Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

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

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:55 pm

Javi wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
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.
That's a rather awkward term. Neo sautrantika makes it sound like they are a new revival of the Indian sautrantika school - which had its own peculiarities and theories (radical momentariness in which moments only arise and pass away, a theory of seeds, etc).

This tendency, which is a rather loose group of folks, has been called 'suttavada' by bhante Vimalaramsi (a self styled suttavadin). Bhikkhu Bodhi also calls it 'nikaya purism'. Ive also heard the name 'suttanta'.
Well I certainly wouldn't write a book labeling the movement as such, since that movement lacks organization and coherence necessary to assign it a specific name (I'm talking here about Internet sutta-fundamentalism, not Bhikkhu Análayo et al), but just like Neoliberalism isn't Liberalism, is indeed in some ways antithetical to historical classical liberalism, Neo-Sautrántika isn't Sautrántika, and isn't necessarily beholden to complete conformity to the historical precedent. They were the first Buddhists, as far as I know, to reject Abhidhamma etc, that is why I coined that as my internal nickname for them. I would never try to argue for such a label as being something everyone should adopt usage of, that would be a little fascist lol.

I have ventured off-topic, and I apologies for that, but do you happen to know any good resources on the historical Sautrántika specifically, is there already a thread exploring their doctrines, if not, maybe moving my off-topic riverie into the Early Buddhism thread and exploring their ideas, and perhaps correcting some misconceptions about them I doubtlessly hold, would be an interesting avenue of inquiry.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Aloka
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Aloka » Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:07 pm

Coëmgenu wrote: .... but do you happen to know any good resources on the historical Sautrántika specifically,

Its possible that you might find something relevant in the lists of articles and books written by Bhikkhu Analayo:

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... alayo.html


:anjali:

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Javi
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Javi » Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:41 pm

The Sautrantika Theory of Seeds (bija ) Revisited
By Changhwan Park

This gives a good historical overview.

The Buddhist doctrine of momentariness: a survey of the origins and early phase of this doctrine up to Vasubandhu

Discusses their momentariness view

John D. Dunne
Foundations of Dharmakirti's Philosophy

Dharmakirti is often seen as the advanced stage of the Sautrantika school as it merged with Yogacara theories and took up Indian pramana philosophy.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by practitioner » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:59 pm

I am open minded, so will someone find the Sutta that supports Goenka's claim that
awareness of bodily sensation is the release of sankhara. If one doesnt create new sankhara then one is liberated. Therefore, Goenka wants you to scan your body block by block sp you dont miss put any bodily sensation.

Until someone finds sutta that supports the claim that bodily sensation is the release of sankhara, this Goenka claim is merely a relic of Hindu religious believe, not Buddha's teaching.

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:26 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:...I have ventured off-topic, and I apologies for that, but do you happen to know any good resources on the historical Sautrántika specifically, is there already a thread exploring their doctrines, if not, maybe moving my off-topic riverie into the Early Buddhism thread and exploring their ideas, and perhaps correcting some misconceptions about them I doubtlessly hold, would be an interesting avenue of inquiry.
No separate monastic code specific to the Sautrāntika has been found and is there no sign of any such separate disciplinary code in other texts. So they may have been a doctrinal division within the Sarvāstivādins or just a general tendency, a "school" in the sense of being an intellectual movement across sects.

All of the below will lead to good references:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sautr%C ... ef-Cox_2-4

http://www.academia.edu/8634512/Essenti ... Philosophy

And now I, too, am :focus:

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by ganegaar » Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:39 am

practitioner wrote:I am open minded, so will someone find the Sutta that supports Goenka's claim that
awareness of bodily sensation is the release of sankhara. If one doesnt create new sankhara then one is liberated. Therefore, Goenka wants you to scan your body block by block sp you dont miss put any bodily sensation.

Until someone finds sutta that supports the claim that bodily sensation is the release of sankhara, this Goenka claim is merely a relic of Hindu religious believe, not Buddha's teaching.
Sorry, I disagree (my emphasis on bold text), Goenka was very clear to say, the core is not missing any bodily sensations, the core is "the ability to leave a sensation, and not to expect another", to cultivate a balance of mind, so that we do not get attached to a particular type of sensation, so that we do not reject or try to get distance from another type of sensation. To cultivate this balance of mind, let the sensations be, and just observe their impermanent nature.
You may realize that no same type of sensations base on location, time, sitting, etc, and core of the practice is essentially to train mind to be "observing" and train to get away from "expectations" and train to get away from "liking or rejecting".

Then, about "...of awareness of bodily sensation is the release of sankhara", When ever a deep rooted tendency to "react" manifest, a trained practitioner will rather "observe" than "react", cutting much of the effect and potency in generating any new sankhara's. Goenka is very correct in this assertion.
Well, however, that we have to get rid of all past sankharas to get enlightened, I believe certainly is not the Only way. Goenka certainly do not say it is the Only way as well, but he certainly says it is how this method will work.
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by practitioner » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:39 am

You have concluded what I have told people what body scan is - equanimity training. It is not vipassana. It is equanimity training.

True vipassana is to observe passively whatever is the sensation arising from wherever such that the mind has no expectation or anticipation from where it may arise.

Once sensation has risen and been observed, one observe the sensation's disappearance. This is mindfulness (passive vipassana, Satipatthana). It is observing in the present moment the conditions as is and their 3 characteristics - anicca, dukkha, and anatta. You do not interfere with any arising conditions but simply observe and know its changing nature. This is vipassana.

When you visit your chest, and sensed T-shirt touching your chest, and move on to the next spot, you are not seeing any 3Cs. You feel sore at your lower back and move on, you are simply training equanimity. You do not see any changing nature.

Goenka's body scan is purely equanimity training. It does not have any attribute called for in Satipatthana.

Vipassana is seeing changing nature in the present moment. It is not seeing soreness in the lower back and then 5 minutes revisiting the same area and notice cool sensation. It is not present moment any more.

As you can see, 21 years of equanimity training leads not anywhere close to nibbana. He is not the only one. I know an AT who has done 30 years and is no where near nibbana. It is because the foundation of sitting practice is equanimity training.

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:54 am

Greetings,
practitioner wrote:Goenka's body scan is purely equanimity training. It does not have any attribute called for in Satipatthana.
Even so, equanimity is important in the Dhamma, as is mindfulness and samadhi.

They're not the whole of the Dhamma, but they're useful factors nonetheless (not just in the Dhamma, but in terms of offsetting worldly ills like intolerance, anxiety and impatience).

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:56 am

practitioner wrote:I know an AT who has done 30 years and is no where near nibbana.
What is an AT?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:58 am

Greetings Mkoll,

Assistant Teacher (i.e. the person you actually meet on the course, since it's Goenka videos and audio which serve as the proxy for The Teacher)

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Mkoll
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Mkoll,

Assistant Teacher (i.e. the person you actually meet on the course, since it's Goenka videos and audio which serve as the proxy for The Teacher)

Metta,
Paul. :)
Ah, thank you.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Javi
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by Javi » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:20 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
practitioner wrote:Goenka's body scan is purely equanimity training. It does not have any attribute called for in Satipatthana.
Even so, equanimity is important in the Dhamma, as is mindfulness and samadhi.

They're not the whole of the Dhamma, but they're useful factors nonetheless (not just in the Dhamma, but in terms of offsetting worldly ills like intolerance, anxiety and impatience).

Metta,
Paul. :)
Actually, the Goenka scan is not just equanimity training, as described by Bhikkhu Analayo in this paper, it is vipassana with an old pedigree.

Whether Goenka institutions and teachers are effective in helping folks with the path is a whole other matter, but the method seems pretty solid in my book.

The Ancient Roots of the U Ba Khin Vipassanā Meditation - ANĀLAYO

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... troots.pdf
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:57 am

I'm puzzled how anyone who has tried that sort of body scan would have any difficulty discerning anicca (as well as dukkha, of course!). For one thing, as I recall, the instruction was to examine carefully any particularly significant areas of sensation carefully, which gives plenty of opportunity to see them chang. For another, after doing this for several days the body starts to feel very fluid and it's easy to observe all kinds of variations, both from scan to scan, while scanning, and at other times.

As Patrick Kerney sometimes observes in his retreat talks (sorry, can't point to a particular one http://www.dharmasalon.net/Audio/audio.html), approaches like Mahasi encourage observation of anatta by observing whatever comes up most obviously at any particular time. Approaches like Goenka go out looking for change throughout the whole body. How you locate it doesn't matter.

:anjali:
Mike

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ganegaar
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by ganegaar » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:15 am

practitioner wrote:When you visit your chest, and sensed T-shirt touching your chest, and move on to the next spot, you are not seeing any 3Cs. You feel sore at your lower back and move on, you are simply training equanimity. You do not see any changing nature.
Many people achieve a stillness of mind way way beyond observing sensations like above, sensations that feels like needle points, tickling, etc, Goenka classified them as subtle refined sensations vs Gross sensations. Any blank areas he would classify as Gross sensation.
I have met two people who could scan inside the body, one is a Buddhist monk, the other is a simple village man in Sri Lanka, who had basically very little education. The way he described it, made me imagine a super MRI scanner which can look inside our body!. I have no reason to suspect both, they had nothing to gain from a falsehood at all., and the second one was seemingly very very amazed by the human anatomy (rightly so i guess, we cannot see the way he saw it, and he probably did not have any such prior education).

But then it is said:
practitioner wrote:True vipassana is to observe passively whatever is the sensation arising from wherever such that the mind has no expectation or anticipation from where it may arise.

Once sensation has risen and been observed, one observe the sensation's disappearance. This is mindfulness (passive vipassana, Satipatthana). It is observing in the present moment the conditions as is and their 3 characteristics - anicca, dukkha, and anatta. You do not interfere with any arising conditions but simply observe and know its changing nature. This is vipassana.
Lets say its the sensation of shirt touching, but it is still a sensation to me, when the mind is still, the sensation itself becomes so dynamic.
if the practitioner held his mind at the sesation, he will surely see the changing nature of the sensation, or may be the inability of the mind to focus!.
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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robertk
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Re: Insights from my 21 years of practising Goenka style

Post by robertk » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:53 am

it is worth noting that being 'aware' of sensations in the body is something that even a 6 year old could do with practice.

This is no indication of 'experiencing anicca".

There are many stages to insight and even the first stage- long, long before direct insight to anicca - where the distinction between nama and rupa is known is so profound that almost all wrong view is sublimated.

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