Musings about "My experience at 10 day Vipassana course"

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Saengnapha
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Musings about "My experience at 10 day Vipassana course"

Post by Saengnapha » Fri May 11, 2018 8:29 am

LuisR wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:23 pm
Overall my Vipassana course was a good experience. Despite my failure at the technique, I felt that over the days my sitting ability improved. I could sit perfectly still for longer periods of time. I have a greater appreciation for meditation now. The teacher was as helpful as he could be and the manager was really nice and helpful. The food was excellent, much better than I expected. I was worried i was going to get hungry at night but no, everything was fine. Everything was really organized and ran well. I look forward to meditating more. I don't know if I will go back to a Goenka Vipassana retreat. I might try it again I don't know. It might be helpful to read more about Vipassana from the Buddhist teachers of theis particular lineage. I had been looking forward to this for a long time I am glad I did it. I heard so much good things about it. It is clearly beneficial for so many people. It just didn't work that well for me.
From my point of view, too much is made of these meditation retreats. It is not for everyone and people should be very careful about doing them. First off, it is not natural for anyone to be sitting like this for this amount of time. The kind of effort that most people will make is fairly useless when it comes to Insight. Most develop a lot of pain in their body and the idea of concentration is usually incorrectly applied for various reasons. Also, for the mentally unstable, it should not be engaged at all.

I think developing a good theoretical approach towards understanding what the Buddha has put forth is far more valuable than sitting still. Without understanding what the Buddha taught, you cannot get much from sitting. Without understanding that your grasping after experiences as a primary cause of your suffering, it is not going to magically come to an end sitting in meditation. That is a pipe dream, opium, anyone? So, repeated listening to the words of the wise is highly recommended and then, one day, you discover that you have to sit down and contemplate what you have just heard.

thepea
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by thepea » Fri May 11, 2018 11:04 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:29 am
From my point of view, too much is made of these meditation retreats. It is not for everyone and people should be very careful about doing them. First off, it is not natural for anyone to be sitting like this for this amount of time. The kind of effort that most people will make is fairly useless when it comes to Insight. Most develop a lot of pain in their body and the idea of concentration is usually incorrectly applied for various reasons. Also, for the mentally unstable, it should not be engaged at all.

I think developing a good theoretical approach towards understanding what the Buddha has put forth is far more valuable than sitting still. Without understanding what the Buddha taught, you cannot get much from sitting. Without understanding that your grasping after experiences as a primary cause of your suffering, it is not going to magically come to an end sitting in meditation. That is a pipe dream, opium, anyone? So, repeated listening to the words of the wise is highly recommended and then, one day, you discover that you have to sit down and contemplate what you have just heard.
I think there is more confusion regarding what the Buddha taught and how to apply this from those who simply study the words then from those who directly experience this teaching. It is also beneficial to be taught and guided as one experiences suffering.
Yes, it is challenging but what in life that is valuable comes without challenges?

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Fri May 11, 2018 3:46 pm

thepea wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:04 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:29 am
From my point of view, too much is made of these meditation retreats. It is not for everyone and people should be very careful about doing them. First off, it is not natural for anyone to be sitting like this for this amount of time. The kind of effort that most people will make is fairly useless when it comes to Insight. Most develop a lot of pain in their body and the idea of concentration is usually incorrectly applied for various reasons. Also, for the mentally unstable, it should not be engaged at all.

I think developing a good theoretical approach towards understanding what the Buddha has put forth is far more valuable than sitting still. Without understanding what the Buddha taught, you cannot get much from sitting. Without understanding that your grasping after experiences as a primary cause of your suffering, it is not going to magically come to an end sitting in meditation. That is a pipe dream, opium, anyone? So, repeated listening to the words of the wise is highly recommended and then, one day, you discover that you have to sit down and contemplate what you have just heard.
I think there is more confusion regarding what the Buddha taught and how to apply this from those who simply study the words then from those who directly experience this teaching. It is also beneficial to be taught and guided as one experiences suffering.
Yes, it is challenging but what in life that is valuable comes without challenges?
The ones who directly experience this teaching did exactly what I said, they studied the words of the Buddha until they began to spontaneously contemplate its meaning. No one can teach you that. It happens in its own time and in its own way. But you will do what you want, in any case, so advice is almost always superfluous.

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Sam Vara
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Sam Vara » Fri May 11, 2018 4:06 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:46 pm
The ones who directly experience this teaching did exactly what I said, they studied the words of the Buddha until they began to spontaneously contemplate its meaning. No one can teach you that. It happens in its own time and in its own way. But you will do what you want, in any case, so advice is almost always superfluous.
Saenghapha, you never did answer my question as to whether the insight you claim holds good only for you, or whether you claim it for other people. When you say, here, that "No one can teach you that", it looks like you are claiming the latter. Could you please say how you are managing that? i.e. how do you know that no one can teach someone something?

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mikenz66
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by mikenz66 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:21 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:46 pm
The ones who directly experience this teaching did exactly what I said, they studied the words of the Buddha until they began to spontaneously contemplate its meaning. No one can teach you that. It happens in its own time and in its own way. But you will do what you want, in any case, so advice is almost always superfluous.
Who are these "ones who directly experience this teaching"? Are you claiming to know all of the people who realised the Buddha's teaching? Are you seriously suggesting that they all learned by reading and that personal instruction, monastic discipline, and son on didn't have anything to do with their awakening?

Not that I claim any particular insights, but my experience is quite the opposite. I started reading texts after some personal instruction and practice, and as I said above:
mikenz66 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:58 pm
Give it time. What I found was that some of the (good and bad) experiences I had on my (only) Goenka retreat were really helpful when subsequently listening to talks by various teachers. I don't want to be specific because individuals experience very different things, but see how it goes.
I should have said:
... when subsequently listening to talks by various teachers, and reading the Buddha's teachings ...
I do agree that it is useful to have a good appreciation of the Buddha's teachings, but I have found it to be a gradual, cyclic process, where the knowledge helps the practice and vice versa.

:heart:
Mike

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Sat May 12, 2018 2:02 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:06 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:46 pm
The ones who directly experience this teaching did exactly what I said, they studied the words of the Buddha until they began to spontaneously contemplate its meaning. No one can teach you that. It happens in its own time and in its own way. But you will do what you want, in any case, so advice is almost always superfluous.
Saenghapha, you never did answer my question as to whether the insight you claim holds good only for you, or whether you claim it for other people. When you say, here, that "No one can teach you that", it looks like you are claiming the latter. Could you please say how you are managing that? i.e. how do you know that no one can teach someone something?
Since I am no different than anyone else, insight holds for everyone. You don't manage insight, insight manages 'you'. The obvious occurs at this point because you are not looking through the lens of conditioned thought, so you can't learn it. You can only learn what is conditioned. You discover this and you don't go back to thinking about ritual and reasoning. You stop this belief system. It is spontaneous.

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Sat May 12, 2018 2:09 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 9:21 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:46 pm
The ones who directly experience this teaching did exactly what I said, they studied the words of the Buddha until they began to spontaneously contemplate its meaning. No one can teach you that. It happens in its own time and in its own way. But you will do what you want, in any case, so advice is almost always superfluous.
Who are these "ones who directly experience this teaching"? Are you claiming to know all of the people who realised the Buddha's teaching? Are you seriously suggesting that they all learned by reading and that personal instruction, monastic discipline, and son on didn't have anything to do with their awakening?

Not that I claim any particular insights, but my experience is quite the opposite. I started reading texts after some personal instruction and practice, and as I said above:
mikenz66 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:58 pm
Give it time. What I found was that some of the (good and bad) experiences I had on my (only) Goenka retreat were really helpful when subsequently listening to talks by various teachers. I don't want to be specific because individuals experience very different things, but see how it goes.
I should have said:
... when subsequently listening to talks by various teachers, and reading the Buddha's teachings ...
I do agree that it is useful to have a good appreciation of the Buddha's teachings, but I have found it to be a gradual, cyclic process, where the knowledge helps the practice and vice versa.

:heart:
Mike
It seems like a gradual process to you because you are involved with your conditioned mind trying to change yourself into an image that you think you should strive for. This is a conditioned state. You are only involved with ritual, something the Buddha cautioned about. Studying, repeating, wanting to be a better person, is all part of this conditioned mind which drives you to 'become'. If you can't see this, you are not looking at the way things are but are chasing an image of how you want them to be. Teachers can talk till they are blue in the face. It is not going to make a shred of difference to you until you come face to face with your conditioned state. Only you can discover this for yourself. No one can give it or teach it to you. Be honest with yourself for once!

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mikenz66
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by mikenz66 » Sat May 12, 2018 4:20 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:09 am
No one can give it or teach it to you.
You determined to teach us all the one true path...

Be well...

:heart:
Mike

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Sat May 12, 2018 4:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 4:20 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:09 am
No one can give it or teach it to you.
You determined to teach us all the one true path...

Be well...

:heart:
Mike
No, but you can infer that there is not one true path. This doesn't mean there are many true paths. All I am saying is that no one can teach 'Insight'. It is something that must be discovered on one's own. Is this really so difficult to digest? I guess it must be when you are hoping that you are going to 'get it'. Goenka teaches rituals. Rituals don't produce insight. Insight is neither Buddhist nor any other religion, ideology, or philosophy.

chownah
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by chownah » Sat May 12, 2018 5:03 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 4:39 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 4:20 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:09 am
No one can give it or teach it to you.
You determined to teach us all the one true path...

Be well...

:heart:
Mike
No, but you can infer that there is not one true path. This doesn't mean there are many true paths. All I am saying is that no one can teach 'Insight'. It is something that must be discovered on one's own. Is this really so difficult to digest? I guess it must be when you are hoping that you are going to 'get it'. Goenka teaches rituals. Rituals don't produce insight. Insight is neither Buddhist nor any other religion, ideology, or philosophy.
No one can teach insight it is true....however someone can teach about how ones actions might either help or hinder the arising of insight. To say that no one can teach insight is like saying no one can teach someone into good health.....you can not teach someone into good health but you can show them things that might help or hinder the arising of good health.
chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 12, 2018 6:28 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:02 am

Since I am no different than anyone else, insight holds for everyone. You don't manage insight, insight manages 'you'. The obvious occurs at this point because you are not looking through the lens of conditioned thought, so you can't learn it. You can only learn what is conditioned. You discover this and you don't go back to thinking about ritual and reasoning. You stop this belief system. It is spontaneous.
This just kicks the can further down the road. How do you know that the insight you claim to have holds good for everyone? I can have insights into my own behaviour or mental states, so you need to explain why you think yours is uniquely universal.

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Sat May 12, 2018 8:12 am

chownah wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 5:03 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 4:39 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 4:20 am

You determined to teach us all the one true path...

Be well...

:heart:
Mike
No, but you can infer that there is not one true path. This doesn't mean there are many true paths. All I am saying is that no one can teach 'Insight'. It is something that must be discovered on one's own. Is this really so difficult to digest? I guess it must be when you are hoping that you are going to 'get it'. Goenka teaches rituals. Rituals don't produce insight. Insight is neither Buddhist nor any other religion, ideology, or philosophy.
No one can teach insight it is true....however someone can teach about how ones actions might either help or hinder the arising of insight. To say that no one can teach insight is like saying no one can teach someone into good health.....you can not teach someone into good health but you can show them things that might help or hinder the arising of good health.
chownah
Certainly, there are things that could be thought of as 'helpful', but this is relative to our everyday interactions that help us get along and live a better quality of life. To say they are 'necessary elements' for insight is not quite true. Being practical is its own virtue. There are many people who live good, practical lives that have no insight into their own existence. Insight is not dependent on actions or will.

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Sat May 12, 2018 8:20 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 6:28 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 2:02 am

Since I am no different than anyone else, insight holds for everyone. You don't manage insight, insight manages 'you'. The obvious occurs at this point because you are not looking through the lens of conditioned thought, so you can't learn it. You can only learn what is conditioned. You discover this and you don't go back to thinking about ritual and reasoning. You stop this belief system. It is spontaneous.
This just kicks the can further down the road. How do you know that the insight you claim to have holds good for everyone? I can have insights into my own behaviour or mental states, so you need to explain why you think yours is uniquely universal.
I'm not kicking any can and I don't need to explain insight. It is not an intellectual idea to me or something that I need to think about. It is what happens when you see the limitation of your mind, your thinking, your questions, and the becoming that is always going on. You stop trying to manipulate and change all that because that is what you are!

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Sam Vara
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 12, 2018 8:33 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:20 am
I'm not kicking any can and I don't need to explain insight. It is not an intellectual idea to me or something that I need to think about. It is what happens when you see the limitation of your mind, your thinking, your questions, and the becoming that is always going on. You stop trying to manipulate and change all that because that is what you are!
You don't need to explain insight, but if you don't, there is nothing in your posts that would convince someone reading them that they are not the product of delusion, or a need to indulge your sense of superiority. And although you claim it is something you don't need to think about, you seem to think about it quite a lot, whenever you find an opportunity to claim that other practices are not useful for gaining insight.

Is repeatedly giving people advice on how you see insight a form of becoming, or is it somehow exempt?

Saengnapha
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Re: My experience at 10 day Vipassana course

Post by Saengnapha » Sat May 12, 2018 8:41 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:33 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:20 am
I'm not kicking any can and I don't need to explain insight. It is not an intellectual idea to me or something that I need to think about. It is what happens when you see the limitation of your mind, your thinking, your questions, and the becoming that is always going on. You stop trying to manipulate and change all that because that is what you are!
You don't need to explain insight, but if you don't, there is nothing in your posts that would convince someone reading them that they are not the product of delusion, or a need to indulge your sense of superiority. And although you claim it is something you don't need to think about, you seem to think about it quite a lot, whenever you find an opportunity to claim that other practices are not useful for gaining insight.

Is repeatedly giving people advice on how you see insight a form of becoming, or is it somehow exempt?
You are doing nothing but projecting. You want to challenge me, I understand. But you are not really considering anything I have been saying to see if it has any truth to it. I am questioning our whole belief system, our whole conditioned response to life. Perhaps you have never had any insight into this subject but continue to intellectualize and theorize about what you believe. I have no interest to do that. And, I have no interest to answer questions from you that have no sincerity to them.

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