Vipassana, also known as Insight Meditation is an ancient form of meditation that roots back to India 2,500 years ago. It’s believed that Gautama Buddha himself discovered this form of meditation. He practiced vipassana himself and taught it to his students. Aiming to achieve happiness by getting rid of suffering, they used vipassana to know their true nature and see the world with clarity.
Today, vipassana is known as one of the most popular forms of meditation. Aside from surviving two and a half millennia, it has spread all over the world. Just like Buddha and his teachings, vipassana thrived.
Consequently, vipassana is often linked to Buddhism. Buddha pioneered it so it must be a Buddhist practice, right?
Many would be surprised but it is not a part of Buddhism. In fact, vipassana is non-sectarian, not associated to any form of religion or faith. This is one of the reasons that make it popular globally. Anyone, regardless of faith or religion, is welcome to learn and practise this technique.
“Vipassana” is a Sanskrit word that is composed of two parts: “vi” and “passana.” “Passana” means “seeing” while “vi,” on the other hand, has several interpretations. “Vi” may be directly translated as “through,” but it can also imply discernment, or it can be used as an intensive to the second part of the word, passana.
But despite the differences of the first syllable’s meaning, when both parts are brought together, vipassana is about seeing things the way they truly are. It’s about facing and looking reality in the eye. And all that happens in the journey of knowing the true nature of oneself.
Over the years, vipassana has developed a huge and even global following. The amount of learning resources grew and now, they’ve become easily accessible. Books, CDs, and online guides for vipassana are everywhere. However, there’s a downside to this, too. Because of having too much information out there, it’s easy for beginners of vipassana to become confused.
With that said, it’s best for practitioners, who wish to break through the surface and learn more about vipassana, to work with a qualified teacher. Studying on your own is good but working with an expert will make the journey faster and smoother.
In addition, one of the principles of vipassana is the harmony of mind and body. This task is simply too challenging, even for advanced practitioners, to achieve on their own. But if you have a mentor who will guide you and tell you what to do, meditation success won’t be too far away.