Today, I’d like to introduce you to Vipassana meditation (Buddhist Insight Meditation), in the tradition of Ajaan Tong Sirimangalo, which I’ve discovered for myself a few months ago. In the past, I had not been a great meditator and the techniques that I tried before had not really captured and convinced me. However, since practising Vipassana, I meditate daily for some hours at home, doing sitting and walking meditation.
The term Vipassana comes from the Pali language and means ‘seeing clearly’ (‘vi’– clearly, ‘passana’-seeing). This meditation technique is for the purification of the mind and based on the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana). These are the body (kaia), feelings (vedana), mind (citta) and dhamma.
In fact, mindfulness is the key to this practice since it allows us to experience reality as it truly is so that we are in the present moment. Hence, in Vipassana meditation, we note every experience related to the body (e.g. walking, sitting), to feelings (e.g. happy, sad), the mind (i.e. thinking about the past and the future) and dhamma which is the awareness of noting the five hinderances (liking, disliking, drowsiness, distraction and doubt).
Noting according to the present moment is so important since our minds and thus our concentration will become stronger and more powerful. If we practice with right effort and continuity, our faculties will also balance. These faculties are confidence, effort, mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.
Eventually, when we are able to stay aware continuously, we will let go of all existential phenomena since they arise and cease. Hence, the nature of all arisen phenomena is unstable, unsatisfying and non-self (i.e. not controllable).
What is more, mindfulness is fundamental to a peaceful mind since being aware of the present moment prevents evil from entering our minds. Thus, we can rid ourselves of defilements like greed, anger and delusion.
I’ve learned about Buddhist Insight Meditation mainly from the internet. Ven.Yuttadhammo’s Youtube channel has been a huge source of information for me. I’ve also done an online meditation course with him which I can recommend to anyone interested in taking up meditation on a daily basis.
For a beginner meditator, I also suggest you check out Ven. Yuttadhammo’s series on ‘How to meditate’.
Finally, there is of course also the opportunity to do an intensive Vipassana course in a related meditation center or monastery. I have not done this yet but if you are interested, check out the Sirimangalo website.