mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

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

Post by Dhammanando »

martinfrank wrote:You might Google what the majority of Indian Buddhists thinks of Goenkaji... just Google "Goenka Ambedkar".
I know from several stays at the Ambedkarite temple in Wolverhampton, England, that there are some Dalit Buddhists who are enamoured with Goenka and some who are not. If you name just about any prominent figure in the Indian Buddhist world, you’ll find Dalits similarly divided over him or her. I don’t think the majority view of these people can be reliably determined from Google. Presumably your knowledge of the majority view is derived from some carefully-conducted opinon poll, right? If so, it would help if you'd post a link to it.
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by pilgrim »

Goenka does what most other Buddhist teachers or monks do, just on a larger scale. One also need not be a Buddhist to sit at the many retreats in Thailand or Myanmar too. What Goenka does is to point out this policy clearly - that his meditation teachings are made available to everyone. For the duration of the course one needs to take the 3 refuges and the 5 precepts but one need not convert to Buddhism after the course. I see this as his particular innovation.

Whether one chooses to be a Buddhist or not is not his primary concern. I find this attitude common in almost all meditation centres in Asia. In doing this, Goenka succeeded in attracting large numbers of people to his courses. Granted, many or most do not eventually become Buddhists, but simply by the sheer number of students, Goenka has been more successful in bringing new people to Buddhism than many monks or other teachers. (Eg. Of the 15 residents of Abhayagiri monastery in USA, 3 of them stated in their bios that their interest in Buddhism started off with Goenka retreats)

Ps. Among the new Buddhists of India, Goenka's technique is the default method of meditation.
It is understandable that many Dalits dislike Goenka . Their objectives are quite different. The Dalit conversions are fueled by political and social expediency where numbers count, while Goenka felt this had little to do with the true purpose of Dhamma practice.
SarathW
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by SarathW »

nintendo wrote:Goenka lineage has so many assistant teachers, they are all tape recorder operators, no enlightened teachers are there
You don't have to be enlightened to be a Dhamma teacher.
I acquired most of my knowledge by reading books and listening to recordings.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings »

martinfrank wrote:What ax should I have to grind? You're just not eager to answer my questions.
I did answer your questions.
Where is the list of the teachers and their qualifications? I didn't ask about Assistant Teachers; I asked about fully qualified teachers. Is there anybody who studied at a Buddhist University? Monks or nuns of many years? Can you give the names of five full teachers which can be looked up in the Internet or are these names secret? Where can I find information about who are the heads of the organization e.g. for the US or Europe? Is it all secret? Is it a cult?
Write to them and ask these questions.
I believe it is legitimate to ask whether Goenkaji was Buddhist or not. Google "Goenka Funeral" and "Buddhist Funeral". You might Google what the majority of Indian Buddhists thinks of Goenkaji... just Google "Goenka Ambedkar". If I read people writing about the "Goenka Sangha", saying that "Goenka was a Buddha", Jack Kornfield calling him "Ven. S. N. Goenka" am I not allowed to have doubts?
A lot of people say a lot of things about various monastics and lay teachers; some of it out gratitude for the teachings they have received and some of it out of poltical reasons and some of because they do not agree with the person in question. The issue of Goenkji's funeral and Ambedkar have been addressed above.
Goenkaji answering the question:
Do I have to be a Buddhist to practice Vipassana?
And you do not have to be a Buddhist to do a Mahasi Sayadaw retreat. Pilgrim has neatly addressed this issue.
Vipassana is not the essence of what Lord Buddha taught. The Four Noble Truths are the essence of what Lord Buddha taught.
It seems you have a rather limited idea of what vipassana practice is, given that such a practice, which includes the teachings in addition to the practice of meditation certainly includes the Four Enobling Truths.
THE QUESTION IS

Is the Goenka System teaching Buddhist Meditation to the millions as his followers say?

OR

Is it watering down Lord Buddha's Teaching to a way of life for lay people and confusing millions about what Lord Buddha taught?
The first.
>> 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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by badscooter »

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

Kind regards
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by SarathW »

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”
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 »

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:
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by mikenz66 »

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:
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Mkoll »

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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens »

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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings »

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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon »

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.
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens »

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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings »

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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens »

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
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