What is Vipassana Meditation?

Vipassana Meditation

At some point in our lives, we all feel the burden of negativity in our lives. Some of us suffer with unhappiness and misery more than others, and for those people who seek relief from perpetual unhappiness, Vipassana Meditation is a solution.

Vipassana meditation is a means by which people can achieve peace of mind in the long-term. It is a way to alleviate the perpetual cycle of happiness-unhappiness people are universally trapped in throughout their lives.

When things are going our way and we have what we want, we are happy and content. As soon as something negative occurs, our mood and behavior changes. We become stressed, sad, or angry, and these negative emotions result in negative actions on our parts. We then perpetuate negativity, causing others to be unhappy and contributing to the general misery that characterizes all of humanity.

It seems like a cycle without an end. There is no way to ensure nothing we don't like will ever happen in life. Sooner or later, something comes up. It could be sickness, bad weather, a nasty co-worker or the action of some political figure that disrupts our happiness. We react with negativity, and so the cycle starts once again.

Vipassana meditation is a way to alleviate this type of endless suffering in your life. It is a very precise technique that involves ten days of very specific training. Vipassana means "to see things as they really are," and it teaches you techniques for mental purification through self-observation. You can then experience lasting peace and harmony, as the causes of suffering are eliminated.

Ancient Tradition, Present-day Solution

Vipassana is an ancient form of meditation that originated in India. It was first taught 2,500 years ago by Gotama the Buddha. Since then, the technique has been taught in its original form through the practice, devotion and preservation efforts of a chain of teachers. Vipassana courses taught today involve the exact same techniques and procedures taught to thousands of individuals throughout history.

Vipassana meditation was made available on a worldwide scale in a sort of revival made possible by the efforts of Mr. S. N. Goenka. Mr. Goenka received 14 years of Vipassana meditation training from Sayagyi U Ba Khin before he began training others in India in 1969. Since then, he has taught tens of thousands of individuals from all over the world the Vipassana meditation techniques. His assistant teachers have continued to share this ancient tradition with many thousands more.

Vipassana Course ( Insight Meditation)

Vipassana is Available to All

Vipassana is available as a solution to suffering for individuals of all races, religions, and backgrounds. The problem of human suffering is universal, so the solution is also universal. People all over the world study and practice Vipassana meditation, including Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and those who follow other religions.

Anyone can practice Vipassana meditation at any time, in any place, and all will experience the same benefits. All that is required is a sincere commitment to learning the practice, and devotion of the time and effort it takes to complete the ten-day training course. Once the course is completed, individuals must then make the effort to continue to practice Vipassana meditation throughout their life journey.

The ten day residential training courses that are required to learn Vipassana meditation are available free of charge. There is no cost for attending the course or for room and board. Teachers are not compensated for the time they devote to training others, so the Vipassana meditation tradition remains non-commercial. Funding comes entirely from gift donations. Those who have benefited from learning and practicing Vipassana meditation donate to centers offering the courses so that others may also learn the technique.

Vipassana Meditation Training

There are four steps involved in the ten-day Vipassana meditation training course. First, trainees must follow a code of discipline and moral conduct designed to calm the mind. Next, students develop mastery over the mind through the study of the flow of breath.

The third part of the course involves learning to observe and understand sensations experienced throughout the body. Developing the ability to avoid reacting to these sensations is also part of the training.

The final step of Vipassana meditation training involves learning the meditation of good will and loving kindness. This is the means by which what is learned in the course is shared with the outer world.

What is the Vipassana Meditation Course Like?

Vipassana meditation courses are not something that should be entered into lightly. They do require serious effort, hard work and unwavering commitment to learning the technique.

If you are considering learning the Vipassana meditation technique, it is very important to fully understand the rules of discipline that all students are expected to comply with during their ten days of training. These rules are designed to ensure Vipassana is taught and experienced as purely and authentically as possible.

You will need to abstain from engaging in any form of worship during the course, and you must also observe a code of silence until the last day. Outside communication is prohibited, and the use of any intoxicants or drugs (including tobacco) is prohibited. Even exercise is prohibited, aside from walking.

The majority of each day of the course is devoted to meditation. Each day, you rise at 4:00 am, and the day ends at 9:00 pm. Approximately ten hours of meditation are spread over the course of the day, with breaks and rest periods in between.

Students communicate with their teacher and see videotaped lectures by S. N. Goenka in the evenings throughout the ten days. The final day of the course involves a break from the regular routine, as talking and interaction is featured in that day's training.

If you are unsure about whether or not the Vipassana course is right for you, visit Dhamma.org online for more information. This is the International web page of worldwide centers that offer Vipassana meditation courses as taught by S. N. Goenka. There is a tremendous amount of valuable information at this site, including an FAQ section and resources where you may contact Vipassana meditation centers throughout the world.

Vipassana Video on Amazon

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Comments 1 comment

kidnovice 7 years ago

I'm a huge fan of S.N. Goenka's meditation centers and his distinctive form of Vipassana. But I think it is important to emphasize that a course like this is incredibly difficult for most people. Most of us, especially in the beginning, have to face significant physical discomfort (i.e., pain!) in order to sit still for such long hours at a time. Yet, its worth it. And the practice is definitely not only about pain. It is much, much more!

For those looking to seriously deepen their practice, this is the way to go. It is truly transformative. But do your homework. Keep in mind that there are many different forms of vipassana. Not all teachers focus on bodily sensations to such an extent as Goenka, and not all centers are as rigorous and demanding (though both are what I value about his teaching). Best of luck to you!

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