What is vipassana meditation

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September 29, 2020

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Vipassana Meditation

According to Buddhism, there are two burdens: Gandha dhura, that is, the burden of study and learning and Vipassana dhura, which is the burden of the development of perception and meditation work.

On the other hand, in Buddhism we find two types of meditation. The first is Samatha or meditation on calmness. This form of meditation serves to still the mind and is achieved by developing concentration.

Concentration is a fixed state of mind in which attention is focused on a single object. In the state of concentration, the mind is freed from the five hindrances: sensual desire, animadversion, laziness and lethargy, restlessness and anxiety, and doubt. The removal of the hindrances allows the mind to concentrate and this enables wisdom to develop. In the words of the Buddha, "when wisdom is supported by concentration, its fruits and benefits are abundant."

The second form of Buddhist meditation is Vipassana. Its practice is related to strengthening and developing mindfulness in order to attain wisdom and be able to see things as they really are. By reaching the truth, we achieve liberation and Nirvana.

Unlike calm meditation, which is practiced in solitude, Vipassana meditation can be practiced in daily life, while conversing, teaching, walking or working. The Buddha describes the method in detail as follows:

A monk, when walking, knows that he is walking, when standing, knows that he is standing, when sitting, knows that he is sitting, when lying down, knows that he is lying down. In whatever posture he is, he knows how he is.

The meaning of Vipassana

Vipassana is a Pali word meaning to see clearly, to see in a special way or to see beyond the apparent. Thus, "vi" means clearly, especially, through and "passana" means to see.

Vipassana also means introspection, intuitive wisdom, intuitive knowledge and is often translated as understanding or intuition. It is a practical method discovered by Buddha that led him to enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago.

Seeing clearly what? Understanding of what?

Vipassana means seeing through to the true nature of reality or understanding the true nature of reality. It means to see things as they truly are. Vipassana is the direct, intuitive understanding of the true nature of all mental and physical phenomena.

What does "understanding" really mean? Buddhadasa Bhikkhu explained that the expression "understanding the real nature of things" refers to seeing their transitoriness, unsatisfactoriness and non-individuality, that is, knowing that nothing is worth getting or being or, in other words, that we should not desire anything or depend on it as if it were part of us or belonged to our being.

Vipassana is intuitive knowledge or understanding of the true nature of nama (mind, consciousness, mentality) and rupa (body, matter, physical form) that make up the five aggregates of existence or Panca Khandha: Rupa (body, physical form), Vedana (feelings), Sanna (memory, perception), Sankhara (formations of the mind, will) and Vinnana (consciousness).

Vipassana is to realize that all mental and physical phenomena are impermanent (Anicca), suffering (Dukkha) and non-self (Anatta). These three characteristics of all phenomena (Tilakkhana) are the signs of wisdom and are the main objects of Vipassana meditation.

Vipassana is the direct understanding of the true nature of nama and rupa. All states, internal or external, mental or material, are impermanent, suffering and non-self (Anicca, Dukkam, Anatta).

The objects of Vipassana meditation are the position of the body in the present moment, together with all sensations, emotions and thoughts that arise due to the relationship between body, mind and environment, or the interaction between sensations and mental processes as they happen.

In Vipassana the goal is to achieve liberation, liberation from the burden of suffering through inner wisdom. By developing mindfulness and concentration in a state of optimal balance - if there is sufficient energy and Sampajanna or clear understanding - inner wisdom can arise.

In Vipassana meditation, concentration and energy levels, which in Pali is called "Iriyapatha".

In meditation on "understanding" the goal is neither to willfully ignore sensations or thoughts nor to repress them, but rather to clearly contemplate how they originate, appear and disappear. A certain level of concentration and energy is necessary to keep them in our field of attention. Without this level of concentration our minds jump from place to place, not paying full attention to any one object. This is often described as the "monkey mind". We need to provide the "monkey" with a definite task so that its level of attention increases. It is very difficult to stop the mind from wandering from one place to another by will alone.

In Vipassana the meditator clearly perceives all that is happening in the present moment by "penetrating his whole body". Since he is not clinging to anything, he is able to become aware of the deepest movements arising within himself. It is possible to be clearly aware of the roots of attachment and aversion and through clear seeing eradicate these tendencies where they originate.

In Buddhism this is called "eradication of impurity". An enlightened being is one who has eradicated all his impurities and freed himself from the influences that control him. Through clear, unbiased and unbiased awareness, it is possible to observe the process by which we become caught in attachment. This observation means to be aware or to understand and is of a mental nature, since there is only awareness but it is not limited to the narrow limits of thought. Also, observation has an experiential character as feelings arise and are observed or ignored, but it does not entail an absorption of sensations however strange they may be.Through clear understanding based on mindfulness and concentration, it is possible to dissolve attachments and aversions.

Vipassana is based on Satipatthana, the four fundamentals of mindfulness:

  1. Mindfulness on the body.
  2. Mindfulness of feelings.
  3. Mindfulness of the mind.
  4. Mindfulness of the objects of the mind.

Meditators who develop inner awareness (Vipassana Nana) will realize that whatever exists within oneself and in the external world is constantly changing, uncertain or impermanent, stressful, unsatisfactory or generates suffering. It is also uncontrollable, insubstantial, alien to oneself or Not-self. These characteristics are the true nature of all Vipassana phenomena Benefits of Vipassana The benefits of Vipassana meditation are manifold. Its correct practice can alleviate depression, cure numerous stress-related illnesses, and at the very least bring some joy to life. It can help a housewife burdened by the workload of children to cope with day-to-day life, help a person to control his or her temper or concentrate on exams. It can help an artist to expand his perception of the world. All these benefits are the side effects of the wisdom that emanates from the practice of Vipassana meditation, allowing us to calm down and look within ourselves, in order to increase our wisdom and freedom. The fundamental benefits that are achieved through the practice of meditation are: Cultivation of the "state of wisdom" to dispel the "darkness of ignorance" in our life. Eradication of the erroneous view on life. Elimination of the "multiplier" of adverse feelings or suffering in life. Relief from mental wanderings and suffering. Achieving a healthy and very beneficial mental power Improved ability to efficiently cope with very painful memories. Achieving the correct techniques to live with full consciousness and attain Self-realization, which will lead to "perpetual bliss" (Nibbhana). In short, Vipassana is a way to know our inner self and look inside ourselves. When the three characteristics appear in your mind, you will observe everything as it is, your intuition will arise and you will contemplate the truth without any attachment and finally free yourself from all impurities.

Basic forms of walking, sitting, standing and turning Become aware of your standing position.

Try to be aware that the "body" is standing in the place of thinking "I am standing". The head should be held upright and the gaze focused on a point about two meters ahead.

Now all the attention is on the feet, keep it there and try to be aware of the tensions in your feet associated with the desire to walk, repeating in your mind in a synchronized way "INTENT TO WALK, INTENT TO WALK, INTENT TO WALK".

The gaze should be lowered slightly to be fixed slightly in front of the foot that is moving or higher, about five feet in front. The head may be slightly tilted. It is normal to start with the right foot when practicing in a group. Raise the right foot about 10 cm off the ground and then rest it on the floor about 15 cm in front of the left foot. Focus your attention on the movement of the foot from the moment you lift it to the moment you put it down, while simultaneously thinking "RIGHT FOOT MOVES FORWARD". The movement of the foot is continuous and is not divided into separate phases.

When raising the left foot, moving it and supporting it, keep the awareness in the movement and simultaneously think "LEFT FOOT MOVES FORWARD".

Awareness should not occur before or after the movement. Continue walking with awareness in the foot movement until you reach the end of the room or space. Bring your feet together as you take the last step.

Become fully aware that you are standing, and think three times that you are standing. Be clearly aware that your "body" is in a standing position.


Keeping your attention on your feet, try to feel the tension there as you become aware of the desire to turn. Become aware three times at a time as you become aware of your desire to turn, i.e. think "I'M GOING TO TURN, I'M GOING TO TURN, I'M GOING TO TURN".

For the first three walking exercises, turning is usually divided into four sections. Turn to the right. Move your foot clockwise keeping your heel on it and lifting your toes thoneink "TURN..." as you lower your toes mentally say "ANDO". The angle of the movement should be about 45 degrees.

Next, raise your left foot about 10 cm and mentally say "TURN...". Then lower it down and bring it parallel to the right foot while thinking "ANDO". Then say "one".

Perform four pairs of movements in this manner to complete a 180 degree turn.

After you have turned, again become fully aware that you are "standing" and have "intention to walk" just as before.

The first walking exercise should be practiced until the meditator achieves great concentration. In the beginning, the instructor could give guidelines for doing the exercise by saying out loud the moments of awareness. When the meditator practices alone, the awareness is done mentally and at his or her own pace. This exercise can be done for 30 minutes.

While performing the walking exercise, the attention should be focused on the movements of the feet. Do not focus on the sound of the words. Awareness should occur at the same time as the movements, not before or after.

One of the benefits of walking meditation is that it allows the meditator to accumulate energy and increase their level of attention, allowing them to maintain concentration more easily during the sitting exercises.

It is advisable to prepare the place where you plan to sit before you start walking, so that at the end of the exercise you can move slowly and with full awareness to the place where you will sit without distractions. Imagine that you are carrying a bowl completely filled with "Sati" or the full awareness that has accumulated during the walking exercise. If you move without awareness or if your mind begins to wander as you sit, some of that energy will spill out of the bowl and be lost.

Likewise, there are six phases to the walking exercise:

  1. Phase: Move the right foot, move the left foot.
  2. Phase: Lift and direct.
  3. Phase: Lift, move, direct.
  4. Phase: Heel up, lift, move and steer.
  5. Phase: Heel up, lift, move, lower and touch.
  6. Phase: Heel up, lift, move, lower, touch and press.
  7. Sitting meditation

When meditating, become aware of the movement of contraction and expansion of the abdomen that accompanies the breath. The chest usually remains inactive. Diaphragmatic breathing happens when the body is relaxed and the mind is calm. It pays attention only to how the abdomen swells and deflates and not to the intake and output of air through the nostrils. Initially, if the meditator finds it difficult to fix the attention on the movement of the abdomen he or she can use various aids, such as wearing a tight belt or putting some balm on the place in the abdomen where the attention is fixed.

In the first seated exercise, be fully aware of the movement of the abdomen in two phases. When the abdomen swells mentally say "swelling" and when it deflates think "deflating".

Don't try to control the movements but be aware of them as they occur naturally. It is very easy to fall into automatism and lose awareness of the movement.