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With Delhi’s chief minister on a Vipassana retreat, there is renewed interest in this technique of meditation.
Blogger ANNU VISWANATH tells us what it involves

The word Vipassana in Pali language means ‘insight’. Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques. Long lost to humanity, it was rediscovered by Gautama Buddha more than 2,550 years ago. Vipassana means a special kind of vision: observation of reality within oneself. One starts by observing the natural breath to concentrate the mind. With this 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-realisation by direct experience is the process of purification. Vipassana meditation aims at the highest spiritual goals of total liberation and full enlightenment. It is an art of living which eliminates the three causes of all unhappiness: craving, aversion and ignorance.
The purpose of Vipassana is to eradicate suffering by eradicating its causes: ignorance, craving and aversion. It unties the knots created by imbalances in reaction to pleasant and unpleasant situations and helps develop positive, creative energy for the betterment of the individual and society. The process of self-purification by introspection is certainly never easy: one has to work really hard at it. By one’s own effort, the student arrives at realisation.
The duration of the course is of 10 days and students who are fit physically and mentally will have to stay on the premises for the entire duration of the course, having absolutely no contact with the outside world and scrupulously follow the rules, regulations, code of discipline and the course timetable diligently and thoroughly.
We can eradicate suffering by eradicating ignorance, craving and aversion. To achieve this goal the Buddha discovered, followed, and taught a practical way to this attainable end. He called this way the Noble Eightfold Path. This Noble Eightfold Path can be divided into three types of training: Sila, Samadhi, and Panna. Sila is moral practice, abstention from all unwholesome actions of body and speech.
Samadhi is the practice of concentration, developing the ability to consciously direct and control one’s own mental processes. Panna is wisdom, the development of purifying insight into one’s own nature. The person who wishes to practise Vipassana should learn it only in a course where there is the right environment to support the meditator and a properly trained guide. It is a technique, which deals with the depth of mind and should never be approached lightly or casually.
The meditator finds that whatever mental strength was gained during the course, whatever was learned, can be applied in daily life for his own benefit and for the good of others. Life becomes more harmonious, fruitful, and happy. Vipassana literally removes impurities from the depths of our mind. The meditator becomes egoless and it also helps considerably to change the old habit pattern of the mind. It will also help the meditator to be in the present reality. This technique is a type of experiential wisdom and if practised regularly, will change the life of an individual completely and will enable him to become free from conditioning.n
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