Vipassana is a form of meditation derived from Buddhism and its focus is on delivering insight and presence. It’s a fantastic practice, but it is seriously hardcore and takes a lot of time and effort. Beeja meditation also delivers powerful levels of insight and presence, but takes less time and is easier to do. Scientifically, Beeja meditation has been shown to be four times more effective at delivering present moment awareness than the Vipassana technique.    


Whilst there is much similarity in the goals of the techniques, there are some important differences between the practice of Vipassana and Beeja.

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  • What is Vipassana?

    Vipassana - meaning ‘to see things as they really are’ - is an ancient meditation technique which relates back to the Theravada branch of Buddhism; also known as the Southern branch due to its popularity in south Asia. Theravada translates as ‘the doctrine of the elders’, meaning senior Buddhist monks. 

    Vipassana was devised as part of a system to cope with the universal ills of: Impermanence; Suffering and the unsatisfatoriness of every conditioned thing that exists; Non-self.

    Through observation, the goal is to free your mind of mental impurities and become a sotapanna or ‘stream-enterer’, which is considered to be the first stage on the path to liberation.

  • How is Vipassana practiced?

    Vipassana is usually taught over ten days on a retreat. Over that time you engage in a number of practices that help you to face your demons and develop an indifference to pain, joy and suffering through the realisation of their impermanence.

    But be warned; whilst it can be an incredible experience, it may feel more like trying to run a marathon without any training if you are new to meditation, and the results can be a little mixed. 

    These retreats are held in total silence and the techniques taught are there to help you achieve a deep and often very intense level of experience. You sit with crossed legs and a fully erect back and practice for ten to 12 hours a day. 

    During this time, participants use breathing exercises, awareness exercises on the body, mind, and emotions, and contemplation on the impermanence of life. In doing so, insight develops into some of the deeper aspects of reality.

    When not in meditation, there is no speaking and no looking anyone in the eye. You may receive lectures from monks, or be shown videos by S.N Goenka, who will talk you through the philosophy of Theravada Buddhism, or you simply sit with your demons.

    It is physically uncomfortable, emotionally harsh, and thoroughly brilliant.

    You are then instructed to practice for two hours each day in order to maintain the positive effects of your retreat, and to continue your progression towards a state of knowledge of impermanence, suffering and non-self.

  • Beeja meditation vs Vipassana

    Whenever the Buddha instructed his disciples to go and meditate, he never told them to ‘go do Vipassana’, he always said ‘go do jhana‘, which is the Pali derivative of ‘dhyana‘. Dhyana is a term from the Beeja tradition and means ‘to let go’, and the context of this was usually a mantra.

    It’s difficult to know at what point Vipassana methodologies became popular, but it seems to be some time after the Buddha passed away. Whatever the similarities of their origins, there are key differences in the two techniques and their effect on the mind and body.

    They are both great techniques, and if you have the time and inclination to go on retreat for ten days and face all your demons, you will be rewarded with a profound experience that is simultaneously one of the best and worst things you will ever do! 

    We’ve picked out some of the key differences between Beeja and Vipassana for you so you can get a sense of it:


    It’s so easy

    • The first key point is that you don’t need to take yourself off for ten days in order to learn how to do Beeja meditation. The simplicity of the Beeja method and the power of the personalised mantras means you can cut to the chase and get into a powerful state in just the first few days.
    • Having a mantra to work with makes it a lot easier than having to concentrate your way into some kind of meditative state. 
    • We’ve taught many people who have done both techniques, and every one has agreed that Beeja meditation is a lot easier, and a lot more effective, in delivering the outcomes they were looking for.


    Integration into daily life

    • Where Beeja meditation really stands out is in its practical application in everydat life.
    • At the end of a Vipassana retreat you will be instructed to go home and do an hour of meditation every morning, and an hour in the evening. If you have the luxury of lots of time in your life, then this can be very rewarding. But, if you don't, then it can be very hard to bring the benefits of the retreat into your everyday life. 
    • By contrast, beeja meditation is only 20 minutes in the morning and evening and can easily be slotted into your daily routine. The power of the personalised mantra to take you quickly into a deep state means that this is plenty of time to get all the benefits you need. It is also a fully portable technique which means you can pratice any time, any place.



    • Beeja meditation is also a lot more comfortable. Sitting cross-legged with your back erect can feel tiring at the best of times, and especialy so after a long hard day. Being able to sit in your favourite chair, or squeeze it into a bus or train journey is invaluable when life gets busy. 


    Enjoy yourself

    • When your practice is comfortable and east, it means you enjoy it more, and look forward to your meditation. This is feedback we hear a lot. Somebody recently ended their review #bestpartofmyday, which says it all!


    Be in the world

    • It's worth considering that Vipassana is a monastic practice designed for those living far away from the world. The Buddha himself abandoned his wife and whildren to follow his path to enlightenment. It seems this was very much his calling in life, but it's also pretty extreme. So there is a question about relevancy for most everyday people. 
    • Because Beeja is designed to work with our modern day lives, it is far more practical for a life full of relationships, careers and fun. 


    Find out more

    • If you want to keep the meditative loveliness flowing through your whole life, then come and see us. We love Vipassana. but it's not for the faint-hearted and it is difficult to sustain in a busy, modern life. 
    • Ultimately Vipassana and Beeja are both great paths to wisdom and it's a case of seeing which one most resonated with you. And, if in doubt, try both!


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  • Reviews

    Peter, Architect (former Vipassana monk)

    “I have practiced meditation seriously for about 20 years, exploring various methods and techniques, and I can sincerely say that after attending Will’s meditation course I was very impressed with the profound power of the process he teaches. I very highly recommend Beeja Meditation to anyone and everyone - beginners and advanced meditators. For those who may be struggling with any problems in life as well as for those who are not and, as this is not a dogmatic religious system, for those who may or may not be practising a spiritual path. This course is truly for everyone… it's the real deal.”   

    Warren, Groundsman, Sussex

    “I've been working with various meditation practices for many years, including Vipassana, mindfulness and loving kindness, but I always found it far too easy to come up with an excuse not to sit and practice - until now that is. I came away from Will's introductory course feeling totally tranquil for the first time in years and I have been able to keep up the practice with ease.” 

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