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Pāḷi; √ vipassanā
alt. sp.: vipassana
translation ~:



vipassanā: Description welcome. Info can be removed after imput.

ATI Glossary

vipassanā: Clear intuitive insight into physical and mental phenomena as they arise and disappear, seeing them for what they actually are — in and of themselves — in terms of the three characteristics (see ti-lakkhaṇa) and in terms of stress, its origin, its disbanding, and the way leading to its disbanding (see ariya-sacca).


Buddhist Dictionary

by late Ven. Nyanatiloka Thera:

vipassanā:1) 'insight', is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. It is insight-wisdom (vipassanā-paññā) that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed along with the 2 other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of insight practice (see visuddhi VI) leads directly to the stages of holiness (see visuddhi VII).

Insight is not the result of a mere intellectual understanding, but is won through direct meditative observation of one's own bodily and mental processes. In the commentaries and the Visuddhi Magga, the sequene in developing insight-meditation is given as follows:

  • 1. discernment of the corporeal (rūpa),
  • 2. of the mental (nāma),
  • 3. contemplation of both (nāmarūpa; i.e. of their pairwise occurrence in actual events, and their interdependence),
  • 4. both viewed as conditioned (application of the dependent origination, paṭiccasamuppāda),
  • 5. application of the 3 characteristics (impermanency, etc.) to mind-and-body-cum-conditions.

The stages of gradually growing insight are described in the 9insight- knowledges (vipassanā-ñāṇa), constituting the 6th stage of purification: beginning with the 'knowledge of rise and fall' and ending with the 'adaptation to Truth'. For details, see visuddhi VI and Visuddhi Magga XXI.

Eighteen chief kinds of insight-knowledge (or principal insights, mahā-vipassanā) are listed and described in Visuddhi Magga XXII, 113:

Through these 18, the adverse ideas and views are overcome, for which reason this way of overcoming is called 'overcoming by the opposite' (tadaṅga-pahāna, overcoming this factor by that). Thus (1) dispels the idea of permanence. (2) the idea of happiness, (3) the idea of self, (4) lust, (5) greed, (6) origination, (7) grasping, (8) the idea of compactness, (9) kamma-accumulation, (10) the idea of lastingness, (11) the conditions, (12) delight, (13) adherence, (14) grasping and adherence to the idea of substance, (15) attachment and adherence, (17) thoughtlessness, (18) dispels entanglement and clinging.

Insight may be either mundane (see lokiya) or supermundane (see lokuttara). Supermundane insight is of 3 kinds: (1) joined with one of the 4 supermundane paths, (2) joined with one of the fruitions of these paths, (3) regarding the extinction, or rather suspension, of consciousness (see nirodha-samāpatti).

See samatha-vipassanā, visuddhi, III-VII.

Literature: Manual of Insight, by Ledi Sayadaw (Wheel 31/32). Practical Insight Meditation, Progress of Insight, both by Mahāsi Sayadaw (BPS). The Experience of Insight, by Joseph Goldstein (BPS).


PTS Dictionary

by the Pali Text Society:

The implementation is in progress. See work in progress in the user area.


Glossary Thanissaro

Vipassanā: Clear-seeing insight into the processes of fabrication in the mind, with the purpose of developing dispassion for those processes.


Glossary various Teacher

— —


See also

Suttas and Dhammadesanā

vipassanā: (insight). See also Samatha (tranquillity); Ti-lakkhaṇa (three characteristics of existence).


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Appendix: is frequently found in the older Sutta texts (e.g. AN 2.32; SN 45.159), also together with samatha. The 9 and 18 insight-knowledges (vipassanā-ñāṇa and mahā-vipassanā), however, occur in the Sutta Piṭaka only in the Paṭisambhidāmagga, Ñāṇakathā, where they are enumerated and explained, though without any group name being attached to them.
en/dictionary/vipassana.txt · Last modified: 2018/09/13 14:07 by Johann