How to practice Vipassana meditation?

Vipassana is a simple and practical technique to achieve peace of mind and lead a happy life. Vipassana means ‘seeing things as they really are’. It is a process of mental purification through self-observation.

What is the concept of Vipassana?

Normally we experience frustration and disharmony. When we suffer, we also distribute the suffering to others. But we have to live at peace within ourselves and also spread the peace to those around us. How to live peacefully within ourselves and also maintain peace around us?

Vipassana meditation allows you to do this. Vipassana helps us to experience peace. It purifies your mind and frees it from suffering. This technique makes you achieve the spiritual goal of liberation from all mental worries.

History of Vipassana

Vipassana is one of India’s ancient meditation techniques rediscovered 2500 years ago by Buddha. He practiced and taught this technique. During Buddha’s time, many people in North India freed themselves from bonds of suffering by this technique. It allowed them to achieve high levels in all spheres of life. Over time, it was spread to neighboring countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka and others, where it showed great effects.

After Buddha, the heritage of Vipassana disappeared from India. In Myanmar, however, it remained with a chain of devoted gurus. From generation to generation, over 2000 years, this lineage dedicated to transmit this technique in its pristine purity. Now, qualified teachers are teaching it all over the world through various centers.

How Vipassana is taught?

Vipassana will be taught through a 10-day residential course under the guidance of a well-qualified teacher. The courses will be conducted at Vipassana centers and other places also. The students have to remain within course site. They should have no contact with outside world. They have to follow a daily schedule that includes about ten hours of meditation. They should also observe silence. They should not communicate with fellow students. However, they can freely discuss any meditation questions with their teacher and any problems within the course site with the management.

There will be three steps in the training. First, the students have to practice abstinence from things that cause harm. They have to undertake five moral precepts, practicing abstinence from – killing, lying, stealing, sexual misconduct and using intoxicants. Observing these precepts helps your mind to calm down to proceed properly with the task at hand. Second, for first three-and-a-half days, the students have to practice Anapana meditation, which means focusing attention on breath. It helps to get control over the unruly mind.

These first two steps are necessary and beneficial. But they will be incomplete if you don’t follow the third step – purifying your mind of underlying negativities. The third step undertaken in the last six-and-a-half days. It is the real practice of Vipassana that gives the complete clarity of insight.

Students will be given systematic meditation instructions for several times in a day. Complete silence will be observed during the first nine days. On the tenth day, students start speaking, making their transition back to an extroverted way of life. The course gets completed on the morning of eleventh day. This course closes with practice of metta-bhavana, a meditation technique in which the students share the purity developed during the course with all beings.