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My thoughts on Goenka teaching

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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.

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.

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. :)

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,


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.


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