“Eleven Activities of Vipashyana Meditation” – from Thrangu Rinpoche

An Ocean of the Ultimate Meaning is an advanced book in the practice of Mahamudra meditation. The author translates and gives an exhaustive commentary on the longest and most comprehensive of the three classic treatises on Mahamudra, originally composed by the sixteenth-century scholar Wangchuk Dorje, the Ninth Karmapa. It’s an irresistible read and quite hard to put down… but one must not rush it. The book contains lifetimes of wisdom.

Within the book is a list of Eleven Activities of Vipashyana Meditation, the contents of which succinctly distill the ancient and profound teachings of Mahamudra into a digestible overview of the method. This is especially useful for yogins who have had some experience with Mahamudra but who want to delve into it daily. Here is the list:

Eleven Activities of Vipashana Meditation” from Thrangu Rinpoche’s book An Ocean of the Ultimate Meaning:

1. Thorough searching
Looking at the mind. What is the nature of existence (or non-existence)?

2. Discriminating examination
Cultivating awareness of:

  • non-existence of a cause
  • being devoid of any real existence
  • the absence of result.

3. Detailed analysis
Looking at the subject rather than the object, eliminating the negative tendency of seeing the mind as having a real existence.

4. Shamatha
“Whatever arises, it is just the mind.” Thus, we remain in this profound meaning without distraction. This brings a definite certainty, or PEACEFUL STABILITY. Rest in a state of Shunyate jnana (emptiness wisdom).

5. Vipashyana
Insight as a result of reaching a state of STABILITY (in terms of understanding). Looking at the nature of that stability, one gains complete realization of its nature.


6. Union
Shamatha and Vipashyana are not distinct from each other.

7. Clarity
When dullness arises in meditation, encourage oneself through thinking of how fortunate one is. [Gratitude] refreshes and brightens the mind.

8. Non-thought
A method to pacify and bring contentment. Dispel the state of agitation (and dullness) through entering a state in which few thoughts arise.

9. Equanimity
Rest looking at the nature of the mind, free of dullness/agitation.

10. Continuity
One’s meditation is as continuous as the flow of a river. Never forgetting the nature of the mind, no distinction exists between sitting sessions and post-meditation.

11. Non-distraction
As a result of mindfulness and awareness, one’s mind is always in meditation.


Mahamudra means “great” + “gesture” and is considered to crown jewel of all meditation practice. To find out more about it, the Dharma Fellowship has an informative essay on their website.

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