Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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zavk
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by zavk » Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:09 pm

I get feelings of trepidation, doubt, jitters, whatever you call it, every time I go on a retreat--regardless of whether it is a Goenka course, ten days, three days, or even one day. In a way, your decision to take a course has already allowed you to begin to explore undesirable thoughts and emotions. As it is, you are beginning to observe them arising..... So why not follow through on your initial decision and act on your intention to complete a retreat and see where that leads you? Your intention, if acted upon, will bring its own results. That's the basic law of the Dhamma.

All the best, I hope you do take the course.
With metta,
zavk

Jhana4
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:01 pm

It was a long time ago, but I've been on two of Goenka's retreats.

I know there are stories of people freaking out, but I didn't see it. I stayed on after my last retreat and worked in the kitchen. I heard more stories, but my impression was that problems were few and far between.

That was my experience on my retreats. The worst thing that happened to me was that I got stiffness/pain in my legs and under my shoulder blades. Those things would disappear as soon as the sitting would end.

So, just tell yourself the truth:

"Nothing will happen to me. I may feel some discomfort. I may not like it, but it will go away. Nothing will happen to me".


Repeat as often as necessary.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

motivateman
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by motivateman » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:16 pm

Dear All,

Many thanks for all your replies. Much appreciated it!

I think I was just getting worried about the environment and not being in control with not being able to eat, sleep etc when I want to. But I know that's what such a retreat is all about. I keep thinking about how many e-mails I'd have to pick up when I got back! I guess I've also been feeling a bit guilty about being away from my family for so long, but it seems like these are normal experiences...

Just to let you know a bit about me. I'm a person who stutters so fear and anxiety have always been a problem. I've been using meditation as a way to help me understand how I create this anxiety more. I'm also a Hindu, so I had some concerns that the course might conflict with this. But I know it won't. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita teaches about non-attachment and vipassana meditation is an excellent way to practice this.

Could any of please share any positive experiences about how the course helped you in your personal and professional lives?

I know I shouldn't expect anything but it would be good if after the course I'm better able to serve my family, friends, colleagues etc and also get some peace about my stuttering.

Cheers!

mm

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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:35 pm

motivateman wrote:Dear All,


I think I was just getting worried about the environment and not being in control with not being able to eat, sleep etc when I want to.
I love to eat. When I went I was athletic with a good appetite. Since I was sitting still in meditation all day long I was quite satisfied with the two daily meals and fruit in the evening. Both meals had a choice of several vegetarian entrees and side dishes.

When I went, bed time was at 9:30 pm. The morning gong went off at 4:30 am. That is 7 hours of sleep. Plus you have a big break at lunch where you can easily pull off a 30 min catnap. That is better than a lot of people do during the work week :).
But I know that's what such a retreat is all about. I keep thinking about how many e-mails
You would get that if you took a vacation anyway.
Just to let you know a bit about me. I'm a person who stutters so fear and anxiety have always been a problem.
Can you think of a more stress free environment for a person who stutters than a place where no one is talking?
I'm also a Hindu, so I had some concerns that the course might conflict with this. But I know it won't. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita teaches about non-attachment and vipassana meditation is an excellent way to practice this.
The videos of Goenka that are used to teach you do talk about some Buddhist philosophical concepts, but nobody is going to ask or even suggest that you pray to anything. The only conflict that you may have is that the retreats don't allow prayer at all.

The worst thing that will happen to you on this retreat will likely be that you will come to feel uncomfortable sitting on the floor for a long time. Once the meditation is over and you stand up, you will feel fine, no harm done. If you do it quietly you can even change your position.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Ben
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Ben » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:34 pm

Greetings motivateman

I've been associated with the Goenka tradition for 25 years. In that time I have sat many ten-day and longer courses as well as serve on courses. I've also sat and served in Australia, NZ, India and Myanmar.

Pre-course jitters are natural. I still get them from time to time.
Many Hindus participate in ten-day courses, particularly in India where the Govt of Maharashtra gives its employees an additional ten-days leave on top of their holidays to do a ten-day course. My teacher, SN Goenka, came from a Hindu famil and during the discourses he talks about some of the pre-course jitters he had as a young Hindu businessman.
Throughout my time participating in courses, I have witnessed a large number of clerics of various religions participating in ten-day courses. As Goenkaji says time and again, there is no conversion from one organised religion to another.

The benefits of practice include positive changes to one's personal and professional life. I won't bore you with the details of mine. If you do attend a ten-day course, Goenkaji, via the evening discourse, will talk about the immediate benefits he received as well as the benefits that some of his co-students received as well as anecdotes from the life of his teacher, Sayagi UJ Ba Khin. U Ba Khin also went on to speak in front of a delegation of Israeli government officials headed by Prime Minister Ben Gurion at IMC (International Meditation Centre) in 1961 on the positive impact of Vipassana Meditation on government administration and productivity.

If you have time before your course starts, I recommend that you track down and read a copy of John Coleman's excellent "The Quiet Mind". John Coleman is a contemporary of Goenkaji and anothr of Sayagi U Ba Khin's students. In the 1950s, Coleman was outed as a CIA agent in Bangkok and 'disappeared' by spending a number of years undergoing a spiritual journey where he met up with U Ba Khin, Maharishi, Krishnamurti and others. Coleman eventually became one of U Ba Khin's assistant teachers and he still teaches today (occassionally). It is very inspirational.
All the best with your upcoming course!
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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Jhana4
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Jhana4 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:55 am

Ben wrote: Many Hindus participate in ten-day courses, particularly in India where the Govt of Maharashtra gives its employees an additional ten-days leave on top of their holidays to do a ten-day course.
Now that, is a perk.
If you have time before your course starts, I recommend that you track down and read a copy of John Coleman's excellent "The Quiet Mind". John Coleman is a contemporary of Goenkaji and anothr of Sayagi U Ba Khin's students. In the 1950s, Coleman was outed as a CIA agent in Bangkok and 'disappeared' by spending a number of years undergoing a spiritual journey where he met up with U Ba Khin, Maharishi, Krishnamurti and others. Coleman eventually became one of U Ba Khin's assistant teachers and he still teaches today (occassionally). It is very inspirational.
I'm putting it on my to read list for the year, thank for bringing it up
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

motivateman
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by motivateman » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:47 pm

Dear Jhana4 and Ben,

Many thanks to both of you for your replies! I much appreciate your advice.

Cheers!

mm

Parth
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Parth » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:13 pm

Dear Motivateman,

I am a Hindu and have been associated with Vipassana for about 15 years now (U Ba Khin / Goenkaji's tradition). I dont think there is any contradiction there. Infect you may end up understanding Dhamma / Gita much better. Dont think go for it, post Vipassana you might actually understand the true meaning of several Kabir Dohas and so on so forth.

What may go down is your faith on certain rituals which you may come to realise were started by brahmins/ other sections of society for their personal monetary gain and do not have much to do with Dhamma.

For 10 days please just honour the following:
1. Noble Silence - most important
2. try to work on mindfulness to the maximum and follow instructions with zest

The gain you can get cannot be measured.

Metta

Parth

motivateman
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by motivateman » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:50 pm

Dear Parth,

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was good to read this from a fellow Hindu.

I'm just going to go for it!

I'll let you all know how it goes!

Thanks again to all!

Cheers,

mm

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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:17 pm

motivateman wrote:Dear Parth,

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was good to read this from a fellow Hindu.

I'm just going to go for it!

I'll let you all know how it goes!

Thanks again to all!

Cheers,

mm
Going for it is a great idea. Whether or not you continue with the specific sweeping type of practice or not, by the end of the retreat you will have gotten a good feel for mindfulness and concentration that will carry over nicely into your everyday meditation. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
>> 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

Euclid
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Euclid » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:53 am

motivateman wrote:Dear Parth,

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was good to read this from a fellow Hindu.

I'm just going to go for it!

I'll let you all know how it goes!

Thanks again to all!

Cheers,

mm
Great stuff! Nerves are totally natural, we all get them. You'll be fine. We all can't wait to hear how it goes :hug:

Parth
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Parth » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:22 pm

One last thing whatever you may have read / heard about Vipassana / Dhamma till now, forget it and just follow the instructions that you are given in the course without doubts.

Regards

Parth

Jhana4
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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Jhana4 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:03 pm

parth wrote:One last thing whatever you may have read / heard about Vipassana / Dhamma till now, forget it and just follow the instructions that you are given in the course without doubts.
Then when you arrive back home remember all of those things you decided to temporarily forget. I agree, if you go on a retreat for a particular method, seize the opportunity to experience what is unique to that system. Empty your cup and give that system 100% while you are there. Some time after the retreat has passed when you have been doing it in ordinary life is a good time to evaluate with everything else you have learned in your life.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Parth
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by Parth » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:41 pm

Jhana4 wrote :
Then when you arrive back home remember all of those things you decided to temporarily forget. I agree, if you go on a retreat for a particular method, seize the opportunity to experience what is unique to that system. Empty your cup and give that system 100% while you are there. Some time after the retreat has passed when you have been doing it in ordinary life is a good time to evaluate with everything else you have learned in your life.
Agreed.

Regards

Parth

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Re: Doubts about Goenka course! - Need advice please

Post by rowyourboat » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:56 am

Good luck, Euclid!

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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