The Characteristic of Dukkha - How to begin with the practice of vipassana?

Questioner: We all want to know what to do so that we can begin now with the practice of vipassana.
Sujin: One should be aware of the characteristics of the realities that appear. When sati is aware of whatever reality appears, vitakka cetasika which is “right thinking,” sammasankappa of the eightfold Path, touches or “hits” the  characteristic of the object which is appearing. At that moment panna can begin to study and to gradually realize the true nature of that object. In that way panna can develop. One may not be ready yet to consider and study the realities that arise and fall away again very rapidly. For example, when there is hearing, sati may arise and be aware of hearing, just for a moment, but one may not be ready yet to investigate that characteristic in order to know it as only a nama which experiences sound. The nama that hears has completely fallen away. In the beginning there is not yet clear understanding of realities such as hearing, but this is quite normal. Nobody can investigate the true nature of sound and of the nama that hears, by trying to catch them or to get hold of them. However, the nama that hears will surely arise again and if one develops sati and panna, there can be awareness again of the nama that hears.

Now, at this moment, sati can arise and be aware of one characteristic of nama or rupa at a time, as it appears through one of the six doorways. In this way panna can gradually develop to the degree of clearly knowing the difference between the characteristic of nama and the characteristic of rupa. Panna will, for example, be able to distinguish between the characteristic of the nama that hears and of the rupa that is sound. These are different characteristics and they should be known one at a time. Eventually one will become more familiar with the true nature of nama and of rupa and then the understanding of their characteristics will become more accomplished. No matter which type of nama or rupa appears, and no matter where, awareness and understanding of them can naturally arise, and that is the development of satipatthana in daily life. When understanding develops and becomes more accomplished, ignorance can gradually be eliminated.

Topic 199