Vipassana is one of the most ancient meditation techniques developed by the Buddha. Although the technique is not only meant for Buddhists, it can be practiced by all people from all over the world even with people coming from different religious backgrounds. Vipassana means ‘insight into the true nature of reality’ or basically just seeing things as they really are. It aims for the highest spiritual goals of total liberation and enlightenment. The technique calls for 10 days of noble silence where the student must abstain from killing any being, from stealing, from all sexual activity, from telling lies and abstain from any and all intoxicants.
Noble Silence must be observed from the beginning of the course until the morning of the last full day. This would include silence of the body, speech and mind. All forms of communication are prohibited, including gestures, sign language and written notes. Other forms of worship or meditation must be discontinued during the period of the course. This would include fasting, counting beads, reciting mantras – even physical yoga must be suspended! Any religious objects, rosaries or crystals should not be brought into the course either.
Men and women are segregated even if you are married or with your partner. Even any sort of physical contact with same sex or opposite sex is not allowed. On top of all these requirements, it’s easy to say that drugs, tobacco, sleeping pills, musical instruments, cameras and radios amongst other things are not allowed. Clothing should be simple and modest to minimize distraction to others. Even communication to the outside world must be eliminated for the duration of the course. It is only through this disciplined approach that the student can understand and fully benefit from the Vipassana.
By following the code of moral conduct, this should calm the mind. Then the technique will allow for a gradual cultivation of mindfulness. The meditator’s attention is directed to examine his/her own life experience. It trains the mind to become more and more aware of your own thoughts, to listen to them rather than to get caught in the midst of them. You learn to see the truth of impermanence, you wake up to what life really is. Vipassana eliminates the three causes of unhappiness: craving, aversion and ignorance. It is a process of self-discovery, a process of self-purification by self-observation. It is meant to release the tensions developed in everyday life, showing us the true nature of our old habits of how we react in pleasant or unpleasant occurrences
The Vipassana practice is a total mental training that can be used to develop a healthy mind. One’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. From eliminating distractions, you can observe sensations throughout the body and understand their nature. It is seriously hard work as the course calls to develop some mastery over the mind. Although, because many have found the technique to be genuinely helpful, it is not taught commercially but freely. No person is compensated and the course charges nothing for the duration of the meditation, not even for food or accommodation. All of the expenses are met by donations from people who have completed the course.
If you are interested in immersing yourself into a Vipassana Meditation, you can look for a center nearest to you https://www.dhamma.org/en/locations/directory and check out the steps on how to apply to each corresponding center. To observe within and watch the reactions that arise in certain events is one of the most important aspects of consciousness. The day that we can see this truth, is when we can understand pure Dharma, the nature of the mind. <3