Buddhist monk
Creative Commons License photo credit: echiner1

I humbly suggest that if you have any interest in personal development, meditation, Buddhism or just your own personal happiness in life you will find this article series very interesting and informative. Aside from my own personal practice I have also studied Buddhism and meditation at university. This article is largely a meshing of my own personal experience and a great deal of research.

In this article series will take a detailed look at Buddhist mediation, specifically Vipassana or Insight meditation. We’ll examine the insight meditation method, subsequent effects which go far in explaining the underlying purpose of the meditation and finally the contextual role of meditation within Buddhism as a whole.

By the end of this article you will see that through the correct training of our mind the veil of ignorance, the very first link in the Buddha’s chain of dependent origination resulting in the unending cycle of suffering (samsara), can be pierced and liberation achieved.

Further you will come to understand why I feel that meditation in and of it self is not the complete picture, as the Buddha wisely perceived when he created the Noble Eightfold Path. Rather I feel that meditation is a vital part of the interdependent morality-meditation-wisdom triangle that is the Noble Eightfold Path to liberation.

What is Vipassana Mediation?
Insight meditation or Vipassana comes directly from the Sitipatthana Sutra, a discourse attributed to the Buddha himself. The Pali term for insight meditation is Vipassana Bhavana. Bhavana stems from the root ‘Bhu’ meaning to grow or become. Therefore Bhavana means to cultivate and when used in reference to the mind it means mental cultivation.

Vipassana is derived from ‘Passana’ meaning perceiving and ‘Vi’ which means ‘in a special way’ and possesses connotations of both ‘into’ and ‘through’. Thus the whole meaning of Vipassana is: looking into a thing with clarity and precision, seeing each component as distinct and separate and piercing all the way through so as to perceive the most fundamental reality of that thing.

Therefore we arrive at a meaning for Vipassana Bhavana that is: the cultivation of the mind, aimed at seeing in a special way that leads to insight and full understanding. Mindfulness is a term for this special mode of perception.

In the next part of this article series on Buddhist insight meditation we will examine how Buddhist insight meditation is practiced.

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