Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Vipassana - Meditation

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. The Meditation technique, that was taught by the Buddha is called Vipassana  Meditation. The word Meditation really is no equivalent of the Buddhist term ‘Bhavana” which literally means ‘development’ or ‘culture’, i.e., development of mind or culture of mind. Bhavana , in Buddhism, means cultivation in the true sense of the word. It is the removal of all evil and unwholesome mental factors and developing or cultivating all good and wholesome mental factors in order to produce  calm, concentrated mind that sees the true nature of all phenomenal things and realizes Nirvana , the supreme security from bondage.

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.

Vipassana means “insight” in the ancient Pali language of India. It is the essence of the teaching of the Buddha, the actual experience of the truths of which he spoke. The Buddha himself attained that experience by the practice of meditation, and therefore meditation is what he primarily taught. It is completely experiential in nature.

All our lives , we have been accustomed to look outward. We have always interested in what is happening outside of our being. We have rarely, if ever, examined ourselves, our own mental and physical nature/structure, our own actions, our own reality. Therefore , we remain unknown to ourselves. The path that the Buddha showed is a path of introspection, of self observation. By observing ourselves we become aware for the first time of the conditioned reactions, the prejudices that cloud our mental vision, that hide reality from us and produce suffering. We recognise the accumulated inner tensions that keep us agitated, miserable and we realise they can be removed. Gradually we learn how to allow them to dissolve and our minds become pure, peaceful and happy.

Vipassana Meditation is a teaching to be practised. Simply having faith in the Buddha or his teachings will not help to free us from suffering ; neither will a merely intellectual understanding of the path. Only the actual practice of what Buddha has taught will give concrete results and change our lives for the better.

It is not necessary to call oneself a Buddhist , in order to practice this teaching. Labels are irrelevant. It can be practiced by any one , with an intention of knowing the truth of suffering and coming out of it and live a happy life. It is not sectarian or religious , and can be practiced by all .

Late. Sri S.N.Goenkaji has done a tremendous and selfless service in imparting this jewel –Vipassana Meditation- to millions of people in India and abroad and helped them to gain happiness and peace in their lives. For more info visit www.dhamma.org

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