SN Goenka

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Ben
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Ben » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:33 am

Sanghamitta wrote:Well said Ben. I would add that feeling a need to question a practice or because it didn't or doesn't suit us personally is not altogether skillful.
We are fortunate to have been bequeathed a number of different meditative practices. Some suit one person . they suit another person less. Goenka's way of Vipassana I find very helpful indeed.
Indeed!
“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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BlackBird
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by BlackBird » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:43 pm

As someone who has never taken a course, an 'outsider' if you will - I have to say that some of the best Buddhists I know are students of the Goenka system. I have some reservations about the way sankhara is interpreted and seen as something to 'burn off', but at the end of the day if I am to lay a side my personal views and survey the results: The amount of praise he gets from students who have taken courses is very voluminous indeed.

If you haven't seen it, there's a video floating around the youtubes about Indian prisoners who we're all given the option of taking a Goenka course - It was massive, hundreds or even thousands took the course. Many of them we're interviewed at the end and later on to see what they thought, and the changes in their outlook and behaviour were amazing.

From what I can see, the Goenka method seems to churn out compassion, equanimity, friendliness and an overall sense of peace in those who practice it well (exceptions granted) and I think that speaks for itself.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Collective
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Collective » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:14 am

Thank you all very much, I shall follow up your advice

Unfortunately though, as far as day retreats are concerned - I have a wife and 3 children. Also, there's not a vipassana class for miles, let alone a retreat.

I get everything from books, vids and coming here

For which I'm very thankful :namaste:

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Ben
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Ben » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:24 am

No problems, Collective!
“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..

Jack
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Jack » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:44 pm

Collective wrote:Is anapanasati to do with vipassana or samatha?
=====
Ananasatti meaning mindfulness of the breath can be used for both vipassana or samatha. The Anapanasati Sutta defines a meditation which includes both in one meditation.

jack

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Collective
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Collective » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:56 pm

Jack wrote:
Collective wrote:Is anapanasati to do with vipassana or samatha?
=====

The Anapanasati Sutta defines a meditation which includes both in one meditation.

jack
That's intriguing.

When I first started meditating, I practiced Samatha. I would stay with the breath as best I could, no matter what sensation arose, physically or mentally. It wasn't so much ignoring the sensation, as it was strong focusing on the breath. Then I discovered vipassana, and learned to become mindfull of whatever sensation arose. To become fully aware of the sensaton, be it mental or physical.

I'm assuming then that anapanasati means full awareness of the breath, unti a sensation arises. Wherein you give full awareness of whatever sensation arises, and when that goes away, full awareness once more on the breath?

I'm going to ask a silly question here, if there is Samatha and Vipassana, and anapanasati includes both, shouldn't we all be practicing anapanasati?

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mikenz66
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:20 pm

Hi Collective,

Here's an elaboration by U Pandita of some of the issues that I think Jack has in mind.

http://aimwell.org/Books/Other/Questions/questions.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“Why did Mahāsi Sayādaw ignore ānāpānasati, which was directly taught by the Buddha, but introduced the rising-falling method?”

“Is ānāpānasati the same in essence as vipassanā and meditating on rising and falling, and able to lead to magga-phala and nibbāna?”


In answering these questions, Panditārāma Sayādaw explained the teachings of the Mahāsi Sayādaw as follows.

Ānāpānasati can take two directions. If the meditator strives to be mindful of the form or manner of the in-breath and the out-breath, then it is samatha meditation and leads to one-pointedness of mind. On the other hand, if the meditator notes the sensation of the in-breath and out-breath as it moves and touches, then it is vipassanā meditation. The element of wind or motion (vayo-dhātu) is rūpa or matter, while the awareness or consciousness of the sensation is nāma or mind. Therefore, ānāpānasati can be considered as vipassanā, and can lead to high levels of insight wisdom. However, in the Visuddhimagga, in the section on kāyānupassana, or mindfulness of body, fourteen objects of meditation are discussed, and further subdivided into objects for samatha and vipassanā meditation. In the Visuddhimagga, ānāpānasati is presented as an object of samatha meditation. Consequently, if we are to instruct meditators to develop ānāpānasati as part of vipassanā meditation, we will be inviting much unwanted and unwarranted criticism and controversy. And neither Mahāsi Sayādaw or myself would want to argue here that the Visuddhimagga, the rightly venerated classic, is at fault here.

It has been said that by noting the rising and falling of the abdomen, meditators are distancing themselves from the teachings of the Buddha. The answer to this is a firm and definite “no.” Quite apart from the success that meditators have achieved by noting rising-falling, there is much solid evidence in the Buddhist scriptures, such as Salāyatana Vagga Samyutta, to show that the method is very much a part of the Buddha’s teachings regarding mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of the elements (dhātu), and mindfulness of the five aggregates (khandhas).
Mike

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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Sanghamitta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:33 am

We who practice Samatha or Vipassana ( or both, they are not mutually exclusive ) ARE practising Anapanasati.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Collective
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Collective » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:44 am

Lately I've been practising Samatha one morning then Vipassana the next morning, and so on.

I just got myself a bit confused as to what both really were. It's clearer now.

Thank you all :namaste:

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mikenz66
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Re: SN Goenka

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:26 am

Sanghamitta wrote:We who practice Samatha or Vipassana ( or both, they are not mutually exclusive ) ARE practising Anapanasati.
But not everyone uses the breath as an object for either Samatha or Vipassana...

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Sanghamitta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:54 am

Collective made it clear that his comparing Vipassana and Samatha was in the context of anapana.


:anjali:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: SN Goenka

Post by pilgrim » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:20 pm

Collective wrote:Lately I've been practising Samatha one morning then Vipassana the next morning, and so on.

I just got myself a bit confused as to what both really were. It's clearer now.

Thank you all :namaste:
Technically, you can't practise Vipassana. You can practise samatha and mindfulness using ananpanasati or other objects to develop Vipassana. However for ease of communication in convenional use, we call these various exercises that have the aim of developing Vipassana as Vipassana meditation.

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Re: SN Goenka

Post by rowyourboat » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:51 pm

It is very difficult to fall into vipassana with anapanasati. It is much more likely you will fall into samatha- as easy as falling off a log actually. Note that anapanasati vipassana ie- as in the anapanasati sutta was taught to monks who were already practising at an advanced level (if you read the intro to the sutta you will see this). Whereas the satipatthana sutta only contains the first tetrad of the anapanasati, quite possibly as a way to develop samatha samadhi as a prelude to the vipassana. Then, that is the way he said was the 'one way' to enlightenment. This refrain is not mentioned in the anapanasati sutta- so be very careful!

If we look at a butterfly we can see it in various ways- we can see it in terms of the colours of its wings, we can see it in terms of types of insects, we can see it in terms of it's latin name, we can see it in terms of what kinds of flowers it likes to visit and so on, when seeing a butterfly. Similarly samatha is simply seeing the breath continuously. Vipassana is seeing the impermanence of the breath continuously. These two, even though happening under the same nose, are worlds apart in terms of direction of development. One leads to jhanas, the other leads to vipassana nana and magga-phala (enlightenment experiences).

I would much prefer to use anapanasati to develop samatha first and use another method to develop the perception of impermanence ie we can use a much more conducive object to do this. I prefer to use the input from all 6 sense bases, as this is the most comprehensive way of seeing the truths about the entire world and letting go of the entire world, as ultimately this is the purpose of the satipatthanas.

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Jack » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:39 pm

rowyourboat wrote:It is very difficult to fall into vipassana with anapanasati. It is much more likely you will fall into samatha- as easy as falling off a log actually. Note that anapanasati vipassana ie- as in the anapanasati sutta was taught to monks who were already practising at an advanced level (if you read the intro to the sutta you will see this). Whereas the satipatthana sutta only contains the first tetrad of the anapanasati, quite possibly as a way to develop samatha samadhi as a prelude to the vipassana. Then, that is the way he said was the 'one way' to enlightenment. This refrain is not mentioned in the anapanasati sutta- so be very careful!IRYB
====\
I hold a different view. I think the Anap. Sutta details a structured method going from samatha meditation and ending with advanced vipassana meditation. Follow this and you reach enlightenment.

The introduction to the Anap. Sutta can be interpreted two ways. One is that is was directed only at advanced monks. The other interpretation and the one I hold is that he was teaching the teachers what to teach.

jack

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Re: SN Goenka

Post by Sanghamitta » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:22 am

:goodpost:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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