Before one decides to go on a Vipassana meditation retreat, it is important they understand the difference between Vipassana and other types of meditation techniques. The Buddhist tradition takes into consideration two types of meditation namely Vipassana and Samatha. It brings total awareness of what is happening as it happens.
As a meditator, the individual uses their concentration to move past the illusion that keeps them separated from reality. it is a continuous process of increasing one’s awareness to understand the working of reality itself. However, first, let us understand a bit about this technique.
Vipassana Meditation – The Origins
As per scriptures, Gautam Buddha rediscovered the technique of Vipassana meditation that had been long lost from India for centuries. In 528 CE, Buddha achieved enlightenment using this meditation technique, and then later millions of people also started the practice of this sacred art.
S.N Goenka’s Role
S.N Goenka who was an Indian born in Myanmar learned the technique of Vipassana meditation from Sayagyi U Ba Khin in 1955. After 14 years, Sayagyi U Ba Khin appointed Goenka as his successor and gave him the responsibility of returning the technique to its birthplace, India. It is here that S.N. Goenka conducted his first ten-day Vipassana session in July 1969 in Mumbai, India.
During the next 10 years, Goenka focused on his Vipassana teachings in India. In 1976, India had its first Vipassana meditation center known as Dhamma Giri and located at Igatpuri, Maharashtra opened to the public. In 1985 the foundation for the Vipassana Research Institute was laid down in Igatpuri. The institute works towards researching the modern applications of Vipassana.
Moreover, it is time to get an idea about how a Vipassana meditation retreat goes.
Vipassana Meditation – What to Expect
This retreat ranges from a minimum of 10 days for beginners to a maximum of 45 days for advanced practitioners. The retreat typically takes place away from the city and amidst natural surroundings.
However, before enrolling in the Vipassana meditation retreat, there are a few things which the individual should know about. For example, beginners have to observe a total silence for 10 days including zero eye contact or any other form of communication with each other during that time.
Any kind of distractions like smartphones, pens, pencils, notebooks are totally banned at the retreat. The only break one gets is for meals where the individual comes face-to-face with the unending chatter of their mind.
However, sitting in silence for 10 days without any type of connection to the outside world does have its benefits.
3 Major Benefits of Vipassana Meditation
During the last few years, Vipassana meditation has gained a lot of popularity around the world. Although the practice goes back centuries yet plays an important role in helping an individual connect with their true self.
With that said, let us find out the three major benefits of the Vipassana meditation technique.
1. Knowing Oneself
The final goal of this technique is self-liberation which is the state of recognizing one’s true self. Therefore, this awareness is possible only when one has learned to quieten their mind and moved beyond their ego’s attachment to the physical world including their physical body.
2. Improved Concentration
A major element of Vipassana meditation is a strong focus on the tip of one’s nostril. Furthermore, it might sound simple but is a tough thing to accomplish. What this practice does is build up one’s willpower and disciplines their mind. It helps the practitioner improve their concentration span in the long term.
3. Living in the Present
The best part about this yoga technique is its ability to help you live in the present moment. The path of Vipassana does not include the concepts of right and wrong but helps one raise their awareness and become more aware of their thoughts in the present moment.
Therefore, what this does is help you remain more focused on the present moment rather than wallow in the bygone past or the uncertain future.
Hence, the Vipassana meditation technique although is a bit hard to practice but does offer some impressive benefits. One should practice this meditation technique to disconnect from the unnecessary chatter of the mind and connect with their true self.