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The terms vipassana and vipasyana derive from the ancient Indian languages Pāli (vipassanā) and Sanskrit (vipaśyanā). Significant portions of the classical Buddhist texts have been handed down to us in these two languages. The well-known Pali term "vipassanā" (vipassanā meditation) is often translated as "insight", "clear seeing" or "intuition".
Vipassati is the active form of vipassanā and means "to see clearly", "to have an intuition" or "to achieve spiritual insight". The term consists of the Sanskrit-prefix "vi-" and the verb "passati". The prefix "vi-" means in the first place "two parts" or a movement "apart", "asunder" or "in different directions". The verb "passati" derives from the root "pas" for "seeing" and means "to see".
Vipassati designates an intuitively differentiating seeing in greater depth. As such it is a seeing that frees from illusions and a seeing in the sense of a direct realisation. This corresponds to the alternative meaning of "vi" as an "intensive" quality of differentiation. Thus Vipassati means a special kind of keen insight, that directly, unclouded and truthfully apprehends all inner and outer phenomena.