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Vipassana is one of the most ancient meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered by Gautum Buddha more than 2500 years ago. Vipassana means 'to see things as they really are'; it is the process of self purification by self observation. One starts by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With this sharpened awareness one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind and experience the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness. The entire path (Dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems and has nothing to do with any organised religion or sectarianism. For this reason, it can be practised freely by all without conflict with race, caste or religion, in any place, and at any time and will prove equally beneficial to one and all.
Vipassana is an art of living which frees the individual from all the negativities of mind, such as anger, greed and ignorance. It is a practice which develops positive, creative energy for the betterment of the individual and society.
Based on historical evidence Ayurveda has been practised in Nepal since the beginning of time. The Himalaya stand for purity, clarity and harmony, which is the goal and aspiration of every living creature. Nepal is one of the richest countries with diverse flora ranging from tropical to alpine within a small geographical area. Much of the flora is used for medicinal purposes. Nepal has a great tradition of Ayurveda, and it is considered to be part of the cultural and scientific heritage of the country.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that means the science of life or a natural way of living . Ayurveda, is thought of as a life science, and includes yoga, meditation and the natural and spiritual sciences. It looks at every person as a unique individual, and seeks to understand and to correct the imbalances and restore the innate intelligence and harmony of the person.
The objectives of Ayurveda are the development of awareness which leads to a state of desirelessness; the promotion of health and the achievement of longevity; the prevention of disease; and the curing of disease. The Ayurveda practitioner first of all asks a series of questions to identify the person s type, after which it is possible to diagnose the problem, and suggest a series of activities and practices together with ayurvedic medicines. Neither stands alone, each patient is treated in both
In order to understand Ayurveda in more depth, it is possible to visit Nepal to be treated by an Ayurveda practitioner, or to meet with practitioners to understand the philosophy on a more intellectual level. Excursions can be organised to visit practitioners, to meet rural people collecting the herbs, and to meet traditional healers such as Shamans and Jhankris.
You could learn about the cultivation and harvesting of the herbs, and the treatment and final production of the herbal medicines. In Nepal there are libraries with manuscripts of herbal remedies and historical facts about Ayurveda, as well as a herbal specimen museum.
Yoga = Unity Oneness. Derived from the Sanskrit word yog which means to join. The science of life, the integration of mind and body, the union of the spirit to the divine, via tools left behind from rishis, ascetics and yogis of ages past.
The Eight Fold Path of Yoga (not to be confused with Buddha's Eight Fold Path), from sage Patanjali s yoga sutra delves deeply into the morality of living and plunges into the human psyche. It consists of: Yama (self restraints), Niyama (self observances) Asana, Pranayama (breath techniques), Pratyahara (withdrawl of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (identification with pure consciousness).
To many, the mention of yoga conjures up images of postures (Asanas) to develop flexibility, general body health and of course awareness. This is just the beginning. While yoga's central theme remains the highest goal of the spiritual path; yogic practices can give direct and tangible benefits to everyone regardless of their spiritual aims.
There is an inter-relationship between yoga and meditation. Part of Lord Buddha s contribution to humanity was to focus on meditation to develop Samadhi (while focusing on a platform of ethics and morality). You can choose whether to focus wholly on yoga, or more specifically on meditation, or saturate yourself in both of these.
For millennia, the Himalayas have played a key role in mankind s journey to self realisation. Its total isolation from the rest of the world, its serene solitude has been an ideal environment for looking within. Nepal has inherited this unique past which is evident in its every day life and culture when it comes to diving deep into your consciousness or floating in total awareness. It still does have individuals and institutions capable of guiding you to this noble path; to the cosmic universe which has an infinite beauty of its own.