A form of vipassana or insight meditation, Mahasati meditation uses the body’s movement to generate self-awareness and self-realization. Mahasati in Pali means “great awareness.” Its objective is to eliminate suffering through clearly seeing and understanding the body and mind in the present moment. It is based on the teaching of the twentieth-century Thai meditation master Luangpor Teean Jittasubho.
Rather than using the breath as the primary object of awareness, Mahasati meditation uses attention to the body’s movement as an anchor to the present moment. When one’s mindfulness is strong enough, attention is turned to observing the direction of the mind in the present moment. The formal seated meditation practice involves a pattern of repetitive hand movements, generally performed with the eyes open.
Periods of seated meditation are interspersed with walking meditation. Because this practice is performed with the body moving and the eyes open, the mind is generally more alert than in seated breath meditation, and insight is realized more easily.
It is also easier to integrate this practice into one’s daily life. Continuous and diligent practice ultimately leads to a direct and profound understanding of the origins of suffering in human experience and points the way toward ultimate liberation.