How To Do Traditional Buddhist Insight Meditation Like Buddha

buddhist insight meditation technique

There is a very powerful Buddhist insight meditation technique. When you do it, it lets you see the inner working of your own mind. And you will realise just precisely what is going on inside of you.

I just tried an ancient Buddhist insight meditation technique that I’ve not used in many years. And… I realised a lot of things I’ve never realised before.

So, I’d love to share the Buddhist insight meditation technique with you.

It’s an ancient Buddhist insight meditation technique that has been used for millenia. More specifically, it’s a technique of Theravada Buddhism, though you need not be familiar with Theravada Buddhism to practice it as this guide is easy to follow and beneficial to all.

But what, exactly, is the difference between this and the other 700 meditation techniques?

The Buddhist insight medtiation technique is about learning to see clearly with the mind. When you practice the Buddhist insight medtiation technique you gain a deeper understanding of things, of yourself, of others, and of life in general.


Introduction to the Buddhist Insight Meditation Technique

The Buddhist insight meditation technique (also called Samatha-Vipassana meditation) is about developing Samatha (calmness of mind) by focusing the mind. And at the same time it will develop insight (Vipassana) through reflection.

  How to Do The Buddhist Insight Meditation Technique:

To start the Buddhist insight meditation technique, first you need to focus

As usual, if you are new to meditation, please read my guide to the basics of meditation before you begin. 

To begin the Buddhist insight meditation technique, you first need to focus your mind need to focus our minds.

One of the best ways to focus your mind is by using Nine Round Breathing technique (click the link for The Dalai Lama’s guide to the technique)

Alternatively, take a few mindful breaths.

Make sure you are somewhere comfortable and free from distractions and that you are sitting with good posture (it will help if you use the Zen sitting positions).

Your room should not be too bright nor too dark, the temperature of the room should be comfortable and the area should be tidy and free from clutter.


When practicing the Buddhist insight medtiation technique, body and mind must be made one

Body and mind are one. Therefore, the best way to begin to calm and still your mind is to sit down.

Sit with good posture and a straight back (you will find it helpful to have a high quality meditation cushion).

Make sure you are not straining. You may wish to sit in an upright chair as this will help with posture. Alternatively, you may sit in lotus position (those new to lotus position will need to practice it first—it can feel uncomfortable until you get used to it).

You may find that holding your chin a little downwards will help to elongate the spine and to create focus of mind. Make sure the head is not drooping, however. You hands are best placed on your laps with the palms facing upwards. Hold one palm over the other and lightly touch the tips of your thumbs together. Take a little time to make sure you are a) comfortable, b) still and c) sitting with good posture.


Become more conscious of yourself by practicing body scan meditation

To begin our Buddhist Insight Meditation we start with a body scan meditation. This meditation heightens the body mind connection, develops mindfulness and helps you to be more present.

A body scan meditation involves focusing your attention on one part of your body and then moving onwards until you have been mindful of the entire body.

For example, begin with your feet. Be aware of the sensations in your feet. If you are holding any tension in your feet then imagine breathing air into the tense spot and relaxing. From your feet move to your ankles and repeat the same process, then on to your legs, pelvis, abdomen, chest and so on, until you have scanned your entire body. 

Use Your breath To Connect To The Divine

Having completed the body scan meditation it is now time to meditate on the breath (anapansati meditation).

To begin to do so, focus your mind on your breath as it moves in and out of the space between your lips and mouth. Focus on one spot and hold your concentration there. If this seems difficult you may wish to count your breaths, which helps you to concentrate.

While focusing on your breath, make sure that your breathing is relaxed, deep and slow, that you are breathing down into your abdomen and that your breath is flowing lightly.

It is natural to experience some thoughts and distractions while meditating on the breath. Try not to dwell on your thoughts or to attach to them, simply observe them and continue focussing on your breathing. The aim of Buddhist Insight Meditation is not to enter a trance, it is simply to observe the nature of the mind.


When walking, walk…


We have now practiced both body scan meditation and breathing meditation, and are about halfway through this Buddhist insight meditation technique.

It is now time to practice standing and walking meditation. I’ve written a complete guide to Zen Walking Meditation for you. What follows is a brief synopsis.

To practice walking meditation you will need a safe path of around 20 metres. Do not do this near roads!

Begin by standing at one end of the path. While standing, focus your mind on your body. Simply be aware of the sensations in your body. Stand with good posture with your arms at your sides and you hand clasped lightly either behind or in front of your body. Now focus your eyes on a spot on the ground a few metres away. It is now time to walk.

Buddhist walking meditation should be practiced slowly. Walk very gradually. Remember, this is about insight rather than movement. Walk at a constant but slightly slow pace to the end of the path. While walking focus on the sensation of movement in the body.

Once you reach the end of the path, turn around. Stand still and focus on the sensation of standing, then repeat the process back to the other end of the path.

    Rest the body, but let the mind stir

Having practiced sitting, standing and walking it is time to practice the Buddhist insight medtiation technique while lying down.

For this you should lie straight, with one arm helping to support the head.  While in this position, conduct a body scan, just as we did with the Sitting.

Finally, allow yourself to simply be. Lie down mindfully (the guide in the link will show you how)

And if you notice anger at any time during this entire process, you might like to use these Buddhist Meditations for Anger.

And you’re done 

 We have now completed our Buddhist insight medtiation technique. We recommend practicing once a day. This may seem like a big commitment, but actually, once you learn the process it does not take long. A complete Buddhist insight medtiation techniquen can be done in as little as half an hour and will be extremely rewarding.

I hope you’ve found this Buddhist insight medtiation technique helpful. Now let me just ask a quick question: would you like to learn all meditation techniques in one simple to follow guide? And would you like to become a master of the mind? If so, you will find my new book Welcome To Silence: A Practical Guide To Mindfulness And Meditation an invaluable resource.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *