Author Topic: How to Practice Vipassana Insight Meditation - By Sayadaw U Pandita  (Read 5980 times)

Matthew

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How to Practice Vipassana Insight Meditation

By Sayadaw U Pandita

"Step-by-Step Instructions on how to do this important practice ­— the foundation of all Buddhist Meditations — from the famed Vipassana master Sayadaw U Pandita.


Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself, and although the specific form of the practice may vary, it is the basis of all traditions of Buddhist meditation.

Vipassana is the predominant Buddhist meditation practice in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was an important revival of this early form of meditation practice led bythe Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. Following his death in 1982, Sayadaw U Pandita, who studied extensively with Mahasi Sayadaw, was chosen as his principle preceptor. U Pandita is one of the world's leading teachers of Vipassana meditation and has been an important influence on many Vipassana teachers in the West, including Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein of the Insight Meditation Society. He is the founder and abbot of Panditarama Meditation Centre in Yangon, Myanmar."

Full text here.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

hardik_bavishi_79

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A slight difference in understanding
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2008, 06:32:44 AM »
Very nice article.  But I had a different understanding about one thing - "labelling".  He (Sayadaw U Pandita) suggest the use of "labelling", assigning name to sensations.  This can be dangerous....because there can be thousands of types of sensation....and each one is unique.  Naming means classifying them, abstracting them to a class which has a known verbal identifier.  In this way, mind could get into the business of finding out the most appropriate word for the sensation that has aroused in present moment rather than just being present with the sensation as-it-is.  I might be wrong, but as far as my shallow understanding goes, there is no need to label, no need to verbalize.  On the other hand, labelling/verbalization of what you feel can be a hinderance.  Other sadhakas please share your understanding.

Flipasso

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I'm guessing you practice Goenka style....

Not from sadhana, but from trusting in the teaching... Ven. Sujiva, a Mahasi Sayadaw disciple like Ven. U Pandita, in Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice says that one shall not waist to much time/energy with labeling... labeling is used to make the mind really notice what is happening and then allow itself to let go.

Paul

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What an excellent article, well found Matthew!  I think that labelling is a choce and those that find it useful can do so and those don't can avoid it.  In the article he does say to keep labelling simple, however.

Just a note for those who practice yoga: the response to question 5 is -"To achieve peace of mind, we must make sure our body is at peace. So it’s important to choose a position that will be comfortable for a long period of time."  Have you ever tried practicing some asanas before sitting to meditate?  I find it excellent preparation, it focuses the mind and calms the body, the perfect start to a meditation session!


Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Hardik: Re naming or labelling: this is a transitory technique in the early stages of shamatha/vipassana meditation. We use labelling or naming as a sort of "book end" to help hold the wandering mind in place. We label the fact that we are thinking or feeling something so that we are aware of it but do not get lost in it and remain principally focussed on the object of meditation, say the breath. Labelling can be a useful tool to help establish the base of calm-abiding needed for real good vipassana work. In practice I think this is clear from these bits of the text:

Quote
10. What is one way to aid precision and accuracy?

One helpful aid to precision and accuracy is to make a soft, mental note of the object of awareness, naming the sensation by saying the word gently and silently in the mind, like "rising, rising . . .,” and “falling, falling. . ."

11. When the mind wanders off, what should you do?

Watch the mind! Be aware that you are thinking.

12. How can you clarify your awareness of thinking?

Note the thought silently with the verbal label "thinking," and come back to the rising and falling.

...

18. What is the purpose of labeling?

In using the labeling technique, your goal is not to gain verbal skills. Labeling helps us to perceive clearly the actual qualities of our experience, without getting immersed in the content. It develops mental power and focus.

Later in vipassana with a well stabilized mind, clear, not wandering and easily focussed, there is less need to name or label as one has already developed the base of Shamatha or calm abiding. There are dangers, the main one being that labelling becomes too much of a focus and not just a small part of the technique ... then the mind runs around trying to label things (to keep itself from noticing other things).

Paul: Wake, rise, stretch, shower, sit. It's the magic morning recipe.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 02:45:26 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Billymac629

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Re: How to Practice Vipassana Insight Meditation - By Sayadaw U Pandita
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 07:54:32 PM »
good post! :)
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...

hopper

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Re: How to Practice Vipassana Insight Meditation - By Sayadaw U Pandita
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2012, 09:56:53 PM »
My view on this is:
  • Labelling/Noting: Do it very softly - almost 'silently' - using simple catch-all terms if & when you need it to establish concentration and clarity and then when you are there drop it for bare awareness of mind & body phenomena unless you start drifting and missing things in which case re-establish it temporarily
  • Yoga before practise: Definitely!  A great help in my experience.  Many people are not aware but the original reason for the creation of Hatha and Prana Yoga (i.e. postures & breathing exercises) was as preparation for Raja Yoga (concentration & meditation)
I sometimes find a few minutes of anapana breath awareness at the nostrils before going into Mahasi-mode also helps. There is now pretty general agreement that having samadhi-style concentration in place is helpful for good progress with Vipassana. Some would go further and say that it is essential but it's clear that Mahasi Sayadaw himself did not agree with this - see the debate he had with his Sri Lankan critics for more on this.

 

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