Pāli ) or VIPAśYANā (
VIPASSANā MEDITATION in conjunction with
Samatha meditation is a
necessary part of all Buddhist traditions. Therefore it is important
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Insight
* 2.1 Origins * 2.2 Sudden insight * 2.3 Relation with samatha
* 3.1 Theravāda
* 3.1.1 Insight in the
Four Noble Truths
* 3.2 Mahāyāna
* 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 Sources
* 8 External links
* 8.1 History * 8.2 Background * 8.3 Practice
A synonym for "Vipassanā" is paccakkha (Pāli; Sanskrit: pratyakṣa), "before the eyes," which refers to direct experiential perception. Thus, the type of seeing denoted by "vipassanā" is that of direct perception, as opposed to knowledge derived from reasoning or argument.
In Tibetan, vipaśyanā is lhagthong (wylie: lhag mthong). The term "lhag" means "higher", "superior", "greater"; the term "thong" is "view" or "to see". So together, lhagthong may be rendered into English as "superior seeing", "great vision" or "supreme wisdom." This may be interpreted as a "superior manner of seeing", and also as "seeing that which is the essential nature." Its nature is a lucidity—a clarity of mind.
Looking into something 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"
Richard Gombrich a development took place in early
According to Vetter and Bronkhorst, dhyāna itself constituted the original "liberating practice". Vetter further argues that the eightfold path constitutes a body of practices which prepare one, and lead up to, the practice of dhyana. Norman notes that "the Buddha's way to release was by means of meditative practices." Out of these debates developed the idea that bare insight suffices to reach liberation , by discerning the Three marks (qualities) of (human) existence (tilakkhana) , namely dukkha (suffering), anatta (non-self) and anicca (impermanence).
The Sthaviravāda , one of the early Buddhist schools from which the Theravada-tradition originates, emphasized sudden insight:
In the Sthaviravada progress in understanding comes all at once, 'insight' (abhisamaya) does not come 'gradually' (successively - anapurva).
The Mahasanghika , another one of the early Buddhist schools, had the doctrine of ekaksana-citt, "according to which a Buddha knows everything in a single thought-instant". This process however, meant to apply only to the Buddha and Peccaka buddhas. Lay people may have to experience various levels of insights to become fully enlightened.
The Mahayana -tradition emphasizes prajna , insight into sunyata , dharmata , the two truths doctrine , clarity and emptiness, or bliss and emptiness:
he very title of a large corpus of early Mahayana literature, the Prajnaparamita , shows that to some extent the historian may extrapolate the trend to extol insight, prajna, at the expense of dispassion, viraga, the control of the emotions.
The emphasis on insight is discernible in the emphasis in Chán on sudden insight , though in the Chán-tradition this insight is to be followed by gradual cultivation.
RELATION WITH SAMATHA
In all Buddhist schools two types of meditation practices are followed samatha (Pāli: Samatha, Sanskrit: śamatha; English: "calm abiding") and vipassanā (Pali: vipassanā, Sanskrit: vipaśyanā, English: "clear seeing"). Samatha is a primary meditation aimed at calming the mind, and is also well-known and widely used in non-buddhist traditions. It is however vipassanā, the systematic investigation of self and phenomena that is unique to the Buddhist tradition.
To gain true insight
Mahayana this approach is reflected in the sutra approach of
for example Shantideva and Kamalashila. Through Shamatha disturbing
emotions are abandoned and thus facilitates clear seeing Vipashyana.
Mahayana sutra approach Vipashyana is cultivated through
reasoning, logic and analysis in conjunction with Shamatha. In
contrast, in the Vipashyana directly approach represented by for
example the siddha tradition of the direct approach of
In the Theravada tradition, samatha is regarded as a preparation for vipassanā, pacifying the mind and strengthening concentration in order for insight to arise, which leads to liberation . In contrast, the modern Vipassana Movement gives more emphasis to Vipassanā already from the start, highlighting the risks of going out of course when strong samatha is developed. For this the Vipassana Movement has been criticised, especially in Sri Lanka.
Though both terms appear in the Sutta Pitaka , Gombrich and Brooks argue that the distinction as two separate paths originates in the earliest interpretations of the Sutta Pitaka, not in the suttas themselves. According to Gombrich, the distinction between vipassanā and samatha did not originate in the suttas, but in the interpretation of the suttas. Various traditions disagree which techniques belong to which pole.
See also: Buddhist Paths to liberation
Insight In The Four Noble Truths
According to the Theravada-tradition, Buddhist practices lead to
insight in the
Four Noble Truths , which can only be reached by
Noble Eightfold Path . According to Theravāda
tradition, enlightenment or
Nibbana can only be attained by discerning
The term vipassana is often conflated with the
Vipassana-meditation In The Modern Vipassana Movement
Vipassanā-meditation uses mindfulness of breathing , combined with the contemplation of impermanence , to gain insight into the true nature of this reality. All phenomena are investigated, and concluded to be painful and unsubstantial , without an immortal entity or self-view , and in its ever-changing and impermanent nature .
Mindfulness of breathing is described throughout the Sutta Pitaka. The Satipatthana Sutta describes it as going into the forest and sitting beneath a tree and then to simply watch the breath. If the breath is long, to notice that the breath is long, if the breath is short, to notice that the breath is short.
By observing the breath one becomes aware of the perpetual changes involved in breathing, and the arising and passing away of mindfulness. One can also be aware of and gain insight into impermanence through the observation of bodily sensations and their nature of arising and passing away.
Stages Of Vipassana In The Vipassana Movement
See also: Four stages of enlightenment
* The meditator first explores the body/mind connection as one, nonduality; discovering three characteristics. The first jhana consists in seeing these points and in the presence of vitakka and vicara . Phenomena reveal themselves as appearing and ceasing. * In the second jhana, the practice seems effortless. Vitaka and vicara both disappear. * In the third jhana, piti , the joy, disappears too: there is only happiness (sukha ) and concentration. * The fourth jhana arises, characterised by purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. The practice leads to direct knowledge. The comfort disappears because the dissolution of all phenomena is clearly visible. The practice will show every phenomenon as unstable, transient, disenchanting. The desire of freedom will take place.
Eventually Vipassanā-meditation leads to insight into the impermanence of all phenomena, and thereby lead to a permanent liberation.
In Tibet direct examination of moment-to-moment experience as a means of generating insight became exclusively associated with vajrayāna.
Mahāmudrā And Dzogchen
Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen use vipaśyanā extensively. This includes some methods of the other traditions, but also their own specific approaches. They place a greater emphasis on meditation on symbolic images. Additionally in the Vajrayāna (tantric ) path, the true nature of mind is pointed out by the guru , and this serves as a direct form of insight.
Atthakavagga and Parayanavagga
* ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu: "If you look directly at the Pali
discourses — the earliest extant sources for our knowledge of the
Buddha's teachings — you'll find that although they do use the word
samatha to mean tranquillity, and vipassanā to mean clear-seeing,
they otherwise confirm none of the received wisdom about these terms.
Only rarely do they make use of the word vipassanā — a sharp
contrast to their frequent use of the word jhana . When they depict
the Buddha telling his disciples to go meditate, they never quote him
as saying "go do vipassanā," but always "go do jhana." And they never
equate the word vipassanā with any mindfulness techniques."
Khantipalo recommends the use of the koan-like question "Who?"
to penetrate "this not-self-nature of the five aggregates": "In Zen
* ^ See, for example:
AN 4.170 (PALI): “Yo hi koci, āvuso, bhikkhu vā bhikkhunī vā mama santike arahattappattiṁ byākaroti, sabbo so catūhi maggehi, etesaṁ vā aññatarena. Katamehi catūhi? Idha, āvuso, bhikkhu samathapubbaṅgamaṁ vipassanaṁ bhāveti Puna caparaṁ, āvuso, bhikkhu vipassanāpubbaṅgamaṁ samathaṁ bhāveti Puna caparaṁ, āvuso, bhikkhu samathavipassanaṁ yuganaddhaṁ bhāveti Puna caparaṁ, āvuso, bhikkhuno dhammuddhaccaviggahitaṁ mānasaṁ hoti English translation: Friends, whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four? There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquility. Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. "Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma well under control.
AN 2.30 VIJJA-BHAGIYA SUTTA, A SHARE IN CLEAR KNOWING:
"These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two?
Tranquility (samatha) as a result of such inductive reasoning, the
meditator progresses through the Hearer paths of preparation, seeing,
and meditation. It seems at least possible that both
Asaṅga presented their respective versions of such a method,
analogous to but different from modern Theravāda insight meditation,
and that Gelukpa scholars were unable to reconstruct it in the absence
of a practice tradition because of the great difference between this
type of inductive meditative reasoning based on observation and the
types of meditative reasoning using consequences (thal 'gyur,
prasaanga) or syllogisms (sbyor ba, prayoga) with which Gelukpas were
familiar. Thus, although Gelukpa scholars give detailed
interpretations of the systems of breath meditation set forth in
Vasubandu's and Asaṅga's texts, they may not fully account for the
higher stages of breath meditation set forth in those texts it
appears that neither the Gelukpa textbook writers nor modern scholars
such as Lati
Rinpoche and Gendun Lodro were in a position to conclude
that the first moment of the fifth stage of Vasubandhu's system of
breath meditation coincides with the attainment of special insight and
that, therefore, the first four stages must be a method for
cultivating special insight .
* ^ This tradition is outlined by
* ^ A B C Gunaratana 2011 , p. 21.
* ^ King 1992 , p. 132-137.
* ^ Nyanaponika 1998 , p. 107-109.
* ^ Koster 2009 , p. 9-10.
* ^ Ray (2004) p.74
* ^ Gombrich 1997 , p. 131.
* ^ A B Thanissaro
Bhikkhu ">"Vipashyana," by Reginald A. Ray.
\'\'Buddhadharma: The Practitioner\'s Quarterly\'\', Summer 2004".
Archive.thebuddhadharma.com. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
* ^ A B C Gombrich 1997 , p. 133.
* ^ "Through the Looking Glass, \'\'Essential Buddhism\'\'".
Bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
Khantipalo 1984 , p. 71.
* ^ "What is
Theravada Buddhism?". Access to Insight. Access to
Insight. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
* ^ Thrangu Rinpoche, Essentials of Mahamudra
* ^ Bond 1992 , p. 167.
* ^ Bond 1992 , p. 162-171.
* ^ Robert H. Sharf, Division of Social and Transcultural
Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, McGill
* ^ "AN 4.170 Yuganaddha Sutta: \'\'In Tandem\'\'. Translated from
* Bond, George D. (1992), The Buddhist Revival in Sri Lanka:
Religious Tradition, Reinterpretation and Response, Motilal
* Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), The Two Traditions Of
Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publ.
* Brooks, Jeffrey S. (2006), A Critique of the Abhidhamma and
* Buswell, Robert E. JR; Gimello, Robert M. (editors) (1994), Paths
to Liberation. The Marga and its Transformations in Buddhist Thought,
Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers CS1 maint: Extra text: authors
list (link )
* Cousins, L. S. (1996), "The origins of insight meditation", in
Skorupski, T., The Buddhist Forum IV, seminar papers 1994–1996 (pp.
35–58) (PDF), London, UK: School of Oriental and African Studies
* Fronsdal, Gil (1998), Insight
Meditation in the United States:
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. In: Charles S. Prebish
and Kenneth K. Tanaka, The Faces of
* Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), How