Nondual Guided Meditation by Michael Taft
Lots of you have been highly trained in vipassana meditation. Vipassana is a word in Pali (a dead language used only in ancient Buddhist scriptures) which means “investigation” or “special insight.” The cognate word in Sanskrit (used in Vajrayana as well as Hindu Tantra) is Vipashyana, meaning essentially the same thing. We use our meditative awareness to see “things as they really are,” and that’s how we get special insight into our experience.
Typically, vipassana is practiced in a dualistic manner. I, the viewer, over here (on the right, say) and doing vipassana on a object, like my breathing sensations, over there (on the left). The viewer and the viewed are seen as separate. Furthermore, when doing vipassana, we usually are investigating the “three marks of existence” — i.e. impermanence, non-self, and unsatisfactoriness.
Vipashyana, on the other hand, is practiced in a nondual manner. There is no “me over here” looking at at “thing over there.” There is no need to fabricate a viewer, or a thing being viewed. Rather, experiences arise in awareness, and awareness simply notices them, from within and around them. There is no separation between awareness and experience—they are aspects of the same awareness. And instead of looking at the three marks, awareness is simply noticing the emptiness of the experiences arising—i.e. the fact that they are a kind of mental construction in-and-of awareness.
So, even though the two words vipassana and vipashyana both mean doing investigation to get special insight, the process involved is really quite different.
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