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As a practitioner (but a beginner) of Anapana and Vipassana meditation, I have realized and experienced the immense benefits of the technique and the immense potential of Dhamma to bring change and goodness in whoever applies it in life. As is natural, when one samples something as beneficial as the Dhamma, one cannot contain the benefits to oneself and is always tempted to suggest the practise of Vipassana to those around us, so that they may also start coming out of their misery. This is what I understand is one of the qualities of Dhamma, "Ehipassiko".

But, the question really is, should a beginner like me even talk about it to others? Because, I still have my share of mental defilements and as a result I'm still prone to wrong thoughts, words and deeds. Therefore, although I genuinely feel like recommending the practise of Vipassana to others out of compassion, I'm apprehensive that I may not be the best example to show others what practitioners of Vipassana really are and that may as a result corrupt the idea of the Buddha's teachings in the minds of someone who may be listening to Dhamma for the first time.

So, should one really talk about the Dhamma and Vipassana to others and if yes, when (at what minimum level of advancement or personal progress on the path, so that one inspires others as a personal living example)?

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Well, if you take your own case as a guideline, most people really just need a point or nudge in the right direction. Depending on how interested people are, you might share the benefits you've discovered.

If it's a teacher or another great being who is putting practice into their daily life, talking and discussing can be great. Especially view these people as pure guides so you can benefit as much as possible.

On the whole, the practice should transform your life and pysche, so if you are talking about practice without letting the transformation happen first, it's no good. We must transform, then let our lives-as-examples embody the truth we wish to speak.

Writing is also very important, so if you have a friend with whom you can write back and forth about Dharma, so much the better. To journal your own notes and gather your thoughts is prime.

In general, if you are really interested in bettering someone else's life, a master would spend a decent amount of their effort trying to understand what that person needed and how they could present it in a gradual and follow-able way that would lead to fruition for the person, but also the knowledge that it is effort which carries you.

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Vipassana is a very simple thing to talk about:

  • observe "yourself" (a collection of factors)
  • accept yourself
  • do not get caught up in yourself

That being said, vipassana is surprisingly simple and most people will not try it even if they understand the above facts and even if they understand the tremendous benefits.

I myself need to practice much much more even though I understand all the benefits, I do not do pure vipassana often enough (although I integrate vipassana within other activities and meditations).

Go ahead and try sharing it to anyone in an unobtrusive, gentle manner. You may need to call "vipassana" self-observation for those of a close-minded religious background such as Islam or Catholics.

Give instruction and explanation if they are curious but do not speak (or be very conservative) about your personal experiences though, that will have negative psychic effects on your own practice if revealed to non-Buddhists and may also have a negative impact on them unless you are giving them a guided meditation.

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We are all always beginners; so one could say that it is only beginners who give instruction. However, if you've only just started on your path not long ago, I would agree with the gist of the above posts: Give them the information you have found, give them your experiences, and explain what you know. With this, if they are interested, they will be able to learn more about it and exercise in their own way.

The real big thing here is that Vipassana doesn't require Dhamma to practice. You can walk a person to the waters of Vipassana, but you can't make them drink. Similarly, you can bring someone the Dhamma, but you can't make them know. The best way to share the Dhamma is through action. Cultivate Metta in your daily life, practice Dana, and exercise the refrain suggested in the 5 precepts. If a person wants to learn of course share what you know, but don't try to force the information on anyone. They will follow the path if it is right for them.

  • Hi and welcome to Buddhism SE. We have a Guide and a Resource section for new users that you might find useful. – Lanka Sep 12 '15 at 15:14

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