Author Topic: Learning Vipassana  (Read 640 times)

efeatherly1

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Learning Vipassana
« on: November 11, 2019, 07:14:39 AM »
Does learning Vipassana meditation need to be as intensive as a 10-day retreat? I'd like to try this meditation but not via a retreat. If one were to meditate the same number of hours (10-11 hours) between each of the S.N. Goenka Discourses, over a longer number of days while meditating 2-3 hours/day, would this be effective? I've  practiced TM meditation for years and very recently discovered Vipassana. I'm working through Day 7 using the above method. I'd very much appreciate thoughts, suggestions and input.

stillpointdancer

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 10:34:06 AM »
You could learn vipassana in a few minutes, but a structured programme takes longer. It depends whether you are talking about the act of meditating or how long it would take to 'work'. I suspect that real change is much more gradual, that it would be far better to view a timescale of a few years rather than a few days. Of course, you don't need such intense meditation with a bigger timescale, say an hour every few days. Regular meditation fitted into your lifestyle rather than on a retreat.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Matthew

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2019, 02:43:09 PM »
You can't "learn Vipassana". Vipassana is not a meditation technique, though I realise many people sell it as such.

So what is Vipassana? Vipasana is insight, seeing things as they really are, seeing into things, eventually seeing that everything is impermanent, unsatisfactory and selfless.

Vipassana is a quality of being, not a technique. It is wholesome to develop this quality: it makes you less likely to act from ignorance.

The development of Vipassana goes hand-in-hand with the development of Shamatha/tranquillity. A tranquil mind is one that can be pointed towards the development of insight (Vipassana). Both qualities build on each other in a kind of "bootstrapping" process. Right mindfulness (Sati) is development of both to the fullest potential.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2019, 02:46:25 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

efeatherly1

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2019, 04:36:27 PM »
Thank you for your replies. If I'm understanding then, a person can develop the quality of Vipassana within their own schedule using the discourses of Goenka as a guide. Is the development of tranquility within Vipassana?

raushan

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2019, 05:06:27 PM »
Hi efeatherly1,

You can start the meditation by following the meditation technique given on the home page of this forum. Do it for few months and you will see the change. You can watch discourse by Goenka or other Buddhist monk. But until you practice the meditation watching just discourse won't help you.

And No it's not mandatory requirement to attending the retreat. While it can certainly help you but you can start your own.

Thanks
Raushan

Matthew

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    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2019, 05:22:17 PM »
Thank you for your replies. If I'm understanding then, a person can develop the quality of Vipassana within their own schedule using the discourses of Goenka as a guide. Is the development of tranquility within Vipassana?

1/ Your best guide is your own level of qualities of tranquillity, insight, compassion, mindfulness. Develop these through experience.

2/ Development of insight/Vipassana is grounded in development of tranquillity/Shamatha and mindfulness/Sati.

This is why everyone making money (or personality cult) from teaching "Vipassana" is, on one level or another, bullshitting you.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

efeatherly1

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 05:56:26 PM »
I'm seeking confirmation on my understanding of the forum's Shamatha instructions of:
Breathe in paying attention to bodily sensations as you breathe and calming the body as you breathe. pay attention to the sensations in the body as you breathe.
The core of the practice is breathing and relaxing.

Is Shamatha concentration on a single point.

What is that single point? The sensations? Aware of when I'm breathing in and out?, the calming and letting go?
I'll try to answer my own question and say is it keeping my awareness on whole body sensations, maintaining calm. The breathing facilitates this. But I'm not always aware of in/out breath. At times I'll breath more deeply to be sure I'm awake.

My whole body seems to buzz, with sensations of specific location rising and falling. I note these and return to expand awareness to whole body sensations.   

I sit for an hour 2x/day. I get antsy to get up, but note that emotion as part of the experience, remaining calm and in the moment of sensations when it tries to pull me.
Do I have the idea?  Thank you for guidance!

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 06:19:54 PM »
I'm seeking confirmation on my understanding of the forum's Shamatha instructions of:
Breathe in paying attention to bodily sensations as you breathe and calming the body as you breathe. pay attention to the sensations in the body as you breathe.
The core of the practice is breathing and relaxing.

The next bit is important:

Quote
Notes: Do not intellectualise where you pay attention to or try to "follow the path of the breath in the body" or any other such thing - these are fabrications. Pay attention to the actual sensations in your body, wherever they are. Do not interfere with the natural breathing pattern, just pay attention to the sensations in the body as you breathe.

Emphasis added

Quote
Is Shamatha concentration on a single point.

What is that single point?


No it is not. Whole body awareness.

Quote
The sensations?

Aware of when I'm breathing in and out?, the calming and letting go?

Yes - all of the above.

Quote
I'll try to answer my own question and say is it keeping my awareness on whole body sensations, maintaining calm. The breathing facilitates this. But I'm not always aware of in/out breath. At times I'll breath more deeply to be sure I'm awake.

This is a good understanding yes - one point, not just "maintaining calm": developing calm/relaxation.

Quote
My whole body seems to buzz, with sensations of specific location rising and falling. I note these and return to expand awareness to whole body sensations.

Yes! You have liberated your awareness from single point focus ... it will make you aware of the whole body, something that single-point awareness suppresses. The "buzz" you refer to may well be a release from your previous technique. This will subside/become more subtle as you continue your practice.

Quote
I sit for an hour 2x/day. I get antsy to get up, but note that emotion as part of the experience, remaining calm and in the moment of sensations when it tries to pull me.
Do I have the idea?  Thank you for guidance!

You are doing really well. You do have a good grasp of the technique.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

efeatherly1

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2019, 12:36:19 AM »
Well, Ya-hoo! Onward and forward! Thank you!

chin

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2019, 12:09:44 PM »
Does learning Vipassana meditation need to be as intensive as a 10-day retreat? I'd like to try this meditation but not via a retreat. If one were to meditate the same number of hours (10-11 hours) between each of the S.N. Goenka Discourses, over a longer number of days while meditating 2-3 hours/day, would this be effective? I've  practiced TM meditation for years and very recently discovered Vipassana. I'm working through Day 7 using the above method. I'd very much appreciate thoughts, suggestions and input.

Without disagreeing with anything that's been said here, I'd like to add that a retreat is definitely very useful in developing insight. It's not the absolute number of hours but also the continuous nature of practice in retreats that is useful. Without the continuous, intensive practice, I cannot imagine mindfulness gaining enough "momentum".

But that's just my experience - although I've been practicing for the past 3 years, I still find it useful to attend multi-day retreats. The depth of insights into one's own nature simply isn't available outside of the retreat context, as far as I can tell.

Siddharth

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2019, 01:13:16 PM »
I second what chin said...a retreat if possible can push your practice in the right direction..but it can come at a later time also and you can practice meanwhile the way you are doing.

With metta,
Siddharth
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

stillpointdancer

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2019, 04:40:32 PM »
Matthew's comment about vipassana being an end product, the creation of insight, rather than a technique is useful to keep in mind. In some ways it doesn't matter what you do, what form of meditation you undertake, as long as you meditate, or do something equivalent to meditating. You can just sit and do nothing, or develop one simple meditation such as the mindfulness of breathing, or go with metta bhavana or whatever. Sit with one for thirty or forty years or so and something will probably happen.

On the other hand, many people need more structure to their meditation, especially in the early years. The traditional Buddhist approach is to develop a balance between different types of meditation, but ultimately it really doesn't matter. Mindfulness meditation such as expounded in the Sathipatthana Sutta gives you a structured approach to developing mindfulness which, in the end, can lead to insight as much as any structured programme for insight meditation which is labelled vipassana meditation.


“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

efeatherly1

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2019, 01:53:44 AM »
I'm grateful for the time you took to share. I've been doing shamatha about 2 hours a day for 3- 4 weeks. So many thoughts about problematic issues are arising as I continue to notice them and then return awareness. These thoughts are troublesome and things I need to deal with so I can achieve some peace. My mind seems to finally burn out toward the end of the meditation hour so I can reach a calmer mind. I'm note so concerned with how much time is left in the session, as I was 2 weeks ago.

Thanisaro85

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2019, 04:55:32 AM »
Hopefully you are not "thinking" and trying to resolving the daily problem during your meditation.😂

A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta

efeatherly1

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Re: Learning Vipassana
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2019, 03:55:02 PM »
"Hopefully you are not "thinking" and trying to resolving"...  A good reminder. I am improving at recognizing the thoughts and won't get caught up in them. There was just everything coming that causes me worry, after doing this 3-4 weeks. Is this a common occurrence at this point in the meditation? I better now, at not getting caught up than at the start. I intentionally consider all thought content of the same (not important now) value, to be addressed at other than my meditation session. I also see emotion attached to some of these worrisome thoughts during mediation. I will observe and return to breath/sensation. Is this a beneficial approach?

 

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