A form of Buddhist meditation found more often in Theravada than in Mahayana Buddhism. The goal of vipassana meditation is direct insight into the true nature of reality, that reality is impermanent and filled with suffering and that no self truly exists. Meditational techniques may involve, first, exercises focused on breathing to achieve perfect calm. A next step is to achieve perfect concentration, or one-pointedness of mind.
In this state, one has complete awareness of the so-called four foundations: body, feelings, state of mind, and mental habits. Eventually, the meditator will gain a level of concentration that will allow him or her to fully realize the impermanence and insubstantiality of reality, and to develop increasing levels of detachment from that reality. The meditator must also take care to guard against stopping at any of these levels, or becoming prematurely satisfied with his or her level of detachment, since a key to vipassana is to realize that even higher states of consciousness are transitory.
Followed fully, this path is thought to lead to full enlightenment. Traditionally vipassana meditation should be carried out only with proper guidance and preparation. The term is a Pali one meaning see clearly or insight. .