S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Ajisai
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S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Ajisai » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:40 am

Hello everyone,

I am practicing meditation without a teacher and I saw some members of this forum recommanding to do retreats so I looked up on the internet where I could do that someday. I'm living in Tokyo and found out that there are two Vipassana meditation centers in Japan (one in Kyoto and one in Chiba) that are offering 10 days courses.
They are teaching meditation according to S.N. Goenka.
Apparently there are many centers in the world that teach meditation from this teacher.
I was wondering if any of you participated in a 10 day lessons in one of these centers? Would you recommand it?

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Ben
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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:46 am

Hi Ajisai,

Yes, I recommend it to most people.
I have been practicing under SN Goenka's guidance for 28 years.
I have completed many 10-day courses and longer courses both as a 'student' as well as a voluntary server.
Having said that, it is not for everybody nor does it suit everyone.
If you suffer from an acute mental illness than it is not recommended, otherwise - give it a try.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Ajisai » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:21 am

Thanks for your answer Ben.

Two things are worrying me.

The first is that now I am just practicing 15mn everyday. I would like to go to this course until the end of this year because it might be not possible next year. Should I wait being able to meditate for a much longer time (like one hour) anyway?

The second one is I am quite poor. If I give a donation it is going to be very little money and I do not want the teachers and staff to believe I underestimate the value of the teaching or the opportunity they give to people. :cry:

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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:04 am

Ajisai wrote:Thanks for your answer Ben.

Two things are worrying me.

The first is that now I am just practicing 15mn everyday. I would like to go to this course until the end of this year because it might be not possible next year. Should I wait being able to meditate for a much longer time (like one hour) anyway?

Don't worry about not meditating for very long. Most people who do it for the first time haven't meditated at all.

Ajisai wrote:The second one is I am quite poor. If I give a donation it is going to be very little money and I do not want the teachers and staff to believe I underestimate the value of the teaching or the opportunity they give to people. :cry:

Don't let that worry you. The courses are open to all, regardless of their financial means, and the teachers and volunteers will not judge you negatively because of the size of your contribution. Just go!
with metta,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:26 am

Ajisai wrote:Thanks for your answer Ben.

Two things are worrying me.

The first is that now I am just practicing 15mn everyday. I would like to go to this course until the end of this year because it might be not possible next year. Should I wait being able to meditate for a much longer time (like one hour) anyway?

The second one is I am quite poor. If I give a donation it is going to be very little money and I do not want the teachers and staff to believe I underestimate the value of the teaching or the opportunity they give to people. :cry:


The course is being offered to people. It's already paid for. When I gave my donation at the 10 day retreat I gave it so another person could experience it, including people with little money. Don't worry about that. Give what you feel apropriate.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:53 am

Ajisai wrote:Hello everyone,

I am practicing meditation without a teacher and I saw some members of this forum recommanding to do retreats so I looked up on the internet where I could do that someday. I'm living in Tokyo and found out that there are two Vipassana meditation centers in Japan (one in Kyoto and one in Chiba) that are offering 10 days courses.
They are teaching meditation according to S.N. Goenka.
Apparently there are many centers in the world that teach meditation from this teacher.
I was wondering if any of you participated in a 10 day lessons in one of these centers? Would you recommand it?


One thing you should be aware of is that all of the teaching done on those retreats is done by a video played on a television. There are volunteer assistant teachers for answering questions.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Ajisai
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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Ajisai » Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:44 pm

Jhana4 wrote:One thing you should be aware of is that all of the teaching done on those retreats is done by a video played on a television. There are volunteer assistant teachers for answering questions.


Thank you. Actually I read that in the center's description and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to have feedback from people who actually went there.

Modus.Ponens wrote:Don't worry about that. Give what you feel apropriate.


That's the problem: I think I will not be able to give what I feel appropriate. But you are right, I should not let that stop me. It is just that it is too bad I will most probably not be able to be as generous as I would like too :weep:

Thank you everyone for your answers.

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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:04 pm

Ajisai wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:One thing you should be aware of is that all of the teaching done on those retreats is done by a video played on a television. There are volunteer assistant teachers for answering questions.


Thank you. Actually I read that in the center's description and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to have feedback from people who actually went there.



I went on two of those retreats in the northeast United States. Granted, it was way back in the 90s, but I thought they were very good. If you can go, go and if you can be exposed to other teachers/retreats do that too.

That's the problem: I think I will not be able to give what I feel appropriate. But you are right, I should not let that stop me. It is just that it is too bad I will most probably not be able to be as generous as I would like too


Why not Google on the prices of similar retreats hosted by organizations that charge? Then raise or lower how much you decide to give to fit your finances and if you think what was offered was worth it?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: S.N. Goenka meditation teaching ?

Postby Monkey Mind » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:07 pm

If you can't donate monetarily, consider offering service. Their are many ways a person can volunteer to help the courses, which will be explained at the end of the course.

As Ben said, many people who attend their first course do not have any meditation experience. If I could have done anything differently in preparing for my first course, I would have spent a week sitting on the floor every chance I could, not necessarily in meditation but to get my body and brain used to it.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710


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