Introduction to the Technique
Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered by Gotama the Buddha, about 2500 years ago. Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. It is the process of self- purification by self-observation. One begins by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With a sharpened awareness one proceeds to observe the changing nature of body and mind, and, experiences the universal truths of impermanence, suffering and egolessness. This truth-realization, by direct experience, is the process of purification. The entire path (Dhamma) is a universal remedy for universal problems and has nothing to do with any organized religion or sectarianism.
What Vipassana is not:
- It is not a rite or ritual based on blind faith.
- It is neither an intellectual nor a philosophical entertainment.
- It is not a rest, a cure, a holiday, or an opportunity for socializing.
- It is not an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
What Vipassana is:
- It is a technique that will eradicate suffering.
- It is a method of mental purification which allows one to face life’s tensions and problems in a calm, balanced way.
- It is an art of living that one can use to make positive contributions to society.
Its purpose is never simply to cure physical disease. However, as a by-product of mental purification, many psychosomatic diseases are eradicated.
Although Vipassana was discovered as a technique by the Buddha, its practice is not limited to Buddhists. The technique works on the simple basis that all human beings share the same problems, and a technique which can eradicate these problems will have a universal application. People from many religious denominations have experienced the benefits of Vipassana meditation, and have found no conflict with their profession of faith.
The process of self-purification by introspection is certainly never easy; students have to work very hard at it; no one else can do this for them.
Ten days is certainly a very short time in which to penetrate through the deepest levels of the unconscious mind, and learn how to eradicate the complexes. Continuity of the practice, in seclusion, is the secret of success. Rules and regulations have been made keeping this practical aspect in mind. They are not primarily for benefit of the teacher or the management, nor are they negative expressions of tradition, orthodoxy or blind faith in some organized religion. Rather, they are based on the practical experience of thousands of meditators over the years, and are both scientific and rational. Abiding by the rules creates a very conducive atmosphere for meditation.
Persons with Serious Mental Disorders
People with serious mental disorders occasionally come to Vipassana courses with an unrealistic expectation that it will cure or alleviate their mental problems. Although Vipassana meditation is beneficial for most people, it is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric treatment and we do not recommend it for people with psychiatric disorders including depression, sleep disorder etc. Someone suffering from psychiatric problems, or undergoing emotional upheaval will not able to follow instructions to learn and practice Vipassana, hence, should not join.