The SIY ( Search Inside Yourself) organization founded by Chad Meng Tan had recently organized a small competition in which we had to share a story of how meditation has impacted our lives. The most liked story on the forum was expected to win a free copy of SIY book written Chand Meng Tan and guess what? I won the book!!
I wrote a parable and it was the most liked story. I received the copy of SIY. The book is about a course on Mindfulness meditation program developed at Google. The book contains theory and practice of Mindfulness meditation. In recent times, I met lot of people who mistaken Vipassana for Mindfulness meditation and hence after understanding what is Mindfulness meditation, I would like to confirm that Vipassana is not a mere Mindfulness meditation. Some of the principles of both meditation technique are similar but the basis of both meditation technique is fundamentally different.
Let me explain with an example. The Mindfulness meditation model explain in SIY by Chad Meng Tan contains – Intention – Attention – Cognitive Process – Attitude. Fundamentally the model starts with “ Intention” a motive to start meditation – it can be stress reduction, better relationship management, happy life, peace or for that matter weight reduction but it starts with a motive.
Now, this first principle is exactly opposite to philosophy of Vipassana or philosophy of Buddha. The very First Universal truth depicted by Buddha is – “Trishna ( desire) is root cause of all misery in this world.” Vipassana recommends to focus solely on breathing ,natural breathing – nothing should be attached to breathing. No motive i.e. experiencing something or attaining a state of mind is not recommended in Vipassana. The motive and default attachment that follows motive disturbs purity of the mind and hence not at all recommended in Vipassana.
Mindfulness refers to a process of body scan but it is mainly perceived as a tool for body relaxation. Vipassana is much deeper and surely more than mere body scan. It is non judgmental observation of sensation in the body and maintaining perfect equanimity towards them. Although some of the procedure recommended in the book may sound similar but the logic and understanding behind performing those actions is fundamentally different.
Third and perhaps most important, Vipassana is completely volunteer run organization. Those who are asking you for $$ to teach you any meditation technique are not teaching REAL meditation. In India, meditation has always been taught in Guru- pupil tradition and true meditation would always remain so.
There are many points I can talk about but the pithy is Vipassana is fundamentally different practice from Mindfulness meditation. I am sure that people who have not heard of Vipassana are attracted towards Mindfulness meditation because this is closest technique to Vipassana.