Author Topic: Returning Goenka students  (Read 8428 times)

redalert

Returning Goenka students
« on: August 22, 2013, 07:52:32 PM »
I was reading some previous threads and there seemed some confusion about the percentage of returning students in the Goenka tradition. I heard from a very old student that one of the head teachers recently did a count using a great deal of information gathered over several years.

It seems that if 100 new students sat a course, only 10 or 10% return to take a second course, out of those 10 students only 10% or 1 student will go on to develop and sustain a daily practice of 2hrs sitting and observation of precepts.

So basically 1% of people who sit a Goenka course will continue in this tradition.

Matthew

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 07:58:56 AM »
And the point you're making?
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 12:40:00 PM »
And the point you're making?

 Just some updated information that I recently happened to come across. It got me thinking how special and rare we all are who stumble upon and begin walking this path.

The discussants in a previous thread were debating that less than 2% return for a second course, this figure is not accurate. 10% of students return for additional courses. But out of that 10% it seems that only 10% develop and sustain a lifelong daily practice as this tradition asks.

So basically 1% of the students go on to practice and continue walking the path in daily life.

I wonder if these numbers are the same in other traditions?

It seems quite rare for people in general to come across the Dhamma and if these statistics are similar in other traditions it seems quite rare for the Dhamma to be cultivated by those who do happen across it.

It would be interesting to know if these percentages were increasing, decreasing, or if they have always been like this?

Perhaps people can use this information to inspire them to practice when the going gets rough, knowing that just by beginning this practice of meditation and introspection they are already in a very small percentage of the global population, given that only human beings can practice this introspection the percentages get even smaller.

More reason for all of us to be supportive of one another along this journey.




Matthew

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2013, 02:33:00 PM »
Red,

Yes it's rare to find, understand and practice the Dhamma.

I suspect other traditions have somewhat similar long term take up rates. Many people run when the ego starts to comprehend it is walking a path to it's own demise ...  And those that stay ... Often the ego incorporates the Dhamma rather than choose destruction.

Kindly,

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

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2013, 11:48:51 PM »
Special and rare, and interesting dualist perspective. We are all unique and conversely the same. How many people play sport at school and still do into adulthood? How many people have watercolour sets and exercise equipment sitting in a closet gathering dust? Probably also about 1%. We are all dabblers, and all have out things which we take to and put down.

In a world expecting instant results, 1% seems quite high.

Peace

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 01:35:32 PM »


Often the ego incorporates the Dhamma rather than choose destruction.

Yes, the ego is always looking for the back door.

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 01:57:53 PM »
We are all dabblers, and all have out things which we take to and put down.

Are you just dabbling in the Dhamma, do you feel that you could ever just walk away from the teachings?


Nibbana

Matthew

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013, 09:26:37 PM »
We are all dabblers, and all have out things which we take to and put down.

Are you just dabbling in the Dhamma, do you feel that you could ever just walk away from the teachings?
..

Red,

It seems to me that you are close to unwholesome speech here for two reasons:

Firstly you know DT well enough that you know the answer to your own question, whatever differences there have been between you.

Secondly, once one has heard the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma and begun the practice there is no turning back or 'walking away'. The taste of real freedom is unmistakeable. In your heart I trust you know that DT has heard, understood and is walking the path of Dhamma.

As you wrote earlier:

Quote
More reason for all of us to be supportive of one another along this journey.

All I would ask is that you ask yourself, did you truly write your post to 'be supportive'?

Kindly,

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

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2013, 10:38:52 PM »
We are all dabblers, and all have out things which we take to and put down.

Are you just dabbling in the Dhamma, do you feel that you could ever just walk away from the teachings?


Nibbana
The answer to that question depends.

If Dhamma is something we attend, or a practice we end up doing from habit, then perhaps yes, I am dabbling, as we all dabble.  Perhaps I will put it down at some point, everything is impermanent after all.

However if as Matthew alludes Dhamma is an understanding or insight, then no, it is unlikely I can unsee that.

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 12:45:01 AM »
The answer to that question depends.

If Dhamma is something we attend, or a practice we end up doing from habit, then perhaps yes, I am dabbling, as we all dabble.  Perhaps I will put it down at some point, everything is impermanent after all.

However if as Matthew alludes Dhamma is an understanding or insight, then no, it is unlikely I can unsee that.

And which of these do you feel is the Dhamma?

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 01:08:22 AM »

 once one has heard the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma and begun the practice there is no turning back or 'walking away'.

This is simply not true, this is not enough.

 


The taste of real freedom is unmistakeable.

Now you are on to "something" would you care to elaborate on this?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 02:10:11 AM »
And which of these do you feel is the Dhamma?
The latter. The former is just an activity people to in an attempt to see or make sense of the latter.

Once you see it, it's sort of like Loevinger's stages of ego development, you typically can only go forward, never back. At that point, you no longer would come to think of yourself as special, or unique.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loevinger's_stages_of_ego_development

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 08:19:02 PM »
I guess where I was going with this is what level needs to be reached before one could not turn away from the Dhamma?

There are the stages of insight as taught in the Burmese traditions, it has been my understanding that prior to experiencing insight, one is simply walking the 8-fold path.

After the first insight(wisdom) has been experienced one is now walking the Noble 8-fold path.

Completion of first path one has entered the stream. Definitely no chance of turning away from of the Dhamma at this stage according to scriptures.

I was wondering if just stepping on the Noble 8-fold path has any permanent pull or if there is still the risk of one turning away from the Dhamma?

 

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2013, 08:35:09 PM »
I don't think one could pass comment definitively but I would say in most cases it would be difficult to reverse an insight gained. I know for me personally there are parts of my character and personality which have been obliterated through realizations obtained on the path. Obviously maintaining a practice and immersion has a huge bearing on this though.

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2013, 10:37:13 PM »
I don't think one could pass comment definitively but I would say in most cases it would be difficult to reverse an insight gained.

Agreed. Once one has experienced arising and passing away at the experiential level there is no way to un-experience this truth. There is also some comfort and benefit brought into our daily lives from this wisdom. But on my death bed will this be enough to guarantee a favorable birth in which I will be able to continue to practice the Dhamma, or will a deep defilement arise and cause me to react in a way that will send me into the womb of an animal or to a hell realm, where I will not be able to practice?

I know for me personally there are parts of my character and personality which have been obliterated through realizations obtained on the path. Obviously maintaining a practice and immersion has a huge bearing on this though.

Excellent work Brad, may your practice flourish and may you continue to experience favorable rebirths in realms where you can continue to practice the Dhamma.

Matthew

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2013, 11:01:09 PM »
I don't think one could pass comment definitively but I would say in most cases it would be difficult to reverse an insight gained.

Agreed. Once one has experienced arising and passing away at the experiential level there is no way to un-experience this truth. There is also some comfort and benefit brought into our daily lives from this wisdom. But on my death bed will this be enough to guarantee a favorable birth in which I will be able to continue to practice the Dhamma, or will a deep defilement arise and cause me to react in a way that will send me into the womb of an animal or to a hell realm, where I will not be able to practice?

Red,

You have nothing in terms of personal experience to be sure there is rebirth, only the words of others. Why not aim to cut the fetters completely in this lifetime and reach the goal? Thinking the way you do is limiting is it not? Reaching the goal and teaching others the path is the highest compassionate act.

Kindly,

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

redalert

Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2013, 12:09:37 AM »
You have nothing in terms of personal experience to be sure there is rebirth, only the words of others.

Have to disagree with you on that one Matthew,

Just this morning I found myself born into the company of many devas in who's company I delighted! :)



 Why not aim to cut the fetters completely in this lifetime and reach the goal?
That is the plan. When else can I do this but NOW in this very life.


Thinking the way you do is limiting is it not?

Sometimes.


Reaching the goal and teaching others the path is the highest compassionate act.

I tend to look at all of us as both teachers and students, I like to think that we all carry a lamp, and upon experiencing insight our own lamp is lit. The further we walk the path our lamp shines brighter so those behind can follow the path.

Kind regards,
Red

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2013, 04:46:22 PM »
Its strange how our perceptions are engrained in us. For e.g. even though I have not met any of the forum members,  I can sort of visualize or sense members personality by readin the posts. Judging people is probably deep rooted Kilesha in me and 90% of time is incorrect.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2013, 06:28:49 PM »
I would have to agree, it is dangerous to judge based purely on text, and the anonymity of the internet is an opening for people to be more candid or direct that they would be otherwise. Most of the people I've met face to face that I'd first interacted with on the internet have been very different than in my minds eye.

Lokuttara

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Re: Returning Goenka students
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2013, 03:59:55 PM »
Recently posted on Dhammavani is Goenkaji's take on this:

"The following question was asked to Goenkaji based on data collected after years of observation.
"It is found that students drop out after one or two courses. How can this trend be prevented?"
He answered thus: This is because of the fact that every individual has both good qualities as well as bad qualities. People come to Vipassana courses to strengthen their good qualities and to eradicate the bad ones. They get helped by Vipassana, in one or two courses. But after all, they have such a big stock of bad qualities. These start overpowering them. When these impurities start overpowering a student, one understands fully well at the intellectual level that one should practise Vipassana to come out of misery. Yet because one is overpowered by one’s own impurities, it becomes difficult. This is quite natural, we see this everywhere. This will continue to some extent. People will progress slowly—they may take two steps and then fall down, and get up again; then again take two steps, and again fall down. Later they will reach the stage where they are so strong they can’t fall down. It takes time.
As for the practical solution to the present problem there is one thing: Even if a student stops meditating every morning and evening, if they still come to a weekly group sitting, their battery will get charged and they will start working again. So this weekly sitting is very beneficial in helping to solve this problem. In every town, every village, every neighbourhood, there should be at least one person who can give time to remind people, "Tomorrow there is a weekly joint sitting." This will help people. Many of them do not come merely out of laziness. It is not that they are very busy or that something stops them from coming. If you simply encourage them, they will come. Another thing we have found helpful is these one-day courses with Anapana, Vipassana, metta, and a short discourse. The students get refreshed by such courses, their batteries get charged. This should be encouraged. It will be helpful."
http://www.dhammavani.org/
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 04:22:12 PM by Lokuttara »
"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

 

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