Goenka on elimination of sankharas

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Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby pilgrim » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:05 am

If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?

Edit to insert quote from The Discourse Summaries
"Any moment in which one does not generate a new sankhara one of the old ones will arise on the surface of the mind, and along with it a sensation will start within the body. If one remains equanimous, it passes away and another old reaction arises in Its place. One continues to remain equanimous to physical sensations and the old sankhara continue to arise and pass away, one after another. If out of ignorance one reacts to sensations, then one multiplies the sankhara, multiplies one's misery. But if one develops wisdom and does not react to sensations, then one after another the sankhara are eradicated, misery is eradicated.
The entire path is a way to come out of misery. By practicing, you will find that you stop tying new knots, and that the old ones are automatically untied. Gradually you will progress towards a stage in which all sankhara leading to new birth, and therefore to new suffering, have been eradicated: the stage of total liberation, full enlightenment."
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:14 am

pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


The answer depends upon how one interprets the suttas, but I personally believe: yes.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:37 am

SamKR wrote:
pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


The answer depends upon how one interprets the suttas, but I personally believe: yes.
It would be of interest to see the see suttas that support this.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:
pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


The answer depends upon how one interprets the suttas, but I personally believe: yes.
It would be of interest to see the see suttas that support this.

Well, there is Mahasatipatthana Sutta. Though, in my opinion, what Goenkaji calls vedananupassana is actually all four passanas. The method is to observe (be conscious of) the sensations (body perceptions with feelings), be equanimous not to let arising of craving and aversion, and get freed from those sankharas - which would otherwise get manifested in other ways (because sankhara paccaya vinnana, and phassa paccaya vedana).

In addition, there are many related suttas like: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html. And, my limited understanding is based upon overall impression after reading many suttas.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SarathW » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:10 am

pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


The way I understand mere observation of sensation will not totally eliminate Sankhara.
To be more accurate I would say by eliminating ten fetters you fully eliminate Sankhara.

Please see:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19860
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:23 am

While observing sensations/feelings it is suggested not to generate craving (raga) and aversion (dosa) based on understanding of anicca. And that is perfectly fine. But I find it much easier and effective not to generate greed (abhijja) and distress (domanassa or unpleasant mental feeling) like this: while observing sensations first generate sampajanna (anicca, dukkha, anatta) and based on the sampajanna understand that the arising of greed and distress is non-essential * (instead of raga and dosa). Then intend not to generate distress and greed.

(* Normally, we cannot conceive of anything other than greed and distress when there is pleasant or painful feeling. Due to ignorance we think there has to be greed and distress when there are feelings. But the Buddha's teaching is that this is not correct (as we can see in Sallatha Sutta). Phassa paccaya vedana and vedana paccaya tanha is true only when there is ignorance (that is compulsion of mind that there must always be greed and distress when there are feelings). When there is no such ignorance and compulsion, there need not be greed and distress.)
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:27 am

pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


no.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:37 am

suttametta wrote:
pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


no.


Actually, it is.
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: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:41 am

Ben wrote:
suttametta wrote:
pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


no.


Actually, it is.


Pls, reference.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby culaavuso » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:47 am

pilgrim wrote:By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


Regarding the ripening of kamma leading to different results based on mental state, it can may be of interest to read AN 3.99. While AN 3.99 specifically mentions an action ripening immediately, this same principle may apply to kamma ripening at a later time.

AN 3.99
AN 3.99: Lonaphala Sutta wrote:There is the case where a trifling evil deed done by a certain individual takes him to hell. There is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by another individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.
...
Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual takes him to hell? There is the case where a certain individual is undeveloped in the body, undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind [i.e., painful feelings can invade the mind and stay there], undeveloped in discernment: restricted, small-hearted, dwelling with suffering. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual takes him to hell.

Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in the body, developed in virtue, developed in mind [i.e., painful feelings cannot invade the mind and stay there], developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the immeasurable. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.


AN 6.63
AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.


Regarding avoiding kamma ripening at all, it may be informative to read AN 3.76
AN 3.76: Bhava Sutta wrote:Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a refined property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. This is how there is becoming.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:49 am

culaavuso wrote:
pilgrim wrote:By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


Regarding the ripening of kamma leading to different results based on mental state, it can may be of interest to read AN 3.99. While AN 3.99 specifically mentions an action ripening immediately, this same principle may apply to kamma ripening at a later time.

AN 3.99
AN 3.99: Lonaphala Sutta wrote:There is the case where a trifling evil deed done by a certain individual takes him to hell. There is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by another individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.


AN 6.63
AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.


Regarding avoiding kamma ripening at all, it may be informative to read AN 3.76
AN 3.76: Bhava Sutta wrote:Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. The consciousness of living beings hindered by ignorance & fettered by craving is established in/tuned to a refined property. Thus there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. This is how there is becoming.


This doesn't support Ben's claim. FYI. I don't have time to do a logic class. Caption #1 doesn't say anything about scanning the body feelings. It is about purity in the here and now.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:56 am

suttametta wrote:
This doesn't support Ben's claim. FYI. I don't have time to do a logic class. Caption #1 doesn't say anything about scanning the body feelings. It is about purity in the here and now.

Do you expect that suttas should outline every specific detail for meditation instruction? There is no doubt that the suttas talk about observing bodily feelings. But scanning the body is just one specific method a tradition chose to use since it is effective - like other traditions and teachers who devise their own specific methods. But the overall method is within the framework of the Buddha's teachings of satipatthana so as to get rid of all sankharas.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:02 am

SamKR wrote:Do you expect that suttas should outline every specific detail for meditation instruction?


Yes. I know they do. They leave out no detail. The body sankhara is not a bunch of feelings. It is the urge to move.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:04 am

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:10 am

Suttas on feelings:
Sukha Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Santaka Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Akasa Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Samadhi Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Datthabba Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Gelañña Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Agara Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Bhikkhu Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Now to support
"old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations) [arising of vedana]. By observing them with perfect equanimity [without ignorance and craving], these sankharas then evaporate [cessation of sankhara]. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma [avoid new dukkha]...":

we can read any sutta on dependent origination.

I ask: how is it not supported by the suttas?
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby suttametta » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:23 am

SamKR wrote:Suttas on feelings:
Sukha Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Santaka Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Akasa Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Samadhi Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Datthabba Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Gelañña Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Agara Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Bhikkhu Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Now to support
"old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity [without ignorance and craving], these sankharas then evaporate [cessation of sankhara]. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma [avoid new dukkha]...":

we can read any sutta on dependent origination.

I ask: how is it not supported by the suttas?


No mention of sankhara in any of this.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:31 am

suttametta wrote:
No mention of sankhara in any of this.


Please see one of the many dependent origination suttas, for example: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications [sankhara]. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby SamKR » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:36 am

suttametta wrote:
SamKR wrote:Do you expect that suttas should outline every specific detail for meditation instruction?


Yes. I know they do. They leave out no detail. The body sankhara is not a bunch of feelings. It is the urge to move.

That's your understanding. My understanding is different. :) Who said body sankhara is a bunch of feelings?

It is sankhara that gives rise to feeling and vice versa. See dependent origination (sankhara paccaya vinnana paccaya nama-rupa).
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Re: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:38 am

["suttametta"]
Ben wrote:
suttametta wrote:
pilgrim wrote:If I have understood correctly Goenka teaches that during the body sweeping process, old stocks of past sankharas are brought to the surface as vedana (sensations). By observing them with perfect equanimity, these sankharas then evaporate. In this way we eliminate past sankharas, and consequently avoid the bad experience of our past bad kamma ripening. Is this teaching supported by the suttas?


no.


Actually, it is.


Pls, reference.

-----

Certainly, as soon as you begin supporting your own unsupported opinions.
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: Goenka on elimination of sankharas

Postby pilgrim » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:40 am

Suttametta and SamKR. I think you both are discussing the prevention of arising of sankharas thorugh the reduction of Avijja. I'm not interested in that as it is clear enough that with the reduction of Avijja, there is less craving and aversion and hence sankharas will not be as deep as before.

I'm interested in the idea of past sankharas being eliminated through mindfulness. Ben, I'd appreciate if you could point me to the appropriate suttas.
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