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Dr.Bhikkhu Bodhipala,
Department of Religion, Pali and Buddhist Studies, Tamilnadu Thelogical Seminary, Madurai-
625 016
Whether so-called well evolved mankind is a refined one or not? The answer should
be if we are not hypocrites as far as psychological point of view “NO”.
We are the human race ignorant in many aspects both in science and technology as well as in
spiritual standard and every one is engulfed with the three basic impurities of greed, delusion and
hatred. As long as when the mankind suffers from all sorts of negative impacts due to these basic
defilements that precisely means man still grows and evolves despite there is a vast advancement
in the field of science and technology. When science technology grows man lives in the
peripheral level addicted to sensual enjoyments ultimately grow more self-centered, greedy, and
eventually manifests as war and world war.
Buddhism is nothing but science of mind. Still the attainment of Nibbana, the enlightenment
every one is a sort of insane person. Now-a-days like a food, meditation is a must for well being
of mankind to make a peaceful society thus making a warless world. Modern life style should not
to be a grudge between fellow being, natural things, environment, neighboring nation, as well as
neighbor planet.
So the Buddha somewhat two thousand six hundred years back preached his philosophy in a nut-
shell as follows,
“Refrain from all evil doings,
Promote all the wholesome actions,
Purify the defiled mind .These are the teachings of all the Buddha’s”
Purification of the mind would be fulfilled only by practicing meditation. Unfortunately in these
days all kinds of meditative practices treated just as an alternative system of medicine than
spiritual pursuit. So, according to modern interpretations any system of meditation is clinical
object rather than a spiritual quest. But the Buddha never considered his system of meditation as
mere a kind of antidote for physical ailment. If a system of spiritual exercise practiced just a
pathological remedy it is just misleading and giving a wrong interpretation of spiritual system.
The history Buddhism proves on any occasion The Buddha never taught the populace a system
of meditation just to cure a disease. In his Satipatthana discourse he is very clear.
The Buddha thus opens his mouth” There is unique path for the purification of beings; for the
cessation of pain; the attainment of knowledge and for the realization of Nibbanic peace. These
are called the Foundation on Mindfulness”. So the Buddha is very clear that he guaranteeing only
Nibbana not a physical cure. So the Buddha is very clear in his approach that the purpose of
meditation is only for the enlightenment. Even some Gurus of modern days guarantee the
innocent people for earning money through practicing meditation. This is utterly unethical and a
sin. Such gurus exploit the public ho already in crave of money by assuring such false hood. So
mediation should be motivated for supra mundane purpose not for a mundane purpose. On the
other hand meditation is practiced for get rid of certain mental defects as follows,
i) For removing tension, depression
ii) For mental peace
iii) For calming the mind
iv) For improving memory power and concentration in studies
v) For improving managerial skills etc.,
If the human mind is free from basic defilements, the mind is set right. The Buddha says “if the
mind is set right, everything is set right”.
So, the purpose of practicing meditation should be for purifying the mind in order basic
impurities. When the mind is purified, it is set right; this is the final goal Nibbana. The term
Nibbana is a combination of two Pali words, Nir + vana , nir means no, or not or ceased to exist,
vana means craving or greed or desire. So the term Nibbana means cessation of greed or craving
or desire. If a mind is freed from desire, delusion and greed it achieves Enlightenment withering
all the impurities of mind.
BASIC DEFILEMENTS: Buddhism classified the mental impurities into fourteen types.
Otherwise there are fourteen unwholesome factors which influences a person to or to commit an
unwholesome deed.
i) Moha ------ Delusion
ii) Ahirika ------ Shamelessness to do an immoral deed
iii) Anottappa--- Utter recklessness, not having a normal dread i.e no fear
to commit a wrong deed
iv) Uddhacca---- Distraction of the mind, restlessness and absent minded
v) Lobha--------- Greed, craving, desire
vi) Miccha Ditthi--- Wrong view
vii) Mana------------ Conceit, excessive pride in oneself
viii) Dosa ----------- hatred, anger,
ix) Issa --------------- Envy, discontent due to others possessions
x) Maccharia------- Jealousy, selfishness
xi) Kukkucca--------- worrying about discontentment, not to be satisfied
xii) Thina ------------- Sloth, laziness, not to be active
xiii) Middha ---------- Torpor, slow in all actions
xiv) Vicikiccha ------- Sceptical doubt about good action, about charity and
about karmic effects
The above said fourteen factors are shortly called mind defilements. As long as if one is engulfed
with even a single factor of these defilements he is not a freed man. An action either it is a
mental action or a verbal or a physical deed which is done on the influence of any one of these
factors; it will be obviously an unwholesome act which would cause to make a negative karmic
effect. Further more such deeds would inevitably injure others or the doer himself and eventually
making disharmony among the fellow beings.
Likewise, as described above there are some wholesome factors also which are fourteen in
number as follows, which are responsible for arising of wholesome consciousness.
i) Saddha ------------------ faith or confidence in a good deed or Dharma
ii) Sati ----------------------- Mindfulness or awareness
iii) Hiri ---------------------- Moral shame to commit a sinful act
iv) Ottappa --------------- Moral fear to commit a sin
v) Alobha ----------------- Non-greed, generosity
vi) Amoha ----------------- Non-delusion, wisdom
vii) Metta ------------------ Loving kindness
viii) Karuna ----------------- Compassion
ix) Adosa ------------------ Non-hatred , good will
x) Mudita ---------------- Appreciative joy in others well being
xi) Upekkha -------------- Equanimity
xii) Samma vaca --------- Right speech
xiii) Samma kammanta -- Right action
xiv) Samma ajiva --------- Right livelihood
These fourteen wholesome mental factors protect one from the evils and transforms ones
consciousness and elevate one to higher spiritual level. If a person acts on the influence of these
wholesome mental factors all action shall be wholesome action resulting good karmic effects, not
only helping the doer himself but also the fellow beings eventually making a peaceful society
and warless world.
It is very important thing to note that these two sets of fourteen factors should not be treated as
antidotes for negative factors or matched and unwholesome factors should not be replaced by the
wholesome factors but there should be two separate strivings to remove first unwholesome
factors from the mind and simultaneously to cultivate wholesome factors. So according to the
Buddha the first set is concerned with to “refrain from doing all unwholesome deeds” and the
second one is concerned with to “promote all wholesome deeds”. Bur for purifying one’s mind
one has to practice meditation without practicing purification of the mind is impossible.
Accordingly meditation practice helps to remove the unwholesome factors complementing the
cultivation wholesome deeds.
The term Meditation has its own meaning, as well as the term Buddhist meditation also has its
own meaning differing from the common usage and from the other system of meditation. After
his enlightenment for forty five years of his missionary life had been teaching the ancient
populace of India dealing with the subjects all walks of human life such as sociology, ethics,
morality, politics, analysis of major four elements, five senses, atomism, logic, occult science,
metaphysics, philosophy finally mind training, the practice of meditation or mind purification.
As already mentioned that Buddhism is nothing but a science of study of human mind as such
meditation obviously means mind training purported for Nibbana, the enlightenment. This
system of meditation practice can be categorized into two broad divisions according to the nature
of practice and its results. The first system or method is called SAMATHA BHAVANA and the
other one is called VIPASSANA BHAVANA. Samatha Bhavana means concentration of the
mind in Buddhism there forty subjects for practicing meditation. In Vipassana system there is
only one method technically called in Pali Satipatthana which means “insight” meditation.
The difference between Samatha and Vipassana (Concentration and Insight) is the former one is
focusing the mind on only one meditative objective thus stilling the mind. The result will be
suppressing the unwholesome factors of the mind but not be completely eradicated whereas
Vipassana will remove all the fetters and the practitioner shall be freed from the impurities
ultimately one attains Full-Enlightenment, Nibbana. In concentration method i.e in Samtha
Bhavana the defilements are ignored instead of removing them as such unwholesome factors are
suppressed when and if concentration practice is stopped the defilements take their own course
when time arrives they cause one to fall from righteousness.
But Vipassana is an insight meditation which helps a practitioner to remove mental impurities
and fetters. This system of meditation helps the practitioner to identify the faculties of the mind
whether they are wholesome or unwholesome. In Vipassana, the meditation practitioner does not
perform anything instead he watches, sees, knows, aware of the actualities as they are, if there is
a wrong thought he knows it is wrong thought, likewise if there is a good thought he knows that
it is a good thought. In Buddhist point of view Meditation is not a struggle not to be
overwhelmed and to conquer anything in a struggle. There is no performance either by body or
by mind such as expecting something, making a thrust, not rejecting, not ignoring a thing.
According to this system of meditation, there are only two choices what we have to do, if you
want to ignore your mind and focus it on one object it will be “Samatha Bhavana” on the other
hand if you want to develop your “Insight” meditation Vipassana, Vipassana Gnana” one has to
be aware of all on goings that all happen out of one’s body, on the body and within the mind.
Shortly, according to Buddhist system of meditation, it is either concentrating the mind or
knowing the mind.
Tripitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Digha Nikaya, Dicourse
Here begins the practical sessions of Buddhist Meditation according to Buddha’s
discourse called Maha Satipatthana Sutta. In his discourse the Buddha begins the
practice of ANAPANA SATI, Ana means inhaling and Apana means exhaling
means concentrating the flow of inhaling and exhaling from the name of the one
could understand that this practice is a Samatha method. The Buddha begins with
Samatha method first in his discourse.
PRE REQIISITE: For practicing any kind of meditation we need certain
i) Meditation Cell: Cell means primarily it should be calm
and quiet place, it may be confined small room which is
technically called cloister, an open place, a park, foot of
a tree, shortly speaking any serene place.
ii) Posture: The Buddha recommends cross-legged posture
called lotus posture.
iii) Any convenient posture a chair, a stool, cushion in
which the head and spine should be kept in the
perpendicular position.
iv) The duration of a sitting should be at least 20 minutes, if
the practitioner wants to observe the improvements and
the maximum can be even 7 hours in a day.

Anapana sati: According to the words of the Buddha: (1) A disciple (either a monk
or house hold man) having retired to the forest or to the foot of a tree or a lonely
place , sits with legs crossed (lotus posture )the body held erect intent on
mindfulness. (2) Consciously he inhales, while inhaling a long breath he knows that
I am inhaling a long inbreathe” .Likewise while exhaling a long breath he knows
very well. (3) If it is short knows very well that either inhale or exhale.(4) The
practitioner is mindful about his natural flow of inhaling and exhaling as such
without making any thrust on natural flow without rupturing it.(5)The practitioner is
mindful of his natural flow of inhaling and exhaling as such without making any
thrust in it . The practitioner not supposed to do anything on the breath but just to
watch it.
The Buddha further explains that a disciple should watch the whole body of the
breath that means he has to be aware of beginning of the breath, processing of the
breath and finally the end of the each breath either inhaling or exhaling.
The Buddha’s example: Just as a skilful turner or a turner’s apprentice (Here the
Buddha mentions about the wheel in a pottery which is rotated while making a
earthen pot or jar) when the turner makes a long turn he knows that it is a long turn
likewise if it is short he knows very well that it is a short turn. So as to every breath
should be noted. In Buddhist yoga system inhale and exhale are taken as separate
breathes. Thus the practitioner is aware of the arising and perishing of the each
The purpose of meditation practice is to attain Enlightenment. ANAPANA
SATI is a Samatha method i.e concentration. In this practice the basic
defilements and unwholesome factors will not be eradicated but suppressed.
As such one has to practice Vipassana Bhavana for purifying the mind
without stain of impurities, so that one can attain enlightenment. But for the
beginners Anapana Sati is always recommended as a preliminary training
which would help the practitioner to develop “Insight faculty” “the
VIPASSANA GNANA”. After mastering over the training of Anapana Sati
one can practice Vipassana with full comprehension, without deviating from
the Buddha’s instruction.
Whether it is a fortunate thing or not in modern times Buddha’s Vipassana is
taught in different ways and methods claiming that each way is traditional
one and Buddha’s. In Myanmar Vipassana is taught according to the
understanding of Satipatthana by every Guru even prefixing their personal
name telling it so and so method of Vipassana. The practitioner should
understand the truth that Vipassana is unique system of meditation taught by
the Buddha somewhat 2600 years ago which is entirely a different system of
meditation of those days in ancient India. The Buddha being a scientific
person starts his training from the gross physical level and slowly takes the
disciple to higher subtle levels, eventually helps one to attain Nibbana. The
Buddha taught unique system of meditation to be practiced simultaneously
at four phases.
(i) Kayanupassana ---- Contemplating the body
(ii) Vedanaupassana --- Contemplating the sensation and feelings
(iii)Cittanupassana ---- Contemplating the mind and mind objects
(iv) Dhammanupassana – Contemplating the mental content

In modern days some Gurus of Buddhist meditation have developed some methods
of practicing Vipassana simultaneously covering the above mentioned four levels.
One among them was Ven.Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar. Internationally a well
reputed monk who was chosen to teach Buddhist meditation after acquiring
independence from the British rule by the Union of Government of Burma (Modern
Myanmar). His unique feature of teaching method is condensing the practical
points as given in Maha Satipatthana Sutta.The above said four level of insight
should not be practiced one by one but at one time. His method of practice is
rendered here under which is still followed in the International Meditation Centre,
Bodhgaya, Gaya, Bihar India. The Centre was founded by an Indian Buddhist monk
named (Late) Ven.Dr. Rastrapala Maha Thera and this was the first Buddhist
Meditation centre in modern India.
Here begins Vipassana as taught by the Buddha………( In the words of
Ven.Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar)
“…….one may select a calm and quiet place and a serene atmosphere and relaxed
sitting posture or comfortable sitting position should be adopted. The eyes to be
kept closed. The right hand palm be placed on the left hand palm. The meditator
should then be aware of the ‘rising ‘ and ‘falling’ of his abdomen. At the time of
breathing in the abdomen rises and then ‘breathing out’ the abdomen falls. So the
meditator should be aware of the rising and falling of abdomen …”
At the beginning, there is every possibility, that the mind will wander
away…..having maintained the continuous efforts and constant watching of rising
and falling of abdomen, the mind of the meditator becomes quelled, balanced, and
tranquil. Then the meditator will feel easy to notice ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ of the
abdomen….. “The Meditator should keep in mind that under all conditions the
breathing should be natural and normal. If anything happens or occurs in the mind
of the meditator through any of the six sense doors (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and
mind) or when of the organs he should instantly be aware of the feelings and must
keep mental notes in accordance with the feelings and their changes, if any. In
Vipassana awareness is insight. Mind gets controlled when the intensity observation
continued. In the process keen awareness be given on the moment to moment
present changes only. There shall exist neither the past nor the future no
speculation, no planning and nothing of the sort. Then the mind will be free from
abnormal wandering. Vipassana means present only. The feelings of the material
and the mental phenomena as arising through sense doors , shall only have to
noticed keeping mental notes, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking
etc., If the mind wanders away ‘wandering’ ‘ wandering’ and ‘wandering’. The
meditator should note that keeping of mental notes according to the moving,
feelings etc., is not a process of searching but instead a sensitive awareness to the
moment to moment sentiments and feeling only. This insight keeps the practitioner
in present only and be aware of his bodily movements, sensation of sense organs if
anything coming, feelings such as unpleasant, pleasant, indifferent.
NOTES ON VIPASSANA: All Indians shall raise a basic question what is the
benefit of practicing Vipassana? The only suitable person to answer this question is
the Buddha because when he opens his mouth to deliver Satipatthana Sutta for a
gathering of his disciples at a place called Kuru he begins “There is a unique path
for the purification of beings (Mankinds) for the cessation of pain; for the
attainment of knowledge and for the realization of Nibbanic Peace. Hope the
Buddha’s answer would suffice for such question.
Vipassana can be named according to its result “Living in Present” “Knowing
one’s own nature” or “minding the mind” and so on. The practitioner in the course
of his practice develops the faculties of Metta (loving kindness), Karuna
(compassion), mudita,(Appreciative joy) and upekha, (equanimity). Such
transformation of consciousness makes , if everyone practices Buddhist meditation ,
a peaceful society eventually a warless world.


Primary sources: Original Pali Texts from Pali Canaons
(i) Tipitaka, Sutta pitaka, Digha Nikaya, Maha Vagga Pali, Discourse No 9,
Mahasatipatthana Sutta.
(ii) Tipitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Majjhima Nikaya, Mulapariyaya Vagga,
Discourse No.10, Mahasatipatthana Sutta
(iii) Tipitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Majjhima Nikaya, Uparipannasa Pali, Anupada
Vagga, Discourse No 9, Anapana Sati Sutta
(i) Guide to Tipitaka, U KO LAY, Published by, Selangore Buddhist
Vipassana Meditation Soceity, Selangore, MALAYSIA.
(ii) Mahasatipatthana Suttam, Translated and Published by Vipassana
Research Institute, Dhammagiri, Igatpuri, Maharashtra, 422 403 India.
(iii) Studies in Vipassana, Ph.D Thesis Madurai Kamarajar University
(iv) Journal: The Annual Report for the year 2001 2002,International
Meditation Centre, Buddhagaya, Gaya, Bihar- 824 231 India