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Vipassana Meditation

Updated: Jun 4, 2018

Also called insight meditation, this ancient form of meditation facilitates the achievement of peace of mind that can lead to happiness.

Vipassana means "to see things as they are." It is to have clear awareness of what is happening as it is happening in the moment.

“The goal of this ancient meditation technique is to acquire a logical process of mental purification through self-observation and self-awareness.

Some of the techniques used in Vipassana meditation are silent meditation, metta meditation, and walking meditation. Samatha and metta meditation are two techniques practiced in the Therevadan branch of Buddhism.  The instruction is based on the Mahasi Sayadaw lineage of Therevadan practice. 

Samatha meditation focuses on concentration and calming the mind by focusing on items, such as prayer, a chant, a candle flame, a religious image, and other items, and excludes all other thoughts and perceptions from consciousness. This is what most meditation practices focus on.  Vipassana meditation addresses the other component- insight. Concentration is the only tool used. 

Metta meditation focuses on practicing loving-kindness by reciting words and phrases evoking a warm-hearted feeling and sense of well-being. Metta is first practiced toward oneself, since we cannot love others if we do not love ourselves first. It is considered a support to other meditaiton techniques. 

Origins of vipassana meditation.

Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques.  Gotama the Buddha practiced and thought Vipassana meditation during his forty-five year ministry, around 2500 years ago.  Over time, the technique spread to Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand and others.

In India students learn Vipassana meditation by following a rigorous 10-day residential retreat where they go through three important steps: First, residents have to abstain from engaging in actions that may cause harm to others, like killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and the use of intoxicants. The goal of following these principles is to allow the mind to calm sufficiently to go on to the next steps.  Second, residents learn the practice of Apana meditation, a practice that focuses on the breath to calm the mind and build focus and concentration.  Third, residents learn the practice of Vipassana practice focusing on penetrating one’s entire physical and mental structure with the clarity of insight. The final goal is to end the causes of misery by staying away from cravings and ignorance. Experts say that to gain true insight Samatha and Vipassana need to be practiced together. 

Inspiration ​Vipassan Meditation(2017). Tricycle Magazine.

Introduction to Vipassana Meditation Workshop with Amber Bemak (2017). Dallas Yoga Center.

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