Author Topic: My thoughts on Goenka teaching  (Read 425 times)

raushan

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My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« on: September 27, 2020, 04:34:55 PM »
Sorry if I offend anyone. It's my personal views.

But I feel many things that Goenka said got it wrong. What he said about five enemies what he said about five friends. It's like he read in the sutta about five enemies and tried to justify it in meditation context.

My own point of view is all person faces the five enemies every time. And it's not just when he is trying to meditate or trying to get enlightened.

A person who is trying to become good artist. A person who is trying to become best sport person. A person who is trying to become anything good what he/she really desires will face the five enemies.

He/she will always face the self-doubt that you aren't good enough. An artist will think why the hell you think you can become picasso. A person who meditates will think why the hell do you think you can become Buddha. Buddha took many lifetimes to get enlightened and you think you can get enlightened in one lifetime. This is what self-doubt is. That's what Goenka seemed to tell himself. It was clear from his discourses.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

Yes, our mind tells stories all the time. The more one improves the better story our mind creates. A person may be meditating for 10-15 years may have himself believes that he is progressed so much but maybe he got the entire thing wrong. It's absolutely essential to do self-reflection, examine himself.

All other hindrances can be explained that way.

I feel hindrance is a great way to know whether one is moving in the right direction or not. If one faces little to no hindrance on their path then one is not taking proper action. The more hindrance one faces the more likely one is on the correct path.

Also, I feel it's absolutely necessary to have a goal, a direction where one is trying to go otherwise the person will never know what he is trying to do. I don't believe in idea where a person says just meditate do not expect anything. Things will happen automatically.

Buddha absolutely had a goal in mind that's why he knew that following current trends and techniques leading him nowhere. He could measure where he is on the journey. He had absolute resolve that He will not get up until he defeats the mara or until he gets enlightened.

Whenever a person trie to pursue a goal which he truly wants to have, all kind of enemy/ mara tries to attack. Self-doubt, ill will, sloth topper, anxiety/worry.


I feel it's enough to have a goal in the mind and the path will start opening up for that person. Maybe that person will stumble many time. But Ultimately he will find the path.

Many person I have met in Goenka retreat who has attended 15-20 retreats but still I didn't feel like he is more awake.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 04:47:20 PM by raushan »

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2020, 07:24:34 PM »
Another enemey

Worry:: There is no teacher for me who can help, there is no Buddha in our time. Every voice/story in the head which is leading away from the goal is mara/enemy.


Dhamma

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2020, 08:21:47 PM »
Yuttdhammo Bikkhu says that there is way too defilements in the world to have a true Buddha.  Materialism and deep clinging to sensual pleasures have led to an incredibly defiled world.
 
We have some very enlightened people, but not a Buddha incarnate.

May the holy Buddha return to show the world the way to happiness. :)
You are already Buddha

Middleway

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2020, 10:53:25 PM »
Hi Roushan,

Yes, hindrances can be used for learning on the path. Instead of treating them like enemies, it would be helpful if we consider them as teachers.

Goenka has introduced Dhamma and meditation to lot of people. He may not be perfect but helped a lot of individuals myself included. We should take what makes sense from his teachings and leave aside the rest. Leave the criticizing and judging to ego-self.

Regarding having a goal, please contemplate on who is that wants to set a goal. Is it  your ego-self? As I said in my other post, trying to “become” something causes suffering. Ego-self sustains itself by constantly striving and becoming.

We should do what makes sense to us and let the future unfold. I know you are young and future is ahead of you. If you want to achieve something, go ahead and work for it but understand that the result depends on infinite factors. The entire universe will have to cooperate. But our effort is definitely one of the predominant cause / factors. Just make sure that you clearly understand that result is dependant on infinite factors and therefore, no need to be disappointed or dejected nor elated.

Warm regards,

Middleway
« Last Edit: September 27, 2020, 10:57:54 PM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2020, 11:27:27 PM »
Hi Middleway,

Thanks for the clarification.  I realize only after writing that my ego is talking. Maybe I should think more before I write anything.

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2020, 12:32:49 AM »
Hi Roushan,

Regarding having a goal, please contemplate on who is that wants to set a goal. Is it  your ego-self? As I said in my other post, trying to “become” something causes suffering. Ego-self sustains itself by constantly striving and becoming.

Warm regards,

Middleway

I have a question on this, so if you are doing meditation every day don't you have a goal? Why is it you are meditating? So, You are inspired by Buddha you want to end the suffering. isn't it also a goal? isn't it also can cause failure? What if you never become successful?

If there is no attainment from meditation why anyone will do it?

Why any one will do anything if they don't know if they are getting something positive out of it?
Also, until you are enlightened how do you know what you are doing is the right way? These are not cross-questioning. These are genuine questions in my mind that's why asking. Because people invest a lot of their time in learning these things and if one finds out later in their life this is not the correct path. Then t leads to regret.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 01:26:49 AM by raushan »

dharma bum

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2020, 04:19:59 AM »
A "goal" is just another word for desire. Desires are like thoughts - they come and go. I don't think anybody has become a great artist, mathematician or athlete by desiring to become a great artist. mathematician or athlete. They become great by doing art, math or sport. From what I've read, people are not really motivated by the desire for greatness (though they might on occasion have ambitions) by but some love for art, math or sport, which when practised everyday become habits. So after a few years, people aren't even motivated by love for art or math. It is just habit, like a second nature. You get up in the morning and do art or math without asking yourself what you should be doing. People don't get up in the morning and say I must achieve my goal and therefore i must do math or art.

One of the paradoxes of human nature is that you do your best work if you're not thinking about yourself. If you're thinking about your goals, then it is a distraction. In cricket for example, coaches advice you not to worry about scoring hundreds. They advice you to stay in the moment and play the next ball.
Mostly ignorant

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2020, 05:48:50 AM »
Hi dharma bum,

Your statements make sense. That's true anyone great become because of the love of the craft. Not out of desire to become great. Thanks for the clarification.

Thanisaro85

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2020, 01:33:40 PM »
A "goal" is just another word for desire. Desires are like thoughts - they come and go. I don't think anybody has become a great artist, mathematician or athlete by desiring to become a great artist. mathematician or athlete. They become great by doing art, math or sport.

One of the paradoxes of human nature is that you do your best work if you're not thinking about yourself. If you're thinking about your goals, then it is a distraction. In cricket for example, coaches advice you not to worry about scoring hundreds. They advice you to stay in the moment and play the next ball.

This is well articulated, i tried answering this in my head this afternoon but just couldn't get to the point.

Regards
A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta

Dhamma

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2020, 05:03:04 PM »
Yes, not having any goal is heavily emphasized in Zen Buddhism. It's one of its gems.

Goals = clinging to a result
You are already Buddha

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2020, 07:29:32 PM »
Thanks for all your replies. I still have question. When a scientist try to solve a problem even out of interest. He still have goal right? I men there are some 7-8 unsolved maths problem 2-3 of them are solved. So, when a mathematician try to solve the problem he does have a goal. He doesn't do things randomly. And also He wil want to solve it as fast as possible.

Similarly in meditation intent is obviosly there. Even Ajahn Brahm said in one of his video. That Mindfulness has a purpose. If you are mindful and you are letting negative thoughts come that's not the right way. He said using mindfulness we should try to imrove the quality of the mind.

Buddha also had a goal to end the suffering permanently. He saw that death, sickness, old age no one can escape from it. He wanted a permanent solution. And He wanted it as fast as possible.

I agree he didn't want to become Buddha. He wanted to get rid of the suffering. And that made him the Buddha. But He did have desire/Goal.

I will interpret it this way. Becoming great is an ego related pursuit. And a person can't have control over it.
I agree with what Middleway said. There are many scientists who never got credit for their work. They were largely unknown to the public. Someone else stole their idea.


But even those scientists had desire/goal may be a different kinds of desire/goal.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 07:34:40 PM by raushan »

Dhamma

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2020, 07:49:30 PM »
Having goals isn't immoral, so you can morally have them. The better question is: "What is your relationship to your goals?"

It's our clinging to a goal that creates suffering.

The Buddha didn't know how to be happy before becoming enlightened. So, I'm not sure that his having a goal to achieve happiness really qualifies here, as he wasn't operating from the place of an enlightened mind.

There is nowhere to go - there never was. Everything is fine somehow in the moment. :)

Peace and enlightenment
You are already Buddha

dharma bum

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2020, 03:52:30 AM »
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.015.than.html

according to Ananda it's okay to have a goal.
Mostly ignorant

stillpointdancer

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2020, 10:32:05 AM »
I think many great people were driven by a desire to be, if not great, at least successful in what they were trying to achieve. You can get 'lost' in the activity in the sense that you become absorbed in a similar way to meditative states, but it would be absurd not to have a goal in such activity. Sometimes the goal can be a strategy, so you are not quite sure of the result, but you are sure that the strategy will lead to something worthwhile. The goal is then to use a strategy for an outcome which may be uncertain.

Sitting in a single meditation for a set goal probably will not produce the result you want. Using the strategy of meditation practices over a number of years will bring about changes, and if you wanted to change, that will be the result. Will you reach your initial goal? A better question might be whether you will still want to reach that particular goal after changes take place. In the end all you can do is to look at the different meditation practices available, look at how they fork with the path you want to take, preferably that suggested by the Buddha, and then let it all do its work.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2020, 11:31:08 AM »
Thanks dharma bum for the link. Thanks stillpointdancer.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 11:46:54 AM by raushan »

Matthew

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2020, 01:28:38 PM »
There is a goal inherent in the third and fourth noble truths: to follow the eightfold path and cut the roots of suffering. It becomes very refined as one deepens practice, and I suspect eventually the culmination involves even letting go of this goal, but none of us are anywhere near "eventually" at this point AFAIK.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

raushan

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2020, 06:16:16 PM »
Hi Matthew,

Does a meditator ever come to a point when one is meditating that he feels that he is now stuck. No sutta is able to help. Does he feel that now he need to find his own path?

Or can sutta guide till the end? Why a person takes a longer time than another?

Middleway

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2020, 06:52:15 PM »
I think we should make distinction between setting goal to achieve or accomplish something like becoming CEO or member of parliament etc. versus earnestly striving for ending of one’s own suffering. I don’t think they are the same.

If I have a persistent severe headache, it is natural that I feel like getting rid of my headache. I don’t need to set myself a goal to get rid of my headache and then go see the doctor to accomplish that goal.

I know there is suffering. I suffer everyday. I want to get rid of my suffering. Buddha said this suffering has a cause and an end. He said, enquire and investigate the root cause of suffering and directly “see” the root of suffering. By directly perceiving the cause will result in ending of the suffering. Buddha them gave us the noble path on how to do it. So I follow his prescription regularly every day. Where is the requirement to have a goal in all this?

If desire is the cause of suffering, naturally we enquire how it arises. Desire arises dependently on past experience which is recorded in consciousness as memory. We then want to repeat or avoid previous experience through clinging or aversion. So, I formally sit on the cushion everyday and investigate. Investigate through mindfulness and concentration. I just want to end my suffering. That’s all. I don’t want to accomplish anything. 
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Dhamma

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2020, 12:55:49 AM »
I think we should make distinction between setting goal to achieve or accomplish something like becoming CEO or member of parliament etc. versus earnestly striving for ending of one’s own suffering. I don’t think they are the same.

If I have a persistent severe headache, it is natural that I feel like getting rid of my headache. I don’t need to set myself a goal to get rid of my headache and then go see the doctor to accomplish that goal.

I know there is suffering. I suffer everyday. I want to get rid of my suffering. Buddha said this suffering has a cause and an end. He said, enquire and investigate the root cause of suffering and directly “see” the root of suffering. By directly perceiving the cause will result in ending of the suffering. Buddha them gave us the noble path on how to do it. So I follow his prescription regularly every day. Where is the requirement to have a goal in all this?

If desire is the cause of suffering, naturally we enquire how it arises. Desire arises dependently on past experience which is recorded in consciousness as memory. We then want to repeat or avoid previous experience through clinging or aversion. So, I formally sit on the cushion everyday and investigate. Investigate through mindfulness and concentration. I just want to end my suffering. That’s all. I don’t want to accomplish anything.

That was very beautiful. Thank you so very much.

Much love in the Dhamma

You are already Buddha

stillpointdancer

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2020, 11:18:29 AM »
Hi Matthew,

Does a meditator ever come to a point when one is meditating that he feels that he is now stuck. No sutta is able to help. Does he feel that now he need to find his own path?

Or can sutta guide till the end? Why a person takes a longer time than another?

There are many times when you get stuck. The advice at such times can be to stick with it because it means you are making progress and you are at an important point in your practice. Unfortunately suttas aren't practical guides, however much truth is in them, and it is hard to keep plugging away when nothing seems to be happening. The advice given to me at the Buddhist centre was to keep battering away, like someone hitting a large stone. Noting seems to happen for a long time, but eventually one hit splits it. Is it that hit or all the others that split the rock?

On the other hand it may be useful to review your practice in terms of balance. Is what you are doing the right thing at this point? Is there another aspect of the practice, not another sutta, which may help? I usually did a bit of both, plugging away while also trying something new now and then to make sure I wasn't fixating on narrow interpretation of what I was supposed to be doing.

The last part about why different people take longer than others to make progress is easy. We are all individuals and make progress at different rates. the Buddha could, apparently, see what each person needed at any given time, and could suggest ways that were tailored just for them. Without him the rest of us have to do the best we can, looking at the advice he gave to different people at the time and trying to match it up to where we are. And, of course, at the advice that great teachers have given since.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2020, 12:48:14 PM »
I think we should make distinction between setting goal to achieve or accomplish something like becoming CEO or member of parliament etc. versus earnestly striving for ending of one’s own suffering. I don’t think they are the same.

If I have a persistent severe headache, it is natural that I feel like getting rid of my headache. I don’t need to set myself a goal to get rid of my headache and then go see the doctor to accomplish that goal.

I know there is suffering. I suffer every day. I want to get rid of my suffering. Buddha said this suffering has a cause and an end. He said, enquire and investigate the root cause of suffering and directly “see” the root of suffering. By directly perceiving the cause will result in ending of the suffering. Buddha them gave us the noble path on how to do it. So I follow his prescription regularly every day. Where is the requirement to have a goal in all this?

If desire is the cause of suffering, naturally we enquire how it arises. Desire arises dependently on past experience which is recorded in consciousness as memory. We then want to repeat or avoid previous experience through clinging or aversion. So, I formally sit on the cushion everyday and investigate. Investigate through mindfulness and concentration. I just want to end my suffering. That’s all. I don’t want to accomplish anything.

Hi Middleway,

Even I am having difficulty reconciling the materialistic world and the meditation world. Both seem counter-intuitive. Apart from that it's just my opinion I may be wrong here but currently, that's what I believe that a person's action is proportional to its desire. If someone's desire is stronger for something then that person might put more effort into that.

Also, I am out of words to counter your opinion. Currently, I don't fully agree with you here. But I will try to investigate more myself. Probably I will get the answer.

dharma bum

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2020, 03:09:37 PM »
Albert Einstein wrote: "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

Some people say happiness is less important than meaning and goals can give meaning to your life. This is a valid view but not necessarily Buddhist. The Buddhist wants to end his suffering. For most of us, the middle way works okay. A moderate amount of success, whatever be your definition of success.
Mostly ignorant

Dhamma

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2020, 07:34:02 PM »
Albert Einstein wrote: "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

That's beautiful. Thank you so much for that. :)

Much love in the Dhamma.
You are already Buddha

Middleway

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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2020, 09:26:54 PM »
Hi Middleway,

Even I am having difficulty reconciling the materialistic world and the meditation world. Both seem counter-intuitive. Apart from that it's just my opinion I may be wrong here but currently, that's what I believe that a person's action is proportional to its desire. If someone's desire is stronger for something then that person might put more effort into that.

Also, I am out of words to counter your opinion. Currently, I don't fully agree with you here. But I will try to investigate more myself. Probably I will get the answer.

There is no need to reconcile between material world and meditation world. They are both driven by desire. Former is for material wealth and the latter desires for enlightenment. But the desire is the same. I would argue the meditation world is in for more suffering because the desire is much greater (enlightenment) than in the material world.

The important thing is how to navigate both worlds with little suffering. So, I focus on suffering (rather than enlightenment) and how to minimize it if not end it. It’s a work in progress.

Perhaps you can do the same while pursuing goals in the material world. How to minimize suffering that results from anxiety, restlessness, apprehension, dejection on one end of the spectrum to elation and jubilation on the other. I suggest focus these negative emotions without pushing them away when they happen. Enquire and investigate their root cause.

The approach is the same in both worlds. You will find answers through meditation and contemplation.

Good luck!

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Matthew

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    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
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Re: My thoughts on Goenka teaching
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2020, 03:07:55 AM »
Hi Matthew,

Does a meditator ever come to a point when one is meditating that he feels that he is now stuck. No sutta is able to help. Does he feel that now he need to find his own path?

Or can sutta guide till the end? Why a person takes a longer time than another?

The Dhamma is lost. Someone has to find out again.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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