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Author Topic: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body  (Read 514 times)

Corda

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About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« on: March 21, 2017, 09:21:56 AM »
Hello,

First of all, sorry for my english. I am from Spain and English is not obviously my native language.

I will try to express myself the best that I can.

A few months ago I went to a vipassana mediation retreat (Goenka school). It was a difficult experience, but also very profitable. Now I am doing meditation back home according to Goenka’s teachings (one hour day, two days not possible).  More or less I think I understood  properly the tecnique but I have a doubt regarding one aspect.
On the last days Goenka  told the participants to do the body scan not only in the surface but also inside the body. I am not sure what he meant by internal scan. Is it basically the same as the normal scan but just a little bit inside?  That is to say, do the scan from the crown of the head to the toes but just a little deeper?
Or do I have to focus on internal organs such as the tongue, the lungs, the heart, the liver…? If that is case, which  order should I follow? And which organs should I focus on and which organs should I put aside? The thing is, although you are not supposed to use visualization during the meditation, I  I find it very hard to focus on this internal organs without visualizing them.

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Best  wishes.

Laurent

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 01:57:10 PM »
Hello Corda,

You should currently have "free flow" all over the body to be able to practice this. It is improbable if you practice only 1H/day.
The instruction is to observe body from top to bottom and from bottom to top with free flow, as if one is pouring a water bucket on your head, with few resistances all over the body.
When you feel subtle sensations all over the body and practising easily this way, then you can try to observe sensations inside the body.
Instructions say not to imagine contours of organs but only sensations, in the same way.
Don't try to create this experinece artificially, it will come in its time, generally during a retreat, when you practice very hard.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 02:03:21 PM by Laurent »
Ideologies are either a mistake or a hoax!

Corda

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 03:31:31 PM »
Thank you very much for your answer.
It's been very clarifying.

 Nowadays sometimes I get the free flow sometimes I don't. The truth is I don't care too much if I get it or not, as we all know the main thing here is the equanimity. However, it is clear that if i go on practicing I will get the free flow more often and clearer.

 I will follow your advice and don't try to observe sensations inside the body for the time being. 

Laurent, just one more thing: in your answer you wrote: "Instructions say..." By instructions did you mean the recordings used during the retreats? Or maybe there is some written document on the internet with instructions) If so, these would be very helpful.


Laurent

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 05:40:57 PM »
Thank you very much for your answer.
It's been very clarifying.

 Nowadays sometimes I get the free flow sometimes I don't. The truth is I don't care too much if I get it or not, as we all know the main thing here is the equanimity. However, it is clear that if i go on practicing I will get the free flow more often and clearer.

 I will follow your advice and don't try to observe sensations inside the body for the time being. 

Laurent, just one more thing: in your answer you wrote: "Instructions say..." By instructions did you mean the recordings used during the retreats? Or maybe there is some written document on the internet with instructions) If so, these would be very helpful.

Yes the recordings  used during the group meditations mentions this. I am coming back from a recent 10 days course (5 March) and remember well those instructions, particularly the remark about not imagining the contours. This a constant in Goenka's teaching to not imagine anything but just observe with objectivity.

Good luck and be happy!
Ideologies are either a mistake or a hoax!

Vishal

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 04:14:11 AM »
Hello,

More or less I think I understood  properly the tecnique but I have a doubt regarding one aspect.
On the last days Goenka  told the participants to do the body scan not only in the surface but also inside the body. I am not sure what he meant by internal scan. Is it basically the same as the normal scan but just a little bit inside?  That is to say, do the scan from the crown of the head to the toes but just a little deeper?
Or do I have to focus on internal organs such as the tongue, the lungs, the heart, the liver…? If that is case, which  order should I follow? And which organs should I focus on and which organs should I put aside? The thing is, although you are not supposed to use visualization during the meditation, I  I find it very hard to focus on this internal organs without visualizing them.


Hi Corda,

It is very good to know that you did your first course of Vipassana meditation.

In the Goenka Ji Vipassana courses the focus is on observing with equanimity the sensations (feelings) on the body and understanding its impermanent, changing and stressful nature to develop the wisdom (Pannya). It is not a body scanning method as the term is used widely.

I will try to explain the process in detail that might help us to remove some obvious doubts. There should not be any doubts in Dhamma and its practice. If they arise we should contact our teacher to get them removed.

VIPASSANA - One pointed concentration of mind (anapana)  - Observation of Sensations (Vedna) - impermanent/changing nature (Aniccha) - understanding - Wisdom (Pannya) - for liberation from attachments (Vimmuti). 

   - It is to experience as it is the continuous flow of different sensations (pleasureful, painful & neutral sensations) through out the body in part by part and piece by piece method with equanimity.

   - The occasional observation of free flow of subtle sensations is done to notice the sensations across the whole body in one go, like pouring water on the head and it reaches the toes smoothly. But sweeping the body with a free flow of subtle or gross sensations has to be done twice or thrice in one sitting and then one has to go back to part by part and piece by piece method of observing the sensations (subtle or gross whatever we feel at that time).

   - In this way it will become easier for the meditators to complete the daily one hour sittings. Some people try and just work with the free flow but they find difficulties to keep the mind calm & patient and this leads to poor understanding and eventual doubts about the practice.

   - I start with Anapana for about 5 to 10 minutes. I then spend about 20 to 25 minutes to complete first round of observation from head to toe. Then while back up from toe to head 15 to 18 minutes. Then I observe the individual parts with the flow or observe from head to toe in 10 to 15 minutes and back. Then I see if there is any free flow through out the body and observe it. I will do it 2 to 3 times and then back to part by part and piece by piece. Finally, I do Metta for couple of minutes at the end by observing the free flow through out the body. These are just for direction, you will have to develop the your own system as it is your own journey!

   - Internal Scan - In the beginning we all observe the sensations on the upper surface of the body part by part and piece by peice. (Some people may observe the sensations all over (inside-outside) based on their past work with this technique). However, as your experience grows with Vipassana you may start experiencing the sensations on the inner parts but it happens gradually. As your focus, practice, understanding will grow the experience of the sensations on inner parts will happen on its own. You will not have to deliberately try, the mind will start moving inside on the inner parts on its own. The nature & Dhamma takes its own course all we need to do is keep making efforts.

   - As once explained by the Buddha - It is a gradual process - like walking on the Ocean floor, for a long stretch we will keep walking on a flat floor. After walking for a while we will experience a sudden descent.

   - Visualization - All the visualizations and imaginations with procrastination are hindrances in the path. If we visualize we disconnect with the reality. For new meditators this can be a bit challenging but by keeping focus on the direct experience of the sensations, they can get rid of mental visualizations and thoughts gradually.

   - Regardless of internal or surface level sensations the focus is to develop pannya-wisdom of annicha-impermanence. All we need to do is to be with the sensations wherever we are feeling them by observing their changing and fleeting nature with perseverance, patience and persistence. 

   - More on internal scan or observation - Internal observation comes with strong concentration and a sharp mind. If the mind is a Vipassana ready mind (I am sure you understand this) then by working with this mind on sensations it becomes sharper and subtler, as it becomes subtler it penetrates further inside in the inner parts and starts to experience sensations there. The idea is to reach a station where one will experience sensations through out (inside & out) the body without any part left. Inner parts sensations will be similar to the outside may be more gross in the beginning but gradually it will all become one whole without the distinction of inside-outside. The mind will be smoothly able to observe sensations all over and report back with what it finds.

  - Make it your feedback system to identify the truth that all our reactions and the generations of Passion & Aversion are based on the sensations (Vedna pachya Tanha - Sensations lead to Craving) which are ever changing and impermanent in nature but we keep on attaching to them. So we need to break this chain of ignorance at this very crucial link of sensations (Vedna).

Hope it was of little help.

Clue is to convert the 10 days progressive meditation schedule in 1 hour sitting and take an approach of part by part & piece by piece.

May all being be happy and peaceful!

Regards

Vishal



 



Corda

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 08:33:54 AM »
Hello Vishal

Thank you very much for your explanation and your advices. They are very helpful.



May all being be happy and peaceful

Regards

Matthew

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 06:47:26 PM »
Vishal,

Quote
VIPASSANA - One pointed concentration of mind (anapana)

This is nonsense. Vipassana means insight/seeing things as they are. Anapana is breathing in and out. One pointed concentration of mind is total development of Samahdi.

Metta,

Matthew
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 07:40:35 PM by Matthew »
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mdr

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2017, 02:23:39 PM »
Vishal,

Quote
VIPASSANA - One pointed concentration of mind (anapana)

This is nonsense. Vipassana means insight/seeing things as they are. Anapana is breathing in and out. One pointed concentration of mind is total development of Samahdi.

Metta,

Matthew

I don't want to argue with Visha about what's thought at Goenka retreats, because he seems to know better, BUT... What you write Matthew is exactly what we were told at that Goenka retreat i did long time ago.
Now, it is possible that something got "lost in translation" for the best. The thing is, hardly anyone there spoke fluent English, so someone was translating for us. That someone (a she) was a reputable medical doctor
with substantial experience in Zen meditation. I am wondering now, is it possible that inadvertently she thought us the right thing? I do remember that some things she was explaining, not literally translating because not only no one except her was fluent in English (teachers were native speakers), but no one had any previous experience with Buddhism and Vipassana meditation either. (I realize this might sound strange to most, but it's  happening in former Yugoslavia in mid 90ies, during wars and economic sanctions. Long time before that religion all together was not welcomed, so except few churches and one active synagogue, at the time there were couple of Hindu sects/ new religious movements  - Hare Krishna and similar, because i think that communist gvmnt at the time considered them benign, something like that.)
I also recall we were recommended the "Vipassana, the Art of Living" by William Heart. I read it Serbian at the time. This discussion made me look it up online, it's available as free pdf. It's written with Goenka's permission and introduction. I am reading it now once again, but i clearly remember Vipassana in the translation throughout the book was referred to "as seeing the reality as it is."

"One pointed concentration of mind" i've never heard of in terms of anapana. We were thought it was observing the breath. The lady who was translating had told us to keep an unfocused attention on the breath, but never mentioned concentration per se. I am reading now on page 7, very 1st sentence of the book i mentined above:" During the first three and a half days the participants practice an exercise of mental concentration."
The word "concentration" per se was not used at the retreat at all. (You might wonder how come i remember stuff like that after so many years, but i do, i have good memory and also i've been working as an interpreter for years, so i do need it  ;) ).

I realize that many on board here might be as confused as i am. Not too many i think had the opportunity to have first hand experience and non-obliterated sources of study. In fact, i joined the forum because i didn't know anymore to whom to listen. But, here i find it easy: despite my profound lack on knowledge in the field, i learned to pay attention to whose words are coming from the place of love and kindness. It's not so difficult to understand and to follow (with due respect to all who for unbeknownst to me reasons seem to push the "official" Goenka line.)

Matthew

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2017, 03:49:20 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful post mdr.

Quote
"One pointed concentration of mind"  i've never heard of in terms of anapana

Samadhi has many stages and forms and formless forms. Concentration is a deep rabbit hole to go down. One pointed concentration is when the mind can hold a single object of meditation without effort, interruption or hindrance.
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mdr

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2017, 04:05:05 PM »
Thank you for your thoughtful post mdr.

Quote
"One pointed concentration of mind"  i've never heard of in terms of anapana

Samadhi has many stages and forms and formless forms. Concentration is a deep rabbit hole to go down. One pointed concentration is when the mind can hold a single object of meditation without effort, interruption or hindrance.

Thank you for explanation, Matthew, it's truly appreciated!

Vishal

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2017, 01:25:17 AM »
Thank you for your thoughtful post mdr.

Quote
"One pointed concentration of mind"  i've never heard of in terms of anapana

Samadhi has many stages and forms and formless forms. Concentration is a deep rabbit hole to go down. One pointed concentration is when the mind can hold a single object of meditation without effort, interruption or hindrance.

Please read it as one pointed concentration with mindfulness, awareness, comprehension and fixed attention.
It definitely is not just blind focus on one or the other object.

Concentration and mindfulness are complimentary to each other and not adversaries.

May you be peaceful :-)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 01:32:16 AM by Vishal »

Matthew

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Re: About Goinka's tecnique: internal scan body
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 10:52:29 AM »
Thank you for your thoughtful post mdr.

Quote
"One pointed concentration of mind"  i've never heard of in terms of anapana

Samadhi has many stages and forms and formless forms. Concentration is a deep rabbit hole to go down. One pointed concentration is when the mind can hold a single object of meditation without effort, interruption or hindrance.

Please read it as one pointed concentration with mindfulness, awareness, comprehension and fixed attention.


I'll read it as it is written. It's bullshit.
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