Hi Parth, and others involved in the foregoing exchange,
It appears to me that Goenkaji's approach to the Dhamma has touched you deeply, Parth. Your commitment to preserving his approach is no doubt sincere and admirable. However, as the others have pointed out with references to various alternative interpretations--all of which can be traced to canonical sources--there is no self-evident way of securing Goenkaji's interpretation as the one, true 'authentic' one. This is NOT to say that it is 'false' or 'wrong'. Nor is this to say that it doesn't work. Nor is this to cast doubt on Goenkaji's character or intentions. As I see it, the others are simply trying to point out that Goenkaji's interpretation is ONE amongst other possible interpretations
. To this extent, it is certainly a plausible one which can be backed up by reasonable arguments and evidence that it is in line with the Buddha's teachings and that it works. However, the same can be said of the other approaches.
Because of the benefits you have derived from the practice, it is clear that you wish to preserve the integrity of Goenkaji's approach and prevent any misunderstanding or adulteration of his technique. This is fair enough. Because this is a public forum, it is important that you make things as clear as possible so that others (especially newcomers) reading this would not misunderstand things. But likewise, the others are doing the same. They offer alternative interpretations of the practice maybe because those other approaches have helped them better understand the Dhamma. Perhaps like you, they also wish to minimize misunderstanding in a public forum such as this--it seems to me that they want to make it clear that there are various and equally plausible ways of approaching the Dhamma, to encourage others to investigate the Dhamma for themselves--this is a good thing, isn't it? Ehipassiko?
If you are familiar with the Monty Python skit about the argument clinic
.... what I see in the previous few posts is not so much a clarification of an argument but the 'automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.' Where one party has presented reasons for their position, the other party has simply contradicted that position by stating the opposite: 'no it isn't'. This sort of argument, if we can call it that, will only end up in a continuous cycle of birth and rebirth.
This post is not directed at anyone in particular. Regardless of which side you take, you no doubt feel strongly about the need to clarify things and to prevent any misunderstanding. In a public forum like this, it is certainly important that we do so. However, both parties have already clearly stated their position and have provided ample reasons and evidence for their position. It may be the case that some newcomers may read this thread, but perhaps we should give them credit and assume, on good faith, that they have the critical ability to investigate and consider Goenka's interpretation or any other interpretation on their own.
The way I see it, newcomers to the Dhamma tend to be drawn to it because they already have a curious and inquiring mind--they tend not to take things for granted and appear willing to investigate for themselves. This was certainly the case for me, and I assume it was and still is the same for you.
So why not trust that those reading this thread (newcomers or otherwise) have the same critical abilities as ourselves to decide for themselves?
Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about others. In any event, I choose to assume the best of others (whoever these 'others' may be) rather than assume that they are unthinking, because this decision allows me to cultivate wholesomeness--this is my commitment to Right Effort. On this note, why don't we leave this discussion as it is, lest it inadvertently generates feelings of unwholesomeness in the participants and readers?
I think it is not inappropriate to paraphrase Goenkaji here. Based on what I've heard and read of Goenkaji (in the video discourses and books), when confronted with people who have their own views on things, he would very likely say (with a big warm smile on his face), 'OK, if this is your decision, be happy.' We've seen different positions in the previous posts. How about we leave this as it is and follow Goenkaji's advice, 'Be Happy'?