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....

The Buddha said that mindfulness must be applied to the four postures of the body, i.e. walking, standing, sitting and lying down.

  • While you are walking, you must be mindful of it as it is-
  • While you are standing, you must be mindful of it as it is-
  • While you are sitting, you must be mindful of it as it is-
  • _ hile you are lying down, you must be mindful of it as it is-

So, in every posture, there must be mindfulness.

We instruct meditators to practise walking and sitting meditation alternately so that they can concentrate more easily and hence attain insight into the walking and sitting processes. Every session of sitting must be preceded by walking because in walking meditation, the movement of the foot is more distinct than the abdominal movement when sitting. When your meditation practice matures, you may then need sitting meditation for a longer period than walking. When you have reached the sixth stage of insight knowledge, you may practise sitting meditation longer than walking you may sit for two or three hours and walk one hour. At that stage, your concentration is good, deep and strong enough to realise the dissolution of nama and rupa (mental and physical phenomena). But in the beginning of the practice, you need walking meditation longer than sitting because you are not yet able to sit for long but can walk longer. You can attain some degree of concentration more easily in walking than in sitting.

So first of all, you should practise walking meditation by being aware of stepping. When you make a left step, note it as left. When you make a right step, note it as right. In this way, note left, right, left, right, or just stepping, stepping. Labelling or naming is not so important as the mind that observes the movement of the foot. You should lay stress on awareness, sharp awareness of the movement of the foot.

When you practise walking meditation, you must not close your eyes. Instead, your eyes must be half closed (that means, relax and keep your eyes normal) and you should look at a place on the floor about four or five feet in front of your foot.

You must not bend your head too low. If you bend your head too low, you will soon feel tension in your neck or shoulders. Also, you may have a headache or dizziness. You must not look at your foot. If you look at your foot, you cannot concentrate well on the movement. Nor must you look around here and there. Once you look around, the mind goes with the eyes; then your concentration breaks. You may have a tendency or desire to look around when you feel that someone is coming towards you or passing in front of you. That tendency or desire to look around must be very attentively observed and noted as tendency or wanting to look until it has disappeared. When the tendency or desire has disappeared, you won't look around. Then you can maintain your concentration. So, please be careful not to look around so that you can maintain your concentration and make progress in your attainment of concentration by walking meditation. Your hands should be locked together in front or behind. If you feel you should change the position of your hands, you may do so, but mindfully.

When you have an intention to change position, you should note intending, intending. Even then, you should change the position very slowly and every action and movement involved in the act of changing must be observed. You must not be unmindful of any movement or action. When you have changed the position of your hands, then you should continue to note the movements of the foot as before.

In sitting meditation too, those who have some experience in meditational practice should sit at least 45 minutes without changing position. Beginners should sit at least 20-30 minutes without changing position. If a beginner is unable to bear the severe pain which arises, he may feel like changing his posture. Before doing so, he must note the intention to change posture, as intending, intending. Then he should change his posture very, very slowly being aware of all the movements and actions involved in the changing of postures. When he has changed his posture, he should then return to the abdominal movement, the primary object, and note as usual.

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