IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th December, 2023 Culture


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Delhi's chief minister again skipped a summons by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi excise policy case, this time to attend a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat in Punjab.


  • Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique that originated from India and is often associated with the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
  • It is a profound practice that focuses on self-transformation through self-observation and mindfulness.
  • The word "Vipassana" means "insight" or "clear seeing" and is often referred to as insight meditation.

Origins and Principles of Vipassana

  • Origins: Vipassana has its roots in the Theravada Buddhist tradition and is one of the oldest forms of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago and later re-introduced by S.N. Goenka, a renowned Vipassana teacher from Myanmar (Burma), who popularized it in its secular form.
  • Principles: The core principle of Vipassana is the understanding of the impermanent, constantly changing nature of sensations and experiences. Practitioners aim to develop insight into the true nature of reality, observing sensations in a non-reactive, equanimous manner.

Practice of Vipassana Meditation

  • Focus on Breath: Vipassana meditation often begins with focusing on the breath to cultivate a sense of awareness and concentration. This helps in calming the mind and preparing it for deeper introspection.
  • Body Scan and Sensory Awareness: Practitioners systematically scan their bodies, observing sensations without attachment or aversion. This practice cultivates mindfulness and helps in developing a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection.
  • Observation of Thoughts and Emotions: Vipassana involves observing thoughts, emotions, and mental states that arise without getting involved in them. The aim is to develop a clear understanding of their transient nature and not to react to them.
  • Cultivating Equanimity: Central to Vipassana is the cultivation of equanimity—a balanced and non-reactive state of mind towards all experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant. This helps in reducing suffering and promoting inner peace.

Vipassana Retreats

  • Vipassana meditation is often taught in residential retreat settings, typically spanning ten days, where participants follow a strict schedule of meditation, silence, and mindfulness practices.
  • These retreats offer a conducive environment for deepening one's meditation practice away from distractions of daily life.

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

  • Stress Reduction: Regular practice of Vipassana can reduce stress and anxiety by promoting mental clarity and emotional resilience.
  • Enhanced Self-Awareness: Practitioners develop a deeper understanding of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, leading to greater self-awareness.
  • Improved Concentration and Focus: The practice of mindfulness in Vipassana enhances concentration, leading to improved focus in various aspects of life.
  • Cultivation of Compassion: As practitioners become more aware of their inner experiences, they often develop greater compassion and empathy towards themselves and others.


Vipassana is a transformative practice that requires dedication, patience, and commitment. Its focus on self-observation, mindfulness, and insight makes it a powerful tool for personal growth, inner peace, and understanding the nature of reality. However, it's important to note that while Vipassana has its roots in Buddhism, many people from various backgrounds practice it as a secular technique for personal development and well-being.


Q. "The practice of Vipassana meditation offers profound insights into self-realization and mental well-being." Discuss the principles of Vipassana and its relevance in contemporary society. (250 Words)