mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
MisterRunon
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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).

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tiltbillings
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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

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Travis
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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.

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Modus.Ponens
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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
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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.

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tiltbillings
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:06 am

MisterRunon wrote: they'd tell you that Annica stands out.
Insight into one is insight to the others.
>> 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

alan
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:20 am

Thought Modus made a good point. It's also worth considering that not everyone is going to respond to techniques or rules; creative types might be better off being less passive in the meditation.

MisterRunon
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: they'd tell you that Annica stands out.
Insight into one is insight to the others.
I can't really argue with that, but that's going off in a different tangent. The point I was discussing with Modus is which characteristic that Goenka emphasizes on the most.

Also, some people have certain proclivities with certain characteristics.. so I don't think it's necessarily right to say that one is the same as the others. I've read about people who find one characteristic more natural to them than the other 2.
Last edited by MisterRunon on Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tiltbillings
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:24 am

alan wrote:or rules; creative types might be better off being less passive in the meditation.
?
>> 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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Modus.Ponens
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by Modus.Ponens » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:28 am

MisterRunon wrote: 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.
In fairness, I didn't pay as much attention to anicca during the retreat as it was mentioned. But even then I think that the major point is about dhukkha vs equanimity. But, as you say, it seems that some people feel one characteristic is more adequate for them. It might be that mine is dhukkha and yours is anicca.
"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
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:31 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: 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.
In fairness, I didn't pay as much attention to anicca during the retreat as it was mentioned. But even then I think that the major point is about dhukkha vs equanimity. But, as you say, it seems that some people feel one characteristic is more adequate for them. It might be that mine is dhukkha and yours is anicca.
I don't think Annica fits me better than the other 2 characteristics really. I'm not sure which one, if any, that I prefer over the other 2.

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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:40 am

Everyone has to master the basics, but for some people, to advance means making the experience real for themselves. My Goenka retreat was useful in some ways, but I left feeling squished by the technique. Sticking with that over and over, it seemed, was not the way to growth.
For me, being more actively involved with creating the meditation was the way to go.

MisterRunon
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by MisterRunon » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:46 am

alan wrote:Everyone has to master the basics, but for some people, to advance means making the experience real for themselves. My Goenka retreat was useful in some ways, but I left feeling squished by the technique. Sticking with that over and over, it seemed, was not the way to growth.
For me, being more actively involved with creating the meditation was the way to go.
What's "creating the meditation" mean? I feel like Goenka's technique is actually more about creating the meditation.. and that's my main issue with the technique.

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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by alan » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:56 am

It means responding to your needs instead of mindlessly sticking with the program. The Goenka people were adamant about not differing from the technique, which chafed. No one there had any answers besides astonishing me for not staying correct with their strict interpretation of what should be done.

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tiltbillings
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Re: mahasi vipassana vs goenka vipassana

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:22 am

MisterRunon wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
MisterRunon wrote: they'd tell you that Annica stands out.
Insight into one is insight to the others.
I can't really argue with that, but that's going off in a different tangent. The point I was discussing with Modus is which characteristic that Goenka emphasizes on the most.

Also, some people have certain proclivities with certain characteristics.. so I don't think it's necessarily right to say that one is the same as the others. I've read about people who find one characteristic more natural to them than the other 2.
Of the three characteristics anicca is the easiest to apprehend without getting lost in the sort thoughts and emotions that can accompany dukkha. It is not at all an unreasonable basis to work with.
>> 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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