Is Goenka's Vipassana the right method

Vipassana meditation (insight meditation)

Analytically set up and across all religious boundaries, the Vipassana meditation is perfect for people in the West. This gives us a valuable method to enrich our lives. Everyone can use it for themselves.

Meditation: concentration and letting go

By and large, there are two forms of meditation practice. One kind approaches the liberating "Empty“With unintentional sitting, letting go of all thoughts, without any intention or will. The other form is about that concentration on an object, a word or on the breath. Both practices are not mutually exclusive. For beginners in meditation in particular, it is easier for many to get started by concentrating on something.

If you keep wandering with your thoughts, also pay attention to your biorhythm, i.e. when you have more energy during the day. Put the exercises in this area and you will find that it will be much easier for you to stay alert.

The Vipassana meditation method is one Mindfulness meditation from Buddhism. The analytical, cross-religious or even non-religious approach makes this method particularly suitable for our western mindset.

Vipassana meditation: from the origin to the present

The origin of Vipassana goes back to ancient Indian, in the time of Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama himself. This form of meditation is ascribed to him. Vipassana, that means something like Insight or clarity. As part of Theravada Buddhism, a textual basis for Vipassana meditation was found in the scriptures of the Buddha's speech collections.

From the 10th century onwards, Vipassana was more and more ousted from Theravada Buddhism. It was not until the 18th century that this original form of meditation began to gain a foothold again, initially in Burma. From there it spread to Thailand, Sri Lanka and also to the West.

In our western world, the Vipassana meditation of Theravada Buddhism, together with Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, is one of the three main currents of Buddhism today.

Vipassana Meditation: Theory and Practice

This form of meditation leads in a pragmatic way into deeper insight and to redemption. It is detached from beliefs, metaphysical and spiritual theories and philosophies. The aim of the meditation exercise is to erase the (false) knowledge that has accumulated so far from what has been experienced. Only then, with the appropriate maturity, do you come to the right insight and ultimately to enlightenment.

But first he has to Spirit will be freed from all previous knowledge. In meditation, certain techniques are used to try to switch off the recognition process, the evaluation.

For this purpose, mainly two techniques are taught, each with two different orientations. Of course only for a rough classification. In reality, there are already well over 20 different approaches to Vipassana in Burma alone. Basically, it's always about to attain correct insight through mindfulness.  

There are the natural approachesas they are still mostly practiced in Thailand today. By paying attention to the breath or to certain parts of the body while breathing, the mind should be detached from contexts and names. As Anchor for breath viewing the feeling of breathing air flowing in and out of the nostrils is mentioned. As another anchor, the sensation of Breathing movements in the chest and abdomen.

Well-known teachers of this direction, also called the natural method, are the Thai man Ajahn Chah, who died in 1992, the Englishman Christopher Titmuss and Ajahn Buddhad.

The other approach is the technical method. This is about body sweeping and, in an American development, about body labeling.

The Body labeling goes back to the teacher Mahasi Sayadaw from Burma. Certain observations are spontaneously provided with terms (labels, tags) by the mind. This is intended to induce the practicing mind to dissolve identifications and I-mine relationships over time.

The most widespread is the technical approach of the Body sweeping. It means "getting into the body". It is a systematic observation of sensations or a Body scanning. The exercise goes through a body-directed awareness. The whole body is paying attention internally sampled. Refined by one sensory perception with each stage, until finally all attachments and compulsions through the physical experience are dissolved.

The best-known teacher of this technique is the Burmese U Ba Khin. His most famous student is Satya Narayan Goenka. As a Burmese-Indian teacher, S.N. Goenka also spreads the Vipassana meditation here in the west. However, with the high claim that this was the pure Vipassana technique and only then did Buddha teach according to this method.

Completely outside of Buddhist content, elements of Vipassana are used in alternative medicine to treat stress symptoms (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction).

The benefit of practicing meditation

It is of great benefit to begin meditating anytime, anytime. The best thing to do is to start today. It's never too late, but it would be a shame to see the time elapsed without meditation.

As a beginner in meditation one often feels in front of a huge mountain that one will never reach, or only in 10 or more years. This assumption is wrong. Even Buddha spoke of them beneficial effects regular meditation practice after just 7 days.

Recent studies have shown that after just 8 weeks of meditation practice Noticeably reduce stress levels and anxiety are alleviated. As evidence of this, structural changes in the amygdala (almond kernel, which is our center for classifying hazards) were found in practitioners. The reduction in negative emotions could also be determined after 8 weeks of meditation.

Further advantages of learning to meditate at a glance:

  • Individual brain functions are better connected to one another. As a result: better ability to concentrate and pay attention
  • Healthy sleep, fewer sleep disorders, that means: less fatigue during the day
  • Reduction of inner tension and irritability, more serenity
  • Favorable effects on the cardiovascular system, lower pulse rate, more oxygen reaches the organs, thus less susceptibility to disease
  • Improvement of performance and the ability to learn. After just 30 days of regular meditation practice, an increase in the IQ value of the test subjects could be determined
  • Scientists found 30% -40% less pain perception in those who meditate on a regular basis
  • Favorable effects on mental illness, especially depression, phobias and ADHD (attention deficit disorder)

These and many other advantages are reason enough not to wait long before learning the meditation practice. Even skeptics can start off with peace of mind, because negative effects are not to be expected and one can safely indulge in the adventure of meditation. Perhaps it will even be your environment that first notices the positive changes in you. It would really be no wonder if you said:

Yes I do. Meditate, how can I learn?

A good foundation is the best prerequisite for learning to meditate daily with joy and motivation right from the start. In our free FLOW online course, beginners will get started right away and can start your first meditation straight away. Those who want to go deeper can enrich their life forever with DAS intensive training. Here you benefit sustainably from the trainer's many years of experience.

What else do you need for meditation? Don't worry, you don't have to wait with your legs perfectly knotted for you to fall asleep. Half an hour of privacy, a comfortable but active, upright seat and a few instructions on meditation for beginners are enough to get you started. This can be your start to a richer, more relaxed life!

One could almost speak of neglecting self-help if someone does not integrate meditation into their life as an enrichment. Because in our noisy, fast-paced society, meditation supports every practitioner in staying powerful, balanced and mentally healthy.

Interesting link on the topic:

I am an author, coach, seminar leader, as well as the founder and owner of Mental Power Int. GmbH based in Switzerland.

Through the early death of my father and traumatic experiences in my childhood and youth, I discovered the spiritual world - this was my salvation! Because these experiences brought me to meditation and to mental and awareness training.

With books, authors' contributions, MP3 downloads, lectures, seminars and training, I and my employees accompany thousands of people full of passion and joy.

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