Vipassana is a form of mental training that teaches you to experience the world in an entirely new manner. For the first time, you will learn “who” you really are and what is truly happening to you from around and within. It is a process of discovering the “SELF “–a participatory investigation in which you observe your own experiences while participating in them as they occur.
Vipassana (Vidharshana) meditation is often misinterpreted as a technique of enhanced mindfulness or “seeing things as they really are.” The literal translation may be “special seeing.” The term “Vipassana meditation” is used interchangeably with “Vidharshana Meditation”, which involves observing your thoughts as they arise in your mind without judging or dwelling on them.
What are Vipassana Meditation Techniques?
Vipassana meditation (Vidharshana meditation) techniques are purely a Buddhist teaching expounded by the Supreme Lord Buddha. Vipassana is the oldest of Buddhist meditation practices. The method comes directly from the Satipattana Sutta [Foundations of Mindfulness], a discourse attributed to the Buddha himself. Vipassana is a direct and gradual cultivation of mindfulness or awareness. It proceeds piece by piece over a period of time. The meditator’s attention is carefully directed to an intense examination of certain aspects of his/her own existence. The meditator is trained to notice more and more of his/her own flowing life experiences. It has been observed that many religious groups and individuals teach their own arbitrary interpretations of Vipassana meditation. But it is not the exact concept that Lord Buddha explicated and contextualized. In simple terms, Vipassana (Vidharshana) meditation is for those who seek “Eternal Happiness” commonly known as “Nirvana “(Nibbaana).
What is the Philosophy behind Vipassana Meditation?
The philosophy behind Vipassana (vidharshana) meditation is to purify the mind or eradicate impurities in one’s mind. This meditation practice is entirely different from other common & popular meditation practices like “mindfulness of breathing” or praanayaama meditation. Vipassana (vidharshana) meditation practices are not about concentrating on one thought or one object.
What are Vipassana and Samatha Meditation Practices?
The distinction between Vipassana meditation and other styles of meditation must be thoroughly understood and is crucial for the success of your Vipassana practice. Buddhism addresses two major types of meditation. They are different mental skills, modes of functioning or qualities of consciousness. In Pali, the original language of Theravada literature, they are called Vipassana and Samatha.
What is the Difference between Samatha and Kasina Meditation Practices?
Kasina is one of the most commonly used forms of Samatha meditation intended to settle or calm the mind. There are ten types of Kasina, namely: – earth, water, fire, air, blue, yellow, red, white, space and consciousness.
Most systems of meditation emphasize the Samatha component. Samatha can be translated as “concentration” or “tranquillity.” It is a state in which the mind is stabilized by keeping its focus fixed on one object and not allowing it to wander. The Samatha (Kasina) meditator actively trains his/her mind to perform one specific activity and often focuses his/her mind upon some anchors such as a prayer, a chant, a religious image, a candle flame, or a specific type of object and excludes all other thoughts and perceptions from his/her consciousness.When cultivated, a deep calmness pervades body and mind– a state of tranquillity which must be experienced in order to be understood. However, this beautiful, delightful, and alluring state of rapture is temporary and only lasts until the meditator ends the session. Vipassana meditation addresses the other component, which is insight.
The most taught and practiced Kasina/Samatha meditation is Anapana Sati. The “mindfulness of breathing” or praanayaama meditation practised today, unfortunately, is misapprehended as the correct form of Anapana Sati meditation doctrined by the Supreme Buddha. There are “Anapana Sati” practices, referring to breathing in other teachings. However, the “Anapana Sati” meditation expounded by the Supreme Buddha is entirely different to this breathing Kasina and is purely a Vipassana meditation.. The reason for this misperception is the misinterpretation of the word “Anapana Sati”, This is a crucial point to be noted before starting the practice of Vipassana meditation.
How Can I Practice Vipassana meditation?
There is no specific way to start Vipassana (vidharshana) meditation. You can either start Vipassana (vidharshana) straight away or start with Samatha (Kasina) then move on to Vipassana. One of the prevalent Samatha meditation practices is Meththa (Love & kindness ) meditation. For beginners, it is not a bad idea to start with Samatha meditation to train their mind first. But it is not absolutely necessary if you want to practice the actual Vipassana (vidharshana) meditation right away.
Is Vipassana Good for Anxiety, Depression and Stress?
Some say Vipassana meditation is the best practice to overcome anxiety, depression and stress. This is another misguided interpretation. The purpose of Vipassana meditation is not simply to cure disease. However, it eliminates the causes of all unhappiness; desire, hatred and delusion. While it may be helpful to engage in a Samatha meditation practice like Meththa meditation or any kind of Kasina meditation to overcome the above conditions, to practice Vipassana (Vidharshana) meditation, you must have the basic understanding of Buddhist teachings. Without the fundamental understanding of Supreme Buddha’s teachings and the way our mind works, it is impossible to practice real Vipassana (Vidharshana) meditation.
On the other hand, without having the basic understanding of Buddhist teachings, you can never reach the goal of Eternal happiness/”Nirvana”(Nibbana). The philosophy behind Vipassana (Vidharshana) meditation is to eradicate impurities of the mind ( Klesha/Keles- filth, pollutants) which it clings on to. To do so, first you have to have a deep understanding of how the mind gets filthy/polluted and why. According to buddha’s explanation there are three unwholesome deeds. These three things call as Kelesh( Desire, Aversion & Delution ). Raga (Desire , Greed, sensual attachment), Dvesha (Aversion , hate ) & Moha ( Delution , Confusion ) These three poisons are considered to be three afflictions or character flaws innate in a being, the root of Thaṇhā (craving), leading to a vexation and thus in part the cause of Dukkha (suffering, pain, satisfactoriness) and Reincarnation ( rebirth cycle ).
Once you know the root cause, you can use Vipassana (Vidharshana) meditation to remove the root cause and make your mind free of all vexations. It is challenging and may not be easy as you think. Of course, the results are achieved gradually through persistence and perseverance. The other important thing to understand is that it does not depend on the level of your knowledge of Buddhism or the period you have been practising. It entirely depends on your wisdom (ability to comprehend) and the degree of impurities in your mind. For the advancement of your practice, It is also vital to cultivate wholesome qualities within you. Once you start practising, you will experience the progress yourself.
What are the Benefits of Vipassana (vidharshna) meditation?
Practising Vipassana meditation makes your life exceptionally happy because you eradicate the keles/klesha (filth, pollutants) from your mind. It is obvious that you feel a sense of lightness in your mind. You start experiencing a different kind of happiness which you have never experienced before. This happiness never fade away. This happiness increases as long as your practice continues
What is Eternal or unconditioned Happiness / Nibbana ?
The word “eternal happiness” or “unconditioned happiness” express the meaning of the ultimate goal of the Buddhist doctrine. In other words, it means achieving Nibbana (Nirvana). The Pali word Nibbana (Nirvana in Sanskrit) was first used by the Supreme Buddha to describe the highest state of profound well-being a human is capable of attaining. The mind awakens from delusion, is liberated from bondage, is cleansed of all its defilements, becomes entirely at peace, experiences the complete cessation of suffering, and is no longer reborn. More specifically, the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion—toxic unconscious mental and emotional dispositions that cause people to harm themselves and one another and cause suffering— have been extinguished in a person who attains Nibbana (Nirvana). The popular account is that Nirvana means the “blowing out” of the flames, but it is more likely that the word is based on the idea of removing fuel so that the fire goes out or releasing the fire from clinging to its fuel.
By attaining Nibbana, you can escape the Sansara, the cycle of reincarnation that is characterized in Buddhism. In each life, a “soul” (there is no single soul as such. But for general understanding, we use the word soul) is punished or rewarded based on its past actions, or karma from the current life as well as earlier lives (which also include lives as animals and many other forms). It’s important to note that the law of karma isn’t due to a God’s judgment over a person’s behaviour; it’s closer to Newton’s law of motion — every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It happens automatically, of its own accord.
When you achieve Nibbana, you stop accumulating bad or good karma because you’ve transcended it.
Once you have entirely escaped the karmic cycle, you achieve “Parinibbana”–the end of the cycle of reincarnation. Buddha never specified what parinibbana was like. In Buddhist thought, it is beyond normal human comprehension.
Where Can You Do Vipassana / Where Can You Practice Vipassana?
This is a tricky question. If you are a beginner, the first thing you have to do is to listen to Buddhist preaching before practising Vipassana meditation. Once you understand the basic concept & principles, you can start practising Vipassana meditation. Once you know what to do and how to do, you do not need to go anywhere to practice Vipassana. You can practice it in your everyday life. But if you are a beginner, MON will be your best place to learn the fundamental Buddhist concepts and obtain guidance. You can inquire about our initial meditation sessions for beginners via email.
What do I Need to Know Before Starting Vipassana Meditation?
As previously explained you must understand the basic concept of Buddhism before start Vipassana meditation ( Vidharshana) .As an example you should have a clear understanding about 4 Noble truths ( truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.) , 8 Fold path, 5 Aggregates, Dependent of Orgin ( Patichcha Samuppada ) & Three marks of existence( Anichcha , Dukkha , Anaththa ).
Without knowing those concepts you never can practice the vipassana meditation.
“Leave aside what you know about Buddhism. Forget theories, prejudices and stereotypes.”
Come with an open mind!
The practice must be approached with this attitude. You should have the inner drive to understand the true nature of life, to know what this experience of being alive really is, to apprehend the true and most profound qualities of life.
You should not just accept somebody else’s explanation, but see it for yourself. If you pursue your meditation practice with this attitude, you will succeed. You’ll find yourself observing things objectively, exactly as they flow and change from moment to moment. Your life then becomes enriched in a way that cannot be explained in words. It’s something you need to experience for yourself. MON will give you the knowledge and initial guidance to start Vipassana meditation.
How Can You Join the Meditation Program?
Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org