Vipassana Meditation Day 3

The video in this article is from S. N. Goenka’s Dhamma Discourses on Vipassana Meditation Day 3. This follows after the Vipassana Meditation Day 2 and Vipassana Meditation Day 1 that we presented on June 30, 2014 and July 20, 2014, respectively.

In the video from the first day, we learned that awareness of breathing is the starting point for vipassana meditation. In the second video, we learned about the path to liberation that the Buddha taught.

In this video,we are going to learn about the Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha. Goenka also teaches about the four elements (earth, water, fire, and air).

Goenka explains that there are three kinds of wisdom. Here is what Goenka says about them:

The first is the wisdom gained by hearing or reading the words of others.

The second is intellectual wisdom: to test with one’s reasoning and analyzing faculty whether the received wisdom is rational and logical. It cannot be said that these two types of wisdom are useless.

However, because they are borrowed wisdom, usually the knowledge gained is merely intellectual, and no lasting benefit is derived from it.

The third kind of wisdom, is experiential wisdom. It is wisdom manifested within ourselves, based on our own experience and therefore is truly beneficial. To develop this wisdom, it is essential to practice morality and to heighten awareness. Only the mind established in this awareness can understand and realize the truth as it is.

Goenka explains what Buddhists call the Three Characteristics of Existence: impermanence (anicca), non-self (anatta), and unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) or suffering.

The characteristic of impermanence is that all conditioned things are subject to change. The excitement we feel when the “home team” wins is much like the disappointment when the “home team” loses. Both the excitement and the disappointment come into being, stay around for a while and then the fade into memory.

Another example. As you send good wishes to the family of Robin Williams, just think about how impermanent his fame and fortune were. He had everything the world could offer, and yet, he was unhappy.

The meaning of non-self can be understood from consistent practice. Since everything is impermanent, you realize that everything that happens to you is really not personal. Everyone else has similar problems to you and there is no such thing as a separate, independent existence.

The third characteristic of life on earth, unsatisfactoriness is probably the most obvious. Everywhere you look there is suffering, illness, and things that don’t always go your way.

With a daily meditation practice, you can learn to meet these characteristics with equanimity. When you do this consistently, you will notice that you can handle life, just as it is. You will stop adding additional suffering on top of an already difficult life.

What are you thoughts about the three characteristics of existence?

Books by Goenka

Meditation Now: Inner Peace through Inner Wisdom

S. N. Goenka

Celebrated Vipassana meditation teacher S. N. Goenka interprets the Buddha’s teachings in this collection of lectures, essays, and interviews. These writings provide insights into how one of the most influential contemporary Buddhist practitioners defines Vipassana and how he uses it to achie… [Read More…]

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