This is a beginners’ handbook for awareness development according to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. I have compiled here a set of instructions from my own personal experience that I have heard, read, written and taken into memory from the Tipitika and other Buddhist texts. I have received instructions from Meditation Masters of the Vipassana Lineage that I have directly and intensively put into practice. Vipassana Meditation Grandmaster Dr. Bhaddanta Asabha Mahathera was my kalyanamittata who gave instructions and interviews with good results.
The core substance of this handbook has been compiled directly from personal experience and
isespecially for meditators who wish to put the instructions into practice. Many meditators have provided feedback that they have greatly benefited from this handbook and that they have received good results to a certain extent.
They further urged that more copies should be printed and that they were willing to sponsor the cost of printing. Before being compiled, this manual only consisted of a few pages of notes which I had distributed to meditators who came to practice. Later, all the notes were compiled
into a handbook. I hereby give permission to those who wish to print this handbook and distribute it. I do not make reservations for copyright. Dhamma is freely given; all may freely copy and print this handbook.
For those that have yet to directly experience vipassana meditaton according to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness this handbook will give instructions on what and how to physically and emotionally prepare oneself before entering into a meditation retreat.
Core principles and method are elaborated – including standing, walking, sitting, lying down, lowering the body, lifting the body up, and stretching. The benefits of Vipassana Meditation are
also given. This book further elaborates on bare awareness of knowing pleasant feelings, painful feelings, neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, the bare awareness of knowing the thinking process, the five hindrances, internal sense fields, external sense fields including the bare awareness of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (mindfulness of body, feelings, thoughts and ideas), as it really is.
While reading thisbook, one may feel that it is not enjoyable as the handbook is filled with instructions, general principles, method of practice, and the encouragement to put instructions into direct practice; and eventually to reap the benefits of Vipassana Meditation in due course. One must put the method laid out here into practice to assure oneself that this meditation method really works. Thus, this handbook is not a scholarly study nor a book for recreation.
Finally, it is hoped that this handbook will be a good friend for beginnersand will provide a firm foundation for those who walk the path towards liberation and enlightenment. For those who see the dangers of the continued rounds of existence, Samsara, and for those on the journey towards the path toward liberation, may they all be well. May the wholesome cause and effect eventuallylead them to the shore of Nibbana. Anumodana and thank you to the translators, financial sponsors and all those involved in publishing this first edition of the Handbook of Vipassana Meditation for beginners. The opportunity in spreading the Dhamma or in freely giving the Dhamma, the Buddha has stated as being the highest act of generosity.
I hereby pay respects to the Triple Gems and may the Triple Gems offer protection to all – to be free from diseases, having wisdom and right understanding; and may all be successful in their life endeavors.
Phra Athikan Somsak Sorado
Abbot of Wat Bhaddanta Asabharam