Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat  (Read 44564 times)

Offline Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Thai Forest Tradition
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #50 on: Saturday 10 April 2010, 07:01 PM »

In order to keep this discussion wholesome and fruitful, I thought I would suggest that we avoid criticizing people or inserting beliefs or ideas into their mouths (without at least some satisfactory explanation). Otherwise, this discussion isn't really going to help anyone.

...
...

However, I have also been struck by the incredible power and efficacy of his courses--and this stems precisely from what people often critique: the structure, the demanding schedule, the essential solitariness of the experience, and even the narrowness of a technique focused on one-pointed concentration, bodily sensation, and of course, metta.


kindvoice,

I can't help but agree with what you have said - WORD TO WORD.

I do think this place has an anti-goenka bias, and it affects me to the point that I feel someone completely new to vipassana may give this technique a miss by reading the heavy negative criticism here. That would be wrong for his/her experience at the retreat could be entirely different from anything he/she might read here.

If we were to start an entirely new thread called "NOT SO TERRIBLE and NOT SO TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat", I am sure it would give a lot of different perspectives than what have been put up here. In all the courses I have been to about 1/5 th or 20% of the people there were old students, clearly showing that people are coming back, and they wouldn't if it wasn't giving results.

And as you say so clearly, because Mr. Goenka cannot physically teach every student, the organization has its own inherent limitations. But I still cannot think of any organization that would still remain so intact in terms of integrity and uniformity as has this organization after having handled such a high number of students. And this is precisely because of the way it is structured. Infact the term 'organization' does not even do justice to it. The word 'organization' gives it a sectist connotation which it is not.

While I do not want to start an endless debate about the merits and demerits of the technique, I would like to say in the end that ultimately, while people may make all sorts of exotic claims about a particular technique, the only real way to judge it is by checking how it performs on the counts of giving you more compassion, humility, wisdom and peace of mind. And I have found more people with such qualities there than anywhere else.

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
« Last Edit: Saturday 10 April 2010, 07:03 PM by Crystal Palace »
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

Jhananda

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #51 on: Saturday 10 April 2010, 09:27 PM »
And while I'm nitpicking about the meaning of words, I'd like to respond to Jhananda's comment:

 
Quote
It is a lie to say the Buddha taught a meditation technique that he called “vipassana.”


To me, this is really just quibbling, and avoids real discussion that might be had.  Granted, "vipassana" is not a term that the Buddha used, and may not even have been coined yet. However, as most people use the term vipassana, they are really just referring to the cultivation of a clear awareness that penetrates into the three characteristics of existence: impermanence, suffering, and selflessness.

And you will certainly find the Buddha making many comments about being aware (pali: Sati),  and realizing the impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and selflessness (anatta) of things. Sure sounds like vipasssana to me. 

Very good kidnovice, now can you see how mindful self awareness (sati) is NOT revelatory, intuitive insight (vipassana)?  You will note that no where in the suttas are the terms 'sati' and 'vipassana' conflated.  So, why do you think it is common practice today among Buddhist priests and meditation teachers to conflate those terms?  I believe the reason why is because these people have no idea what they are talking about.  After all, it is easy to put on a robe, but leading a rigorous contemplative life is very rare and difficult.

Yes, it is true that through mindful self awareness (sati) we can enter absorption (jhana) and discover revelatory, intuitive insight (vipassana).  However, to say that these three abstract concepts are one in the same is only to reveal that one does not know what they are.  However, it is understandable that those who have never experienced absorption (jhana) or revelatory, intuitive insight (vipassana) might conflate these abstract concepts, but it would imply that they have then never seriously practiced mindful self awareness (sati).  If that is true, then why are they teaching Buddhist philosophy (dhamma) and/or meditation practice (sati)?  Or, why are lots of people going to such ignorant people to learn Buddhist philosophy (dhamma) and/or meditation practice (sati)? The explanation was given about 100 years ago by PT Barnum, when he observed, "a fool is born every minute."

faltu

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #52 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 05:17 AM »
Quote
2) On the topic of "attachment" and "craving" (and aversion, which is really just a type of craving), it sounds like you think they are the same as simply "desiring" or "liking" something. You might want to consider that they are are very clearly NOT the same.  Consider that the Buddha obviously had desires after his enlightenment. For example, he desired that all beings be free from suffering. Likewise, as I understand it (and I would be happy to hear other perspectives) the Buddha never said that suffering is caused by desire.  Rather, in the second noble truth, he said that suffering is caused by "tanha" which can best be translated as "thirst" or "craving." Thus, when you hear Dharma teachers talk about eradicating craving or aversion, they are almost always using a more nuanced understanding of the terms. They definitely aren't saying anything as goofy as, "you should never want anything ever again."

I guess you are right. Need to think in practical terms and not word for word. Everyone has a different concept / ideas about every thing in this world :D I guess I did not understand what these things meant. Lot of bad experiences at the camp left me really in a bad taste about things.

Online Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Keep it simple
  • Status: Smiling
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #53 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 07:20 AM »
faltu,

Quote
The Buddhist teachings are clear that it is quite possible and in some cases simple to pull out the three roots of the poisons, craving, attachment and aversion.

You come here to post and read, you dont to other forums. This is some level of attachment. If there is no feeling of attachment inside you, you wont bother to come here. .....

As co-founder and co-administrator of these forums I come here because passing on the benefits of Dhamma is the obvious thing to do when one has found them. The Buddha did not teach that meditation alone would lead to liberation. He taught the noble eight fold path, which includes much more than meditation.

I don't post in other Buddhist or meditation forums because my role at this one takes some time, this one is practice oriented - and many others are full of speculation and mindless discussion, which I do not find beneficial to change.

Do you have a current meditation practice, Faltu?

Are you applying other aspects of the path in your daily life and interactions?

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

faltu

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #54 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 07:31 AM »
Quote
Do you have a current meditation practice, Faltu?

I am going yoga + pranayam since many years. Its right time for me to start taking on meditation. I am learning different types of meditation : shavasana, raj yoga, vipassana, etc.

Most probably I will settle for "Zazen" which I find is more better suited for me. :D

Online Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Keep it simple
  • Status: Smiling
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #55 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 07:34 AM »

In order to keep this discussion wholesome and fruitful, I thought I would suggest that we avoid criticizing people or inserting beliefs or ideas into their mouths (without at least some satisfactory explanation). Otherwise, this discussion isn't really going to help anyone.

...
...

However, I have also been struck by the incredible power and efficacy of his courses--and this stems precisely from what people often critique: the structure, the demanding schedule, the essential solitariness of the experience, and even the narrowness of a technique focused on one-pointed concentration, bodily sensation, and of course, metta.


kindvoice,

I can't help but agree with what you have said - WORD TO WORD.

I do think this place has an anti-goenka bias, and it affects me to the point that I feel someone completely new to vipassana may give this technique a miss by reading the heavy negative criticism here. That would be wrong for his/her experience at the retreat could be entirely different from anything he/she might read here.

Crystal,

Please don't think this place has an inherently anti-Goenka bias. I have personally expressed both my concerns about his technique and methods - but also that Goenks'a Vipassana is something some people find beneficial - and that I am not in a position to tell them otherwise.

I don't think you can get fairer than that.

There are some historical debates that got rather heated but the current situation is much cooler and people including myself have recognised where their speech was unwholesome and have made positive efforts to change based on these insights.

Whatever method or school one is following what really matters is how it changes you off the cushion - including how one conducts oneself in internet or other debates.

We could fight silly doctrinal wars without cease and spend lots of energy on it - yet this would be a waste of time and energy. What matters are the results. Is your practice lessening the binds these negative factors have on you? Is your practice leading you to experience more awareness of the moment to moment flux of situations? Is your practice leading to greater calm, insight, compassion, kindness, selflessness, patience and wisdom?

These are the questions that make up the yardstick we need to measure ourselves against. Goenka's practice clearly works well for you and for many others. yet for many it simply doesn't for all the reasons people have been through again and again.

As Dhamma practitioners we can support each other irrespective of school or tradition ... or we can choose to pick on petty differences.

I know which is more beneficial.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Online Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Keep it simple
  • Status: Smiling
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #56 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 07:44 AM »
Quote
Do you have a current meditation practice, Faltu?

I am going yoga + pranayam since many years. Its right time for me to start taking on meditation. I am learning different types of meditation : shavasana, raj yoga, vipassana, etc.

Most probably I will settle for "Zazen" which I find is more better suited for me. :D

So at the moment you are basically in the "spiritual supermarket", browsing the shelves. I would thoroughly suggest you read [amazonsearch]Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, by Chogyam Trungpa[/amazonsearch]. It is a book aimed at people in your situation.

Then pick a horse and ride it for a while - establish yourself in practice, any practice.

This forum's focus is the practicalities of meditation. If you are not regularly sitting, using one method of practice, your ability to understand and contribute to debates here will be of limited value to yourself and others and may never be of assistance in your attaining wisdom.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Offline Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Thai Forest Tradition
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #57 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 08:51 AM »

Whatever method or school one is following what really matters is how it changes you off the cushion - including how one conducts oneself in internet or other debates.

We could fight silly doctrinal wars without cease and spend lots of energy on it - yet this would be a waste of time and energy. What matters are the results. Is your practice lessening the binds these negative factors have on you? Is your practice leading you to experience more awareness of the moment to moment flux of situations? Is your practice leading to greater calm, insight, compassion, kindness, selflessness, patience and wisdom?

These are the questions that make up the yardstick we need to measure ourselves against. Goenka's practice clearly works well for you and for many others. yet for many it simply doesn't for all the reasons people have been through again and again.

As Dhamma practitioners we can support each other irrespective of school or tradition


Dear Matthew,

Im inclined to agree  :)

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

faltu

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #58 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 04:20 PM »
There are some good reading about Vipassana :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasi_Sayadaw

Scroll down to publications section.
    * Practical Vipassana Exercises [1]
    * Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation [2] [3]
    * The Progress of Insight--an advanced talk on Vipassana [4]
    * Thoughts on the Dharma [5]

Peace !

faltu

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #59 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 04:46 PM »
There are some difference between Mahasi Sayadaw style vipassana and Goenka style ?

This is so very confusing ! ???

faltu

  • Guest

Jhananda

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #61 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 08:31 PM »
There are some difference between Mahasi Sayadaw style vipassana and Goenka style ?

This is so very confusing ! ???
Hello Faltu, I can understand why studying meditation within a Buddhist context can be so confusing, because every priest has been able to say whatever he wanted to for the last 2,000 years, because there has been no peer review in Buddhism, or any religion for that matter.  I suggest to anyone, who wishes to study meditation as the Buddha taught it, to read the suttas that discuss meditation.

The Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) “Mindfulness of the breath” is the sutta that describes Anapana, or breath meditation.   The Kayagata-sati Sutta (MN 119) “Mindfulness of the Body” is the sutta that describes meditation upon the body.  This sutta is closest to what Goenka teaches, but for some reason he does not seem to refer to this sutta, most probably because it refers to jhana.  The Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10) “the Four Paths of Mindfulness” uses the aggregates as a vehicle of meditation. The Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22), “Larger Discourse on the Four Paths of Mindfulness” is an extension of the Satipatthana sutta, but it includes a description of jhana.

Offline kidnovice

  • Member
  • Practice, tradition or school: Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #62 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 08:55 PM »
Quote
Very good kidnovice, now can you see how mindful self awareness (sati) is NOT revelatory, intuitive insight (vipassana)?  You will note that no where in the suttas are the terms 'sati' and 'vipassana' conflated.  So, why do you think it is common practice today among Buddhist priests and meditation teachers to conflate those terms?  I believe the reason why is because these people have no idea what they are talking about.  After all, it is easy to put on a robe, but leading a rigorous contemplative life is very rare and difficult.

Yes, it is true that through mindful self awareness (sati) we can enter absorption (jhana) and discover revelatory, intuitive insight (vipassana).  However, to say that these three abstract concepts are one in the same is only to reveal that one does not know what they are.  However, it is understandable that those who have never experienced absorption (jhana) or revelatory, intuitive insight (vipassana) might conflate these abstract concepts, but it would imply that they have then never seriously practiced mindful self awareness (sati).  If that is true, then why are they teaching Buddhist philosophy (dhamma) and/or meditation practice (sati)?  Or, why are lots of people going to such ignorant people to learn Buddhist philosophy (dhamma) and/or meditation practice (sati)? The explanation was given about 100 years ago by PT Barnum, when he observed, "a fool is born every minute."

I definitely agree that "Sati" (awareness) and "Vipassana" (insight) are quite different. Awareness only becomes an insight practice when it penetrates into the three characteristics of existence.  I suppose that I have been quite fortunate in encountering competent Vipassana teachers. Of the many Vipassana teachers that I have read/heard/met,  I rarely hear any who conflate awareness and insight.  Certainly, some Dharma talks will primarily emphasize mere Sati (which makes sense considering that many in the audience are beginners). However, taken as a whole, most every Vipassana teacher I have encountered also emphasizes the importance of seeing into the changing, insubstantial, and unsatisfactory nature of experience.  Our conversation makes me feel grateful for the many competent teachers I have encountered!

Ultimately, I think we should just call out the real objection you are making. You say:
Quote
through mindful self awareness (sati) we can enter absorption (jhana) and discover revelatory, intuitive insight

From that, and other comments you have made on the forum, I infer that you think that many Vipassana teachers today are failing to sufficiently emphasize the importance of concentration/ecstasy.  Perhaps you think that without a high degree of concentration, a meditator's awareness cannot reveal truly transformative insight into the three characteristics? Maybe that's right. Maybe not. If I had to speculate, I would imagine that final liberation requires the attainment of true Jhana. But I think there is much to be seen along the way. And this is ultimately a matter of personal investigation.

Most importantly, I think the path should bear fruit from the beginning to the end. Thus, if a person is not attaining what some would call "jhana," but is finding that their life is clearly improved by the insights garnered from their sati, I would be hesitant to imply that their insights are somehow false or that they are in any way foolish.  Conversely, I would kindly suggest that a meditator reevaluate their practice (and intention) if their devotion to Jhana is putting them on the supposed "fast track" to liberation, but isn't cultivating qualities of kindness, patience, humility, and forgiveness.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: the only true benchmark we have to evaluate a path is the positive change we see in ourselves as a result of walking on it. And no one can make that assessment for you, but yourself.

With metta,
kn
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Online Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Keep it simple
  • Status: Smiling
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #63 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 09:44 PM »
I guess you are right. Need to think in practical terms and not word for word.


Nearly faltu, but more .. Stop thinking so you will experience reality. Fabricate nothing.

Here's Alan watts on the subject:

http://www.vipassanaforum.net/audio/wattslanguage.m3u

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

unprevadedrapture

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #64 on: Sunday 11 April 2010, 11:53 PM »
Goenka has students lose themselves before they have secure selves. Many of Goenka's teachings are from commentaries and sub-commentaries or given new definitions e.g. bhanga (only in Vimutimagga and with different definition), sankara's (potentials, reactions, etc) eradication (only happens at stream entry, only developing equanimity)... a good thing about goenka retreats is they teach you how to sit. they don't give you anything to substitute vices, just objective self observation. The fact is anapana (the basis for both techniques taught) goes beyond what is taught. The breath should be altered and one should feel what one needs to feel to deepen concentration. I recommend studying the suttas and thinking for oneself. Asking questions necessary and one technique that moves one away from reasoning and discourages the buddhas instructions for jhana isn't sufficient ultimately and proclivities are a lot wider and perspectives there are very limited... But its also very useful sometimes and a good introduction albeit skewed from the suttas and not the eightfold path in its entirety. I recommend esp. Wat Metta, and also Abhayagiri... accesstoinsight.org.
« Last Edit: Sunday 11 April 2010, 11:57 PM by unprevadedrapture »

Jhananda

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #65 on: Monday 12 April 2010, 12:49 AM »
...jhana isn't sufficient ultimately and proclivities are a lot wider and perspectives there are very limited... But its also very useful sometimes and a good introduction albeit skewed from the suttas and not the eightfold path in its entirety. I recommend esp. Wat Metta, and also Abhayagiri... accesstoinsight.org.
According to the suttas jhana was the Buddha’s definition of the 8th fold of his Noble Eightfold Path.
Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22.22)
 (1st Jhana)
[22]"And what (Katamo ca) seekers of Buddhahood (Bhikkhus) is right absorption (sammàsamàdhi)? There is the case where (Idha) a seeker of Buddhahood (bhikkhave bhikkhu) is withdrawn (vivicceva) from sensuality (kàmehi), withdrawn from unwholesome mental states and beliefs (akusalehi dhammehi) with applied and sustained attention (savitakkaü savicàraü) resides (viharati) in the bliss, joy (pãtisukhaü) and clarity (upasampajja) of the first ecstasy (pañhamaü jhànaü).
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06

The Ariyapariyesana Sutta (MN 26.28) contains a description of Dependent Origination.  This description immediately precedes a description of jhana, which suggests the formula for Dependent Origination is intended to lead to jhana, and that jhana was supposed to make one invisible to Mara, the evil one.

The Noble Search, Ariyapariyesana Sutta (MN 26.28)
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06
"Monks, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Aromas cognizable via the nose — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Tastes cognizable via the tongue — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These are the five strings of sensuality.

(1st Jhana)
"Suppose that a wild deer is living in a wilderness glen. Carefree it walks, carefree it stands, carefree it sits, carefree it lies down. Why is that? Because it has gone beyond the hunter's range. In the same way, a seeker of Buddhahood (bhikkhave bhikkhu) renounces (vivicceva) sensuality (kàmehi), renounces unwholesome mental states and beliefs (akusalehi dhammehi) with applied and sustained attention (savitakkaü savicàraü) and bliss and joy (pãtisukhaü) one resides (viharati) in the clarity (upasampajja) of the first ecstasy (pañhamaü jhànaü). This seeker of Buddhahood is said to have blinded ('andhamakàsi) Mara. Trackless (apadaü), he has destroyed Mara's vision (màracakkhuü) and has become invisible (adassanaü) to the Evil One (pàpimato).

Jhana Sutta (AN XI.36)
"I tell you, the ending of mental agitation depends upon the first meditative absorption (jhana)...” (through 8th samadhi)
Edited by Jhananda to correct translation errors.

Jhanasamyutta (SN 34)
"Therein, bhikkhus, a contemplative who is skilled both in meditation that leads to meditative absorption (samadhi) and in the attainment of meditative absorption (samadhi) is the chief, the best, the foremost, the highest, the most excellent of… contemplatives."
(Bodhi, Bhikkhu trans., Samyutta Nikaya Wisdom, 2000, Page 1034) Edited by Jhananda to correct translation errors.

Jhanasamyutta, SN 9.53
"Seekers of Buddhahood, just as the River Ganges slants, slopes and inclines toward the East, so too a seeker of Buddhahood who develops and cultivates the four ecstasies (jhanas) slants, slopes, and inclines toward nibbana."
(Bodhi, Bhikkhu trans., Samyutta Nikaya Wisdom, 2000)
Edited by Jhananda to correct translation errors.

It appears that Goenka has not read nor understood the suttas.

Best regards, Jhananda

unprevadedrapture

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #66 on: Monday 12 April 2010, 01:36 AM »
Goenka says not to do jhana till you've entered nibbana a few times because there's too much potential for attachment. Is this even possible? Nevertheless I hear of masters getting hung up in formless realms and never quite reaching Arahatship e.g. Ajahn Lee. Getting stuck at any jhana especially the third is considered a hindrance.
« Last Edit: Monday 12 April 2010, 02:35 AM by unprevadedrapture »

unprevadedrapture

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #67 on: Monday 12 April 2010, 02:17 AM »
/
« Last Edit: Monday 12 April 2010, 02:41 AM by unprevadedrapture »

Online Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Keep it simple
  • Status: Smiling
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #68 on: Monday 12 April 2010, 05:43 AM »
There are some difference between Mahasi Sayadaw style vipassana and Goenka style ?

This is so very confusing ! ???


At some point you have to stop your "research", stop your "reading", pick a horse and ride it. Here is how I suggest you sit:

...

... Meditation begins as relaxing into your bodymind and reconnecting body and mind through total awareness of breath.

Awareness occurs throughout the body and mind through the distributed nervous system, though is of course centred in the brain - as the final organ of cognition of all perceptions.

...

The Buddha did not teach to focus breathing on the nose. For westerners who are often "head heavy" in their general way of living - and to some extent disembodied because of our cultural preference and conditioning towards rationality - this can be a particular and significant problem.

The Buddha taught:

Quote from: www.accesstoinsight.org
"There is the case where an aspirant -- having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building -- sits down cross-legged, holding the body erect and setting her (4) awareness before her. Always aware, one breathes in; aware one breathes out aware.

"Breathing in long, one discerns that one is breathing in long; or breathing out long, one discerns that one is breathing out long. Or breathing in short, one discerns that one is breathing in short; or breathing out short, one discerns that one is breathing out short. One trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. One trains herself to breathe in calming the entire body and to breathe out calming the entire body.
"


So according to the Buddha the focus of meditation is the entire breathing experience and body, not the nostrils. And the prime first goals are awareness or sensitivity to the entire body and relaxation or calming.

....
 

Still mind can be quickly achieved by Anapana or any other over-forced breath meditation - but it becomes a form of self hypnosis.....


Develop awareness of your whole body breathing. Relax during your meditation and feel the breath entering your lungs, feel the abdomen stretching out to accommodate this.  "Train (yourself) to breathe in sensitive to the entire body and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. Train (yourself) to breathe in calming the entire body and to breathe out calming the entire body." Let thoughts, feelings and emotions arise, be aware of them but do not engage of them. If you do then when you realise return to awareness of whole body breathing, noting the deviation from practice without self criticism.

.....

Also do not be afraid to have the eyes open a little, looking gently at the floor 1 - 2 metres in front of you. The eyes should be relaxed - as in when sleeping - but not forcefully closed, when meditating.

In short:

"The meditator, having taken himself to a secluded spot, bringing mindfulness to the fore, breathes in aware of the entire body, calming the entire body, breathes out aware of the entire body, calming the entire body".

That is all there is to it for now. That and the four immeasurables OFF the cushion.

...

Questions:
Do I count my breaths like in Zazen?
Do I curve the lower spine part a bit so belly is forced out or do I tuck the but in like in Qigong?
Is it important to meditate every day at same time in the same spot?


Besides staying mindful with the breath all the way in and out of my One Centre (lower abdomen) do I breath long or short? Does it matter?
.....

Since I have been already sitting for 20-25 minutes every day is it OK to start Shamatha for an hour or should I increase it slowly by doing half and hour now in the start?


Answers:

No, don't count your breaths. This is a form of fabrication. Just be aware of the whole bodily breathing experience - not just the rise and fall of the abdomen or the tickle on your nose - THE WHOLE BODY BREATHING.

Don't force the belly out but it will naturally rise and fall if you are breathing properly with the diaphragm and have good posture. Sit so your pelvis is tilted a little forward with some cushions or blankets under your bum to lift it 4 - 6 inches ( 10 - 15 cm) from the ground (sometimes higher is needed). This forms a stable tripod of your bum and knees to sit on and encourages the back into proper position for taking your weight.

It is not important to meditate every day in the same spot. Your practice will be greatly enhanced if you practice every day, several times a day even. Your practice will be enhanced by practicing in a suitable place, quiet and free from distractions. Some people find it helps them maintain a regular practice to have a meditation corner or spot set up but don't let this become too ritualised if you do.

Your awareness is better not placed on the abdomen. The Buddha taught full body-breathing awareness. It does not matter if you breath in long or short. It does matter that you are aware with each breath if it is long or short - and all it's other characteristics.

You can start with half an hour or an hour. Don't force yourself into discomfort. If you are used to sitting for 25 minutes why not start there and build up. Alternatively, and most usefully, you can sit without a predetermined time limit if your life allows this.




Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jhananda

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #69 on: Monday 12 April 2010, 04:30 PM »
Goenka says not to do jhana till you've entered nibbana a few times because there's too much potential for attachment. Is this even possible? Nevertheless I hear of masters getting hung up in formless realms and never quite reaching Arahatship e.g. Ajahn Lee. Getting stuck at any jhana especially the third is considered a hindrance.
Thank-you unprevadedrapture, for demonstrating that any fool can preach the dhamma and many fools will show up to listen, because jhana was the Buddha's definition for the eightfold of his Noble Eightfold Path, therefore anyone who claims one can become attached to jhana is not even a Buddhist.

Latukikopama Sutta, MN 66
"...he enters and abides in the fourth absorption (jhana): which is purity of equanimity and mindfulness, with neither pleasure nor pain. This is called renunciation-pleasure, seclusion-pleasure, calm-pleasure, self-awakening-pleasure. And of this pleasure I say that it is to be cultivated, to be developed, to be pursued, it is not to be feared.

Tevijja Sutta (DN 13.75-79)
The Discourse of the Buddha
75 “…when these five hindrances are abandoned, one regards it as being without debt, having good health, release from prison, freedom, a place of security. Seeing that they have been abandoned in him, one becomes joyful (sukha). Joyful, one becomes blissful. Blissful, one’s body grows relaxed. When one’s body becomes relaxed, one becomes sensitive to bliss (piiti). Feeling bliss (piiti), one’s mind becomes absorbed (jhana).

"Withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental states, one enters and abides in the first meditative absorption (jhana): bliss (piti) and joy (sukha) originating from withdrawal, accompanied by applied and sustained attention (vitakka and vicára). one permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the bliss (piti) and joy (sukha) originating from withdrawal...(through 4th jhana)
Based upon a translation by Maurice Walshe, “The Long Discourses of the Buddha” (Digha Nikaya), Wisdom Publishing, Boston, 1987, 1995, corrected by Jhananda

Jhanasamyutta SN 9.53
"Bhikkhus, there are these five higher fetters.  What five?  Lust for form, lust for the formless, conceit, restlessness, ignorance.  These are the five higher fetters.  The four meditative absorptions (jhanas) are to be developed for direct knowledge of these five higher fetters, for the full understanding of them, for their utter destruction, for their abandoning."
(Samyutta Nikaya trans. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom, 2000) corrected by Jhananda

unprevadedrapture

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #70 on: Monday 12 April 2010, 10:10 PM »
/
« Last Edit: Monday 12 April 2010, 10:40 PM by unprevadedrapture »

Offline Lokuttara

  • Member
  • Trekking the hills of dhamma
  • Practice, tradition or school: Vipassanamurti
  • Status: Love cycling into the blue skies and enjoying the first touches of Spring!
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #71 on: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 05:05 PM »
Just back from my 6th Vipassana course under Goenka. It seems with each course I realise more and more how much this technique has changed my life, helped me in so many ways and healed so many past wounds. It really has changed my life in a way that is easily measurable and obvious (even to most of my friends) and I am really grateful to this wonderful teacher.

The great thing about the Goenka courses is that they are without doubt the closest you will get to a parctical form of J.Krishnamurti or Eckhart Tolle. The teachers gently steer students away from any form of attachment to the technique, or blind acceptance. They ask you to experience everything for yourself, and only then accept it. "You are your own master" is what Goenka says himself, so in truth, there is no teacher - there are just people to guide you in the right direction, not force you into anything in particular. They don't tell you what you should feel, or how you should be progressing, or what experiences you should strive to attain. We just observe the reality *as it is*, and accept it completely. This allows the ego to gently, gradually dissolve. It also allows us to leave behind all these intellectual discussions and complications that seem to be rife in other Buddhist teachings.

So many sankaras have come up for me; deep, dark sankaras. Vipassana helped me to deal with them and keep my head - let them arise and pass away. It works, it really does - I always feel so much lighter after the courses and I can keep with the reality of anicca even outside of meditation sessions to some extent.

What a lot of people don't realise is that over time, Goenka leads older students to the stage of:
"One trains himself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body. One trains herself to breathe in calming the entire body and to breathe out calming the entire body."

But unfortunately most people on this forum seem to be grossly misinformed about the Goenka technique, or else have gone to courses without being able to leave their egos at the door :P
"One may be surrounded by great beauty, by mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as well be dead." Krishnamurti

Online Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
  • (-: Staff
  • Practice, tradition or school: Keep it simple
  • Status: Smiling
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #72 on: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 05:28 PM »
Lokuttara,

It is gladdening to hear Dhamma has touched you so deeply.

Don't be fooled though ... no one ever leaves their ego at the door when they go on any kind of course - be it a Goenka course, a Tibetan course, a Zen course or a race course. ;)

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jhananda

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #73 on: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 06:45 PM »
I am happy for you Lokuttara, that you have come back from your 6th retreat feeling so good, and so devoted to your beloved guru-ji Goenka-ji.  However, you know when you are in a cult, when there is only one teacher, and everyone else is just a tape librarian; and I am sure Goenka-ji is still claiming the Buddha invented a meditation technique that he called "vipassana."  Of course there is no canonical support for such a claim, and not only that, but why would the Buddha invent a method and call it by a Sanskrit term?  Vipassana is a Sanskrit term that was in use a long time before Siddhartha Gotama arrived in the scene.  But, I can understand that it is kind of hard to back-peddle on 50 years of lies.

unprevadedrapture

  • Guest
Re: TERRIBLE and TRAUMATIC experience at Goenka retreat
« Reply #74 on: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 10:45 PM »
"attachment to the technique, or blind acceptance" is more or less necessary to remain in the tradition and do longer courses and service unless you keep to yourself with other even therevada practices and perspectives. that one technique is all that is taught, and it is taught that it is sufficient unto itself. the buddha taught a lot more than this one tradition of anapana in the sitting position only i.e. vipassana_ stemming from U Bah Khin and maybe his lay farmer teacher with vague acceptance by ledi sayadaw, but not taught by ledi in any of his writings. not even technical teachings within the lineage like ledi sayadaw (including many contemplations, etc) or webu sayadaw (plain anapana) are allowable for continued practice on the center. its less of a cult given where its coming from. burmese traditions are often based on the commentaries or sub-commentaries and sayadaws often insist that you practice specific to their teachings. its understandable, but if your not 100% on just this technique alone then you can't do longer courses, etc. another big problem is the assistant teachers aren't always knowledgeable and usually can't or won't help you outside the Vipassana technique context, and theory presented by Goenka.
« Last Edit: Tuesday 13 April 2010, 10:56 PM by unprevadedrapture »