Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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balive
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by balive »

Great point Kevin!
What person indeed...???
And what is nibbana, the unconditioned state...??

I cannot answer your questions :)
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Nothing to do with Zen. I don't know anything about Zen.
But Zen gets 11 million searches a month. Buddha only gets 4 million.
Go figure... or rather... Go on 'zen wake up!
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Ben
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Ben »

balive wrote: I doubt any of this is the Buddha's original teachings.
Perhaps it's true. Or perhaps it fairy tales.

The question is, does it work to help you with your practise, or hinder you?
I haven't found it very helpful.
May I ask a question?
Why does it matter?

I can't remember the last time I thought about how long it could possibly take me to become an arahant.
However long it takes is however long it takes. In the meantime the improvements to my day-to-day life of maintaining practice is more than enough incentive to keep going with or without enlightenment.
May I suggest you keep it simple, balive, maintain your practice one-day-at-a-time.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Kumara
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Being Somebody

Post by Kumara »

Though having spent a much shorter period in another tradition, I can relate well with what Balive wrote.

It's about being somebody, isn't it? All that aiming, all that striving, to be somebody.

It took quite a while for me to realise this, and quite some right effort to give it up. Like you said, having built up a sense of who you are with meditation, it's scary to let go of that "me the meditator on the way to Nibbana".

It's bhavatanha, and all the teachers and fellow meditators of my past affiliation said nothing about it to me (as far as I can recall). Another who left also spoke about the sense of being elites among Buddhists, in fact among humankind. We got caught up in it—big time.

Looking back, I find it quite funny. A chapter in this spiritual journey. A great lesson.
Last edited by Kumara on Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben
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Re: Being Somebody

Post by Ben »

Kumara wrote: Another who left also spoke about the sense of being elites among Buddhists, in fact among humankind. We can caught up in it—big time.
I think we all do, Venerable.
And then our preconceptions and self-identity shatters as a result of continued Dhamma practice.
It leads to difficult and deeply uncomfortable introspective experience which is probably an indicator or real progress.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..
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Kumara
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Re: Being Somebody

Post by Kumara »

Ben wrote:
Kumara wrote: Another who left also spoke about the sense of being elites among Buddhists, in fact among humankind. We can caught up in it—big time.
I think we all do, Venerable.
And then our preconceptions and self-identity shatters as a result of continued Dhamma practice.
It leads to difficult and deeply uncomfortable introspective experience which is probably an indicator or real progress.
It's after all about letting go, isn't it?

I think it happens often when we fail to notice how we're practicing. With what attitude, what motivations we are practising? The lesson has taught me the value of paying attention to the 2nd path factor: sammasankappa, which I'm now considering Ajahn Khemasiri's translation: right orientation. (It's in his transcribed talk, included here: tisarana.ca/download/books/pdf/Seeing_the_Way_Vol2.pdf.
Last edited by Kumara on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ben
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Ben »

I agree, Venerable.
Thank you for the link which I will check out later.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..
dhammapal
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Re: Being Somebody

Post by dhammapal »

Hi Bhante,
Kumara wrote:Though having spent a much shorter period in another tradition, I can relate well with what Balive wrote.

It's about being somebody, isn't it? All that aiming, all that striving, to be somebody.

It took quite a while for me to realise this, and quite some right effort to give it up. Like you said, having built up a sense of who you are with meditation, it's scary to let go of that "me the meditator on the way to Nibbana".

It's bhavatanha, and all the teachers and fellow meditators of my past affiliation said nothing about it to me (as far as I can recall). Another who left also spoke about the sense of being elites among Buddhists, in fact among humankind. We got caught up in it—big time.

Looking back, I find it quite funny. A chapter in this spiritual journey. A great lesson.
As a layperson I find profound Anguttara Nikaya 5:128 An Ascetic's Happiness, being content with any kind of almsfood, any kind of robes, any kind of lodging, any kind of medicine. It seems that spiritual and material goals are inversely proportional, although of course obtaining necessary requisites is good as long as it isn't the goal of practice.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Anagarika
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Re: Being Somebody

Post by Anagarika »

Kumara wrote:
Ben wrote:
Kumara wrote: Another who left also spoke about the sense of being elites among Buddhists, in fact among humankind. We can caught up in it—big time.
I'm now considering Ajahn Khemasiri's translation: right orientation. (It's in his transcribed talk, included here: tisarana.ca/download/books/pdf/Seeing_the_Way_Vol2.pdf.
Just downloaded and saved as a pdf file for reading this week. Thank you very much, Ven. Kumara!
practitioner
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by practitioner »

There are more than one vipassana techniques. The one you practiced does not meet the 4 foundations of mindfulness.

I quit after doing 2 months of body scan. Something about the technique didn't sit well with me.

I practiced Mahasi mental noting of thoughts 10 months prior to Goenka retreat. 3 months after the retreat, thanks to mental noting, my mind had no more train of thoughts. During this time I did continue 2 hours of anapanasati.

I feel real good. I practice a Thai monk's teaching on mindfulness. Google The Path to Enlightenment II to learn how to do insight meditation without sitting. You can also sit if you choose to.

Follow Buddha's teaching by reading a lot helps you understand what is the path and what is not.

Sankhara talk in Goenka discourse is not Buddha's teaching. No enlightened Buddhist teacher ever mentions that. Google what Oslo has to say about Goenka.
justindesilva
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by justindesilva »

When satipattana sutra is available at hand on the internet and with learned monks (or bantes) I do not see why people have to go and follow others. Meditation not necessarily needs a permanent guru but guidance from experienced one's.
If you are aware of your own thoughts and be attentive to your own doings while looking inwards in to your own thoughts meditation is not difficult. There had been people who found answers in to Darma and got in to marga phala without getting in to dhyana.
A personnel study of one's own actions of aggregates from within is sufficient material for vipassana. Eg: while eating the food on the tongue is chewed and tastes. The taste is tested enjoyed and swallowed are sufficient for an early vipassana while then your self becoming your own guru. Please try it.
thepea
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by thepea »

practitioner wrote: . No enlightened Buddhist teacher ever mentions that.
Mr. Goenka does not teach Buddhism.
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mikenz66
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by mikenz66 »

That's news to me. I did a retreat about ten years ago, and most of what Goenka said in his talks seemed quite standard. Since he originates from Burma he has a heavy emphasis on Abhidhamma and Commentaries (which, of course, is standard Theravada).

He does have his own spin, and different language choices from what some are used to, particularly if they are Thai-Forest or Sutta-only enthusiasts.

I know from discussions with long-term practitioners, such as Ben, that the more advanced retreats include study of the entire Satipatthana sutta, and also an emphasis on developing jhana. Like any approach, the introductory instructions do not claim to cover the entire practice.

:anjali:
Mike
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Coëmgenu »

mikenz66 wrote:Sutta-only enthusiasts
I used to be a fan of this term, but I do not think it is realistic. They are a seperate school of Buddhism, still Buddhism, but not the same tradition that preserved and maintained the Pāli Canon. I now call them Neo-Sautrāntika, to reflect the fact that, IMO, they are a schismatic sect that basically only exists on the internet and rejects all other Buddhisms.
Bodhicitta is alien
to all things, meaning the aggregates,
the elements, the fields,
the grasper, and what is grasped.

The phenomena are selfless
and the mind is likewise.
At their root, they are fundamentally unarisen,
like the great void of self-nature.

As the Arhats, the Buddhas, the Lords,
the Bodhisatvas, rouse bodhicitta
and approach the bodhimaṇḍa,
may I too give rise to bodhicitta.

(Vairocanasūtra T848.46b23)
Astra
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Astra »

that the more advanced retreats include study of the entire Satipatthana sutta
In the advanced courses they manage to cover an entire... sutta ? :D
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mikenz66
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by mikenz66 »

Yes, it sounds rather rushed for ten days. Joseph Goldstein has a series of 46 hour-long talks on it here:
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/?search=satipatthana

:anjali:
Mike
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