The term Vipassana comes from the Pali language and means “seeing clearly” (vi means clearly and passana means seeing). This meditation technique is for the purification of the mind and based on the four foundations of mindfulness, or satipatthana – these are 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 (such as walking or sitting), to feelings (happiness or sadness), to the mind (thinking about the past and the future) and to dhamma, which is the awareness of noting the five hindrances – liking, disliking, drowsiness, distraction and doubt.
This focus on the present moment is so important because it helps our minds and thus our concentration become stronger and more powerful. If we practice with the right amount of effort and continuity our faculties will also come into balance. These key 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 (uncontrollable).
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 have learned about Buddhist insight meditation mainly from the internet. The Venerable Yuttadhammo’s Youtube channel has been a huge source of information for me. I have 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 wanting to learn more about how to practice meditation, I also suggest you check out The Venerable Yuttadhammo’s series entitled “How to Meditate”.
Finally, there is of course the option of taking part in an intensive Vipassana course in a meditation centre or monastery. I have not done this yet, but if you are interested check out the Sirimangalo website.
Sirinya Pakditawan is a ‘luk kreung’, or half-Thai, born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. She enjoys writing about Thailand with a focus on culture, art, history, tradition and food. She has a PhD in American Studies from the University of Hamburg. To read the original story check out her blog: sirinyas-thailand.de