Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Origins of Vipassana Meditation Practice

The oldest form of Buddhist meditation, Vipassana derives from the Satipatthana Sutta, an ancient text that is traditionally attributed to Shakyamuni. Through Vipassana, practitioners cultivate mindfulness, an abiding awareness of the present. Students spend years practicing this form of meditation, during which time they generally examine various aspects of their existence, such as their hardwired reactions and emotional sensitivities. Ideally, practitioners become more receptive to the basic experiences of life and begin to pay attention to their thoughts and feelings without becoming lost in them.

Mindfulness leads to a greater understanding of the self. Individuals project an ego image. Through mindfulness, they begin to realize who they really are beneath that projected image.

At its heart, Vipassana meditation teaches individuals how to fully pay attention without any divided attention. While this may sound simple, it is far from easy. In reality, people pay very little attention to daily experiences. Instead, they devote their attention to reminiscing about the past or planning for the future. Without focused energy, people rarely pay complete attention to the present.