaugh: When you introduce Vipassana,
then you're talking about this meditation technique
that starts where cognitive behavioral therapies leave off.
Eilona Ariel: In Donaldson, which is a high security prison,
most of the inmates will never go out.
Most are either on death row,
or life without parole, or lifers.
(Voice over) [These prisoners live inside a dangerous social world.
Overcrowding, deprivation, and hopelessness drive men
towards extreme aggression and despair.
In this environment,
self reflection and change are difficult,
if not impossible.
In January 2002, the prison undertook a radical experiment.
It allowed a 10-day meditation retreat
based on ancient Buddhist teachings
to be held inside this modern day maximum security prison.]
Man: The gymnasium had been transformed
from a place where people yelled and hollered;
there had been a lot of fights in there,
there had been people who were assaulted in that area
and it had been transformed into an area where you took off your shoes,
and walked to a mat to sit to meditate.
EA: These people are locked in for life from a very young age.
Some of them were so angry for years.
The first time that they had some relief
was when they were taught how to sit down
these 10 hours a day, for 10 days,
and observe the sensations coming up with their anger
that usually caused an immediate reaction.
There was a 20% reduction in disciplinary action.
And so they decided in Donaldson
to bring Vipassana in, periodically, at least four times a year,
so that many more prisoners can go through this program.
The Dhamma Brothers: I've always been angry.
I've always been angry.
I took anger management, stress management,
but anger management is showing me how to conceal the anger,
and stress teaches you basically about the same.
When I went to Vipassana,
I sat on a cushion for 10 days.
That showed me how to...
let it come up and deal with it.
Don't let anyone suppress it.
I've got to deal with it. I've done that.
Everyone makes a mistake. I made a mistake.
And everyone can change.
I can stay out of the change.
It feels good.
EA: If it wasn't for Vipassana,
I wouldn't be able to stand here and talk to you,
because I was a very shy child and adult,
painfully shy, stressfully shy,
that I never dared to talk in front of people;
and I used to get sick with high fever
every time I needed to go to school to face my students who were my friends.
I just couldn't do it.
It's not that it's not stressful now, it is,
but I'm coping.
So I just wanted to let you know about this opportunity
to bring a change to yourselves.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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Vipassana Meditation and Body Sensation: Eilona Ariel at TEDxJaffa 2013

144 Folder Collection
林雲淡 published on July 15, 2019
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