What type of meditation is proposed by the Buddha for attaining self realization? Is it Vipassanna medition? Is Mindfulness meditation the same as Vipassanna? Which scripture mentions these techniques?

3 Answers 3


If we take the Pali Canon as been the closest we have to the word of the Buddha then there isn't a wealth of specific meditation advice in there when compared to other types of advice such as ethical.

However there are two sutras that do give specific advice these being

  1. Anapanasati Sutra (Mindfulness of breathing)
  2. Satipatthana Sutra (The Way of Mindfulness)

Both these sutras encapsulate samatha and vipassana practices. For example the Anapansati Sutra begins with body contemplation but end up in the forth tetrad contemplating the very stuff of existence

  1. Contemplating impermanence
  2. Contemplating fading of lust
  3. Contemplating cessation
  4. Contemplating relinquishment

The Satipatthana sutra also start with calming practices but ultimately the practioner is asked to comtemplate the four noble truths

Here, O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands: 'This is suffering,' according to reality; he understands: 'This is the origin of suffering,' according to reality; he understands: 'This is the cessation of suffering,' according to reality; and he understands: 'This is the road leading to the cessation of suffering,' according to realty.

You can't get much more vipassana than that!

If I can also take the opportunity to recommend the book Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization by Analayo. This is a tremendous book for anyone interested in really drilling into the Satipaṭṭhāna sutra and getting to grips with meditation as the Buddha taught it. It's heavy on the footnotes and is more of a heady read other Dharma books but I've read it once and it's certainly on my list to go through again.

  • I think this Forum needs to stop (and ban) using phrases like "If we take the Pali Canon as been the closest we have to the word of the Buddha...". If you want to "pick nits", there is no evidence that any written Buddhist teaching has come directly from the Buddha. One thing I like about Hinduism Advaita teachings is that lineage is NOT considered the most important factor in their teachings, but rather the applicability of the teachers' words. This is why Mahayana Buddhism has such popularity. For many people, it simply works for them. That is the purpose of the Dharma.
    – PFS32
    Aug 5, 2014 at 12:53
  • @PFS32 I would totally ask that question on meta especially as you have a very definite view. It would be interesting to hear other peoples opinions. Happy to be picked up on incorrect usage at any point. Actually this would make a good question for the main site. We are short of people asking questions so if only for that reason it would be good to ask Aug 5, 2014 at 13:28
  • @CrabBucket it's a question that is great for meta. IMHO not very good on the main site. And just asking questions for the sake of improving the number of questions on the site probably won't lead to a Q&A site with high-quality questions (and answers).
    – THelper
    Aug 6, 2014 at 7:57
  • @THelper very fair comment. I think this does bring up issues for me which I might ask on the main site (but not this exact point). I do agree about the questions though - however I would like to think of possibilities of encouraging more. I think i will ask that on meta too. Cheers Aug 6, 2014 at 8:04
  • @THelper Just to note I've asked a meta question around the issues that's been raised by my answer. I think the issue is answering from a particularly tradition and not acknowledging this properly meta.buddhism.stackexchange.com/q/242/157 Aug 6, 2014 at 18:38

Popular belief is that the Buddha taught two types of meditation; samatha and vipassana. There are several texts that refer to this, but there has been debate whether these references qualify as 'teaching' them or if the Buddha just mentioned that 'tranquility' and 'insight' can be beneficial (e.g. see this article or this discussion)

The Blessed One said, "Monks, Sariputta is wise, of great discernment, deep discernment, wide... joyous... rapid... quick... penetrating discernment. For half a month, Sariputta clearly saw insight[1] into mental qualities one after another.

Notes [1] "Clearly saw insight": In Pali, this is vipassanam vipassi, which could be translated literally as "clearly saw clear seeing" or "insighted insight." source: Anupada Sutta


"As for the individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, his duty is to make an effort in establishing ('tuning') those very same skillful qualities to a higher degree for the ending of the (mental) fermentations. source: Samadhi Sutta


"These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Tranquillity (samatha) & insight (vipassana).

"When tranquillity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

"When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.

"Defiled by passion, the mind is not released. Defiled by ignorance, discernment does not develop. Thus from the fading of passion is there awareness-release. From the fading of ignorance is there discernment-release." source: Vijja-bhagiya Sutta

A list of other references to vipassana in the scriptures can be found here, and to samatha here


Here is a simple answer. There is only 2 Main Techniques.

  1. Samatha Meditation Technique
  2. Vipassana Meditation Technique

Samatha Meditation Technique This is the base to all meditation. According to buddhas teaching this will make the path for vipassana Meditation Technique.

Vipassana Meditation Technique This mainly include Anapanasathi. For Enlightnment and Ultimate truth this is the way.

This is the simplest answer I can give. If you have questions leave a Comment

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