The Progress of Vipassana Practice – The 16 Insights

In the Theravada tradition a practitioner progresses through a series of 16 insight knowledges also known as Vipassana nyanns. The practitioner  gradually extends his/her perception of the nature of reality. A single realisation into the nature of phenomena is wonderful however, in order for transformation to occur this is usually insufficient. Each insight knowledge can be perceived and understood in infinite depths.

  1. Knowledge of the distinction between mental and physical states
  2. Knowledge of the cause and effect relationship between mental and physical states
  3. Knowledge of mental and physical processes as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self
  4. Knowledge of arising and passing away
  5. Knowledge of dissolution (ceasing) of formations
  6. Knowledge of the fearful nature of mental and physical states
  7. Knowledge of mental and physical states as unsatisfactory
  8. Knowledge of disenchantment
  9. Knowledge of the desire to abandon the worldly state
  10. Knowledge which investigates the Path to deliverance and which instills a decision to practice further to completion
  11. Knowledge which regards mental and physical states with dispassion
  12. Knowledge which conforms to the Four Noble Truths, prepares entry to the Path, attains the fruit of the Path, and approaches nibbana by way of either impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, or not-self
  13. Knowledge of deliverance from the worldly condition
  14. Knowledge by which defilements are abandoned and are overcome by destruction
  15. Knowledge which realizes the fruit of the Path and has nibbana as object
  16. Knowledge which reviews the defilements still remaining

For detailed description of the progress of insights please read The Progress of Insight by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw’s

Remember! Vipassana is an experiential process. The only way to understand the nature of reality is to directly experience it. Reading about wisdom, listening to insightful talks and discussing wisdom with spiritual friends are all valuable essets but the only way to realized wisdom is through a direct experience. The description of wisdom is not wisdom.


3 Responses to The Progress of Vipassana Practice – The 16 Insights

  1. Pingback: The Stages of Awakening | Quiet Mind Meditation Co.

  2. nora says:

    hi, thank you so much for this and for this whole website. i left a comment already on another part of this site, but it is just so beautiful to see all this shared dharma online. i have started having these insights (many years’ effort bears unexpected fruit) and was even just wondering, wait how many are there of these to have? i just find it very moving to see your whole collection of dharma advice and ‘clips.’ i have my own little notebooks of clips and i find it very touching to feel connected even across the internet with another yogi’s collection of much-valued advice and guidance. it’s not so easy being a yogi in this modern western world sometimes and so i am very grateful just for a bit of solidarity your blog offers. sometimes i feel like it is actually startling to discover things about the dharma are true–like that latent delusions can be uncovered and change your mind–and so i am very appreciative for the reminder we are not alone on this path of freedom. many thanks ❤

  3. Ric says:

    Inspiring site. Thanks, Ric

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