Vipassana: how to practice correctly

To learn Vipassana and, you need to complete a ten-day course under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Such a course is often referred to as a retreat. Courses are held in special Vipassana centers and in other places. Throughout the retreat, students must remain on the territory of the center without any connection with the outside world. They refrain from reading and writing and from any other religious and spiritual practices. Also, a mandatory condition for the retreat is to maintain complete silence for all ten days. It is not possible to communicate with other course participants with gestures or glances. You can only ask questions to the teacher or discuss material problems with administrators. During the entire period of study, students live according to a rigid schedule, including up to 10 hours of sitting meditation per day.

The training consists of three steps. First, students practice refraining from activities that cause harm. They follow the five moral precepts, refraining from killing, stealing, lying, losing sexual energy, and using intoxicants. Observance of these precepts allows the mind to calm down enough to proceed with the task at hand.

Secondly, for the first three and a half days, students practice Anapana, breathing meditation. This practice allows you to develop control over the rebellious mind.

These first two stages of sound morality and the development of mind control are necessary and beneficial. But they are not sufficient unless the third step is taken: clearing the mind of negative factors. The third stage lasts the remaining six and a half days and represents the practice of Vipassana – each student penetrates into his physical and mental structure with all clarity of awareness.

Students receive systematic instruction in meditation several times a day, and each evening the progress of the day is explained. Complete silence is observed for nine days. On the tenth day, the students begin to talk in order to gradually return to normal life. The course ends on the morning of the eleventh day. The retreat closes with the practice of benevolence. It is a meditation technique in which the purity developed during the course is given to all living beings.