Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby David2 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:47 am

From the book "For the benefit of many", p. 78:

Q: When you are teaching in English, why do you use Pali and Hindi words in your chanting and your discourses?

Goenkaji: Well, these words are so pleasant to me. Pali is the language of the Enlightened Person, and Hindi is my mother tongue. They also create a good vibration for the students to meditate in. In the English discourses I am cautious and try to use them as little as possible, but in the Hindi discourses Pali verses are very helpful. They give inspiration, and Pali becomes easy to understand for many Indian students after taking only a few courses.

However, even in the West old students keep telling me, "When you recite a Pali gatha [verse] we feel good vibrations." A new student may not agree with this; he or she might have aversion and think, "What is this chanting? Why is he disturbing me?" But slowly this person will start to understand the benefits.

Last time the ten discourses in English were recorded the Pali gathas were reduced to a minimum and afterwards there were complaints about this. We cannot please everybody, some will remain discontented. We have to serve as best as we can, and you have to serve as best you can as Dhamma servers.
Last edited by David2 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:10 am

hermitwin wrote:I am well aware of Goenka's stature.
I am not saying this to condescend Goenka.
However, if you get to listen to his actual chanting, it is nothing like what monks chant.
To me, it was indeed distracting and distressing.
I maintain that an experienced monk should listen to the recording and give us his opinion.


there are several different ways to pronounce pali, and chanding varies from one country to another, and even areas can have different styles.
have you ever heard a Thai chant, or a sinhalese?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaWvOL8Ztlw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0xtt4gVP7U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t158mg37mS0
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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 knighter » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:22 am

hello there

i'm new to this web site its great by the way, but not new to vipassana ive sat 6, 10 day courses served on 3, 10 day course and have done many 1, and 3 days course over the period of about 12 years.
in answear to your question, yes the chanting does stay the same but the more you sit the more you end up BEING HAPPY. About 13 years ago lots of thing used to make me unbalances i.e., the dustmen picking up the bins at 530am in the morning outside my house, but the more i meditated the less i heard the dustmen, just like most other things a balance seems to "mostly" stay with me these days and i do owe it to my karma and finding vipassana again.
The more you sit the lest you'll be bothered and might even end up understanding parts of the chanting in pali.
Some of my english friends who have sat the 40/50 day course in india end up understanding the whole chant in pali.
Hope this helps stick with it man.
be happy
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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby James the Giant » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:47 am

knighter wrote:... but the more i meditated the less i heard the dustmen...

I'm pretty sure you didn't mean that, but you know vipassana meditation should make you more aware of the dustmen, not less aware, right?
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Goenka retreat- aversion towards Chanting

Postby lament » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:23 pm

I've been on a 10-day Goenka retreat and chanting was my biggest annoyance. The problem is that they expect you to meditate through the chanting. I'm a musician. Few things make me distracted and lost in content as easily as music does. It's like trying to meditate while having sex - sure, it can be done, but it's clearly not the ideal meditative environment.

When I allowed myself to become distracted by the music and stop body scanning, I found the chanting itself quite enjoyable.

Hoping to attend a retreat with less chanting in the future.
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