Vipassana (Insight Meditation)

What exactly is Vipassana Retreat?

Vipassana is a system of meditation taught by Buddha. Vipassana (Pali) is also known as vipashyana (Sanskrit), lhakthong (Tibetan). Vipassana mean “clear seeing”, “superior insight”, “wisdom”, “insight”. This is why it is also known as “Insight Meditation” Vipassana is helpful to overcome sufferings and to create a balanced mind. Vipassana helps to make mind calm and peaceful. It helps to mind to face fear, worries, depression, anxiety, anger, excitement, hatred, pride, envy and so many other emotions with ease. With regular practice of Vipassana, one can easily deal with such emotions and can create a healthy mind – body relation. Vipassana teaching are scientific and to practice it one need not have adopt any religion or faith.

Theravada Vipassana Meditation and EEG Experiment

Theravada Vipassana Meditation is the advance level of meditation that sharpen innate intelligence. This type of meditation involves practicing both “focused attention” and “open monitoring.” It is the process of educating the mind so that it draws the right conclusions. Scientific experiments were conducted (with EEG measures) with the group of people practicing retreat in Theravada Buddhist Vipassana for three months and results showed improved performance on the attentional blink task. Theravada Vipassana meditation technique goes step by step. First step is to focus attention on breathing sensation. In next step practice shifts to open awareness. Process continues till such mindfulness is nonreactive. Means till the time one simply observes or witnesses the coming and going of thoughts without getting attach to it with emotional reactions. This reduction in mental clinging or stickiness was reflected in the EEG brain waves during the experiments. These studies shows that intensive Theravada Vipassana meditation improves attention and affects brain processes related to attention.

How Vipassana Technique Works?

Vipassana is nothing but the observation of what goes in our mind and body. Initially it may be hard to concentrate but continuous practice and developed mindfulness can help one to understand, what’s coming in and what’s going out phenomena. Mindfulness means being aware of physical and mental activities. Whether you are sitting, walking, lying down, closing door, brushing teeth, going to office, cleaning the house – what important is being aware of what you are doing. Our mind is always full of thoughts, some negative and some positive. This makes us not being in the present moment. This is the main idea behind Vipassana, being in the present moment. As our mind wanders less, we feel more peaceful, calm and relaxed. This practice improves memory, mental concentration.

Guided Vipassana Meditation

  1. Sit in a cross legged position. Or any comfortable position. Sit upright and in balanced position.
  2. Keep the back straight. Imagine that someone is gently pushing between the shoulder blades, but keep the muscles relaxed.
  3. Hands can be placed in front. Right palm on left palm with thumbs touching.
  4. Close your eyes. Begin meditating.
  5. Observe breathing. Breathe normally. No need to force the breath.
  6. With every act of breathing, the abdomen rises and falls. Begin by noting this movement. You will find the abdomen rising when you breathe in, and falling when you breathe out. The rising should be noted mentally as “rising” and the falling as “falling.”
  7. Rising and falling may not always be the same. Do not think or analyze anything. Just observe and note as they occur. Note it mentally, not verbally.
  8. While noting the “rising” of the abdomen, do so from the beginning to the end of the movement just as if you are seeing it with your eyes. Do the same with the “falling” movement. Note the “rising” movement in such a way that your awareness of it is concurrent with the movement itself.
  9. For beginners, it may find difficult to continue noting in continuous manner. Mind may start to wander. This must be noted by mentally saying “wandering, wandering.” If you imagine meeting somebody, note as “meeting, meeting.” Then go back to the “rising” and “falling” of the abdomen. If you imagine meeting and talking to somebody, note as “talking, talking.”
  10. In short, whatever thoughts or reflections occur, they should be noted. If you imagine, note as “imagining.” If you think, note as “thinking.” If you perceive, “perceiving.” If you reflect, “reflecting.” If you feel happy, “happy.” Just note it mentally and revert back to noting the rising and falling of abdomen. For beginners, it may take few days or weeks to note clearly rising and falling of abdomen.
  11. Continue the practice. In Vipassana, practice is more important than any other. Just understanding the concept yields nothing. You must be patient in meditation.

Vipassana 10 Day Course Centre and Fee In India

Vipassana course is same in all centers guided by S. P. Goenka. You may choose as per your convenience. You can opt for the usual 10-day course, as less than ten days is not enough time for the mind to settle down and work deeply with the mind-body phenomenon. Vipassana Meditation is usually offered free of cost, though students can make donations after completing the course. According to the tradition of Vipassana, there are no fees or charges for attending the courses, not even for accommodation and food. Here is the list of few well known Vipassana course centers.

  • Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri.
  • Dhamma Dhaja, Hoshiarpur, Punjab.
  • Dhamma Thali, Jaipur.
  • Dhamma Pattana, Gorai, Mumbai.
  • Dhamma Bodhi, Bodh Gaya.
  • Sikhara Dhamma, Dharamasala.
  • Dhamma Karunika. Haryana.
  • Dhamma Setu, Chennai.
  • Dhamma Pushkar, Ajmer.
  • Dhamma Sota, Haryana.
  • Dhamma Paphulla, Bangalore.

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