Vipassana is actually an insight into the true nature of things. It is just a simple technique that shows a practical way to achieve real peace of mind which gradually leads to a happy life.
The meaning of Vipassana is actually seeing things in the way which they are. In fact, it is regarded as a logical process of mental purification being achieved through self-observation.
What is Vipassana Meditation
It is important to note that the part that leads to insight is mindfulness or awareness. In meditation, there are four objects which are known to responsible for development of concentration of one’s mind. They are feelings, body, mental states and thoughts. In the practice of Vipassana, the four objects listed develop concentration, insight, mindfulness or understanding of yourself and the world around you.
It is also important to note that all this offers a more direct as well as more effective method for training of your mind in order to meet up with the daily tasks and problems in order to achieve the aim desired which is liberation. The good things about Vipassana meditation is that is thatthe given method is very safe for all characters that want to train their mind and can be adopted just anywhere, anytime whether in a full office or in silence of a night. Note that the basic task here is to develop mindfulness or awareness. Concerning awareness, it means paying attention to an object without judging it or thinking about it.
People would normally experience disharmony, frustration and agitation from time to time. However, the problem is that this does not necessarily mean that people will keep these issues in themselves rather they spread it to others. Therefore, this is not a proper way to live since everyone would like to live in peace with oneself and people around him or her.
Since human beings are social ones, it means that it must be interaction with others. If this is true, how will peaceful coexistence and harmony be maintained among people? There is one of problems which Vipassana tries to solve by helping people experience peace and harmony. Vipassana helps to purify our mind, and then tries to free it from sufferings and those things that cause the sufferings. Finally, it restores peace and harmony, and this is the purpose. It is important to note that proper practicing of this method leads to the highest spiritual goal of freeing oneself from all forms of mental pollution.
Historical Background of Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana is one of the most ancient medication techniques in India. It is known to have been rediscovered over 2500 years ago. Gautama Buddha was credited for the rediscovery and it is the core of what he actually taught for his mission for 45 years. It is recorded that at the time of Buddha, a lot of people, especially in North India, were got free from the bondage of suffering through the practice of Vipassana. This enabled them to have some achievements in all spheres of their life. Over time, this technique of Buddha then spread to Indian neighbour countries like Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and other, where people achieved the same things which had been done in India.
One crucial thing to note about the history of Vipassana is that it disappeared from India and other neighbouring countries that practiced it at that time about five centuries after having been rediscovered by Buddha. However, Myanmar (Burma) was the only country that preserved the practice through ensuring that there was a chain of devoted teachers. This means that from generation to generation, devoted teachers ensured that the transferred knowledge and the chain were not broken.
The good thing is that Vipassana came back to India again as well as other neighbouring countries by none other than S.N. Goenka, who had taken the rule from the renowned Vipassana teacher of Burmese origin Sayagyi U Ba Khin. The dream of Sayagyi was Vipassana to be in India again, because this was a country of origin of this doctrine. He also dreamt Vipassana to help people come out of some of their problems and, in addition, to help spread it throughout the world, so that mankind would benefit from it. Vipassana is dreamt to be daylight as the doctrine had been revived in India and been spread throughout the world from there. It is important to note that S.N Goenka spent an enormous 14 years studying techniques of Vipassana and educated many teachers whose followers nowadays meet increased demand for Vipassana teaching.
Today, a lot of centres have been established in India for the practicing of Vipassana. However, centres for Vipassana practice is not just only in India as many other centres have been established in the whole world, where Vipassana practice can be reached. Thanks to Myanmar (Burma) which preserved the practice, many people in many areas of the world nowadays can comfortably practice Vipassana meditation which has brought lasting peace and happiness to the people that practice it.
Purpose of Vipassana Meditation
A lot of people will need Vipassana meditation and there is no doubt about that. It is important to note that achieving of insight for understanding of the true nature of things, physical and mental healing is just a product of this meditation. Therefore, who are people that should naturally need this? The following describes this category of people:
- Those that think that they are suffering and that is because of relational problems with family, friends, colleagues and even society;
- Those that want to heal their migraine or other diseases that are similar;
- Those that want to start a new life by purifying themselves;
- Those that have some mental problems like phobia, lack of confidence, aggressiveness and other mental problems.
One thing that must be noted about this meditation is that: It works for those who recognize their suffer and, therefore, people who are not sufferers and do not really want change themselves, will hardly get the reason for this meditation.
This kind of meditation will give you the insight that you need to go carefully into your problem; the cause of the suffering will get to be exposed for you, thereafter, your mind will respectively become peaceful. However, for people who would like to do meditation just for supernatural purposes: The reality is that Vipassana meditation is not designed for that and, thus, cannot really help you in that regard. This means that you will be expected to use other forms of meditation which are known to build up supernatural concentration.
Requirements for a Vipassana Meditator
It is important to note that this is a serious activity and certain things must be put in place in order to achieve the desired aim. There are about five requisites for any meditator who would like to practice Vipassana meditation to achieve the desired supreme bliss. They are as follows:
The role of a qualified instructor in Vipassana meditation practice cannot be overvalued. This is because, like every other thing in life, experience tends to be the best teacher and meditation is not left out. A qualified instructor should be someone who have practiced Vipassana meditation himself or herself and have a lot of valuable experience in meditation. Anyone who wants to practice Vipassana mediation should be able to relate with these qualified instructors to be informed of their experience in meditation.
The benefit of having a qualified instructor is to help the process because during the interview, it is expected that the instructor guides the meditator to the best method to achieve meditation. If a situation arises when the meditator feel discouraged as a result of lack of progress in the process, it is expected that the instructor will offer some words of encouragement to uplift the spirit of the meditator.
The reality is that not all meditators have the kind of determination it would take to achieve insight. It is important to understand fully that having insight will ensure that the mental impurities such as hatred, greed as well as ignorance can be removed from the mental system. The truth is that it is not really easy to achieve insight, but to achieve it, only meditators that possess firm determination will acquire the ability for mental purification.
In order to achieve the best result, it is important to have discipline. For this reason, it is normally advisable to go for training in a recognised and standard meditation centre. This is because these centres offer better chance of acquiring discipline. For instance, a meditator will focus on a meditation class till he or she leaves the centre. In this case, there would be no room for external activities which would affect the program.
When this is done severally in a meditation centre, discipline becomes a part of the meditators system. For instance, people who train in a meditation centre would normally go early and probably deprive themselves of some sleep. While sleep deprivation under normal circumstances will likely affect a person’s health, it does not really have any impact on a meditators health and this is due to the mental concentration of a meditator.
It is important to note that meditation cannot be achieved without honesty. The meditator must be truthful at all times as she or she is describing their experiences to his or her instructor. In fact, it is expected that the meditator must tell of the actual facts of his or her negative and positive experience. For instance, if the meditator at any point losses her or his mental concentration or does not have confidence, it is important that he or she tells these facts to the instructor.
On no account the meditator should hide the true information from the instructor or try to be diplomatic expressing his or her reality, probably, in order not to hurt feelings of the instructor. This is not perfect, because the instructors are well experienced and are not hurt with any negative experience of meditators. When the truth is always said to the instructor, he or she would easily relate it to their own experience and be in a better position to help the mediator. It is also important to note that the meditator must always tell what he or she really experienced about, but not in his or her imagination.
It is important to note that it is not an easy task to uproot ignorance, hatred and desire from a person. This will require plenty of strong determination, patience, great effort, unalloyed devotion as well as understanding of the real purpose of the meditation.
The practice of Vipassana
Vipassana meditation is a simple technique, in addition, it is also challenging. In fact, one of periods where it is most challenging for a lot of people is always at the beginning of the learning curve. It is important to note that the principles on its own account are actually not a difficult thing to apply, however the most challenge normally emanate from maintaining state of awareness as well as alertness. Therefore, in practicing Vipassana meditation, it is either you chose meditation time with all the required rituals or you can apply to the practice of witnessing at any time.
First, try to hear your own thoughts. At this stage, it is important to hear the words being formed in your mind on a continuous basis and become aware of their repetition as well as the stream of thoughts. If you can hear these words being formed in your mind, this means that you are a witness to manifestation of your mind.
Secondly, try to witness images as well as visualisations occupying your mind field. Do not allow them to drag you down to become unconscious of them and avoid getting involved in their contents but just be a detached observer.
Thirdly, you are expected to become aware of thought-emotion forms that come as a result of thought forms that are ordinary. For instance, in your everyday life it is expected that you distance from emotions and observe them as soon as they arise. Simply watch your emotion without judgement, and never let emotion live in you.