mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
SarathW
Posts: 9802
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:03 am

Then the Blessed One said to Ven. Ananda, "Now, if it occurs to any of you — 'The teaching has lost its authority; we are without a Teacher' — do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma & Vinaya I have pointed out & formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone.

"At present, the monks address one another as 'friend,' but after I am gone they are not to address one another that way. The more senior monks are to address the newer monks by their name or clan or as 'friend.' The newer monks are to address the more senior monks as 'venerable' or 'sir.'


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#fnt-6
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16426
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:48 am

Hi SarathW,

I'm not sure of your point. As far as I can tell, the teachers mentioned in this thread helped their students follow the Buddha's Dhamma.

And, of course, following the Dhamma doesn't make live teachers or companions redundant. The suttas have very little detail on meditative technique, and in several places advise that one should make use of the experience of others. One example is MN 95: With Cankī. Another is AN 4.94:
"As for the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, he should approach an individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated? How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way. Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.
We are fortunate to have various teachers who can "answer in line with what he has seen & experienced".

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16426
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:57 am

Billymac29 wrote:As for monastics, venerable Analayao stated that he practices the Goenka method as one of his meditation practices.

Kind regards
That's interesting. In the talks I've heard from Ven Analyo I recall him saying that he used metta as a daily practice and elements for formal sitting. However, it's been a while since I listened to them:
http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/208/
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/439/

Perhaps of some relevance to the topic, the first link contains a talk, "Dynamics of Insight of Meditation", where he compares teachings on Satipatthana from Mahasi, Goenka, and Pa Auk. It's a nice presentation, but he didn't give the impression that he had personally practised any of them at great length at the time of the talk.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6437
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Mkoll » Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:23 am

mikenz66 wrote:That's interesting. In the talks I've heard from Ven Analyo I recall him saying that he used metta as a daily practice and elements for formal sitting. However, it's been a while since I listened to them:
http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/208/
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/439/
I don't remember the exact talk, but he also said he uses the corpse and body part contemplation. I also seem to remember him saying they give him a sense of relief and that he does them before retiring at night.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Modus.Ponens
Posts: 2766
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:22 am

nintendo wrote:What is the difference between mahasi vipassana meditation and goenka vipassana meditation, which is better
The 10 days vipassana retreats are probably the best introduction to serious meditation out there. And it's based on donations. No one is forced to pay anything. That is remarkable.

Since I've only done one of these retreats, this may be unfair, but I have one criticism to make. The technique is mostly suited to contemplation of dhukkha. When insights into impermanence or not self arise, it is a colateral damage to ignorance, not a direct damage to ignorance. Mahasi vipassana, on the other hand, and as far as I know, encourages the contemplation of the three marks of existence.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:27 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
nintendo wrote:What is the difference between mahasi vipassana meditation and goenka vipassana meditation, which is better
The 10 days vipassana retreats are probably the best introduction to serious meditation out there. And it's based on donations. No one is forced to pay anything. That is remarkable.

Since I've only done one of these retreats, this may be unfair, but I have one criticism to make. The technique is mostly suited to contemplation of dhukkha. When insights into impermanence or not self arise, it is a colateral damage to ignorance, not a direct damage to ignorance. Mahasi vipassana, on the other hand, and as far as I know, encourages the contemplation of the three marks of existence.
It depends upon what is meant by "contemplation." As I have been taught and practiced the Mahasi Sayadaw practice as taught by the likes of Joseph Goldstein and his teacher, Munindraji, it is not a matter of thinking about, but a matter of coming to see.
>> 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.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

MisterRunon
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:43 pm

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:28 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
nintendo wrote:What is the difference between mahasi vipassana meditation and goenka vipassana meditation, which is better
The 10 days vipassana retreats are probably the best introduction to serious meditation out there. And it's based on donations. No one is forced to pay anything. That is remarkable.

Since I've only done one of these retreats, this may be unfair, but I have one criticism to make. The technique is mostly suited to contemplation of dhukkha. When insights into impermanence or not self arise, it is a colateral damage to ignorance, not a direct damage to ignorance. Mahasi vipassana, on the other hand, and as far as I know, encourages the contemplation of the three marks of existence.
It focuses more on Anicca than anything else. Goenka is always talking about it in the discourses, and he always mentions that the sensations are representations of the changing nature in life.

Out of the four foundations, though, I think it focuses only on Vedana (Joseph Goldstein and a few others have claimed this, I believe). There are a few other things that people complain about. If OP wants to find out more, he can easily search up "Goenka" on this site.

I would say that there's one big difference between Mahasi style and Goenka style: Goenkas' feels a little bit forced and goal-oriented, whereas the Mahasi style is more about experiencing whatever rises. Some may work well with the goal-oriented/forced style, though.

User avatar
Modus.Ponens
Posts: 2766
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:51 am

tiltbillings wrote:It depends upon what is meant by "contemplation." As I have been taught and practiced the Mahasi Sayadaw practice as taught by the likes of Joseph Goldstein and his teacher, Munindraji, it is not a matter of thinking about, but a matter of coming to see.
That is what I meant.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:54 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:It depends upon what is meant by "contemplation." As I have been taught and practiced the Mahasi Sayadaw practice as taught by the likes of Joseph Goldstein and his teacher, Munindraji, it is not a matter of thinking about, but a matter of coming to see.
That is what I meant.
Thank you for clarifying. It is just for some folks "contemplation" carries a sense of "thinking about."
>> 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.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Modus.Ponens
Posts: 2766
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:07 am

MisterRunon wrote: It focuses more on Anicca than anything else. Goenka is always talking about it in the discourses, and he always mentions that the sensations are representations of the changing nature in life.

Out of the four foundations, though, I think it focuses only on Vedana (Joseph Goldstein and a few others have claimed this, I believe). There are a few other things that people complain about. If OP wants to find out more, he can easily search up "Goenka" on this site.

I would say that there's one big difference between Mahasi style and Goenka style: Goenkas' feels a little bit forced and goal-oriented, whereas the Mahasi style is more about experiencing whatever rises. Some may work well with the goal-oriented/forced style, though.
Hmmm. I think I can't agree with that as far as 10 day introductory retreats go. It's true that Goenkaji mentions impermanence again and again. And he also mentions not self quite a few times. But the technique itself is "designed" almost only for the contemplation of suffering and how to deal with suffering skillfuly. But dealing skillfuly with suffering is not the same as droping it.

As you say, the technique feels a bit forced. In my opinion it's not because of goal orientation. It is more about this rigidity, or intense focus on just one of the three characteristics. And the fact that the contemplation is done just at the level of sensations is probably limiting as well.

To anyone who thinks that I am dismissing the Goenka style of vipassana, I am not. The 10 days retreat I made in 2004 still has positive consequences today. It was that good! And in 10 days it's probably dificult to do more than that. But the point is that, to practice at home after the retreat, it's best to broaden the objects of contemplation to the body, sensations, mind and mental objects; and boraden the characteristics contemplated in those objects to impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not self.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

MisterRunon
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:43 pm

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:22 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: It focuses more on Anicca than anything else. Goenka is always talking about it in the discourses, and he always mentions that the sensations are representations of the changing nature in life.

Out of the four foundations, though, I think it focuses only on Vedana (Joseph Goldstein and a few others have claimed this, I believe). There are a few other things that people complain about. If OP wants to find out more, he can easily search up "Goenka" on this site.

I would say that there's one big difference between Mahasi style and Goenka style: Goenkas' feels a little bit forced and goal-oriented, whereas the Mahasi style is more about experiencing whatever rises. Some may work well with the goal-oriented/forced style, though.
Hmmm. I think I can't agree with that as far as 10 day introductory retreats go. It's true that Goenkaji mentions impermanence again and again. And he also mentions not self quite a few times. But the technique itself is "designed" almost only for the contemplation of suffering and how to deal with suffering skillfuly. But dealing skillfuly with suffering is not the same as droping it.

As you say, the technique feels a bit forced. In my opinion it's not because of goal orientation. It is more about this rigidity, or intense focus on just one of the three characteristics. And the fact that the contemplation is done just at the level of sensations is probably limiting as well.

To anyone who thinks that I am dismissing the Goenka style of vipassana, I am not. The 10 days retreat I made in 2004 still has positive consequences today. It was that good! And in 10 days it's probably dificult to do more than that. But the point is that, to practice at home after the retreat, it's best to broaden the objects of contemplation to the body, sensations, mind and mental objects; and boraden the characteristics contemplated in those objects to impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not self.
I'm not sure where you get the Dukkha part from - he doesn't talk about it much, and though the pain you get from sitting is prevalent (when is it not?), you aren't as encouraged to focus on it as much as you are on Anicca. He outrightly says that the sensations are a representation of impermanence, and you know, the technique is about feeling the sensations. Sure he also talks about Anatta, but again, he barely speaks of it compared to Anicca. I have his 1 hour recordings, and he's constantly repeating "Anicca, Anicca, Anicca."

Goal orientation is a big issue with his retreats, and he often has to remind students not to focus on "the game of sensations." In his discourse, he even mentions students who have come to his 10 day retreats 10+ times, and they still don't understand that it's about equanimity, and not the sensations. Based on my conversations with other students, I think it holds true (and in my experience as well. my first 2 sits were very goal-oriented until I had to learn that I was craving results).

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:58 pm

      • ". . . the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." U iv 1.
>> 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.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Travis
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:22 pm

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Travis » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:06 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Billymac29 wrote:As for monastics, venerable Analayao stated that he practices the Goenka method as one of his meditation practices.

Kind regards
That's interesting. In the talks I've heard from Ven Analyo I recall him saying that he used metta as a daily practice and elements for formal sitting. However, it's been a while since I listened to them:
http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/208/
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/439/

Perhaps of some relevance to the topic, the first link contains a talk, "Dynamics of Insight of Meditation", where he compares teachings on Satipatthana from Mahasi, Goenka, and Pa Auk. It's a nice presentation, but he didn't give the impression that he had personally practised any of them at great length at the time of the talk.

:anjali:
Mike
He mentions it here http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/ ... n-analayo/
Analayo wrote:I have been practising the Goenka technique for ten years and I got very good results with it. But I wouldn’t say that it’s the only correct technique.

User avatar
Modus.Ponens
Posts: 2766
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:20 pm

MisterRunon wrote: I'm not sure where you get the Dukkha part from - he doesn't talk about it much, and though the pain you get from sitting is prevalent (when is it not?), you aren't as encouraged to focus on it as much as you are on Anicca. He outrightly says that the sensations are a representation of impermanence, and you know, the technique is about feeling the sensations. Sure he also talks about Anatta, but again, he barely speaks of it compared to Anicca. I have his 1 hour recordings, and he's constantly repeating "Anicca, Anicca, Anicca."

Goal orientation is a big issue with his retreats, and he often has to remind students not to focus on "the game of sensations." In his discourse, he even mentions students who have come to his 10 day retreats 10+ times, and they still don't understand that it's about equanimity, and not the sensations. Based on my conversations with other students, I think it holds true (and in my experience as well. my first 2 sits were very goal-oriented until I had to learn that I was craving results).
I think the major point of practicing equanimity with regards to sensations is to realise that it is when you have attachment and aversion that you suffer. And the major point of that vipassana technique is equanimity.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

MisterRunon
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:43 pm

Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:58 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: I'm not sure where you get the Dukkha part from - he doesn't talk about it much, and though the pain you get from sitting is prevalent (when is it not?), you aren't as encouraged to focus on it as much as you are on Anicca. He outrightly says that the sensations are a representation of impermanence, and you know, the technique is about feeling the sensations. Sure he also talks about Anatta, but again, he barely speaks of it compared to Anicca. I have his 1 hour recordings, and he's constantly repeating "Anicca, Anicca, Anicca."

Goal orientation is a big issue with his retreats, and he often has to remind students not to focus on "the game of sensations." In his discourse, he even mentions students who have come to his 10 day retreats 10+ times, and they still don't understand that it's about equanimity, and not the sensations. Based on my conversations with other students, I think it holds true (and in my experience as well. my first 2 sits were very goal-oriented until I had to learn that I was craving results).
I think the major point of practicing equanimity with regards to sensations is to realise that it is when you have attachment and aversion that you suffer. And the major point of that vipassana technique is equanimity.
Don't you think that's stretching it though? You could argue the same for Anatta and Annica. The 3 characteristics point to the same thing. What we are talking about is which characteristic that Goenka emphasizes more.. and I'm fairly certain that if you were to ask most Goenka students, they'd tell you that Annica stands out.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests