Vipassana Meditation: What and How to Do and Benefits of Vipassana

Vipassana Meditation: What and How to Do and Benefits of Vipassana-2019

Entering inside is the way to know how to move out useful. Vipassana meditation is an opportunity in this sense. A humble and concrete deepening of what is experienced in a Vipassana meditation retreat, for whom and What are the Benefits.

Vipassana meditation is a traditional Buddhist meditation technique that originated in the sixth century BC. Its purpose is to discover our true nature, as the Buddha did, to get to know each other again and understand that our happiness does not depend on anything else but ourselves. In the West, it has become very popular under the name of “mindfulness”.

Vipassana Meditation: What and How to Do and Benefits of Vipassana

Origins and meaning of vipassana meditation

Vipassanā” is a term pali (an ancient language closely related to Sanskrit) which means “to see clearly” or “to look inside”.

It is one of the oldest meditative techniques in the world, deriving from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It was practiced 25 centuries ago by the Buddha, who claimed that through it he had rediscovered an even older practice.

After his edification in 528 BCE, the Buddha went through the rest of the 45 years of his life encouraging the exit from suffering. Vipassana is essentially the essence of these precepts: the teaching of the Buddha is known by the general term Dharma.

For five centuries Vipassana meditation has helped millions of people in India, the home of the Buddha. This era saw India prosper under the reign of Emperor Asoka (273-236 BC) who unified the country and began an era of peace and prosperity.

Asoka also sent Dharma ambassadors to all neighboring kingdoms (including what became Myanmar in modern times), thus spreading both the practice and the words of the Buddha.

However, after about 500 years, the practice of Vipassana had almost disappeared from India. Fortunately, it was kept alive by a continuous chain of meditation teachers in neighboring Myanmar (Burma) to the present day.

In our day, Vipassana meditation has been reintroduced in India and throughout the world mainly thanks to the work of SN Goenka, a Burmese Indian industrialist who learned the Vipassana technique from Sayagyi U Ba Khin, a famous lay teacher the first to teach Westerners in English. U Ba Khin named him heir in the Vipassana technique teaching in 1969.

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The precepts of vipassana meditation

Vipassana practice The cardinal principle of this meditation is “to see things as they really are”. Vipassana focuses mainly on the body and on many aspects of it, from posture to breath up to the sensations, and also on the mind thanks to contemplative actions.

Vipassana meditation is a rational method of purifying the mind of all that causes anguish and pain. This simple technique does not invoke the help of a god, spirit or any other external power, but relies exclusively on our efforts.

Vipassana is an intuition that dissolves conventional thinking to arrive at perceiving mind and matter as they are: impermanent, unsatisfactory and impersonal. The constant practice gradually purifies the mind, eliminating all forms of material attachment that have accompanied us in our lives. As attachment is eliminated, desire and illusion are gradually diluted.

The Buddha identified these two factors, desire, and ignorance, as the greatest roots of suffering. When they are expelled, the mind will touch something permanent. That “something” is immortal and supermundane happiness, called Nibbana in Pali.

Vipassana meditation is about the present moment and to foresee staying in the “here and now” for as long as possible. It consists of observing the body and the mind with bare attention.

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See through our illusions

The word “vipassana” consists of two parts. “Passana” means to see, that is, to perceive. The prefix “vi” has different meanings, one of which is through. Vipassana’s intuition literally cuts the curtain of illusion in the mind, giving a kind of vision that perceives the individual components separately.

The idea of separation is particularly relevant in this meditation, because of intuition functions as a mental scalpel, differentiating conventional truth from ultimate reality.

By “seeing through” we mean a process that involves us throughout the day and not limited only to the moment in which vipassana meditation is practiced. In other words, we need to be aware of what we are doing at all times, trying to learn all the sensations that come from our mental activity.

This attitude is essential to understand when we are prey to negative emotions, which can be fear, anger or moments of blind impulsiveness.

When we let go of these sensations, our body modifies the breath, and this is a clear indication that something is wrong.

Interpreting this condition when the body gives notice of it is the pillar on which the Vipassana is based: we can take control of the emotions that have the upper hand over our mind, reduce them to mere sequences of facts without suffering overwhelm, and actually make them disappear every negativity and mental impurity that afflicts us.

Vipassana Meditation: What and How to Do and Benefits of Vipassana

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How to practice vipassana meditation

The first fundamental step to undertake this practice is to develop concentration, through the practice of “Anapana”. This goal is typically achieved through an awareness of breathing.
Focus all your attention, from moment to moment, on the rhythm of your breath. Notice the subtle sensations of the movement of the abdomen that rises and falls. 
Alternatively, focus on the sensation of the air passing through your nostrils and touch your lips – try to feel it as intensely as you can.
As you focus on the breath, you will notice that other perceptions and sensations continue to appear: sounds, body movements, emotions, etc. It is enough to notice these phenomena as they emerge in the field of awareness, and then return to the sensation of breathing. Attention is maintained in the object of concentration (breathing), while these other thoughts or feelings are simply “background noise”.
The object that is at the center of the practice (for example the movement of the abdomen) is called “the primary object”. And a “secondary object” is anything else that arises in your field of perception – through the five senses, or through the mind (thoughts, memories, feelings). 
If a secondary object engages your attention and moves it away, or if it makes desire or aversion appear, you must focus on the secondary object for a moment or two, labeling it with a mental note, such as “thought”, “memory”, “Concern”, “desire”. This practice is often called “notation”.
When a sound disturbs you, for example, label it as “hearing” instead of “car”, “voices” or “barking dog”. If an unpleasant sensation occurs, note “pain” or “feeling” instead of “back pain”. Then bring your attention back to the object of primary meditation.
In this phase, you will acquire the “concentration of access”, which will allow you to pay full attention to the primary object of the practice. Observe it without attachment, letting rise thoughts and feelings that gradually disappear spontaneously. 
Mental labeling (explained above) is often used as a way to keep you from being dragged away by thoughts and to see them objectively.
Consequently, you will develop a clear vision of the phenomena you observe and that are pervaded by the three “signs of existence”: impermanence (annica), dissatisfaction (dukkha) and impersonality (vintage). As a result, equanimity, peace and inner freedom will develop spontaneously in relation to these inputs.


In the days of Vipassana meditation, there are many moments in which it comes to abandon, collide with oneself. We are filled with fear, we can brutally hurl ourselves against those who have nothing to do (the silences of the other students, the instructions of the assistants, the suggestions of the teachers). 
Everything can become nutritious or annoying. Everything can be missing and everything can be damaged. For me there have been very intense dreams, some violent, others extremely pleasant, the mind went, wandered; there have been atrocious pains and conflicting sensations, but I stop it because it is already saying that it is conditioning the reader and I do not want to do this.

Small tips for those who do, given with humility and inviting you to take them with pliers (my experience is not yours):

Talk to the teachers when you feel it is useful; 
Go without expectations, if you decide to go;
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that after Vipassana you are enlightened, in reality, it is only after everything begins. In a different way.
Then we return to life, to unread e-mails, to stacked messages. We return to the word. To sounds and noises. You go to others. 
With a difference: if you have done a good job, if you have really done a serious test with this technique, you return among others with the always available possibility to come back in yourself and feel. And this is useful in life. It serves incredibly. It could be said that it counts as the oxygen the trees give us.

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