Vipassana is a form of Buddhist meditation from the Theravada tradition. It is a practice of training the mind in continuous moment-to-moment mindfulness through out the whole day.
Through an unbroken and continuous observation of distinct physical and mental objects arising in one's meditation, a meditator will come to understand the three universal characteristics of all phenomena: that they are impermanent, unsatisfactory and void of an abiding self.
The ultimate aim and primary benefit of this Vipassana practice is the attainment of the four noble path knowledges and noble fruition knowledges, which take "Nibbana", the State of Peace, as an object.
The mind has a tendency to be dominated by various unwholesome mental states such states as greed, anger, fear, ignorance, pride, wrong views, doubts, laziness, restlessness and worry, to name just a few. These may be seen as the causes for suffering, both in us and in all beings. But through careful observation these unwholesome mental states will subside, allowing wholesome mental states to arise in their place. Mental states such as effort, mindfulness, concentration, intuitive wisdom, joy, tranquility or peace, happiness, loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, contentment, and patience reduce suffering and increase a person's mental and physical well being. This is known as the purification of the mind, which is another major benefit of Vipassana meditation. Thus contributing to peace in the world.
As it is taught in the tradition of the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar, Vipassana meditation consists of continuous mindfulness in sitting meditation, walking meditation, and all general activities. During sitting meditation one's awareness is directed to the most prominent physical or mental object of observation, beginning with the rising and falling movement of the abdomen. Slowing down bodily movements throughout all one's daily activities and restraining the senses are essential parts of the practice. Meditators are supported and guided in their practice through regular interviews and discourses. All meditators are required to observe the "Eight training precepts" and to maintain "Noble silence" throughout the course of a retreat.
(Taken from www.panditarama-lumbini.info.)