What is Vipassana Meditation?

From time immemorial, the profound technique of Vipassana has been passed down through generations of enlightened masters, starting with the great Buddha himself. Today, we are blessed to have a lineage of teachers who have faithfully carried forth this precious gift. These teachers, in our tradition, were personally chosen and appointed by the late revered individual, Mr. S.N. Goenka, who hailed from India but was nurtured in Burma (Myanmar).

While residing in Burma, Mr. Goenka had the immense fortune of being guided in Vipassana by his own esteemed teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who served as a prominent official in the government at that time Over a span of fourteen years, Mr. Goenka diligently imbibed the teachings from his mentor until he decided to settle in India, whereupon he received Sayagyi’s authorization to embark on his own journey as a Vipassana teacher in 1969.

Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Goenka dedicated himself to the noble task of disseminating this universal technique. With unwavering commitment, he imparted Vipassana to countless individuals from various races and religions, both in the East and in the West. Sensing the growing demand for Vipassana courses, he initiated the practice of appointing assistant teachers in 1982, enabling him to cater to the ever-increasing audience thirsting for this transformative experience

In his wisdom and foresight, before his eventual passing in 2013, Mr. Goenka established a comprehensive system for the training and selection of future teachers in our tradition. Thus, his legacy lives on, ensuring that the sacred flame of Vipassana will continue to illumine the path for generations to come.

Vipassana, which means “to see reality as it is” – is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation.

Vipassana Meditation 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. These physical sensations form the life of the body which 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. The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear.

Through direct experience, one realises the nature of how one grows or regresses – how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.

An introduction practice session that anyone can do before coming to the course can be found here.

It is important to read the meditators Code of discipline before applying for a course which can be found here.

Principal Teacher S. N. Goenka explains Vipassana Below:

Ten-Day Course

The technique is taught progressively over a 10-day residential course, during which time participants follow a Code of Discipline, learn the basics, and practice sufficiently to experience the benefits directly for themselves.

A Three Step Process

1. The first step is, for the period of the course, to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual activity, speaking falsely, and intoxicants. This simple code of moral conduct serves to calm the mind, which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task of self-observation.

2. The next step is to develop some mastery over the mind by learning to fix one’s attention on the natural reality of the ever changing flow of breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. By the fourth day the mind is calmer and more focused, better able to undertake the practice of Vipassana itself: observing sensations throughout the body, understanding their nature, and developing equanimity by learning not to react to them.

3. Finally, on the last full day participants learn the meditation of loving kindness or goodwill towards all, in which the purity developed during the course is shared with all beings.

All sincere people are welcome to join a Vipassana course to see for themselves how the technique works and to measure the benefits. All those who try it will find Vipassana to be an invaluable tool with which to achieve and share real happiness with others.