Vipassana is a Buddhist concept that means “to see the true nature of things,” and is an ancient form of Indian meditation that has been around for more than 2500 years. Vipassana meditation, or insight meditation, is the process of self-purification by self-observation. It is a demanding practice that requires the user to take it seriously and keep an ongoing commitment to the process.
Vipassana, like most other types of meditation, encourages the meditator to focus within themselves and on the sensations they are feeling, both physical and emotional, as well as focusing on breath. Because this is insight meditation, there is more emphasis on the sensations encountered not only while meditating, but any time at all during the process. For a brief introduction to other mindfulness meditation, this course will show you how to practice mindfulness at any time.
Benefits of Vipassana
Vipassana meditation has many benefits that may be applied to people in all walks of life. Anyone suffering from depression, stress, lack of motivation, and short temper, as well as any physical manifestations that may result from these maladies.
- It gives a better understanding of truth on a deeper lever, both in practice and in a theoretical sense. It helps you to better grasp the concepts of mind, matter, happiness, etc.
- It bestows on the mind more motivation, effort, patience, and contentment.
- It makes you more desiring to learn, read, and listen to teachings, with less feelings of boredom, and increases your recollection and memory, increasing memorization and decreasing forgetfulness.
- It relieves mental wandering, and focuses the mind.
- It gives you the right techniques to be fully aware and to attain perpetual happiness.
Because the Vipassana meditation technique is properly taught over the course of several days, it would be impossible to teach this ancient practice in one short article. Below, we discuss theses retreats, as well as some of the basic practices of Vipassana. If you’re curious to attend a retreat, the Vipassana website will show you were you can find one anywhere in the world.
- Vipassana Retreats
Vipassana meditation is usually taught at ten-day retreats that can be found all over the world, with some attending an introductory retreat, which usually lasts about two or three days. There are even longer retreats, sometimes lasting up to seven weeks, with the ten day ones covering just the basics, and anything less than ten days being insufficient. These retreats are quite intensive, with the day beginning at 4:00 a.m., and going until 9 in the evening. The actual meditation takes up about 10 hours of the day, punctuated by breaks and rest periods throughout the day. During the retreats, no one is to touch each other, men and women are separated, no religious objects are allowed, no outside reading material or music is allowed, and contact with the outside world is forbidden.
While it may be difficult for some people to spend ten days meditating, they do try to make it as welcoming as possible. First off, they are free! The idea is that after you finish your retreat, you will want to donate the money for another student’s retreat – so technically, all Vipassana retreats are gifts.
There are three steps to follow when training at a retreat. First, you are expected to refrain from killing, stealing, partaking in sexual activity, speaking falsely, and imbibing intoxicants. Next, you must develop a mastery over the mind as well as the ability to focus your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. This leads to a more calm and focused mind. The last step is saved for the last day, when the attendants learn the meditation of loving kindness and goodwill towards all. If you’re not quite sure about going to a retreat for ten days, we have a course that will show you the benefits of meditating for ten days from the comfort of your home.
- Seven Types of Suitability
When attending a retreat, the Vipassana technique requires of the practitioners certain supportive conditions to be present in order to get the most out of the practice, and they include:
- Place/Dwelling – A secluded and quite space is necessary for meditation. It should be well-furnished, and contain basic requirements, such as food, clothes, and medicine.
- Location – Your dwelling should not be too far or too close to town.
- Food – Moderate amounts of healthy, nourishing, and digestible foods should be available and eaten by the practitioner.
- People – Surround yourself with other meditators, companions who are considerate and have good attitudes and practices.
- Teacher – Your teacher should be learned and well respected, and who listens and speaks well.
- Noble Silence – When meditating, silence should be maintained, except when communicating with the teacher.
- Weather – Ideally you should be in a temperate climate, not too hot, not too cold.
- Vipassana Basics
The movements and concepts of Vipassana will take time to learn and fully immerse yourself in, and this site will show you some basic meditations, movements, and concepts of Vipassana. Because there is such an emphasis on being aware of your surroundings as well as how you physical feel, there are certain ways to sit and dress, so as to be totally comfortable. There are also many guidelines as to how to clear the mind and just generally prepare the mind and body for the meditation process.
As mentioned before, we can’t break ten days worth of practice and information down into a few paragraphs, but one of the advantages of Vipassana is that, once you become familiar with the techniques, you can do it practically everywhere, and it encourages your new found insight to shine through at all times. Vipassana allows you to practice meditation while doing simple things such as walking, standing, turning, and sitting. This site will show you how to meditate while doing the most mundane actions.
As you can see, the practice of Vipassana meditation is a bit rigorous and intense, and maybe not be for the casual meditator. However, if you already practice meditation and are looking for something more challenging, this may be just the thing for you. If the idea of a ten day retreat is a bit frightening, we have another course that will allow you to see what it might be like to meditate for ten days straight. Try that out, and if it leaves you wanting more, sign up for a Vipassana retreat near you, and enjoy…for free!