MEDITATION II (some misconceptions about meditation)

By U’un Arifien (Kwee Ping Oen)


Teratai, Brahmavihara Bali 2015

Teratai, Brahmavihara Bali 2015

Here I need to write once again about MEDITATION. Because in my opinion, many relatives and close friends still have a misconception about MEDITATION or SEMEDI (in Javanese)

The first time I had the intention of participating in the 10-days retreat of Vipassana meditation, my relatives criticized me and asked me why I bother participating in SEMEDI, being at home has been nice, gathering with my children and grandchildren and being happy dining together, joking and so on. Now I want to go and do 10 days of solitude…. How ridiculous it is.

Children and grandchildren who came from Singapore and the United States were being left instead, even though it is just for 10 days. It is such an unfortunate thing that I do not gather with the family.

At that time, I informed my relatives that I wanted to know and feel what Vipassana Meditation is. My grandchildren had 1 month vacation in Yogya while I would just go for 10 days only, and the opportunity to join a retreat in Central Java came only twice per year. So then I forced myself in order to participate in the Vipassana meditation retreat, which took place in Klaten (at that time).

That was a short dialogue about meditation. The ignorance about meditation makes people have the wrong idea, which seems logical, but it is actually really unfortunate because of the ignorance.

There are some misconceptions about meditation that I have been practicing and persevering at for nearly 7 years now:

Various systems of meditation has been introduced by “teachers” with a variety of concerns, even there is a commercialized meditation. The Vipassana meditation that I follow does not teach us to concentrate on an object that is considered sacred or heritage, does not use secret mantras, is not used to defeat spirits or control unseen energies, nor is there a “colored belt” to assess our achievements, neither do we have to shave our head. In fact there is no cost, no request for us participants to donate any of our money to the committee or the board or temples/monasteries.

The Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N.Goenka which I follow is not ensconced on a sect or religion, so there were many participants made up of several different groups of faith. On average many Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, and the rest are Buddhist.

There are misunderstandings about meditation such as:

  1. Meditation is a relaxation technique.

Meditation is not “just” a relaxation, although it is one of the important components, but in Vipassana there is much higher purpose than just relaxation.

  1. Meditation is like entering into a state of trance (unconscious) or hypnosis or we are in control of another person or creature.

Vipassana Meditation actually teaches one to be aware at all times or cultivate awareness or pure attention.

  1. Meditation is dangerous. We should not take part or become involved. Just avoid it!

This world is actually full of danger. Just walking alone carries the risk of being hit by a car or a motorcycle driven by a drunk or reckless driver. Even when you are sleeping you could be struck down in a large earthquake by the roof of your house falling on you. Traveling by airplane is dangerous too. Where is there a place that is completely safe in this life?

But Vipassana meditation is precisely the development of our consciousness.

Of course it is not dangerous, just the opposite. The increased awareness is an effective protection in any of our activities.

  1. Meditation is only for the elderly or retired, if you are a teenager it is not time yet to participate in meditation, there is no time, still busy!

These are some of the misunderstandings, which is very unfortunate.

When I was young I also had the same sense. This is because we actually do not understand what meditation is.

Easily the reason that we are still busy becomes an excuse to reject meditation. Rejecting meditation is not a problem because it is the right of each person, but if it is rejected out of the ignorance, that is unfortunate.

For example, we were invited to go up the mountain. We were asked to bring coats but we refused, and after arriving at the top of the mountain we complain of suffering from the cold weather whereas before we had been asked to bring warm clothes. That is rejection based on ignorance.

My experience after a meditation retreat, I was 73 years old at the time, I felt very regretful that I did not know meditation long before. If I had started meditation since the age of 50 years, I would not have needed to experience the life that I lived with some degree of stupidity, which I so often suffered in those 20 years.

Children Retreat Bali 2015

Children Retreat Bali 2015,#parkitpics

Meditation is very much needed for teenagers and young adults who are still young and still have enough energy to advance his business or his career with more stability, calmly dealing with business problems or career. It helps them to be more prudent in making decisions. No need to live in a rush. People who rush do not yet understand that there is actually no need to.

In life there is no need to get angry or stressed. People are often angry or stressed, which is clear indication that the person does not understand how to actually work smoothly without anger or stress.

Meditation teaches us to live with morality, safety and peacefully living in the household, in the community or in your business or career, in any and all circumstances.

  1. I was once reprimanded by my relatives; you are Catholic why do you learn meditation of Buddhism? In the Catholic religion there is also a meditation or contemplation or prayer….

I replied that I did not learn meditation “Buddhism”. But I learned meditation taught by the Buddha. Too often people misunderstand the meaning of religion.

I will give an illustrative example:

Bali Dance Sanfes

 Bali Dance GWK 2015,  #parkitpics

I want to go to Bali, to see or learn the Balinese culture, which is actually known as a place of Hindu religion in our country. I buy the maps of the island. Maybe the map was Hindu made… I hire a Hindu Balinese tour guide also. After a look around at all the beauty of the scenery and temples in Bali, I see Balinese dances and some of the places that are considered sacred by the Balinese. A few days later I also visited art galleries to see carvings of Balinese Hindu culture and became interested in it. When I went back to Yogya, I try to carve out exercises such as the Balinese, but I do not have feel allegiance to the Hindu religion, and I do not have to convert to Hinduism to learn Balinese wood carving, right? If I am good at carving, I will be satisfied, my life will be happy.

The same applies to learning meditation as taught by the Buddha. I am happy because the Buddha taught high moral, taught to watch ourselves in order to get to know who we are, observing the way of our minds so it can be controlled, we observe the emotional upheaval that can be muted or made to be not so wild, teach honesty to ourselves and watch the rise and fall of our ego and its manipulations. We learn about consciousness at all times and can learn a lot from the lessons. I am very interested, so I studied Vipassana meditation seriously without having to leave my Catholic religion.

  1. There is a question.

If later I joined a meditation retreat for a few months, could it eliminate all my problems?

Well, it is not like that, meditation is not like a “panacea” that can cure the disease immediately. Indeed, if we follow the Vipassana meditation, we can control our mind and understand what consciousness is and at least we learn patience, all problems look clearer and gradually will be resolved with a relieved and satisfied heart.

So it was a short passage about a few misconceptions regarding meditation, which I have experienced before. Hopefully understanding meditation can be achieved but whether we want to learn to meditate or not is completely up to each of us.

opa U'un



Translated by Sefly Parkit, edited Maurice P. Smith



Oleh U’un Arifien (Kwee Ping Oen)

Saya telah mengikuti retret Meditasi Vipassana 10 hari sebanyak 3 kali yaitu pada tahun 2007. 2008, 2009. Seperti diketahui bahwa saya adalah orang yang sejak kecil tidak mempunyai budaya meditasi. Agama saya lebih dekat dengan budaya doa, oleh karena itu sebenarnya saya agak kesulitan belajar meditasi. Tetapi sejak saya baca buku “Oh Indahnya Dharma”, saya tertarik sekali dengan konsep-konsep jalan Dhamma dan meditasi. Maka terdorong oleh keingintahuan saya, ingin merasakan dan ingin belajar, maka saya membulatkan tekad dan semangat saya untuk ikut belajar Meditasi Vipassana metode yang diajarkan oleh S.N. Goenka.

Di dunia ini banyak sekali metode meditasi, tetapi metode Vipassana yang diajarkan oleh SN.Goenka memang agak unik.Teknik ini merupakan cara yang sederhan dan logis untuk mencapai pikiran yang mendasar serta untuk menjalani kehidupan yang bahagia dan bermanfaat. Metode Meditasi Vipassana yang telah dipertahankan dalam komunitas Buddhis di Burma ini tidak bersifat sektarian. Vipassana ini dapat diterima dan diterapkan oleh siapa pun dan berlatar belakang apa pun.

Sekarang saya baru mengerti Vipassana itu mempunyai arti  “melihat kedalam”, insight  atau ” Pandangan terang atau Kebijaksanaan “. Saya tidak akan menceritakan detail Meditasi Vipassana karena saya memang bukan ahlinya dan saya termasuk pemula dalam  mengenal Meditasi Vipassana yang universal ini. Di sini saya hanya ingin menyampaikan apa saja yang menarik perhatian saya dan kemudian mengapa saya mencoba belajar secara serius. Continue reading


By U’un Arifien (Kwee Ping Oen)

I have joined the 10 days of Vipassana meditation retreat 3 times, first in 2007, then in 2008 and 2009. As a child, I did not have a culture of meditation. My religion being closer to the culture of prayer, it was actually a bit difficult to learn about meditation.

However since I read the book “Oh Indahnya Dharma (Oh the Beauty of Dharma)”

I became quite interested in the concepts of the Dhamma way and meditation. Then driven by my curiosity and with my passion of wanting to feel and learn, I made up my mind to try Vipassana Meditation as taught by the S.N. Goenka method.

In this world there are many methods of meditation, but the method of Vipassana as taught by SN.Goenka is quite unique. The technique is a simple and logical way to achieve a fundamental mind and to live a happy and worthwhile life.

The Vipassana method of meditation, which has been preserved in the Buddhist community in Burma, is not sectarian. This Vipassana method can be adopted and practiced by anyone of any background.

I now have a new understanding that Vipassana means, “look inside” or “Insight” or “wisdom”. I will not go into the details of Vipassana meditation since I am not an expert at it. I am included in the universal list of beginners of Vipassana Meditation.

Here I just want to say what caught my attention and then the reason why I am seriously trying to learn it.

Continue reading

Cara yang mudah dan sederhana untuk mengerti kewaspadaan/ Sati

Sumber oleh: Bhikkhu Vimalaramsi

Children retreat 2015, Bali-Indonesia

Children retreat 2015, Bali-Indonesia

Meditasi adalah “Memerhatikan dengan seksama bagaimana perhatian batin pindah dari satu momen ke momen lainnya, inilah Pokok Utama dari Meditasi Buddhis! Inilah sebabnya mengapa Sebab Musabab yang saling bergantungan sangatlah penting untuk dilihat dan dimengerti karena kita akan mengembangkan perspektif impersonal/tidak menganggap sebagai sesuatu yang pribadi, dengan semua fenomena yang muncul dan membawa meditator melihat sendiri secara alami segala hal yang terjadi.

Meditasi yang sukses membutuhkan kemampuan kewaspadaan yang dikembangkan dengan kemampuan tingkat tinggi. Pelatihan ‘6R’ yang diajarkan di Pusat Meditasi Dhammasukha adalah suatu sistem kuno yang digali kembali dengan mengembangkan kemampuan ini.

R yang pertama adalah RECOGNIZE (MENGENALI) tetapi sebelum kita melakukannya, seorang meditator haruslah mengumpulkan atau menggunakan kemampuan observasinya (kewaspadaan) agar siklus meditasi mulai berjalan. Continue reading


By U’un Arifien (Kwee Ping Oen)

A park in Guang Zhou-China 2016. Selfyparkit

A park in Guang Zhou-China 2016.

If you decide to sit and read this article in the terrace at home now, all of it is the result of your decision based on your own thoughts.

If you have decided not to come to your community group meeting now, it is your decision based on your own thoughts.

If you choose to wear red clothes now, it is the result of your own thoughts and decisions.

If you have a TV at home by 32 inches, it is the outcome of your mind when you choose to buy a TV.

Briefly, every step of our life is the result of the decision, every day, every hour, and every minute. We always think and make decisions whether right or not quite right decision.

Our minds dragged us every day, since we wake up until we go to bed at night.

Our minds are busy responding what goes through our senses, our eyes to see, our noses to smell, our ears to hear and we feel something or also touched something, our minds respond to keep us busy doing something. Continue reading


Oleh U’un Arifien

Kalau saya ingat masa ketika perusahaan saya bangkrut sekitar tahun 1985, saya berpikir seakan dunia runtuh. Pikiran saya kalut dan setiap hari badan terasa panas dingin. Pokoknya saya merasa sengsara sekali, dan malu terhadap masyarakat Yogya yang waktu itu seakan-akan melihat saya dengan muka masam dan bibir mencibir. Saya pun malu terhadap karyawan saya yang berjumlah sekitar 100 orang, serta merasa kasihan terhadap anak-anak dan isteri saya. Tidak berhenti di situ, saya juga malu kepada semua teman dan famili, karena perusahaan yang dibanggakan akhirnya bangkrut. Belum lagi saya harus menghadapi tuntutan hukum dari rekan bisnis saya di Pengadilan Negeri Sleman. Di dalam kesulitan itu, saya hanya mempunyai tekad, saya harus survive, saya tidak boleh terpuruk berlama-lama.

Hal ini mudah ditulis, mudah dikatakan dan diceritakan, tetapi betul-betul amat sulit melakoninya. Peristiwa ini mengubah kepribadian saya menjadi seorang pemalu, minder, tidak senang bertemu orang, pokoknya saya merasa menjadi orang yang tersisih dan menyisihkan diri. Continue reading


By U’un Arifien (Kwee Ping Oen)

translated by Selfy parkit, edited by Maurice P. Smith


If I remember the time when my company went bankrupt in 1985, I thought the world seemed to collapse. My mind was chaotic and every day my body felt cold and hot.

Anyway, at that time I felt very miserable and ashamed in the presence of the Yogya people who seemed to see me with a sour face and pouting lips. I was ashamed also in the presence of my employees who numbered about 100 people, and felt sorry for my children and my wife. It did not end there. I was also embarrassed in the presence of all my friends and relatives, because the company that was proud eventually went bankrupt. Moreover, I had to face the lawsuits from my business partner in Sleman District Court. In such a distressing situation, I was determined to survive. I must not collapse.

It is easy to write and to talk about, but it was really very difficult to do. This incident changed my personality. I became a shy person with little confidence and did not like to meet people. Anyway I felt marginalized and sidelined.

But life goes on, and after about 20 years later, I realized that I am still alive and still working. The people who I thought used to monitor me, were not. It was only my mind haunting me. Basically people do not really care; they have their own problems that they must solve.

After a while, a new problem arose when my beloved wife fell ill. My wife’s illness required me draining my energy, mind as well as finances because the treatment must be carried out at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. From 2002 I went to and fro Yogyakarta to Singapore for about four years, until November 11 2006 my wife passed away to the House of the Father in Heaven (death). Continue reading