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Bascis of Insight Meditation (Vipassana)

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  • medit8ionsociety
    The practice of Vipassana or Insight Meditation is the effort made by the meditator to understand correctly the nature of the psycho-physical phenomena
    Message 1 of 1 , May 9, 2009
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      The practice of Vipassana or Insight Meditation
      is the effort made by the meditator to understand
      correctly the nature of the psycho-physical
      phenomena taking place in his own body. Physical
      phenomena are the things or objects which one
      clearly perceives around one. The whole of one's
      body that one clearly perceives constitutes a
      group of material qualities (rupa). Psychical or
      mental phenomena are acts of consciousness or
      awareness (nama). These (nama-rupas) are clearly
      perceived to be happening whenever they are seen,
      heard, smelt, tasted, touched or thought of. We
      must make ourselves aware of them by observing them
      and noting thus: 'Seeing, seeing', 'hearing, hearing',
      'smelling, smelling', 'tasting, tasting', 'touching,
      touching', or 'thinking, thinking.'

      Every time one sees. hears. smells. tastes,
      touches, or thinks, one should make a note of the fact.
      But in the beginning of one's practice, one cannot
      make a note of every one of these happenings.
      One should, therefore, begin with noting those
      happenings which are conspicuous and easily perceivable.

      With every act of breathing, the abdomen rises
      and falls, which movement is always evident.
      This is the material quality known as
      vayodhatu (the element of motion). One should begin
      by noting this movement, which may be done by
      the mind intently observing the abdomen.
      You will find the abdomen rising when you breathe
      in, and falling when you breathe out. The rising
      should be noted mentally as 'rising', and
      the falling as 'falling'. If the movement is not
      evident by just noting it mentally, keep touching
      the abdomen with the palm of your hand. Do not
      alter the manner of your breathing. Neither slow
      it down, nor make it faster. Do not breathe
      too vigorously, either. You will tire if you
      change the manner of your breathing. Breathe
      steadily as usual and note the rising and falling
      of the abdomen as they occur. Note it mentally,
      not verbally.

      In vipassana meditation, what you name or say
      doesn't matter. What really matters is to know
      or perceive. While noting the rising of the
      abdomen, do so from the beginning to the end of the
      movement just as if you are seeing it with your eyes.
      Do the same with the falling movement. Note
      the rising movement in such a way that your
      awareness of it is concurrent with the movement itself.
      The movement and the mental awareness of it
      should coincide in the same way as a stone thrown
      hits the target. Similarly with the falling movement.

      Your mind may wander elsewhere while you
      are noting the abdominal movement. This must
      also be noted by mentally saying 'wandering,
      wandering.' When this has been noted once or twice,
      the mind stops wandering, in which case you go
      back to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen.
      If the mind reaches somewhere, note as 'reaching,
      reaching.' Then go back to the rising and
      falling of the abdomen. If you imagine meeting
      somebody, note as 'meeting, meeting.' Then back
      to the rising and falling. If you imagine meeting
      and talking to somebody, note as 'talking, talking.'

      In short, whatever thought or reflection
      occurs should be noted. If you imagine,
      note as 'imagining'. If you think, 'thinking'.
      If you plan, 'planning'. If you perceive,
      'perceiving'. If you reflect, 'reflecting'.
      If you feel happy,'happy'. If you feel bored,
      'bored'. If you feel glad, 'glad'. If you feel
      disheartened, 'disheartened'. Noting all these
      acts of consciousness is called cittanupassana.

      Because we fail to note these acts of consciousness,
      we tend to identify them with a person or individual.
      We tend to think that it is 'I' who is imagining,
      thinking, planning, knowing (or perceiving).
      We think that there is a person who from childhood
      onwards has been living and thinking. Actually,
      no such person exists. There are instead only
      these continuing and successive acts of consciousness.
      That is why we have to note these acts of
      consciousness and know them for what they are.
      That is why we have to note each and every act
      of consciousness as it arises. When so noted, it
      tends to disappear. We then go back to noting the rising
      and falling of the abdomen.
      This is an excerpt from:
      by Ven Mahasi Sayadaw Agga Mahapandita U Sobhana

      Buddhasasananuggaha Association, Rangoon, Myanmar.
      First Printed December, 1978
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