The term Vipassana, in its literal form, comes from confluence of two Sanskrit words Vishesh (noble) Pashyana (to see or to observe). While the practice of Vipassana dates many centuries back, in the modern era it has gained momentum due to invaluable contribution and dedication of S.N. Goenka. The practice of Vipassana, as it spread in the Indian mainland after its conception, got mixed and diluted with other contemporary practices and vanished with the flow of time. Thankful to the school in Burma that kept the practice virgin, for centuries and S.N Goenka who broadcasted this practice globally, we still have access to it.
The regime of Vipassana is mindful self exploration to better understand all the happenings within. Every passing quantum of time is testimony to our interaction with outside world, may be in person or in thoughts. This very interaction, demands a response. Further,this very response in turn generates an emotion. Thanks to human nature and conditional inheritance we tend to classify our feelings into various sets of emotions – good, bad etc. You will experience positive emotion (joy, excitement, peace etc), if the generated experience is in agreement with your expectation. On the contrary, if there is conflict between expectation and the response, you will experience so called negative emotion (anger, guilt, sadness etc). These emotions are either suppressed or expressed and get archived within. And as we further keep repeating the process, all of these emotions keep draping around us. This very emotional fabric keeps winding itself around one’s true self. And if one forgets to unwind, over period of time the patches would be dominant enough to shunt the light within, thereby, building an illusion that the very light ceases to exist. But has the light (our true nature) really vanished?
And, as these emotions continue to settle down in our body, they generate their signature in form of sensation within body. Daily, we continue to experience new set of emotions, and they keep settling and building a heap. Since, these emotions manifest in the physical body as sensation and as the heap grows, the intensity of sensations will magnify too resulting into pain or discomfort. Advancements and multiple researches in health industry have concluded that the root cause of any disease is one or the other form emotional turbulence.
The practice of Vipassana (noble observance) is one’s ticket to self healing and empowers us to be aware of such emotional winding that have manifested itself on the physical realm. The very process of mindful self observation, fortified with absolute awareness yet practised with complete detachment will loosen the grip of these emotions. Thus, these patches will start to unwind and evaporate away layer by layer raising prajna (knowledge and awareness). Slowly and steadily restoring the light to its glory (dharma). Do not confuse the term dharma with any religion or any sect. The literal meaning of Dharma is one’s inherent nature. Nature of ice is to be cold, thus it is dharma of ice to be cold. Similarly, it is dharma of fire to burn and give out light and heat.
On certain occasions, you may have a not so pleasant encounter. And, as a mechanism to overcome it, you may think of changing the very thought or even the environment. Assuming that the switch to a new positive thought, or listening to music, or taking a walk etc, helped you to enforce the required shift in your mood. Yet, if you do contemplate, have you sanitised yourself of that emotion? Sweeping the dust below the carpet may build illusion of a clean room, but doesn’t actually clean the room. The practice of Vipassana makes you aware, and understand the sensations throughout the body. And as you learn to observe and understand the sensation with a neutral and equanimous mind, knowledge rises and as the understanding rises the sensation evaporates liberating you from the emotional debris.
The practice though very simple, should be followed with the authored level of discipline. Practice of Vipassana demands one to observe The technique and Code of Discipline that comes with precepts and guidelines to build strong foundation. A structure cannot survive the test of time, without a strong base (shila). The understanding, study and thus practice of these precepts build strong moral foundation – shila. The strong moral foundation triggers mind’s ability to purify itself and concentrate (samadhi). This state of strong and firm self awareness (samadhi) raises the panya (inner wisdom). You cannot see lake bed if the water is impure and turbulent. To see the bed, you will have to allow the suspended impurities to rise to the surface so that the impurities can be sweeped out. If the impurities settle down on the bed, our purpose to have crystal clear view of bed is still not achieved. Only once the water is pure and stable can you get clear view of the bed.
There are training centres or schools densely spread out across India, South East Asia and also globally, that facilitate teaching of the technique free of cost. The best way to learn Vipassana is to register with the centre and devote oneself to the rich practice. Knitting the practice of Vipassana into routine is an art that once mastered and practised will bless the individual in its unique divine way.