Mindfulness Vs Vipassana: Are They Same Or Different?

Meditation and Mindfulness have become quite famous practices for treating mental disorders and cultivating well-being.

I have been practicing Meditation for the last 5 years, Vipassana Meditation and Mindfulness for the last 3 years. And I have found significant improvement in my emotional resilience, mental stability, personality, self-regulation, and self-awareness. 

“Wherever you are, be there totally.”

– Eckhart Tolle

Now, Let’s come to the main topic, Mindfulness vs. Vipassana, Are they same or different?

Mindfulness and Vipassana both are an exercise of being aware in present. You can say that there are almost the same practices, but both are slightly diverse in the way of conducting them.

Mindfulness is a practice of developing non-judgemental awareness by engaging your mind in the present in what you are doing or what is happening around you. While Vipassana is a practice of observing inside, being aware of your thought, emotion, or sensation without reacting or responding to them. 

In total, consider Mindfulness as a general awareness field in which Vipassana is one area that allows observing ourselves inwards.

Didn’t get it? 

Let me give you a broad viewpoint on this topic.

What Is The Difference Between Vipassana And Mindfulness?

Mindfulness Vipassana
Purposely holding the mind in present activity or environment with a non-judgemental attitude.Witnessing yourself (thought, emotion, or sensation) moment by moment without liking or disliking.
In general, Mindfulness is a practice of projecting awareness in NOW.Vipassana is a practice of self-observation and becoming a self-introspective person.
The object of Mindfulness could be anything such as your body movement, thought, emotion, sensation, breath, external thing, person, or surrounding. The object of Vipassana could be your body, mind, or emotion. 

First, understand what Mindfulness is,

The word mindful suggests that the mind is fully ON with attention to what we are doing, what is happening around us, or what is happening with us without passing any judgment. 

In other words, Mindfulness is all about preventing the mind from wandering away and engaging it in a present act, such as walking on the street, eating food, drinking water, exercising in the gym, etc.

You can focus on your body movements, sensations, thoughts, or emotions at the time of doing an act or simply pay attention to others as a witness moment by moment to practice Mindfulness. 

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate Mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

On the other hand, the pali word Vipassana means “seeing things as they are” and “Special seeing.” 

You may ask what to see and how to see?

Well, see what is happening inside your body, mind, and emotion from your mind’s eye and observe your thought, emotion, or sensation at any given moment without labeling them good or bad, admiring or hating, pleasant or unpleasant. 

In Vipassana, you accept whatever arises in your body, mind, and emotion as they are and practice resilience by not craving for what you like and not hating for what you dislike. 

In general, you can say that Mindfulness is to live in present by paying attention near you or within you. While Vipassana only refers to look inside and just be aware of your thought, emotion, or sensation without judging them at any present moment. 

You might say these definitions seem similar to some extent? 

Yes, they are because Mindfulness and Vipassana are quite related in fashion.

Brief History About Mindfulness And Vipassana

Jon Kabat-Zinn was the first man who proposed “Mindfulness” to the western world. [1]

He was first introduced to meditation by Philip Kapleau, a Zen missionary who came to give lecture at MIT where Jon Kabat-Zinn was a student. [2]

Back then, Jon went to study meditation and learned it from Zen Buddhist meditation teachers Philip Kapleau and Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn Haengwon. 

Mindfulness practices were mainly inspired by eastern tradition, especially the Buddhist tradition, but Jon started Mindfulness secularized and untangled from Buddist principles, rituals, and ideologies so that it wouldn’t become religious conflict and everyone can accept it. [2]

On the other side, Vipassana was India’s ancient meditation practice which was rediscovered by Gautama The Buddha. And he used this practice to attain enlightenment or god realization. 

The Buddha spread vipassana to others, and thousands of people became his follower and monk. After the Buddha, his teaching was spread all over the world, and different traditions came into the picture.

Similarities Between Mindfulness And Vipassana Practices 

Mindfulness and Vipassana both practices are in tradition of Raja Yoga, one of the four spiritual paths, which emphasize meditation and raising awareness for the way of liberation. 

In vipassana meditation, meditators rest their attention on the breath and then observe the sensations happening in their body; meanwhile, if any thought or emotion arises, they simply accept it and let it go.

Similarly, Mindfulness can be practiced by paying attention to the present doing without making judgments. 

For example, when you sit for dinner, give yourself some headspace and not use your phone or talk with others, eat slowly and pay full attention to every bite you take, observe the jaw movement and sensations that happen in your mouth.

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Integrate Mindfulness And Vipassana In Routine 

If you are practicing vipassana meditation or mindfulness daily, that’s Great. And I am hoping you stick on the path till the end. 

Or if you haven’t started practicing yet, what you’re waiting for?

Start it form today. 

Steps for Vipassana Meditation 

  1. Give yourself time of 10-15 min. Or more 
  2. Find a comfortable and quiet place for meditation
  3. Alleviate all distractions and create some headspace
  4. Now take a comfortable cross-legged posture on the floor (you can sit on the chair in case you have any physical issues)
  5. Close your eyes and sit straight (you can use meditation chair or cushion for more stable and comfy position)
  6. Now, follow your natural breathing and vigilantly watch your breath coming in and out
  7. By purpose, concentrate your mind on natural breathing and when it gets strayed, bring it back
  8. (As you do this, your mind will become subtle and receptive to sense subtle sensations happening in your body) So, scan your body from head to feet and observe these sensations again and again without labeling them
  9. During this, when any thought or emotion arises, observe it without reacting to it 
  10. No matter how many times your mind wanders away, re-engage it every time without making conflict 

(By the way, you can join 10 days Vipassana meditation retreat near your location)

Vipassana may look simple for now, but it requires practice, patience, and perseverance like any new habit. 

I must suggest doing the Vipassana meditation daily (you can say it is as a mindfulness meditation too), and for the rest of the day, you should practice mindfulness whenever you remember it. 

How to practice mindfulness? 

Well, whatever you do in the present moment, just engage your mind into it. 

For example: 

When you drive the car: try to be aware that you are driving and focus on the road, feel the sensations of touch at your hands, feet, hips, etc. 

When you walk: pay attention to your body movement, feel jerks at your legs, observe your breath, etc. 

This way, you can integrate mindfulness into every activity, from making the bed in the morning, taking a shower, cleaning teeth, going to walk, eating breakfast, driving a car, making conversations, taking a meal, walking on the street, and going to the street to bed at night. 

Related Post: 35 ways to practice mindfulness throughout the day

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”

– Sylvia Boorstein

Please, Don’t consider that bringing mindfulness is a separate act from what you are doing in the present; instead, it is just an ability to do things consciously without letting hindrances compelling you. 

Being mindful means breaking the compulsive state, breaking the daydreaming, and driving life from unconsciousness to consciousness. 

When you start applying mindfulness and Vipassana into your day-to-day activities, you will start getting benefits inside from you. 

Scientifically Proven Benefits 

Benefits Of Meditation And Mindfulness

We all know the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and that’s the reason why it has become a famous practice for lowering stress, anxiety, depression, and improving brain functioning and well-being. 

Let me prove this with some scientific evidences.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety 

In 2014 study, 122 participants took part in the vipassana meditation course. They were found a lower level of stress and increased amount of mindfulness, self-kindness, and well-being after the 6 months of examination. [3]

Similarly, in 2013 study revealed that mindfulness-based Meditation alters brain’s activity related to anxiety. 14 participants under mindfulness meditation training reported a lowering in anxiety and depression levels. [4]

Improve Well-being 

“Mindfulness, the Root of Happiness”

– Joseph Goldstein

One experiment [5] on 520 employees under vipassana meditation course revealed the following benefits:

  • Increase psychological well-being
  • Positive social relationships
  • Self-acceptance
  • Competence, etc. 

Improve Brain Functioning 

Regular practice of mindfulness or Meditation promotes neuroplasticity, so one can learn new things fast and effectively. 

Neuroplasticity means brain’s ability to change its neural network to adopt new habits or skills, the brain itself makes new pathways and strengthens them for better performance at work. 

In one study, researchers conducted neuroimaging scans on several mindfulness meditators, and they found that long practice of mindfulness meditation may help increase brain plasticity. [6] 

Possible Challenges And Its Solution 

When you first start practicing Mindfulness and Vipassana Meditation, it is quite tough at first. 

Consider it as a building muscle on which you haven’t worked yet, but after putting enough effort, it’s gradually improved.

Let’s see what challenges you will face and how to encounter them. 

#1. Mind-wandering

Our minds are not trained for focus, so wandering the mind is one of the major challenges that every meditator face, especially in the initial days of their journey. 

However, it’s normal, and you don’t need to be frustrated or annoyed due to this. Instead, be kind to your monkey and re-engage it when it gets wandered away. 

#2. Impatience 

Remember, over-expectations are a thief of joy. 

So don’t be hungry for rewards because most people fail in Meditation when they keep high expectations of well-being without putting enough effort and time into it. 

#3. Lack of Motivation 

I know it’s hard to stick to a meditation routine, but once you overtake 1-2 months-daily-practice threshold, things become easy, and you will start getting real benefits from Meditation. 

In order to cultivate mindfulness in your routine and develop the habit of Meditation, you should devote at least 10-15 min. Per day for Meditation. 

Also, You can listen to spiritual leaders or read spiritual books to keep yourself on track. 

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”

– Sharon Salzberg

Trust me, developing mindfulness is one of the most rewarding practices for your well-being.

So, keep practicing mindfulness and vipassana whenever you remember. 

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them in the comment section. 

Have Fun And Keep Growing Mindfulness.


1) An Introduction to Mindfulness – Physio-pedia.com

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness

3) Evaluation of Vipassana Meditation Course Effects on Subjective Stress, Well-being, Self-kindness and Mindfulness in a Community Sample: Post-course and 6-month Outcomes – Pubmed

4) Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief

5) A study of the effect of Vipassana meditation on Psychological Well Being of employees and impact of demographic factors on meditation outcome  

6) Mindfulness Meditation Is Related to Long-Lasting Changes in Hippocampal Functional Topology during Resting-State: A Magnetoencephalography Study – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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