A ten-day course in Vipassana meditation is the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path, as taught by the Buddha. The Path can be divided into three parts, namely: higher training in morality, higher training in concentration and higher training in wisdom.
Morality: Morality is the common denominator of all religions. At the Centre, students observe the five precepts of refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and the use of drugs or intoxicants. By diligently observing this morality, one develops purity of physical and verbal actions.
Concentration: Beginning with the base of morality, training in concentration is taught using Anapana meditation (mindfulness of breathing). Through learning to calm and control the mind during the first five days, the student quickly appreciates the advantages of a steady and balanced mind.
Wisdom: The third training is wisdom (or insight). This is introduced through Vipassana meditation, which is practised throughout the remainder of the period.Buddhist meditation consists of two steps: Calmness of mind and insight (Vipassana). The student at the meditation retreat is helped to develop calmness and concentration by encouraging him to focus his attention on a spot at the base of the nose. In this way he can be aware of the in-breath and the out-breath. When the mind is given only one object it gradually becomes calm and steady.
There is no reason why a good student in meditation should not be able to secure a concentrated mind in a few days of training. Little by little all conscious awareness of breathing stops. The student becomes mindful only of a small point of light and warmth.
At this point the mind becomes one pointed and clear and unwavering. It is a common belief that a person whose power of concentration is good can achieve better results. There are definitely many advantages that accrue to a person who undergoes a successful meditation retreat. It doesn't matter whether this person is a religious person, a business person, a politician, a worker or a student.
Vipassana is a process that enables the student to develop awareness of the natural characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non-self through personal experience. Practised with diligence the gradual process of mental purification will lead to the end of suffering and to full Enlightenment or Nibbana.
Vipassana, or insight, involves an examination of the inherent tendencies of all that exists within one's own self. With a calm and concentrated mind the student focuses his attention into himself.He becomes aware of and observes:
This awareness will very gradually lead to detachment from the physical and mental elements that are experienced as changing. It will little by little free the meditator from reactions such as anger and desire. It will give that peace within which will show you that you are getting beyond the day to day troubles of life. It will take you, slowly but surely, beyond the limitation of life, suffering and death.
The teaching is through experience. If what you experience is for your wellbeing, you can accept it; if it is not for your wellbeing, you will not accept it.