Introduction to Vipassana Meditation

 What is Vipassana Meditation?

Vipassana is the Pali word for meditation. However, meditation in the Buddhist sense of the word is not the same as secular meditation. For example, meditation can be used to focus on a problem or to relax after work. Maybe you heard Yoda talk about it in the Star Wars movies? When practicing Vipassana there is a unique focus and objective that distinguishes it from these other types of meditation.

The objective of practicing Vipassana is to obtain a meaningful understanding of the real essence of all mental and physical phenomenon. Therefore, as a starting point one learns to observe the segmented mental and physical processes that constantly occur in the body and mind.

This is known as mindfulness and unwavering mindfulness leads to concentration. Concentration will allow the practitioner to understand the true nature of things. Understanding the true nature of things leads to “wisdom” and the cultivation of wisdom is the path to Nirvana.

Vipassana Meditation Reveals True Nature

As you progress in the practice of meditation and and begin to cultivate your mind (bhavana) you will begin to see immediate benefits. As a result, you will acquire clarity of mind and become better equipped to cope with the onslaught of nature.

Understanding the True Laws of Nature:

  1. Impermanence – all objects are subject to change and nothing is permanent. Everything in this world is constantly changing.
  2. All of the encounters or sensations that we have are never really satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
  3. All mental and physical phenomenon is a result of the interaction between mind (nama) and matter (rupa). It is not the result of the soul or an all powerful being. This is called – No Self

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation Practice

Those who practice Vipassana will be better prepared to handle the trials and tribulations of life. The true laws of nature will affect all of our lives and mental clarity is the best way to address the challenges we face.

In modern life we often spend so much time and effort on taking care of the body and we neglect the mind. However, this is a mistake because the impermanent nature of things means they are always changing. Mental clarity will help us to focus on lasting happiness instead of impermanent forms of happiness.

Vipassana Meditation Develops Real Happiness

Impermanent Happiness – most people mistakenly only focus on things that satisfy our physical senses. We want to look good, taste good things, smell good smells, have valuable possessions and feel physical pleasure.

However, all of these things are impermanent and they will quickly fade. As a result, you are left wanting more and this creates attachment and craving which results in suffering.

Real Happiness – to experience real happiness the individual must first be able to cope with the “true laws of nature” that were outlined above. Otherwise, being truly happy will remain elusive.

If the source of your happiness is only based on the physical world then happiness is always contingent on the next workout, the next glass of wine, the next funny movie or other things that temporarily satisfy the physical senses.

So many people only focus on the physical world and neglect mental conditioning. Therefore, the scales will become uneven and there is disharmony inside of a person who focuses only on physical satisfaction.

Over concentration on physical happiness leads to anger, vanity, greed and ill will. Vipassana meditation will cultivate your mind and allow you to regain control of your life. As a result, it will be possible to achieve everlasting real happiness.

Conclusion

Of course, everyone can benefit from strengthening their mental processes. Therefore, you don’t need to be a monk or even a Buddhist to achieve increased mental clarity. It is not necessary to attend a Vipassana retreat or take Vipassana courses to achieve these everlasting benefits that can improve your life.

The Vipassana experience is available to everyone in the privacy of their own homes. Therefore, all you need is a basic introduction and you can practice for yourself. I will cover the basic steps of practicing Vipassana meditation my next post.

Additional Resources:

Meditation Course for Beginners by Sayadaw U Pannananda