can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 12:36 am

i've read plenty of descriptions, they are usually vague and sound very similar to anapanasati.

could someone please elaborate?

sorry if this is a very broad question as "vipassana" is an ambiguous term, but nonetheless, you see "vipassana meditation" as a phrase used all over the place, so whatever it means to you, if you understand it, please explain it.
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby Huifeng » Fri May 25, 2012 1:14 am

Frank wrote:i've read plenty of descriptions, they are usually vague and sound very similar to anapanasati.

could someone please elaborate?

sorry if this is a very broad question as "vipassana" is an ambiguous term, but nonetheless, you see "vipassana meditation" as a phrase used all over the place, so whatever it means to you, if you understand it, please explain it.


Well, in modern English language Buddhist usage, the term in Pali "vipassana" largely refers to a couple of streams of modern Theravadin meditation that largely derive from some doctrinal explanations from Burma / Myanmar in the last century or so.

However, the term "vipassana" (in Pali), and "vipasyana" (in Skt), are not confined to Theravada, and have always had a strong usage in almost all forms of Buddhism. It's paired with "samatha", and the two are "yoked together" to form the basis of Buddhist meditation as a general whole. Usually samatha comes first.

Samatha, from the root "sam" (to pacify), means calming, pacification, stilling, etc. and is roughly equivalent to samadhi "concentration".
Vipasyana, from the root "pas" (to see), insight, special seeing, observation, etc. and is roughly equivalent to prajna "knowledge".

Now, because almost every Buddhist school indicates that some sort of wisdom or insight is needed to become liberated, they all have some equivalent of vipasyana. They may not use this term, however, but the meaning is a commonality.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 6:29 am

Huifeng wrote:
Frank wrote:i've read plenty of descriptions, they are usually vague and sound very similar to anapanasati.

could someone please elaborate?

sorry if this is a very broad question as "vipassana" is an ambiguous term, but nonetheless, you see "vipassana meditation" as a phrase used all over the place, so whatever it means to you, if you understand it, please explain it.


Well, in modern English language Buddhist usage, the term in Pali "vipassana" largely refers to a couple of streams of modern Theravadin meditation that largely derive from some doctrinal explanations from Burma / Myanmar in the last century or so.

However, the term "vipassana" (in Pali), and "vipasyana" (in Skt), are not confined to Theravada, and have always had a strong usage in almost all forms of Buddhism. It's paired with "samatha", and the two are "yoked together" to form the basis of Buddhist meditation as a general whole. Usually samatha comes first.

Samatha, from the root "sam" (to pacify), means calming, pacification, stilling, etc. and is roughly equivalent to samadhi "concentration".
Vipasyana, from the root "pas" (to see), insight, special seeing, observation, etc. and is roughly equivalent to prajna "knowledge".

Now, because almost every Buddhist school indicates that some sort of wisdom or insight is needed to become liberated, they all have some equivalent of vipasyana. They may not use this term, however, but the meaning is a commonality.

~~ Huifeng


indeed. that's how ananda explained it in one sutra more or less. i liken it to dna strands spiraling each other in their double helix form.
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby ram peswani » Fri May 25, 2012 6:31 am

Frank wrote:i've read plenty of descriptions, they are usually vague and sound very similar to anapanasati.

could someone please elaborate?

sorry if this is a very broad question as "vipassana" is an ambiguous term, but nonetheless, you see "vipassana meditation" as a phrase used all over the place, so whatever it means to you, if you understand it, please explain it.




Answer to this question has two important factors.

1. The actual 10 day course in detail as is popular in India and abroad. I have attended many such courses and i can give you a detailed description of the course.

2. What does the vipassana do to your different (physical and astral) bodies technically and where does it all lead you to.
I have been doing vipassana since last 20 years and very regularly. I can describe it in detail.

So what exactly you want to know?
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 6:34 am

ram peswani wrote:
Frank wrote:i've read plenty of descriptions, they are usually vague and sound very similar to anapanasati.

could someone please elaborate?

sorry if this is a very broad question as "vipassana" is an ambiguous term, but nonetheless, you see "vipassana meditation" as a phrase used all over the place, so whatever it means to you, if you understand it, please explain it.




Answer to this question has two important factors.

1. The actual 10 day course in detail as is popular in India and abroad. I have attended many such courses and i can give you a detailed description of the course.

2. What does the vipassana do to your different (physical and astral) bodies technically and where does it all lead you to.
I have been doing vipassana since last 20 years and very regularly. I can describe it in detail.

So what exactly you want to know?


all of it! please and thank you! what school vipassana teaching are you using?
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby ram peswani » Fri May 25, 2012 7:13 am

[quote="Frank"]

all of it! please and thank you! what school vipassana teaching are you using?[/quote

1.I have done 10 days courses (Goenka is the teacher) mostly at Igatpuri at Nasik near Bombay.

Lodging and boarding, food is totally free for 10 days.
One has to register before hand as seats are limited and candidates are more.
One has to give a commitment in writing that one has to observe silence for all 10 days. NO newspaper,phone, books, radio etc.
For 10 days one is completely cut off from outer world and can only talk to the teacher.
Everyday one has to sit in a gathering in a hall for 12 hours approx. and meditate.
Every one hour instructions are given by the teacher for guidence.
There are also frequent interviews with the teacher for clearing doubts regarding the method.
For first three days one has to increase concentration by observing the incoming and outgoing breath.

On the fourth day many teachers collect along with students and make one develop vipassana due to the power of concentration developed in earlier 3 days.

4th to 9th days one has to clean or empty the astral bodies with the power of vipassana.

On 10 th day one has to reverse the emptiness and fill the body with Metta (goodwill to all and surroundings)

One can leave after completing the 10 course. Most persons on their own donate on this day for expenses for next batch. But donation is not compulsory. Normally due to benefits incurred in the doing of the course makes one glad to donate. The donations are secretly put in the box according to ones capacity.
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby Frank » Fri May 25, 2012 7:16 am

ram peswani wrote:
Frank wrote:
all of it! please and thank you! what school vipassana teaching are you using?[/quote

1.I have done 10 days courses (Goenka is the teacher) mostly at Igatpuri at Nasik near Bombay.

Lodging and boarding, food is totally free for 10 days.
One has to register before hand as seats are limited and candidates are more.
One has to give a commitment in writing that one has to observe silence for all 10 days. NO newspaper,phone, books, radio etc.
For 10 days one is completely cut off from outer world and can only talk to the teacher.
Everyday one has to sit in a gathering in a hall for 12 hours approx. and meditate.
Every one hour instructions are given by the teacher for guidence.
There are also frequent interviews with the teacher for clearing doubts regarding the method.
For first three days one has to increase concentration by observing the incoming and outgoing breath.

On the fourth day many teachers collect along with students and make one develop vipassana due to the power of concentration developed in earlier 3 days.

4th to 9th days one has to clean or empty the astral bodies with the power of vipassana.

On 10 th day one has to reverse the emptiness and fill the body with Metta (goodwill to all and surroundings)

One can leave after completing the 10 course. Most persons on their own donate on this day for expenses for next batch. But donation is not compulsory. Normally due to benefits incurred in the doing of the course makes one glad to donate. The donations are secretly put in the box according to ones capacity.


thank you for sharing, very intersting! what are the specific instructions you were given?
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby ram peswani » Fri May 25, 2012 8:29 am

Frank wrote:thank you for sharing, very intersting! what are the specific instructions you were given?



During concentration be aware of breath only.

During vipassana be aware of sensations only. Do not impose any of your thoughts and theories.

During Metta be aware that you are positive and throwing goodwill alround.
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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby kirtu » Fri May 25, 2012 5:02 pm

Shamatha is calm abiding meditation and can give a foretaste of nirvana because it can temporarily result in cessations of mental affliction. Vipashyana is insight meditation. In this case it is insight into reality and therefore results in a development of wisdom. In some traditions vipashyana begins with explicit analytic meditation and in others it doesn't (Zen for example usually does not invoke shamatha or vipashyana as terms at all but in fact most of zazen after a while is a unification of shamatha and vipashyana). In others it focuses on sensations.

In analytic vipashyana meditation taught by the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism meditators meditate on the egolessness (or identitylessness) of the individual, then of phenomena, then the unification of emptiness and compassion. I'm pretty sure this follows Kamalashila's meditation instructions.

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Re: can anyone clearly explain what vipassana meditation is?

Postby Spirituality » Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:51 pm

Vipassana is a very broad term that collects a lot of traditional non-concentration types of meditation under one umbrella term. In modern usage the term is often used as a synonym of mindfulness, but traditionally that's only one type of vipassana meditation. A full course of traditional vipassana would include analytical (aka contemplation) meditations on the 4 noble truths, anatta, impermanence etc.

In tibetan buddhism the term is still used as such and I suspect that's true also for more traditional types of Theravada as well. I happen to know that a book is coming out this summer which looks at both current and scriptural usage of the term. The above is a short summary extracted out of e top of my head from a preview. (any mistakes are my own)
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