(Last Updated on : 21/11/2013)
Vipassana or vipasyana in Sanskrit means 'insight' into the impermanent nature or 'anicca' of mind and body. Vipassana is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It is a way of self-transformation through self-observation and introspection. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations. This indeed supports in that continuous interconnect of mind and body while improving the condition the life of the mind.
The word "vipassana" has two parts like 'Passana' and 'Vi'. The expression passana means seeing or perceiving. However, the prefix "vi" has several meanings, one of which is "through". The complete meaning of Vi- Passana is therefore seeing or perceiving or more precisely, it precisely means insight. Vipassana-insight literally cuts through the curtain of the delusion that prevails in the mind. "Vipassana" means an acute, vivid, deep and indeed a powerful observation. The term vipassana thus means an immediate, acute and powerful insight. Simply put, vipassana meditation is an 'insight meditation.
Vipassana meditation also coined as the "Insight Meditation" amidst its concept and philosophy is as if the ultimate expression of Socrates 'dictum' - know thyself. Knowing the true self through an intense and acute insight is indeed the crux of this meditation process. The concept of this meditation was rediscovered by Gautama Buddha somewhere around 2500 years ago. Buddha said that there are causes for the sufferings and the cause of sufferings can only be eradicated only when one succeeds in seeing one's own nature. Vipassana meditation is basically an insight that cuts through conventional perception to perceive mind and matter as they actually are: impermanent, unsatisfactory, and impersonal. Insight meditation gradually purifies the mind, eliminating all forms of attachment.
As attachment is cut away, desire and delusion are gradually diluted- Buddha illustrated this philosophy amidst the concept of Vipassana meditation. He identified the two factors - desire and ignorance, as the roots of suffering and also felt that that if these factors are eliminated then only the mind will be able to be in touch with something permanent beyond the changing world. This state of happiness that the soul enjoys is nothing but sheer felicity called as "Nibbana" in Pali.
Vipassana meditation as the concept goes is the idea of perceiving the inner self. This is indeed a radical insight and it clearly indicates that for happiness one does not have to depend on the idea of manipulating the external. The secret of happiness thus lies in the ability of seeing one's self clearly. While the practice of Vipassana meditation differs from school to school, the underlying principle remains always the same. It is the idea of investigating the phenomena as they manifest in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which are highlighted in the Satipatthana Sutta, namely kaya (body or breath), vedana (feeling or sensation), citta (mind) and dhamma (mind objects).
The concept of vipassana meditation is centred on the present moment, concerned with staying in the now to the most possible extreme degree. It consists of observing body (rupa) and mind (nama) with bare attention. In a broader sense, Vipassana has been used as one of two poles for the classification of types of Buddhist meditation, the other being samatha (Pali) or samatha (Sanskrit). Samatha is a focusing, assuaging and calming
meditation, similar to many traditions of the world, particularly yoga. It is used as a preparation for Vipassana, conciliating the mind and strengthening the connection in order to allow the work of insight. In Buddhist practice it is said that, while samatha can soothe the mind, only insight can disclose how the mind was disturbed to start with, which leads to prajna (knowledge) and jnana (wisdom) and thus understanding, preventing it from being disturbed again. The term is also used to refer to the Buddhist vipassana movement, which employs vipassana and anapana meditation as its primary techniques and lays emphasis on the teachings of the Satipa hana Sutta. Vedana (sensation or feeling) is the initial subject of investigation.
Vipassana meditation is the meditative way of self-transformation amidst the path of self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body. This interconnection is experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body. This further continuously interconnects and conditions the life of the mind. Vipassana meditation is thus the observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity. This results in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
Vipassana meditation is scientific and is based on the scientific laws that operate one's thoughts, feelings, judgments and sensations. It is the knowledge of understanding the self, the knowledge of self and indeed the observation of self through direct experience. Through Vipassana meditation life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and indeed peace.