Goenka: a bodhisatta?

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Sekha
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Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Sekha » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:43 am

I recently heard about two very old Israeli students of Goenka who were deeply involved in Dhamma service in his centers who got convinced that Goenka would be a bodhisatta, mainly because he would have said in a discourse of a long course something in the lines of: 'Countless lives we have been meditating together, and countless lives we will be meditating together'. I cannot acknowledge this fact insofar as I never sat such a long course.

But I remember a question put to him in For the benefit of many where someone says that Mogaliputta Tissa (at the time of Asoka) would have prophesized that a bodhisatta would appear 2500 years after the Buddha's demise to revitalize the sasana. At this, Goenka does not reply with denial, nor does he approve. He replies something not very meaningful (if I remember properly), like: 'don't bother about this'.

Anyone could confirm the first fact mentioned above? Any additional information?
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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:53 am

I've met the man, I don't think so and without any disrespect to him.

I have the impression that there are people who would tend to say such things about anyone who is devoted to teaching meditation.
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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Ben » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:59 am

Greetings Dukkhanirodha,
Dukkhanirodha wrote:I recently heard about two very old Israeli students of Goenka who were deeply involved in Dhamma service in his centers who got convinced that Goenka would be a bodhisatta, mainly because he would have said in a discourse of a long course something in the lines of: 'Countless lives we have been meditating together, and countless lives we will be meditating together'. I cannot acknowledge this fact insofar as I never sat such a long course.

But I remember a question put to him in For the benefit of many where someone says that Mogaliputta Tissa (at the time of Asoka) would have prophesized that a bodhisatta would appear 2500 years after the Buddha's demise to revitalize the sasana. At this, Goenka does not reply with denial, nor does he approve. He replies something not very meaningful (if I remember properly), like: 'don't bother about this'.

Anyone could confirm the first fact mentioned above? Any additional information?
An observation from someone who has been associated with the 'tradition' - so to speak, for the better part of 30 years. There are some students who have had an extraordinarily profound and euphoric experience that it clouds their minds for awhile. I am inclined to brush off the comments by the Israeli old students as something that is akin to euphoria-induced hagiographic adulation. My recollections of serving and sitting with Goenkaji - he refused any sort of guru worship from his students, particularly his western students. I think it would be quite right of Goenkaji to respond the way he did to questions regarding whethr he is a bodhisatta. They are, essentially 'off-topic' and what students should be concerned about is actually engaging with the Dhamma and getting themselves liberated.
I have never heard him say anything nor have I read anything he has written nor communicated to me publically or privately by acariyas and very senior ATs their conviction that Goenkaji is a Bodhisatta. I think it more likely that Goenkaji would nominate U Ba Khin as a Bodhisatta but I think technically he couldn't be.
As for the Israeli old-student's recollection of what Goenkaji said on a long course about his statement 'Countless lives we have been meditating together,...'
That is true, he does say that. But from my perspective he is indicating that there are some very very deep kammic bonds shared among the teacher and the students. It doesn't indicate to me that he is saying he's a Bodhisatta. In fact, the idea has never occured to me and I still don't think so!!
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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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Sanghamitta » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:43 pm

And of course even the merest nod to AjAhn Buddhadasa's view of " countless lives" would give a very different interpretation. i.e, that these are not events in linear time.
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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Ben » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:59 pm

Yes that';s right Valerie - there are numerous ways to interpret "countless lives".
The important thing of course is to come to one's own understanding of the nature of nama and rupa through one's own penetration of the dhamma from walking the path.
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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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by whynotme » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:44 pm

Dear Dukkhanirodha,

Do you have any source for this statement: a bodhisatta would appear 2500 years after the Buddha's demise to revitalize the sasana? I tried to search but found nothing.

Regards.
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gavesako
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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by gavesako » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:30 pm

I have heard from this another source in Thailand, someone who has been quite close to the Goenka centers there. Apparently the impressive stupa project in India and trying to collect as many relics for it as possible is part of this aspiration.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Ben
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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Ben » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:16 pm

gavesako wrote:I have heard from this another source in Thailand, someone who has been quite close to the Goenka centers there. Apparently the impressive stupa project in India and trying to collect as many relics for it as possible is part of this aspiration.
Well, that is the first I have heard of it.
The aspiration for the Global Pagoda is devotion, gratitude and a desire to reinvigorate Dhamma in the land of its origin.
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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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:25 am

Greetings,

The idea of Mr. Goenka being a bodhisatta is ludicrous.

He is teaching the Buddha-dhamma - he is not "turning the wheel of the Dhamma" for the first time in a world system. In other words, the current Buddhasasana still lives on. Yet, Mr. Goenka is a well-regarded teacher, here and now.

The implication of him being a bodhisatta, yet still living in the time of the Buddha's dispensation, is that he would deliberately refrain from attaining stream-entry in order to not attain nibbana until after the current sasana is lost. That's hardly a desirable attribute for a vipassana teacher, attempting to guide others in the way of insight meditation.

Whilst suggesting he is a bodhisatta was probably intended as praise by these students, if you look into the nuts and bolts of it, it's inadvertently insulting to Mr. Goenka and his life's work to realise and spread the supra-mundane path.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by chownah » Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:33 am

retrofuturist,
I don't understand....are you saying that it is insulting to say that Goenka has not entered the stream?
chownah

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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:01 am

Greetings Chownah,
chownah wrote:I don't understand....are you saying that it is insulting to say that Goenka has not entered the stream?
I'm saying it's insulting to suggest that he is deliberately trying to avoid entering the stream.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Ben
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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by Ben » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:42 am

Well said, Retro.
“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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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by chownah » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Chownah,
chownah wrote:I don't understand....are you saying that it is insulting to say that Goenka has not entered the stream?
I'm saying it's insulting to suggest that he is deliberately trying to avoid entering the stream.

Metta,
Retro. :)
retrofuturist,
Thanks for the reply. I don't understand why it is insulting to say that he is deliberately trying to avoid entering the stream.
chownah

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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:35 am

chownah wrote: I don't understand why it is insulting to say that he is deliberately trying to avoid entering the stream.
Other than not doing the practice at all, if one is a practicing, meditaing Buddhist, how would one "avoid entering the stream?"
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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Re: Goenka: a bodhisatta?

Post by gavesako » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:49 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote: I don't understand why it is insulting to say that he is deliberately trying to avoid entering the stream.
Other than not doing the practice at all, if one is a practicing, meditaing Buddhist, how would one "avoid entering the stream?"
Perhaps that is how it seems to us Westerners who believe in "doing the hard work" in order to "achieve results" (Protestant Work Ethic?) but for the Asians, Theravada countries included, cultivating the paramis as a bodhisattva and leading whole nations to a bright future is something even more worthy of admiration. It gives people the assurance that they are part of a socio-religious historical process which has a definite goal. This is where the individualistic self-determined Western meditator is often at a loss, feeling alone and estranged in the universe.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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