mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Sweet_Nothing
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Sweet_Nothing » Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:32 pm

Thanks Tiltbillings.
Mr Man wrote:Hi Sweet_Nothing what do you mean by "pure teaching"? Do you mean the teaching as presented in the sutta or are you referring to the system of meditation as taught by Goenka.
Hi Mr Man.

By "Pure Teaching", I mean that the essence of Shakyamuni Buddha's discovery (Dhamma) has been preserved without any dilution.

In Buddhas lifetime, he spoke to many beings using many different words, depending on the listener. All of them benefited in the same direction, ie. towards complete awakening but not all of them reached there in Buddha's lifetime. He mostly spoke about things that were necessary for the listener to attain enlightenment, and refused to dwell into subjects that were of no consequence or only served as a topic for intellectual entertainment.

However, he did go into intellectual depths unless there were doubts that could not be solved otherwise.

Sometimes, beings were not ready to comprehend the 4 noble truths - so he had to form mundane parables and convey the noble truths in ways that the audience will eventually come to see the 4 noble truths.

If you meet a friend who knows nothing about the Buddhas teaching - and then you tell him that Jesus was not god (or son of), and you directly enter into a discussion about Dependant Origination, rebirth, etc - they are unlikely to benefit from it and might even be steered away. If you tell him, Jesus was a cool guy who had very good values that we should emulate, and these values (brahma viharas) are also in sync with what Buddha taught - then he is more likely to be receptive.

This is about the theoretical, or intellectual aspect. What the discourses say are tailored for specific audiences in mind, and the content changes with more advanced courses. The Satipathana course is based word to word on the Satipathana Sutta, and there is a detailed expounding of the entire Sutta during the course.

Goenkaji focuses much more on the practical aspects, rather than the philosophical or metaphysical aspects.With development in meditation, the latter automatically becomes clear.

As for the Meditation technique : I cannot claim it to be 100% what the Buddha taught. However, I claim that there is no disagreement between what the Buddha must have taught and what is taught in the Goenka courses. There is some improvisation which is later discarded. It's like, how while riding a cycle for the first time - you may use training wheels or have someone support you/push you or use training wheels so that you dont fall - or while learning how to swim you use floats - Goenkaji makes use of systematic scanning. Other than the instructions to observe in a "systematic manner", I dont think there is any difference in what is taught in Maha Satipathana Sutta and what is practiced.

There is often criticism that the emphasis on Vedana, or Sensations is too strong. There is a very good explanation why it is so, which is given at length in the Satipathana course. This does not mean that the other 3 aspects are negated. They are also observed, but the greater emphasis is on sensations and feelings because they are the closest link, where the chain of dependent origination can be severed.
Homage to the triple gem.

practitioner
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by practitioner » Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:59 am

Goenka should be praised for establishing free meditation retreats around the world allowing many to be exposed to meditation. Of course, being free has its flaws but the benefit one can obtain out weighs the flaws.

[A paragraph badmouthing traditions and their teachers removed by staff]

Body scan is a very mind active technique. It arouses active qi flow. Sometimes one cannot tell if sensation is authentic or remembered sensation from previous spotting. It is more about making one becoming more sensitive to bodily sensations. The immediate effect is the development of equanimity. The long term effect is sensitization of awareness of bodily sensation for observation of impermanence.I know assistant teacher who has practiced this for 30 years with no observable transcendence. His conversational topics reflect the lack of any dhamma practice.

In a way, the discourse tends to over sell this technique or create a sense impression that this technique is only thing one needs to practice to attain enlightenment.

Mental noting is more in alignment with the principle of satipatthana.

In truth, one should practice dhamma principle, do satipatthana, and do samatha/vipassana in tandem all at once. Sitting meditation alone takes forever and eadily subject to derailment.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

dhammasati
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by dhammasati » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:59 pm

For anyone interested in a summary of the differences between Mahasi and SN Goenka Vipassana
https://www.mindfulmess.net/blog/vipass ... si-sayadaw
Mahasi vs SN Goenka Vipassana

LuisR
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by LuisR » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:40 am

Man, this is all a bit confusing. I was told to just read the suttas, but I still feel i need guidance. Is there a guided Satipatthana online somewhere that is not Goenka or Mahasi method?

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mikenz66
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:33 am

LuisR wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:40 am
Man, this is all a bit confusing. I was told to just read the suttas, but I still feel i need guidance. Is there a guided Satipatthana online somewhere that is not Goenka or Mahasi method?
Ven Analayo has a guided meditation based on his interpretation of the Satipatthana Sutta and it's parallels:
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/439/talk/26718/
Note that there is not only the meditation, but also a PDF explaining his reasoning.

See also this thread: viewtopic.php?t=23482

:heart:
Mike

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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by LuisR » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm

Thanks mikenz66.

I have tried Goenka and i would probably do it again. I am considering trying Mahasi method eventually but it is hard to find three weeks off. I was recently told not to follow any of these methods. I was unaware of all these doctrinal differences around the commentaries. I was recently I am bit confused as to what method to follow, which will be the most beneficial. :shrug: I don't want to be practicing sathipatthana the wrong way. I guess I will try them all and see which one suits me the most.

I have been meditating for a while, or at least trying to. The more I read the more I realize I haven't even scratched the surface yet. :broke:

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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:59 pm

Hi Luis,
LuisR wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm
Thanks mikenz66.

I have tried Goenka and i would probably do it again. I am considering trying Mahasi method eventually but it is hard to find three weeks off.
Why do you need three weeks off? I found the Mahasi approach reasonably easy to get started with without long retreats though, of course, that's always nice.
LuisR wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm
I was recently told not to follow any of these methods. I was unaware of all these doctrinal differences around the commentaries. I was recently I am bit confused as to what method to follow, which will be the most beneficial. :shrug: I don't want to be practicing sathipatthana the wrong way. I guess I will try them all and see which one suits me the most.
I think some people make too much of doctrine, and way too much of the idea of "The True Technique", so I'd be inclined to take such advice with many grains of salt! See: "Patrick Kearney on Meditation Technique and Marketing" viewtopic.php?t=25479

Any of the usual approaches out there will induce some calm, and sharpen skills in paying attention to what's going on in the body and mind. Wherever you end up in terms of doctrine, there are skills that can be developed, so whether you take advice from Goenka, Mahasi, Thanissaro, Brahm, whatever, there's useful tips.

It's at the rather deep end of things where the doctrinal difference would really make a difference. Ven Nananda, for example, had quite a few criticisms of Commentarial interpretations, but practised and taught a Mahasi-based approach (See, for example: Seeing Through: A Guide to Insight Meditation, http://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/). Hs interpretation of exactly where the approach should lead is different, but not the approach itself.
LuisR wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm
I have been meditating for a while, or at least trying to. The more I read the more I realize I haven't even scratched the surface yet. :broke:
I wouldn't worry about it. There's lots to learn. Keep in mind that the Path is not just meditation, it's about a rounded development.

:heart:
Mike

LuisR
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by LuisR » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:22 pm

Thanks again mikenz66. Yes I definitely keep in mind to have a well rounded practice. As far as the three weeks the only place teaching the Mahasi method that I am aware of here in Canada gives three weeks retreats.

rightviewftw
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by rightviewftw » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:56 am

LuisR wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:22 pm
Thanks again mikenz66. Yes I definitely keep in mind to have a well rounded practice. As far as the three weeks the only place teaching the Mahasi method that I am aware of here in Canada gives three weeks retreats.
Afaik Ven. Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu is in Canada and he does online courses which would be a good way to learn the basics.
https://meditation.sirimangalo.org/schedule
Mahasi Vipassana is the way of practicing the Four Satipatthana that i approve as well.

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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:47 am

Also keep in mind that there isn't some monolithic "Mahasi system". Many monasteries in Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc use their own interpretations of the approach. And a lot of "Insight Meditation" taught in the West is based on it. U Pandita, one of Mahasi's successors, spent a couple of months at the IMS centre in Barre, Massachusetts in 1984, which is what the book In This Very Life is based on http://aimwell.org/inthisverylife.html, and several IMS teachers spent time in Burma with him (Joseph Goldstein, Steve Armstrong, etc...).

Do also note that there are many meditation approaches taught in SE Asia that we seldom hear about in the West. See:
Living Dharma/Buddhist Masters. Baraz/Kornfield.
viewtopic.php?t=25644

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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by LuisR » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:16 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:47 am
Also keep in mind that there isn't some monolithic "Mahasi system". Many monasteries in Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc use their own interpretations of the approach. And a lot of "Insight Meditation" taught in the West is based on it. U Pandita, one of Mahasi's successors, spent a couple of months at the IMS centre in Barre, Massachusetts in 1984, which is what the book In This Very Life is based on http://aimwell.org/inthisverylife.html, and several IMS teachers spent time in Burma with him (Joseph Goldstein, Steve Armstrong, etc...).

Do also note that there are many meditation approaches taught in SE Asia that we seldom hear about in the West. See:
Living Dharma/Buddhist Masters. Baraz/Kornfield.
viewtopic.php?t=25644

:heart:
Mike
Thanks again Mike :namaste:

LuisR
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by LuisR » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:19 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:56 am
LuisR wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:22 pm
Thanks again mikenz66. Yes I definitely keep in mind to have a well rounded practice. As far as the three weeks the only place teaching the Mahasi method that I am aware of here in Canada gives three weeks retreats.
Afaik Ven. Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu is in Canada and he does online courses which would be a good way to learn the basics.
https://meditation.sirimangalo.org/schedule
Mahasi Vipassana is the way of practicing the Four Satipatthana that i approve as well.
Yes. It is with Yuttadhammo I was thinking about doing the 3 week program. I recently discovered a place in Vancouver that offers meditation programs in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw.

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Pseudobabble
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:49 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:59 pm
Hi Luis,
LuisR wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm
Thanks mikenz66.

I have tried Goenka and i would probably do it again. I am considering trying Mahasi method eventually but it is hard to find three weeks off.
Why do you need three weeks off? I found the Mahasi approach reasonably easy to get started with without long retreats though, of course, that's always nice.
LuisR wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm
I was recently told not to follow any of these methods. I was unaware of all these doctrinal differences around the commentaries. I was recently I am bit confused as to what method to follow, which will be the most beneficial. :shrug: I don't want to be practicing sathipatthana the wrong way. I guess I will try them all and see which one suits me the most.
I think some people make too much of doctrine, and way too much of the idea of "The True Technique", so I'd be inclined to take such advice with many grains of salt! See: "Patrick Kearney on Meditation Technique and Marketing" viewtopic.php?t=25479

Any of the usual approaches out there will induce some calm, and sharpen skills in paying attention to what's going on in the body and mind. Wherever you end up in terms of doctrine, there are skills that can be developed, so whether you take advice from Goenka, Mahasi, Thanissaro, Brahm, whatever, there's useful tips.

It's at the rather deep end of things where the doctrinal difference would really make a difference. Ven Nananda, for example, had quite a few criticisms of Commentarial interpretations, but practised and taught a Mahasi-based approach (See, for example: Seeing Through: A Guide to Insight Meditation, http://seeingthroughthenet.net/books/). Hs interpretation of exactly where the approach should lead is different, but not the approach itself.
LuisR wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:05 pm
I have been meditating for a while, or at least trying to. The more I read the more I realize I haven't even scratched the surface yet. :broke:
I wouldn't worry about it. There's lots to learn. Keep in mind that the Path is not just meditation, it's about a rounded development.

:heart:
Mike
:goodpost:
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


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