Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:39 pm

I'd echo several of the above posts by saying that a Goenka retreat is no more (or, necessarily, less) a marathon than a retreat of a week or more in the style of other Theravada teachers (such as Mahasi Sayadaw/U Pandita, Pa Auk Sayadaw, etc, etc). To me the Goenka retreat I sat a few years ago was quite standard Theravada. Goenka has his particular interpretation of the Suttas (as do all teachers), teaches a particular style of meditation (as do all teachers), and has a particular chanting style. Some could quibble with some technical details of interpretation (as they probably could with all teachers), but as I recall, the Dhamma talks were rather standard 4NT, 8FoldPath, etc.

Hmm, that sentence got rather complex. The point is that in my view the differences between Goenka and other Dhamma teachers is no wider than the general differences between Theravada teachers.

:anjali:
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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby vidar » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:58 pm

Brizzy wrote:It is a common practice for people to be accused of lack of understanding or having aversion, when those same people raise concern or issue with others religious beliefs. It would be better if those concerns were addressed or debated rather than cast aspersions.

The problem is not the raise of concerns or issues, the problem is the ill talking and the untruthful things.
If you cannot remember that Mr Goenka talks about creating good vibrations through chanting and that it is his role as a teacher to do this and we should not worry our heads about it, then you cannot remember you did indeed miss that part.

You said that the phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used "often" in the discourses by Goenkaji, and that simply is not true.
As for being an authority on what the Buddha did or did not teach, you may be right. I only have the suttas, teachers and my own discernment to guide me. If I get it wrong it is my fault.

Good. The suttas, the teachers and my own discernment, are also the guide for me.
Last edited by vidar on Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All the world is on fire, All the world is burning, All the world is ablaze, All the world is quaking. That which does not quake or blaze, That to which worldlings do not resort, Where there is no place for Mara:That is where my mind delights. (SN 5.7)

By degrees, little by little,
from moment to moment,
the wise purify themselves,
as a smith purifies silver.
—Dhammapada 239

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:05 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hmm, that sentence got rather complex. The point is that in my view the differences between Goenka and other Dhamma teachers is no wider than the general differences between Theravada teachers.


The biggest difference, a bit off topic for this thread, is how he structures his organistation and teaching etc.

Other groups have new teachers and new dhamma talks coming through all the time, Goenka has had the same tapes for at least the last 16 years. I find it's not uncommon for thai forest, mahasi, insight medtation groups, etc to cooperate have teachers from other groups come and teach etc, and experiment with different techniques, I've never seen this with Goenka.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:24 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:The whole idea of these lengthy Goenka retreats is interesting.
The 10- day retreats?

Having not attended one, I can't really have an opinion. A Thai monk with whom I was meditating did suggest that the Goenka path was not what he, the Bhikkhu, considered a proper practice of meditation as he saw it being taught within Theravada practice. I believe he saw these Goenka retreats as being akin to a marathon that people enjoyed completing for the sake of the experience. I know that he very much did not consider them to be part of the Dhamma practice that he was teaching.
While you may not have an opinion, that does not stop you from voicing an opinion of an unnamed monk about whom we know know nothing. The unnamed, unknown monk's opinion seems to be a fairly shallow appraisal of what Goenka-ji is offering us.

The hard part of practice is the meditation. It is also the beautiful part, the calming part, the insightful part.
And this what the 10 day courses are about.

I'd love to run a 26.4 K marathon just to say that I did it. But at the end of the day, if 20 minutes of walking meditation allows me to be just a little kinder, a little more compassionate that day, then the 20 minutes works for me.
Again, you are, in the comparison, unnecessarily laying a bit of negativity upon the Goenka style of practice.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:26 pm

Brizzy wrote: The phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used often by Mr Goenka in the discourses.
And your source for this claim?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:34 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote: The phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used often by Mr Goenka in the discourses.
And your source for this claim?


If my memory serves me he says this once only on one of the 10 day course teaching tapes.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:39 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote: The phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used often by Mr Goenka in the discourses.
And your source for this claim?


If my memory serves me he says this once only on one of the 10 day course teaching tapes.
Which is a great deal different from "is used often by Mr Goenka in the discourses".
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Anagarika » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:44 pm

While you may not have an opinion, that does not stop you from voicing an opinion of an unnamed monk about whom we know know nothing. The unnamed, unknown monk's opinion seems to be a fairly shallow appraisal of what Goenka-ji is offering us.


Tilt, your comments are fair ones. I erred perhaps in stating that I didn't have an opinion, but proceeded to weigh in a bit on the subject. I can be guilty of this if only to encourage some reaction or response that might correct me or educate me further. I truly do not have a negative view of Goenka, again, as I have not experienced one of his programs. Personally, I'm not keen to try one, and perhaps that sentiment leaked out in my text...

Of course, I won't name the monk that made the statement re Goenka practice, but I did add this to my text as it was a correct recollection of his statement. In some cases, for privacy we can't cite the author of a statement, and I realize that these kinds of statements lack credibility ( ie an unnamed Pentagon source claims there will be no invasion of Iraq by US forces...) and I'll endeavor not to so this again.

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby vidar » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:37 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Why must they? there is more than equanimity in the practice, I believe they done well getting through the parts they didn't like, and managing the aversion the best they could and then going back for more! this is their first one or two goes at intensive retreat. I know people who lasted only a few days and left.

Well I though it funny, just thinking of a person in front of me tucking their ears inside out is a funny thought!
but they may of needed something else to help them, not everyone needs group instruction and maybe some one on one assistance may of been better?

I was in a 2week full group practice period of a three month retreat having panic attacks and had to be offered permission to not attend afternoon sits, (heaven forbid I requested to attend a 10day+ retreat after that!) so I didn't get any benefit out of that in the same way some may expect or believe a retreat experience should yield fruit, but it was still beneficial, maybe time and perspective are needed to see it, or not? but no need to say they didn't understand, maybe their experiance wasn't the norm, but maybe they need assistance seeing the benefit of it.

Fair enough Cittasanto, and thanks for sharing your experience.

:anjali:
All the world is on fire, All the world is burning, All the world is ablaze, All the world is quaking. That which does not quake or blaze, That to which worldlings do not resort, Where there is no place for Mara:That is where my mind delights. (SN 5.7)

By degrees, little by little,
from moment to moment,
the wise purify themselves,
as a smith purifies silver.
—Dhammapada 239

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:09 am

Hi Mr Man,

Mr Man wrote:There is a clip of Goenka chanting here (I haven't embeded the clip because I think it possibly shouldn't be on youtube):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpklk6FuGsM
Ben what is he chanting here?
He has a fairly traditional rythem at times but it is also rather idiosyncratic. I am actually rather a fan of chanting :) .


You are right,it is idiosyncratic. If you listen to U Ba Khin chanting the Tikapatthana - its quite different. And they are both different to traditional Burmese chanting which is again different to Thai chanting.

I'm pretty sure its a Pali Sutta chant as opposed to one of his devotional dohas (in Hindi). Unfortunately I am at a remote location atm where my availability to the internet is via cell-phone network (is extremely slow and cost-prohibitive to download or stream video or music) or via a computer without a sound care connected via satelite.

There is a list of the different chants on each day and their translations which I can provide later - when I dig them out.
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: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:45 am

vidar wrote:You said that the phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used "often" in the discourses by Goenkaji, and that simply is not true.


Having attended numerous 10 day, 3 day and 1 day courses that is my recollection. If I am wrong then I am mistaken not being untruthful.

Forgetting about personalities and getting to my point.......Do you think that 'creating good vibrations' by chanting in an ancient language is part of the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha in the suttas/vinaya?
Remember, I am not talking about a Dhamma teaching chanted in a language that both the speaker & the hearer can understand, which I personally feel has great efficacy.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:01 am

Brizzy wrote:
vidar wrote:You said that the phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used "often" in the discourses by Goenkaji, and that simply is not true.


Having attended numerous 10 day, 3 day and 1 day courses that is my recollection. If I am wrong then I am mistaken not being untruthful.

Forgetting about personalities and getting to my point.......Do you think that 'creating good vibrations' by chanting in an ancient language is part of the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha in the suttas/vinaya?
Remember, I am not talking about a Dhamma teaching chanted in a language that both the speaker & the hearer can understand, which I personally feel has great efficacy.

Metta

:smile:
First of all, given your dimissive approach towards Goenka-ji's methodology here, you need to do a great deal better than "my recollection." Secondly, paritta chanting, whatever one might think of it, is a highly ingrained part of the Theravadin tradition. Since you seem to find this objectionable, the question for you is does Goemka-ji make any claims, that you can actually show, about the chanting's efficacy beyond causing the vague "good vibrations?"
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote:
vidar wrote:You said that the phrase 'creating good vibrations' is used "often" in the discourses by Goenkaji, and that simply is not true.


Having attended numerous 10 day, 3 day and 1 day courses that is my recollection. If I am wrong then I am mistaken not being untruthful.

Forgetting about personalities and getting to my point.......Do you think that 'creating good vibrations' by chanting in an ancient language is part of the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha in the suttas/vinaya?
Remember, I am not talking about a Dhamma teaching chanted in a language that both the speaker & the hearer can understand, which I personally feel has great efficacy.

Metta

:smile:
First of all, given your dimissive approach towards Goenka-ji's methodology here, you need to do a great deal better than "my recollection." Secondly, paritta chanting, whatever one might think of it, is a highly ingrained part of the Theravadin tradition. Since you seem to find this objectionable, the question for you is does Goemka-ji make any claims, that you can actually show, about the chanting's efficacy beyond causing the vague "good vibrations?"


Quite a long post to actually not answer the question. Nice use of the word 'vague' though, to undermine the implications of 'good vibrations'.

BTW I still stand by 'my recollection' and since my honesty has been questioned (obviously not by you), I will over the next few days undertake the task of finding supporting evidence.

As for paritta chanting, I have no objection if the aim is imparting a teaching and not just ritualistic noises.
Is it possible for you to tell me what Dhammic process is at work when chanting in an alien language is listened to?
I heard different answers from the Tibetan tradition and was wondering if you had any views on the subject.
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:31 am

Brizzy wrote:Quite a long post to actually not answer the question.
The only thing that has not been answered is the challenge to your claim which you can only appeal to your unsupported "recollection," which is not supported by others who have done Goenka retreats.

Nice use of the word 'vague' though, to undermine the implications of 'good vibrations'.
Thge problem is that is the "good vibrations" claim on your part has no support, others have stated it is a singular usage which hardly renders it the significance you are trying to lay on it.

BTW I still stand by 'my recollection' and since my honesty has been questioned (obviously not by you), I will over the next few days undertake the task of finding supporting evidence.
Which is what you should have done in the first place.

As for paritta chanting, I have no objection if the aim is imparting a teaching and not just ritualistic noises.
That is an ugly dismissal of something that is held in high regard within the Theravada world.

Is it possible for you to tell me what Dhammic process is at work when chanting in an alien language is listened to?
I heard different answers from the Tibetan tradition and was wondering if you had any views on the subject.
It depends upon the context.

If you do not like it, then do not go to his retreats. If you are at one of his retreats and there is chanting and you feel aversion, then pay attention to the aversion, but a bottom line question is here what is your point in attacking Goenka's chanting during his retreats?
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:17 am

Several post dealing with the efficacy of chanting have been moved here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=11332#p170879
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Ben » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:07 am

Ben wrote:Hi Mr Man,

Mr Man wrote:There is a clip of Goenka chanting here (I haven't embeded the clip because I think it possibly shouldn't be on youtube):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpklk6FuGsM
Ben what is he chanting here?
He has a fairly traditional rythem at times but it is also rather idiosyncratic. I am actually rather a fan of chanting :) .


...
There is a list of the different chants on each day and their translations which I can provide later - when I dig them out.
kind regards,

Ben


And here it is:
    Day 1: Atanatiyasuttam
    Day 2: Ratanasuttam
    Day 3: Karaniyamettasuttam
    Day 4: Jayamangala Attagatha
    Day 5: Patthana
    Day 6: Paticca Samuppada & Udana Gatha
    Day 7: Bojjhanga Paritta
    Day 8: Mettanisamsa
    Day 9: Mengalasuttam
    Day 10: Metta Bhavana
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: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby vidar » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:19 am

Brizzy wrote:Having attended numerous 10 day, 3 day and 1 day courses that is my recollection.

Then I suppose you can quote the parts in which the phrase 'creating good vibrations' is "often" used by Goenkaji in the 10 day courses.
If I am wrong then I am mistaken not being untruthful.

If you say so :shrug:
I will over the next few days undertake the task of finding supporting evidence.

Supporting evidence from the discourses of the 10 day courses with the phrase "creating good vibrations" often used, I hope.
All the world is on fire, All the world is burning, All the world is ablaze, All the world is quaking. That which does not quake or blaze, That to which worldlings do not resort, Where there is no place for Mara:That is where my mind delights. (SN 5.7)

By degrees, little by little,
from moment to moment,
the wise purify themselves,
as a smith purifies silver.
—Dhammapada 239

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:05 am

just to interject, hopefully for everyones benefit, there is a difference between being mistaken and being untruthful (as I believe the initial comment said) being mistaken is not a deliberate thing, it can be based on facts which maybe misinterpreted or misinformation due to some reason, being untruthful is deliberately misleading, or distorting the facts.

it certainly isn't a case of if someone says so.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Mr Man » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:28 am

Ben wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Mr Man,

]

And here it is:
    Day 1: Atanatiyasuttam
    Day 2: Ratanasuttam
    Day 3: Karaniyamettasuttam
    Day 4: Jayamangala Attagatha
    Day 5: Patthana
    Day 6: Paticca Samuppada & Udana Gatha
    Day 7: Bojjhanga Paritta
    Day 8: Mettanisamsa
    Day 9: Mengalasuttam
    Day 10: Metta Bhavana


Thanks Ben.
PS I had seen this on page one of this thread ;) :)

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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby David2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:35 pm

Hint:
Everybody who is interested in Goenkajis chanting should consider getting a copy of this book:

The Gem Set in Gold
http://www.pariyatti.org/Bookstore/prod ... sku=771501


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