How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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mikenz66
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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:22 am

paul wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 am
In any case the advent of the internet and books being widely available supersedes the need for the physical presence of a teacher, and access to the best Theravada minds is directly available through those sources. Furthermore, the final certainty that a dhamma conceptualization is accurate comes not from any teacher or media, but from personal experiential realisation of it, which is founded on an observation of cause and effect.
Certainly books and the Internet has made it easier to get better access to some details, but what they don't do, and what a real-life teacher can do is call out the bullshit in the conceptualization of one's experience. That's not something one is likely to get from reading, listening to talks, or chatting on the Internet. Of course, in forums like this we see plenty of views on practice being thrown around, which I sometimes find interesting, but it's nothing like interactions with someone who really knows me, and who I really trust.

And, of course, noone here should trust my opinions... :tongue:

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SilaSamadhi
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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by SilaSamadhi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:25 am

paul wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 am
and access to the best Theravada minds is directly available through those sources.
Who, in your opinion, are the "best Theravada minds", both in general and in the field of meditation specifically?

Also, for those who advise I read the Satipatthana sutta myself: I respectfully submit that I am not qualified to understand it by myself, certainly not sufficiently to establish a proper practice based on my own reading of it.

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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:29 am

paul wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 am
“Body” includes all materiality, beginning with the physical body, but extending to external materiality ...
Yes, and I would add that it seems to be a Western philosophical and "sprituality" thing that divides experience into "mental" and "physical", with the "mental" or "spiritual" being the superior, important part. I don't really see that division in the suttas, though I've seen in claimed that the Commentaries tend to take that approach. Clearly, emotions involve both mental and physical aspects. One gets upset, gets hot and bothered, breaths harder, etc, etc. Besides citta may be reasonably translated as heart-mind.

Ironically, modern neuro- and other related scientists have mostly done away with the distinction, by considering the mind as just the functioning of part of the body (the brain). Perhaps that's a good thing - knocking the mind off it's pedestal.

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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by paul » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:57 am

The Satipatthana sutta should form the central focus and it can only be understood through reading the commentators, Bikkhu Bodhi, Ven. Analayo, Thanissaro Bikkhu, listed in the order they are easiest to read.

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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:20 am

SilaSamadhi wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:25 am
paul wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 am
and access to the best Theravada minds is directly available through those sources.
Who, in your opinion, are the "best Theravada minds", both in general and in the field of meditation specifically?

Also, for those who advise I read the Satipatthana sutta myself: I respectfully submit that I am not qualified to understand it by myself, certainly not sufficiently to establish a proper practice based on my own reading of it.
I think this question of 'best Theravada minds' is not so easy to answer. Personally, I find Bhante Punnaji's way of introducing Buddhadhamma and the ensuing path to be the clearest I have come across. He explains things very well and gets to the heart of the matter in a way that I don't hear other teachers bringing forth. He resides in Malaysia but still gets around at 89 years of age. Lots of good material on youtube with links to more. Buddhism is a lot more than Vipassana meditation. Without the correct orientation first, mediation will not be so effective. Good luck to you.

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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by pyluyten » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:30 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:06 am
- The disregard for the role attention (manasikara) plays in controlling the sweeping, and its subsequent role in the fabrication of dhammas. (In other words, the sweeping does not "uncover" feeling, it actually gives rise to them).
i don't know if you mean this, so i'm interested in more details : i have noticed, according to tradition the meditator follows, he will expierence the steps he expects to meet. For example if one strongly expect to live "bhanganupassana", the dissolution, then he will at some point live this.
In other traditions there are other steps, and people do live these other steps.

When practices are too close, then it becomes clear it is "fabrication of dhammas"

does my description sound fair to you? or would you describe different thing?
i'm asking since this is an important point for one that wants to achieve something real, not just mesmerize himself =)

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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by Hiheyhello » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:08 pm

Admin, please deactivate my account. TIA
Last edited by Hiheyhello on Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thepea
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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by thepea » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:50 pm

I feel that this tradition is doing an excellent service in spreading the dhamma.

Things I’ve noticed serving on courses is most managers greeting and tending to the students are new students themselves and can out of excitement can speak and discuss things with students that should be left to the teachers. Crazy imbalanced people get in to courses that had they honestly filled out the paperwork would not have been deemed suitable to sit a course. I think these people suffer the most as they need phycologists not dhamma teachers. They can also affect those sitting a course.
Perhaps I was simply lucky in having very strong individuals serving on my first few courses.
I have served on strong courses and also on some where servers seemed to be goofing off and chatting a lot.
I have met some teachers who are very experienced and witnessed others on their first or second courses teaching.
If you are having a rough course an experienced teacher can make a big difference in one staying or running.

I have read many of the complaints people have with this organization it is not Buddhism and it is not run like a theravaden monastic retreat at least none that I have attended. Many may have expectations and come to some disappointment or not enjoy the vocabulary of the course.

I recommend thiese retreats fully and can assure you this is not a cult you are free to come and go as you please. You do have to follow rules on the property thiese are places for serious meditation not hang outs.

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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by Sweeney » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:50 am

SilaSamadhi wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:29 pm
I recently learned the vipassanā meditation technique according to S. N. Goenka, and was wondering how legitimate it is according to practicing, educated Buddhists.

For example, how faithfully does it adhere to the Buddha's teachings, such as the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta?

As someone who studied other Suttas before (though not this one in particular), I was surprised by the strong focus on the body, and observing bodily sensations, as the central pillar of this meditation method.

The Buddha doesn't focus on the body in much of his teachings, and where he does touch on the body, it is usually to encourage disciples to let it go.

I want to know that whatever I am practicing has a solid base in Buddhist tradition. In addition any commentary you may have of Goenka in particular, I'll be happy to learn of other teachers who may be more legitimate in this sense, if such exist.

EDIT: to clarify, I am only asking about Goenka's vipassanā meditation technique. I understand there are comments about his organization, the structure of his retreats, and other issues peripheral to the technique itself. However, I am not asking about any of these things.
I recommend reading "The essentials of Buddha-Dhamma in Practice" by Sayagyi U Ba Khin found here: http://www.internationalmeditationcentr ... nglish.pdf

Also Check out the International Meditation Centre while your there. This was the original organization (Not counting the Vipassana Research Association) founded by Sayagyi U Ba Khin, and after his demise lead by his foremost student Mother Sayamagyi who passed away in January. Roger Bischoff is currently the leading teacher of IMC.
thepea wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:50 pm
Crazy imbalanced people get in to courses that had they honestly filled out the paperwork would not have been deemed suitable to sit a course. I think these people suffer the most as they need phycologists not dhamma teachers. They can also affect those sitting a course.
So the Dhamma is only for those considered sane by contemporary standards? These people most definitely need Dhamma teachers! No, a ten day Goenka retreat is most likely not beneficial for certain types of people, but to say that these "Crazy imbalanced people" as you put it, need psychologist not Dhamma teachers is missing the whole point of why the Buddha taught people in the first place. And quite frankly, down right insulting. Yes, some may also need some professional psychological help, but remember, it is a gradual path! And anybody, "considered sane by societal standards", can have underlying mental health problems they never knew about. Yes, Goenka has done a lot to spread the Buddha-Dhamma to the world, but these retreats spearheaded by Goenka are not necessarily beneficial to everybody whether clinically sane or not, but that is no reason to single out people with mental health problems... Please, think very carefully about the words that you use and about your attitude towards these types of issues.
Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ
Kusalassa upasampadā
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ
Etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ
~ Dhp 183 ~

thepea
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Re: How legitimate is S. N. Goenka's method of vipassanā meditation?

Post by thepea » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:15 am

Sweeney wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:50 am
So the Dhamma is only for those considered sane by contemporary standards? These people most definitely need Dhamma teachers! No, a ten day Goenka retreat is most likely not beneficial for certain types of people, but to say that these "Crazy imbalanced people" as you put it, need psychologist not Dhamma teachers is missing the whole point of why the Buddha taught people in the first place. And quite frankly, down right insulting. Yes, some may also need some professional psychological help, but remember, it is a gradual path! And anybody, "considered sane by societal standards", can have underlying mental health problems they never knew about. Yes, Goenka has done a lot to spread the Buddha-Dhamma to the world, but these retreats spearheaded by Goenka are not necessarily beneficial to everybody whether clinically sane or not, but that is no reason to single out people with mental health problems... Please, think very carefully about the words that you use and about your attitude towards these types of issues.
Dhamma is for everyone but some do not benefit from an intensive 10 day course. They would benefit from phycoogists and medication and a gentler approach to observing past traumas.

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