Triangle Sisterhood at Vipassana Meditation

ネパール・ルンビニでの出会い(c)Megumi Mitani Column

If you love traveling, you will probably agree that you often meet people you have never met before, but feel like you already know. Or you instantly know you will get along with them, or simply feel very comfortable talking with them even though you don’t really know who they are yet.

And if you have those experiences many times, you start to feel like there are only wonderful people on this planet. It’s exciting to think about the many other people I’ve never met yet, making me want to explore more. Is it only me?

In case you’re wondering if I’m an extrovert who is always hanging out with friends or having people around: No, I’m not an extrovert. I’m 70% introvert.

I’m very open to meeting new people while traveling, at house parties, or even on the street, and I enjoy engaging with them.

However, I prefer staring outside and watching birds if I have to hold a conversation with someone who doesn’t align with my energy because it’s exhausting.

So when I meet people who have positive vibes, someone who’s authentic or comfortable with themselves, my heart instantly fully opens to them and to the world. I love that feeling, just love it!

During my one-month trip to Nepal, I had some moments like this, but two girls I met at the Vipassana meditation course in Nepal were special.

As I mentioned about my roommate X in my Vipassana experience report, I felt a positive energy when greeted each other with a “Hi!” I immediately thought “I think I’ll get along with her.”

Although she knew nothing about me yet, she suddenly said, “You like traveling solo, don’t you? You go anywhere by yourself and you can do anything on your own, right?”

When I looked at her in surprise, she laughed brightly and said, “Haha! Because I’m the same!”

Even though we had only talked for about a minute, I couldn’t help but say, “I feel like I just found a new best friend!”

It didn’t feel like this is our first meeting, I wondered if we might have met in a previous life.

Our similarities went beyond just enjoying solo travel. We shared similar ways of thinking, noticing subtle details about nature and people, and experiencing things that seemed too frequent to be mere coincidences—things that others often found hard to understand.

I was also surprised to know that we had both lived in Auckland, New Zealand during the same period and even had the same lucky number.

The other girl was B, who was staying in the room across from ours.

We talked in a group before the “Noble Silence” began.

I liked her chill vibes, honesty, and pure smile. I thought “She also must have a beautiful mind.”

The three of us were always assigned to sit next to or across from each other by the center.

Whether we were meditating or eating, we always ended up sitting in a triangle formation.

What I secretly enjoyed was that while other students quickly finished their meals and left the dining hall, the three of us would stay longer, slowly sipping tea or milk tea, and relaxing.

I often realized that only the three of us were left in the dining hall, and even though we couldn’t make eye contact or talk due to Noble Silence, I found it very comforting in some ways.

On the day when Noble Silence was lifted, the three of us were talking in our room.

Then X said to B and me, “I felt a special connection to you both, to this triangle. There’s something I want to show you.”

She showed us two paintings she found before coming to the Vipassana Center.

One was almost like a chakra body drawing, but it had additional marks all over the body, and the other was a long single braid with a red ribbon.

“I bought these without knowing what they meant until I came here, but now I understand. The first one is related to Vipassana, and I realized the second one is just like your hairstyle, girls!” she said.

Indeed, I had a single braid on the first day I met her. The next day, B also had a braid.

According to X, there were other women with long hair, but we were the only two with a single braid.

She kept talking about the connection between the three of us, occasionally tearing up. It was very touching, and I truly admire how she expressed her thoughts and feelings comfortably with us.

We openly discussed what the 10-day experience was like and how we felt about it.

And then I remembered the night of the full moon (accurately, two days before the full moon).

That day, the full moon looked bigger than usual and it was incredibly beautiful.

Before the group meditation at the end of the day, I sat on a bench and gazed at the moon, reminiscing about a conversation I had with a friend.

Then my roommate X passed in front of me, also gazing up at the moon.

When I looked to my right, I noticed B also gazing at the moon from under a tree.

I felt delighted knowing that they were both looking at the moon!

Despite the Noble Silence preventing us from talking or making eye contact, I loved the fact that the three of us were all gazing at the moon, at the same time. It made me feel connected to them.

Before I delivered what I saw and felt, my roommate said, “I was very happy to see that you two were looking at the full moon on the other night!”

She described the scene from her perspective.

“I wanted to let you know about the beautiful moon, and then I saw Megumi sitting on the bench looking up at the moon. And there was B under the tree, also looking at the moon!” with a big smile.

Then B added, “I noticed that you two were looking at the moon too.” with her warm smile.

On the final day of the 12 days, the three of us and another English speaker, went to the “Maya Devi Temple,” which is considered one of the four holy sites of Buddhism and the birthplace of Buddha.

Students who completed the Vipassana 10-day course were allowed free entry to the “Maya Devi Temple” (usually, foreigners pay Rs.700), as we heard that we could meditate inside the temple and under the Bodhi tree.

Under the intense sun, we walked to the temple and found our female assistant teacher and other students there.

After chatting a bit and taking some group photos, we meditated under the Bodhi tree.

Then, we spent about three hours walking and visiting the other temples before returning to the Vipassana Center. It was quite exhausting, as the temperature was over 40°C (104°F), feeling more like 50°C (122°F).

We finally back to the center, so I washed my bedsheets and the mosquito net, then cleaned up our room. Then after I made a donation, I left the center with the other woman.

X and B stayed the center, saying, “We haven’t decided where to stay tonight, so we’ll figure it out here.”

After a quick shower at the hotel, I had a late lunch with the other woman. We initially planned to meditate at the Maya Devi Temple but decided to do so by the riverside to enjoy the sunset.

After 30 minutes of meditation, I went to the temple for solitary meditation inside.

Later, I discovered missed calls from X and learned that they had also decided to stay at a hotel in Lumbini.

After finishing my meditation, I walked for 20 minutes under the dark sky to return to town.

Then I spotted B! And there was X!!
Neither of them had noticed me yet.

So I slowly approached them and said, “Hey girls!” They both looked surprised.

Then X told me “I was hoping to see you since we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye properly. But when you mentioned you were heading to the temple, I didn’t want to disturb you.”

While I also wanted to see them, I was physically and mentally exhausted from the long walk and providing emotional support to others throughout the day. It was already past 8 PM, and I needed to wake up at 4 AM the next day, so I really didn’t have the energy to arrange to meet up later.

Yet, there they were, standing in front of me!

Lumbini is a small town; however, we probably wouldn’t have met if I had been 5 minutes later or earlier.

I was surprised to unexpectedly run into them on the street without any prior plans or promises. But at the same time, I thought, ‘Perhaps the universe brought us together again to say our final goodbyes.’

X said, “I know you’re tired, but let’s have some watermelon! I know you like them!” and she got a whole watermelon for us.

We went to their hotel, and the three of us sat on the balcony floor. We were eating the watermelon mindfully, mostly in silence, just like we were at the dining hall in the Vipassana center.

I was reflecting on the long day and the quick 12 days.

By 9 PM, I hugged them both and said my final goodbyes, then returned to my hotel.

I was truly exhausted, my energy level was almost zero, but meeting them one last time is something I’ll probably never forget. Because whenever I eat watermelon now, I remember us sitting on the balcony floor and eating watermelon together. 😉

While we are in different age, nationality, and lifestyle, I’m grateful that we continue to stay in touch, sharing delightful things and thoughts.

I hope to meet them again, and I believe if the timing is right, we will cross paths once more, somewhere, sometime on this planet or perhaps in the next life.

Love you, girls!

And thank you all for reading! 🙂