Back to Jail in Burma: vipassana in prison in Myanmar

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Back to Jail in Burma: vipassana in prison in Myanmar

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:09 pm

Dear all,

Some will find the following article of interest.


Back to Jail in Burma
By SWE WIN

YANGON, Myanmar — Today I go back to Insein Prison, where I was detained in the late 1990s and where throughout the decades of military rule in Myanmar, most political opponents were interrogated, tried and held.

I was taken there directly from my home in 1998, as a 20-year-old university student, and was given a 21-year sentence on charges of distributing subversive pamphlets. I served seven years, in Insein and two other prisons, before being released in a general amnesty in 2005.

Now I am heading back, as a volunteer in a 10-day Vipassana meditation course for prisoners.


As the day approached, I felt at times overwhelmed at the prospect of seeing so much misery again. But mostly I felt excited. Since my release eight years ago I have thought recurrently that while prison is a human hell, it offers exceptional opportunities for inner peace by creating, if forcibly, a haven from the distractions of ordinary life.

-- http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... il0=y&_r=3
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Back to Jail in Burma: vipassana in prison in Myanmar

Postby Modus.Ponens » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:40 pm

Very touching. Thank you. :)
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Back to Jail in Burma: vipassana in prison in Myanmar

Postby dagon » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:58 pm

Ben , thank you for that.

Burma is a country emerging from what can only be describes as a hellish period and will need a period of conciliation and reconciliation. Many of the new leader and those that will return from overseas between now and 2015 have served time in prisons and in the refugee camps. What the country needs is the likes of Nelson Mandela who grew and found truth in the most adverse circumstances.

The courage of Swe Win gives me hope for the future. It is not only that he has to face the goals again but also the other things that have happened and the continuing situation. While I am entitled to a PR now following reinstatement of the old law I don’t think that I will go back before 2015 (no i don't have any interest in being involved in politics). Buddha taught us that we cannot step back into the same stream –for me this will be hard as I remember the country both before and after the Military take over.

Metta to Swe Win
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Re: Back to Jail in Burma: vipassana in prison in Myanmar

Postby manas » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:21 am

Hi Ben,

this (from the article) is so inspiring:

My mental pain kept growing — until it dawned on me that I would go mad if I continued to want things I could not get. Although this was a moment of utter hopelessness, it ended my delusional urges. I lost my love of books then — and I have yet to win it back fully — but I gained something else.

I started experimenting with modes of meditation I’d vaguely heard about while growing up. I tried visualizing myself as a collection of bones, scanning every part of my skeleton. I tried metta, wishing myself well and radiating that peace toward others. I tried to observe my own breathing.

It worked. Over time, I stopped thinking about how many more years I had left to serve and started looking upon my loneliness in confinement as precious solitude.

:bow:

kind regards
manas
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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