The real meaning of Vipassana.

Acharya Prashant
2 min readSep 12, 2019

‘Vipassana’ — ‘passna’ means watch. Watching is the real thing, not breath. Watch everything. Breath is a useful thing, because it is always with you. Therefore, easy to watch. But the breath is not at the center, watching is at the center.

‘Vipassana’ — watch.

But watching is out, breath is in!

What is the breath? Your relationship with the world. See how things are going in and coming out. See how you are absorbing the conditioning and see how you are shaping the world. That is what is meant by ‘ watching the breath.’

If you learn to watch, would you watch only breath? Breath is a reminder. Breath then becomes a token of the Guru. Breath is like then an alarm clock, somebody by a side to always nudge you — “Are you watching? Are you watching? Are you watching?”

You might do something, or not do something. But what is certain is, that you are always breathing.

So the breath is a reminder.

And it’s not only Buddha, Kabir constantly talks of watching the breath. Have you not heard of him constantly talking of ‘Saanson ki maala’( The necklace of breath)?

Have you not heard him say that one day will not only the ghar ki nari (the wife), but also the shareer ki nadi (the body), will desert you? ‘Shareer ki nadi’ means the nadi in the body — breath. So these are things that every master says. He hopes that you are intelligent enough to decode his words. And his words are simple. There is no great codification or mystery there. But we are so stupid that we take everything on face value.

The Buddha says, “Keep yourself clean,” and what do we do? We wash our body. What’s going on?

All that Lord Buddha is saying is, “Watch your breath.” He says, “Watch everything that is in motion.” One must have intelligence to decipher the code.

There are idioms in language, there are metaphors. Things are said figuratively. You must know their real meaning. Buddha is saying, “Watch your breath.” He is saying, “Watch your relationship with the world.”

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