VIPASSANA MEDITATION TECHNIQUE.
- Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of
India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered
by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a
universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art Of Living.
This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of
mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full
liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the
essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.
Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation.
It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which
can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical
sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously
interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this
observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of
mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a
balanced mind full of love and compassion.
The scientific laws that operate one's thoughts, feelings,
judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience,
the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering
or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes
characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and
Since the time of Buddha, Vipassana has been handed down, to the
present day, by an unbroken chain of teachers. Although Indian by
descent, the current teacher in this chain, Mr. S.N. Goenka, was
born and raised in Burma (Myanmar). While living there he had the
good fortune to learn Vipassana from his teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin
who was at the time a high Government official. After receiving
training from his teacher for fourteen years, Mr. Goenka settled in
India and began teaching Vipassana in 1969. Since then he has taught
tens of thousands of people of all races and all religions in both
the East and West. In 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers to
help him meet the growing demand for Vipassana courses.
The technique is taught at ten-day residential courses during which
participants follow a prescribed Code of Discipline , learn the
basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its
The course requires hard, serious work. There are three steps to the
training. The first step is, for the period of the course, to
abstain from killing, stealing, sexual activity, speaking falsely,
and intoxicants. This simple code of moral conduct serves to calm
the mind, which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task
The next step is to develop some mastery over the mind by learning
to fix one's attention on the natural reality of the ever changing
flow of breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.
By the fourth day the mind is calmer and more focused, better able
to undertake the practice of Vipassana itself: observing sensations
throughout the body, understanding their nature, and developing
equanimity by learning not to react to them.
Finally, on the last full day participants learn the meditation of
loving kindness or goodwill towards all, in which the purity
developed during the course is shared with all beings.
The entire practice is actually a mental training. Just as we use
physical exercises to improve our bodily health, Vipassana can be
used to develop a healthy mind.
Because it has been found to be genuinely helpful, great emphasis is
put on preserving the technique in its original, authentic form. It
is not taught commercially, but instead is offered freely. No person
involved in its teaching receives any material remuneration.
There are no charges for the courses - not even to cover the cost of
food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from
people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits
of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to benefit from it
Of course, the results come gradually through continued practice. It
is unrealistic to expect all problems to be solved in ten days.
Within that time, however, the essentials of Vipassana can be
learned so that it can be applied in daily life. The more the
technique is practiced, the greater the freedom from misery, and the
closer the approach to the ultimate goal of full liberation. Even
ten days can provide results which are vivid and obviously
beneficial in everyday life.
All sincere people are welcome to join a Vipassana course to see for
themselves how the technique works and to measure the benefits.
Vipassana Courses are even being conducted in prisons, with great
success and wonderful benefits for the inmates who participate. All
those who try it will find Vipassana to be an invaluable tool with
which to achieve and share real happiness with others.
For additional information on the availability of Vipassana courses
in your local area, you may contact a local Vipassana
respresentative or visit www.dhamma.org.
MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY; BE PEACEFUL; BE LIBERATED.