How to Practice Vipasana Meditation 

Vipasana Meditation

Vipasana meditation or more accurately translated from the ancient language of Pali as ‘insight’ or ‘ clearly seeing’ meditation has been in use for over 2500 years, rediscovered by Gotama Buddha somewhere around the year 586BC he would go on to teach Vipasana and Samatha as two powerful meditation techniques used in conjunction with each other as the path to enlightenment.

Samatha meditation produces a calming effect which will compose and steady the mind allowing for great periods of concentration.

Vipasana meditation, with a calming and concentrated mind, allows us to see and understand the deep interconnection between mind and body, material and mental phenomenon, experiencing first hand how we produce our own suffering, and allowing for spiritual and personal growth towards enlightenment. 

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Vipasana became popularised for the ordinary men and women in Burma by the late 1800’s due to the influential buddhist monk Ledi Sayadaw he would make the teachings of the Satipatthana Sutra easily available to all with simple to understand translations. The Ledi Sayadaw went on to teach many students who would become meditation masters in their own rights monks such as U Narada (1868-1955) Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-1982) Ajahn Mun (1870-1949) Ajahn Chah (1918-1992) Nyanaponika Thera (1901-1994) and S.N. Goenka (1924-2013) 

The work and teachings of the Mahasi Sayadaw saw mass popularity in the 1950’s from the west and further teachings from S.N. Goenka have firmly seated Vipasana meditation into western minds.

How do you practice Vipasana meditation?

As has already been said Vipasana works best with a calmed and concentrated mind and a firm foundation of Breathing Meditation should be established before moving on.

However like everything in today’s world we want things fast and instant, and this meditation can be done without any previous meditation foundation, it will be just a little tougher. 

My meditation training and background come from the Thai Forest linage passed on from Ajahn Mun down to Ajahn Chah and his predecessors. It is from this linage I have learnt and it is stressed that Samatha meditation is foremost to establishing concentration to reveal Vipasana’s true insights.

Vipasana meditation as described in the Satipatthana Sutra.

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The meditator should practice noting the object that arises in the mind the practitioner is reminded to be sharp with the noting as if hitting a ruler across your hand. Three times repeat to yourself sharply that which has taken the minds fancy.

Breathing in, note, Breathing in, Breathing in, Breathing in.

As you breath out the same sharp energy is repeated three times. Breathing out, Breathing out, Breathing out.

If and when the mind wanders the practitioner should note the distraction, if a sound, note, Hearing, Hearing, Hearing! then bring the focus back to the breath,

Breathing in, Breathing in, Breathing in.

If the mind wanders to body sensations the practitioner should note with sharp energy Feeling, Feeling, Feeling, then bring the attention back to the breath.

On every occasion of a distracting smell, note, Smell, Smell, Smell, then bring you attention back to the breath.

Whatever the minds turns toward note it with eagerness and sharp attention, if the mind starts to think, note, Thinking, Thinking, Thinking, then bring the attention back to the breath.

After time the meditator will see a distinct improvement in concentration with our minds wandering less, instead staying fixed onto the object with which it is directed.

At the same time the power of see only the two processes of the material and mental unfold which will give rise to the insight of impermanence (anatta) of suffering (dukkha) and the knowledge and understanding of non-self (anicca). The three marks of existence. 

Experiencing a Vipasana Meditation Retreat

During a Vipasana meditation retreat the practitioner is expected to practice 14-16 hours of this continuous noting of the minds experience. The effect of noting moment to moment events has an enlightening effect on our minds, not only do we see clearly that everything is impermanent consisting of a birth and death, The First Noble Truth, but the linear concept of time we are so familiar with starts to diminish leaving us to experience the true joy and happiness with being present.

Having spent many rains retreats in Vipasana meditation I know how hard this can seem and how challenging a prospect it can be to those who are about to attend a Vipasana course. As long as you put wholehearted effort into your practice and are always kind towards yourself you will progress and sometimes rapidly along the road to enlightenment.

Further notes

As with all meditation it always sounds way to easy and simple, if you have never tried meditation, it is one of the hardest but most rewarding things we can ever do. If you are having trouble with your meditation practice, don’t worry your not alone, please feel free to use my contact details listed for further help.

This simple technique of eagerly and sharply noting has the ability to reveal the entire makings of this known universe to you. I wish you luck.

If you have found this interesting, helpful or indeed fascinating then please share with you friends and family because after all

SHARING IN CARING

Many Kind Regards