I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Network

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MisterRunon
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by MisterRunon »

Goofaholix wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: Hey Ben.. I am genuinely asking you this (no rhetoric here), but I believe I remember what the monk told me: Goenka's teachings leave out 3 out of the 4 applications of mindfulness found in the Satipathanna. His teaching focuses primarily on the 2nd, which is Vedana. I remembered he said that Goenka omits 1 out of 4 "something," but recently stumbled upon this site http://themiddleway.net/?p=98
The first foundation of mindfulness is the body, I think it's pretty obvious Goenka's method is based on mindfulness of the body.

The second is vedana feeling, and as you've noted Goenka's method also covers this.

The third is mind, most teacher don't encourage taking the mind as an object of mindfulness initially, you really need a grounding in body and feeling first. I would expect this would come in later either as the meditator progresses with or without the teacher guiding.

The fourth is dhamma, it's about reflecting on what you observe with regards to the other foundations and how it relates to what you understand of the dhamma, this happens naturally when you are working with the other 3 foundations of mindfulness together with being taught the theory, I think he has this covered.



I would have said Goenkas method was more based on the body sensation, and less based on actions and activity ie moving, thinking, hearing, intending, daily activities etc
I think Goenka uses the body as a conduit for feeling the sensations, so that might not be the same "mindfulness of body" that is referred to as in the Satipatthana? I'm not sure myself, though Joseph Goldstein seems to agree with the link I posted (I found this while googling up other Vipassana teachers). http://www.tricycle.com/web-exclusive/t ... -goldstein
In the method taught by S.N. Goenka, we feel the different sensations as we scan or "sweep" the body with our awareness. This sweeping is done in a systematic and careful way, with equanimity towards both pleasant and unpleasant sensations. Over time, the mindfulness and concentration become stronger and we feel more and more subtle sensations in the body. This sweeping method automatically makes us aware of the second foundation of mindfulness, namely feelings - the pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral aspects of the sensations. And we also begin to feel all of the different factors of mind as they are experienced through the body.
He goes on to talk about other techniques, which (at least based on how I interpret it) he seems to hint as being more "all-encompassing."
In some other methods of vipassana, the breath is used as the primary object, and the instruction is to notice/note any other arising experience. So from the anchor of the breath, we then look directly at different sensations as they arise, at thoughts and emotions as they appear in the mind, and finally at awareness itself. So for example, as we're with the breath and a thought arises, we would note, or simply notice, "thinking, thinking"; or if we feel different hindrances, we might note "anger, anger" or "sleepiness, sleepiness". Then when that object passes away, we return to the breath. Over time, we begin to notice with greater clarity and refinement the entire range of passing phenomena, and through this awareness of change the mind more easily lets go of clinging and attachment.
I like what I see of Joseph Goldstein.. I think I'm narrowing down my options to Joseph Goldstein/Jack Kornfield or one of the Thai Forest Monastery teachers. I believe Joseph and Jack are lineaged from the Mahasi school, right? So can anyone confirm they teach the same technique as Mahasi?
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Goofaholix
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by Goofaholix »

MisterRunon wrote: I think Goenka uses the body as a conduit for feeling the sensations, so that might not be the same "mindfulness of body" that is referred to as in the Satipatthana? I'm not sure myself
If you know a way of feeling sensation without the body I'd be interested in hearing it.

Either way I think you're on the right track with broadening your understanding with different approaches.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
MisterRunon
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by MisterRunon »

Goofaholix wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: I think Goenka uses the body as a conduit for feeling the sensations, so that might not be the same "mindfulness of body" that is referred to as in the Satipatthana? I'm not sure myself
If you know a way of feeling sensation without the body I'd be interested in hearing it.

Either way I think you're on the right track with broadening your understanding with different approaches.
That's not what I mean.. all I'm saying is that, Joseph Goldstein and seemingly a handful of other people in the Buddhist tradition seem to think Goenka teaches only the 2nd foundation. I don't know the reason behind this, but a possibility is that the objective (for lack of a better term) in his technique is sense-oriented, and not necessarily body-oriented, though it does use access concentration through the body to become aware of the sensations.

and FYI, forgot to thank you for posting the PDF on the right attitude for meditation.
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tiltbillings
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by tiltbillings »

MisterRunon wrote:

I like what I see of Joseph Goldstein.. I think I'm narrowing down my options to Joseph Goldstein/Jack Kornfield or one of the Thai Forest Monastery teachers. I believe Joseph and Jack are lineaged from the Mahasi school, right? So can anyone confirm they teach the same technique as Mahasi?
Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield have trained in the Mahasi Sayadaw method. Joseph much more so than Jack, who was bhikkhus under Ajahn Chah. They will use the Mahasi Saydaw method in their teaching, but they are not rigid with it. Both are very experienced practitioners and very experienced teachers.
>> 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

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Ben
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by Ben »

Hi MisterRunon,
MisterRunon wrote:
Ben wrote:The aversion is natural, and again, very common experience. You are after all attempting to change a lifetime or lifetimes of habituated response to sensory data. The technique itself is merely a skilful means to develop equanimity in the face of any experience, including the experience of aversion and craving towards the practice itself. I think for many people, myself included, it was a shock to learn that meditation is rarely blissful and often uncomfortable. In time, the technique is dropped.
As for the quality of the Assistant Teachers - I couldn't agree more. That is why I have only a few people who I confide with.
One is an area teacher in this country and others are senior practitioners from other traditions. I have been involved (and continue to be involved) with the tradition. I have at times served Goenkaji and have been the trustee/secretary for the local meditation centre. These days I tend to (to paraphrase the Rhinoceros Sutta) walk alone.
As for the criticism from the monk who said that it leaves a significant amount of the Buddha's teaching out - it's understandable but an incorrect observation. The ten-day course is an introduction to the Dhamna. Goenkaji mentions more than once that the ten-day course is "the kindergarten of the Dhamma". It is a gradual training and more detail (both theoretical and practice related) are revealed in the special courses that are available to old students. After practicing in this tradition for nearly 30 years, I have not found it lacking.
But the other people who weighed in on this thread are also right - take the opportunity to explore other approaches to the Dhamma.
Whatever you chose to do - I wish you all the best.
With metta,
Ben
Hey Ben.. I am genuinely asking you this (no rhetoric here), but I believe I remember what the monk told me: Goenka's teachings leave out 3 out of the 4 applications of mindfulness found in the Satipathanna. His teaching focuses primarily on the 2nd, which is Vedana. I remembered he said that Goenka omits 1 out of 4 "something," but recently stumbled upon this site http://themiddleway.net/?p=98
My apologies I did not see your response until now. Yes, I am used to reading criticisms like this, that the approach lacks two or three of the four foundations. That is what I was alluding to in my earlier comment. It only appears that way if one's exposure to his approach is only through the ten-day course which is an introduction. As I mentioned earlier, the teachings of SN Goenka are presented gradually through different courses for "old" students. Practice and course pre-requisites limit entrance to the course to those "old" students who are ready for the next stage in their practice. If one has exposure to the material in the long courses, one would understand that there is nothing left out.
My advice to you is to read Ven Analayo's "Satipatthana: the direct route to realisation" and John Coleman's "the Quiet Mind". And also to take Goenkaji's advice and experience other approaches to the Dhamma.
I wish you all the best!
Ben
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MisterRunon
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by MisterRunon »

Ben wrote:Hi MisterRunon,
MisterRunon wrote:
Ben wrote:The aversion is natural, and again, very common experience. You are after all attempting to change a lifetime or lifetimes of habituated response to sensory data. The technique itself is merely a skilful means to develop equanimity in the face of any experience, including the experience of aversion and craving towards the practice itself. I think for many people, myself included, it was a shock to learn that meditation is rarely blissful and often uncomfortable. In time, the technique is dropped.
As for the quality of the Assistant Teachers - I couldn't agree more. That is why I have only a few people who I confide with.
One is an area teacher in this country and others are senior practitioners from other traditions. I have been involved (and continue to be involved) with the tradition. I have at times served Goenkaji and have been the trustee/secretary for the local meditation centre. These days I tend to (to paraphrase the Rhinoceros Sutta) walk alone.
As for the criticism from the monk who said that it leaves a significant amount of the Buddha's teaching out - it's understandable but an incorrect observation. The ten-day course is an introduction to the Dhamna. Goenkaji mentions more than once that the ten-day course is "the kindergarten of the Dhamma". It is a gradual training and more detail (both theoretical and practice related) are revealed in the special courses that are available to old students. After practicing in this tradition for nearly 30 years, I have not found it lacking.
But the other people who weighed in on this thread are also right - take the opportunity to explore other approaches to the Dhamma.
Whatever you chose to do - I wish you all the best.
With metta,
Ben
Hey Ben.. I am genuinely asking you this (no rhetoric here), but I believe I remember what the monk told me: Goenka's teachings leave out 3 out of the 4 applications of mindfulness found in the Satipathanna. His teaching focuses primarily on the 2nd, which is Vedana. I remembered he said that Goenka omits 1 out of 4 "something," but recently stumbled upon this site http://themiddleway.net/?p=98
My apologies I did not see your response until now. Yes, I am used to reading criticisms like this, that the approach lacks two or three of the four foundations. That is what I was alluding to in my earlier comment. It only appears that way if one's exposure to his approach is only through the ten-day course which is an introduction. As I mentioned earlier, the teachings of SN Goenka are presented gradually through different courses for "old" students. Practice and course pre-requisites limit entrance to the course to those "old" students who are ready for the next stage in their practice. If one has exposure to the material in the long courses, one would understand that there is nothing left out.
My advice to you is to read Ven Analayo's "Satipatthana: the direct route to realisation" and John Coleman's "the Quiet Mind". And also to take Goenkaji's advice and experience other approaches to the Dhamma.
I wish you all the best!
Ben
Thanks for the response. I do believe he talks about it in the Satipatthana, but the thing is, he just discusses it (which is the intellectual, but not the experiential knowledge). As far as I know, the only Vipassana technique we use throughout the courses is the body scanning right?
tiltbillings wrote:
MisterRunon wrote:

I like what I see of Joseph Goldstein.. I think I'm narrowing down my options to Joseph Goldstein/Jack Kornfield or one of the Thai Forest Monastery teachers. I believe Joseph and Jack are lineaged from the Mahasi school, right? So can anyone confirm they teach the same technique as Mahasi?
Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield have trained in the Mahasi Sayadaw method. Joseph much more so than Jack, who was bhikkhus under Ajahn Chah. They will use the Mahasi Saydaw method in their teaching, but they are not rigid with it. Both are very experienced practitioners and very experienced teachers.
Thanks for the confirmation. I've heard the Thai Forest Tradition focuses a little more on concentration, which is kind of what attracts me more. I don't need to master the Jhanas, but I'd like to be a little more proficient at it. Or maybe I can use Mahasi's Vipassana technique along with some Samatha.
Sanjay PS
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Re: I think I'm not compatible with the Goenka Technique/Net

Post by Sanjay PS »

How does that paragraph relate to what I said about Goenka omitting 3 out of the 4 pieces of the 4 foundations of mindfulness? *I made a mistake and said he omits 1 out of 4.. I meant 3 out of 4*

And I never implied that Goenka's method is false and does not work. All I'm saying is that his approach does not seem to fit what I prefer. It's already well established that Goenka's technique has been effective for many people.


I am sorry MR , you are right . Ben has rightly mentioned that the material available, and the sequential progress enumerated in the longer courses may well go on to clear on your doubts . I have done a 20 day course , not the longer 30/ 45/60 day courses , hence , may have well confused up on what you had referred to . My apologies , i am very sorry once again .

Best regards ,
Sanjay
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

U S.N. Goenka
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