What is Vipassana?
I took a 10-days course in Vipassana from September 14 to September 25, 2021. This was my 3rd time sitting a 10 day course.
Vipassana is a meditation technique and it teaches you pure Dharma. Nowadays as soon as we hear the word “Dharma” we start thinking of Hindu dharma, Jain dharma, Muslim dharma, Sikh dharma, Buddh dharma, etc. However, Vipassana talks about Dharma in its purest form. Over many many years, the true meaning of Dharma was lost and people began practicing various rituals in the name of dharma. The practical aspect of dharma was completely lost. Over 2500 years ago, Siddhartha Gautama set himself on the path to find the reason behind misery in the world and was enlightened at the age of 35. He founded the practice of Vipassana and explained pure dharma. The practice or sadhana relieves you of all your miseries.
Today there is suffering all around, in all forms and in everybody’s lives. We spend our whole life living in misery. Vipassana allows you to get to the root of your suffering and eliminate it from there. It is very easy to understand these ideas on an intellectual level and at the level of the conscious mind. We find these in books and lectures by monks and other leaders. However, if these things are not experienced on the level of our own bodies, we can not eradicate misery from our lives. Vipassana teaches how you can really implement these things in real life and live in harmony and peace with yourself as well as others. It is a very practical technique and one that can completely change your life for good.
Dhamma in its pure form is made of 3 things, 1. Faith, without which you will never walk the path, 2. Knowledge, without which you will start having blind faiths, and, 3. Practice, without which you will never experience dhamma in real life. Most people today only have either the first or the first 2 things in their lives and have totally forgotten the practice. We pray, we go to temples and celebrate festivals, hoping to make our Gods happy and expecting them to relieve us of our misery. When has this been true my friend? Until and unless you practice dhamma you can not experience it. Vipassana teaches this third very important leg of pure dhamma.
The science behind Vipassana is observing bodily sensations and remaining equanimous with them. Most times when we are excited, happy, sad, depressed, envious, angry, etc our subconscious mind develops clingings and aversions towards the sensations that happen on our bodies as a result of an external event. These sensations are what cause us to crave more of some things and push away some things depending upon their nature. This is the reason that causes all the misery. We indulge in these sensations and create cravings and clingings and aversions. And when our desired outcomes don’t happen we become restless and disturb our peace.
Upon meditation and becoming aware of these subtle sensations that appear on our body we then start to observe them for what they are and stop reacting to them or let’s say we stop developing cravings and aversions. When you simply watch them with “drashta bhav” and don’t suffer or “bhokta bhav” you start becoming peaceful and begin the process of eradicating all the deep-rooted sankharas. Sankharas are our karmic knots. Which we develop unknowingly because of lack of this knowledge.
Vipassana is all about the laws of nature. The most important thing to understand here is the law of impermanence. By this law of nature, anything that is birthed has to pass away. This applies to every single thing in this world. It applies to our body, we are born and we die, this applies to all the sensations on our body too. Any sensation pleasant or unpleasant does not live eternally. if it arose, it will also pass away. Any emotion that you feel also passes away. Once you begin to understand this on the experiential level, by practicing mediation you start developing the understanding that there is no reason for having cravings or clinging or aversion for anything that is impermanent, as it all passes away. This too shall pass after all.
From the time we are born we live a life only looking outside, Vipassana allows you to turn inwards and really look deep within. All the problems we face are after all our doings. We reap the fruits of the seeds we plant knowingly or unknowingly. When you become aware of this knowledge, you also become more aware of your actions, and your thoughts. Thoughts are where it all begins.
Become the master of your mind and not someone who dances to the tunes of the mind.
On a personal level, I have come to realize that it gets harder every time. My understanding of Vipassana has surely deepened this time around. It is a new and unique experience each time. One of the biggest things for me this time was understanding my ego and how it gets in the way of my best life. Another big thing from all the 3 courses I have sat in, is the mental clarity and mental stability that comes with it. 10 days of noble silence can do more than you can imagine to your mind and body. Also, fasting for almost 18 hours helped with my body and skin. Once you begin practicing Dhamma all the energies of the world, visible and invisible, come to your support and help. I have been very fortunate to gain this knowledge and I look forward to more courses in the future.
If there is one thing I had to tell you it would be to give yourself this precious gift of Dhamma at least once in your life. To learn more and find courses check out their website.