Practicing Insight on your own
The benefits of Vipassanā
Q: What are the benefits arising out of the practice of insight meditation (vipassanā-kammatthāna)?
A: Practising insight has so many benefits that it is impossible to describe them all. I will select and mention only those that are valuable for you to know.
1) It dispels the doubt: 'What is life? Right understanding of life causes us to develop our own life up to the highest qualities, and it makes our life happy in this world.
2) It enables us to understand how to control the mind when it goes the wrong way. It gives knowledge of the right way and the skilful means to make the mind create calmness. True happiness arises. Then one does not have to look for happiness by spending money, which is happiness mixed with suffering.
3) We shall be unselfish people, who do not only look after themselves but also distribute happiness to others; people full of mettā and karunā (goodness and compassion), viewing all living things without exception as friends in the condition of dukkha, birth, old age, sickness, death.
4) To be people who don't get drowned, who don't go to the abodes of misery (apāya), because sati-sampajañña (mindfulness and clear comprehension) will act as a shield. When we die, we shall die with mindfulness, die with mahā-kusala-citta (consciousness leading to good rebirth) and not be people who suffer delusion before they die. We shall be people who point their next birth themselves.
5) Those who study will be wise people having good memory and concentration in learning. They have an accurate memory when sitting for an examination, and mindfulness will be firm. At the time of examination paññā arises and they will gain satisfactory results from it.
6) Vipassanā improves mental and physical health. Disease and sickness are reduced, and those arising from kamma may be relieved or heal by themselves because the meditator's mind will be excellent and exalted; this is the condition for the body to change or to overcome the influence of kamma.
7) If the meditator's disposition and perfection (upanissaya-pāramī) are not yet mature, he will deserve to be called one who has the disposition and the supporting conditions for magga-phala Nibbāna embedded in his life-continuity (santāna) in the next existence.
8) The meditators will certainly gain the benefit indicated by the Mahāsatipatthāna Sutta as follows:
"Listen, o Bhikkhus! Whoever should develop these four Foundations of Mindfulness for seven years, such person can expect one out of two fruits, either the fruit of Arahatship in this present life or if fetters (upādi-samyojana) are still remaining he will be Anāgāmī."
"Listen, o Bhikkhus, forget the seven years! But listen! Whoever develops these Four Foundations of Mindfulness throughout 6-5-4-3-2-1 year, for 7 months, 6-5-4-3-2-1 month, for half a month, throughout seven days, such person can expect one out of two fruits, either the fruit of Arahatship in this present life or if fetters are still remaining he will be Anāgāmī."
"Listen, o Bhikkhus! ,There is this Way which is the Only One for the extraordinary purification (= disclosure) of all living beings, for taking a giant step beyond sadness and lamentation, for the utter cessation of suffering and despair, for developing higher knowledge, for the realization of Nibbāna.
This Way is the Four Satipatthāna!"
9) The benefit that should be mentioned in conclusion is that by practising the dhamma one deserves the name of one who has genuine confidence in the Buddha's Teaching. This is reverence for the Fully Enlightened Buddha, who should be given the highest devotion. We can't find anything that is of a higher value in this world or to compare with him. We invite readers to test this statement by practising as outlined in this book! Lord Buddha praised practical worship. He said:
- "One who practises the Dhamma is one who venerates me.
- Whoever sees the Dhamma, that person sees me
- "The TATHAGATA"
- 'Vipassanā takes the mind to be bright
- to know the margin of life, the Brilliant mind.
- The Path becomes, - know dukkha, cut the Cause,
- this the condition is to realize Nibbāna.
- Establish sati, contemplate five groups,
- know the body, rūpa-nāma, as you can.
- Pain and ache, vedanā, bring unhappiness;
- contemplating rise and fall, suddenly you know.
- Know sabhava of all kinds in this body;
- seeing nothing is truly real makes for certainty.
- Sukha-dukkha springing up, then it falls,
- mind and body rise and fall like a Dhamma.
- Fix awareness, keep on noting, don't let up;
- hope to conquer bad kilesa, make the mind accomplished
- in the Middle Way, carry out, develop Dhamma,
- meet the Highest Happiness, Amata, Nibbāna.