Buddhist meditation consists of two steps: calmness of mind and insight (Vipassana). The student is helped to develop calmness and concentration by being encouraged 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 out-breath. When the mind is given only one object, it gradually becomes calm and steady. Respiration mindfulness has several advantages:
- The breath is natural and common to all human beings.
- The breath is available at all times for focusing one’s attention.
- Mindfulness of the breath is a technique that can be practiced by members of any religion or a person of no religion.
Vipassana is a process that enables the student to develop awareness of the natural characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non-self through personal experience. Practiced with diligence the gradual process of mental purification will lead to the end of suffering and to full Enlightenment or Nibbana.
The teaching is through experience. If what you experience is for your well-being, you can accept it; if it is not for your well-being, you will not accept it.
Noble Silence (no unnecessary talk) provides a conducive atmosphere. Discourses given in the morning and evening by a teacher help to clarify the practice.
Ten-day courses are held every other month, beginning on a Friday evening and ending early on a Monday morning. They are led by Mother Sayamagyi or by a regional teacher.
“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 is a religious person, a business person, a politician, a worker, or a student.”
Sayagyi U Ba Khin