Vipassana Meditation

Lectures on Insight Meditation

by Chanmyay Sayadaw | 22,042 words

Vipassana Meditation: English lectures on Insight Meditation By venerable Chanmyay Sayadaw U Janakabhivamsa....

Chapter 2 - Preliminary Instructions For Meditators

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In the teachings of the Buddha, there are three kinds of training:

  1. Training in moral conduct (sila)
  2. Training in concentration (samadhi), and
  3. Training in wisdom, insight or enlightenment (panna)

When we practise moral conduct, it means having restraint in speech and actions, i.e. observing at least five precepts or eight precepts as laymen, and for the Sangha (community of monks), the 227 precepts rules of training known as the Patimokkha. When we abstain from unwholesome actions and speech, we observe these precepts completely. When we observe the five precepts, we have to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, telling lies and using any kind of intoxicant.

The first precept, abstention from killing, means refraining from unwholesome actions. The second precepts, abstention from stealing and illegal possession of things not given by the owner, means refraining from unwholesome actions. It is the same with the third and fifth precepts, i.e. abstention from sexual misconduct and intoxicants. The fourth precept, abstention from telling lies is refraining from false and unwholesome speech. Therefore, if we refrain from unwholesome speech and actions, our sila is fully observed.

During a meditation retreat, you have to observe the eight precepts so that you can have more time to devote to meditation.

The sixth precept means abstention from taking food after noon (until dawn the next morning). Although you must refrain from taking any kind of food during these hours, you can take honey and certain kinds of fruit juice such as orange and lemon juices.

To observe the second precept, you must refrain from dancing, singing, playing and listening to music and adorning yourself with anything which will be beautify yourself such as using flowers, perfumes and so on.

The eighth precept is abstention from high and luxurious beds. The third of the eight precepts refers to abstention from any kind of sexual contact, and not just from sexual misconduct. By refraining from these activities, your speech and actions are pure. These are the eight precepts you will have to observe during your retreat.

Observing eight precepts means purification of moral conduct - Sila visuddhi. Sila visuddhi is a prerequisite for a meditator to make progress in meditative practice. When moral conduct is purified, one never feels guilty. When one does not feel guilty, ones mind becomes steady, thereby, one can easily attain deep concentration of mind (samadhi) which, in turn, gives rise to insight wisdom (panna).

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