Author Topic: Utter beginner  (Read 9932 times)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2009, 03:23:35 PM »
Indium,

Telephone Samye Ling. Explain they are out of your budget and why. Tell them about your situation and why you want to add meditation to your therapy and how much benefit you will gain from practising. They should offer you hefty discounts if not a full bursary - the Dhamma is not something to profit from (not that I am suggesting they do - these places pay electricity bills like the rest of us).

The Dhamma is something that all good Dhamma teachers make free to anyone who can not afford to contribute to costs and I would be shocked if they did not offer you some significant assistance.

You could also just ask them if there is a senior student of theirs who lives near you who you could ask for basic meditation instruction and guidance from. The other Sangha that would be a good choice for you is Thich Nat Hahn's Community of Interbeing - they have local chapters in many places and they are a really nice bunch of people.

Wherever you go, have fun on the way and keep your eyes wide open :)

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

pimpoum

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2009, 03:31:30 PM »
Matthew,

I have to say that, although I appreciate greatly your healthy criticism about this Goenka tradition and would certainly like to hear more, I have often been taken aback by the coldness - verging on rudeness - of some of your replies, and I have at times refrained from posting a comment or a thought because of this.

It has nothing to do with the debate itself, which should be allowed to carry on for ever and ever without losing any of its interest. The only thing which can degenerate is the attitude of the participants, and this happened quite quickly here - I have to say I didn't think this would be the case on a meditation forum.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way. As I said, I find the content of your posts worthwhile and I would like to hear more of what you have to say on this topic.

Cheers

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2009, 04:04:18 PM »
pimpoum,

I have been dragged through the mill over Goenka and it is boring me stupid. It is not something I really even want to discuss any more. I see him as a charlatan for good reasons which are explained in a number of threads on the site.

My apologies if this has lead me to a certain hardness in approach when these debates come up. Unfortunately, just as anyone who has benefited from Goenka is free to propose others may benefit from it, I remain equally free to advise others to be cautious of him.

Every time a new Goenka-ite appears on the forum they want to argue every point with me. Instead they can read what I have written before about the subject. That is why my responses are short and blunt to the point of rudeness. Generally the people concerned fail to recognise they manifest every fault in their thought and posts that they accuse me of manifesting.

This is also why the sign up to a forum now specifically states:

Quote
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS FORUM IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED TO THE VIPASSANA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF S.N. GOENKA.

If you have recently completed a 10 day retreat with the Goenka school of Vipassana and are looking for people to discuss your experience with this forum may not be the most appropriate place. This forum contains a wide variety of members from different traditions or no tradition. There are forums available on the Internet for followers of S.N. Goenka and you may find a more rewarding experience by joining such a forum.

You are of course welcome to join the forum yet we have discovered many people assume we are associated with Mr Goenka and this false assumption can lead to confusion and disharmony. Therfore this information is provided to make the nature of this forum plain in advance such that further confusions do not occur.

There will be no more Goenka wars. He is a charlatan and I will state that as often as I like. Equally all those who have benefited or gained in some way or say he is not a charlatan are welcome to say it.

Someone coming in fresh and wanting to learn Vipassana - I will do my best to point them to somewhere where they will learn Vipassana.

Lastly, if Goenka followers embark upon any debate amongst themselves regarding the practice, I will stay out of the debate completely as I have previously promised in order that they can debate these issues free of fear.

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

alex

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2009, 04:32:06 PM »
Matthew,

4) Have you tried the oven experiment? I ask for your own benefit. If you are incapable of understanding the teaching that metaphor represents and the way it demolishes your argument, I apologise and will try another:

5) When someone tells me they are going to sell me a horse and they turn up with a chicken I can spot the difference. I never owned a chicken or a horse in my life.
Matthew

Please correct me if I understand you wrong. Did I get it right that you say predicting  the results of a particular meditation is as easy as predicting the results of putting a hand in an oven (or telling a horse from a chicken)? If there is a way to distinguish "good" from "bad" meditation (without practicing it for years, or even try it), I would be very interested to hear more about it (if I have the capabilities to understand it, because I have little knowledge of Buddhist theory and scriptures and all that - but I am willing to learn.).


alex

pimpoum

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2009, 05:11:06 PM »
Thanks for your reply.
As I said, I don't think this issue is related to the topic of Goenka, but I guess this is just an opinion. I understand this debate has a heated history but it might be one of the most important debates since vipassana à la Goenka is one of the most easily accessible kind for beginners - I would say that if a point about such an important issue is worth saying, then it is  worth repeating..nicely

After all, if a teacher gets angrier each time he repeats himself, then...well, you see my point. I teach French and each time I have a 12year old moody brat  >:( telling me "but why is a chair feminine in French? this is stupid!" I see it as an opportunity to say what I said last time in an even better way :).

If people have be disrespectful to you in the past for your opinions, it is their responsibility, and their  loss. But if you have something interesting and challenging to say about anything whatsoever, I wish to hear it out because it might help.

Anyway, let's not start a debate about how to start a debate :D. I let go of my want to be right...right now! ;)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2009, 05:29:14 PM »
Stop being right and start being.
Then you start to see seeing.
Being, being, being...
A breath between life,
and death.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

upekkha

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2009, 05:32:59 PM »
Stop being right and start being.
Then you start to see seeing.
Being, being, being...
A breath between life,
and death.

sadhu.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #32 on: March 10, 2009, 05:51:42 PM »
Please correct me if I understand you wrong. Did I get it right that you say predicting  the results of a particular meditation is as easy as predicting the results of putting a hand in an oven (or telling a horse from a chicken)? If there is a way to distinguish "good" from "bad" meditation (without practicing it for years, or even try it), I would be very interested to hear more about it (if I have the capabilities to understand it, because I have little knowledge of Buddhist theory and scriptures and all that - but I am willing to learn.).

Good meditation results in less ignorance, less desire, less anger, compassion and equanimity growing, calmness emerging as a base state of mind, insightfully examining every phenomena of mind and body one sees through the transitory nature of all including composites of self, awareness expands until awareness IS of everything inside and outside of you as a connecting "happening" or "gestalt" that you are at one with without the need for affectation of any kind.

The thing about the oven is we all know it is a bad idea to stick our head in one. I know nothing about farming but I know the difference between a chicken and a horse. I have some basis for judging that - even though I am not a farmer, point being:

With a wide experience of Buddhist approaches and practices, I have been a practitioner of meditation for more than ten years, was grounded in Buddhist understanding, both scriptural and non-verbal by a very accomplished female Tibetan master. I have lived in two different Buddhist communities for a total of three years and undertaken in excess of a year of retreats, solitary, group, short, long (30 days). I have studied and practised Zen, caligraphy, Japanese flower arranging and a range of other meditative arts and run meditation and art workshops, read Tibetan scripture, some of the Pali cannon, etc.

I am more qualified to comment on a school of Buddhism than I am to comment on farm animals.

These views on Goenka are not without foundation. And I do not want to argue with anyone about it. You have equal rights to your views. Any questions clarifying these views that have arisen in me I will answer.

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

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2009, 06:01:39 PM »
After all, if a teacher gets angrier each time he repeats himself, then...well, you see my point.

I do, but then I also see that the Buddha used to get angry at times. He did not lose it but he told people when they were out of line.

However, it is to some extent irrelevant, as everyone here has equal rights, as far as we can ensure and I am not a teacher. There is even someone who can ban me. The fact we are all called "member" and all have 5 stars is not tokenism.

Matthew
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 06:02:34 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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heret

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2009, 12:07:32 PM »
I was booked to do a Vipassana course with the Goenka school. I was looking forward to being in a practice environment but can not do it. My body is not up to it. I may decide to do a home retreat.



I am wondering what might have changed your attitude during one year so thoroughly?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2009, 05:52:48 PM »
I was booked to do a Vipassana course with the Goenka school. I was looking forward to being in a practice environment but can not do it. My body is not up to it. I may decide to do a home retreat.



I am wondering what might have changed your attitude during one year so thoroughly?

heret,

Study and research.

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

upekkha

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2009, 07:28:22 AM »
I just returned for a 3-day old students course.

I thought about you Matthew a few times and I must say I am very sorry if I reacted wrongly sometimes when you criticized it because it seriously makes no difference, but every time I thought "oh how I wish he would just try it because it is so good, I have benefited so much from these retreats, may others also benefit".

Regardless of what you currently think of Goenka, I would still highly recommend taking a retreat, even just for the experiential value.

The people at Dhamma Dipa are wonderful caring people, also the teachers, and it's always nice to take a retreat where people just want you to be happy and practice well for nothing in return.

Even if you decide not to ever do it, I still felt like saying it again :)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2009, 06:10:20 PM »
Thanks, Upekkha, I appreciate your thoughts :) Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

thao

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2009, 11:55:15 AM »

i know this isn't a  S.N. Goenka forum and that's the point, i would kind of like an impartial answer rather than a 'its great. it'll change your life' one. Is there anyone here who's been to the hereford  S.N. Goenka centre- dhamma dipa- that can answer my trival questions so i can see if answering them helps me make a decision.

thanks in advance :)

In choosing a meditation retreat, you just have to go do it.  Any technique is just a technique.  I grew up going to meditation retreats, and this technique (Goenka) just happens to be the one the I found the most beneficial in my life.  But everyone is different.  Life is about finding out what works best for you so I would try them all, one by one, until you find something that you find works with you the best. 

To give each one a try, really devote the effort to giving one technique a good try before moving onto the next.  That way you can truly say you know that this or that technique worked well for you or not. 

Yes you could read about other people's opinions and experiences, but that's all it will ever be, other people's opinions.  Unless you are going to be physically in danger (i.e. death), there is nothing wrong with trying things out.  No center of any technique will ever hold you against your will. 

I myself was on a tight budget so I started with the free ones, and luckily I didn't have to go any further.  I hope you find a technique that works best for you. You are definitely on the path, as I think meditation is the best solution as it is an endless well of solutions, comes from you, and is free. 


indium

  • Guest
Re: Utter beginner
« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2009, 02:21:37 PM »
i want to thank everyone for their help and advice. I have decided against the Goenka course. I think this is for several reasons but in the ned of i don't trust them to look after my phone and newspaper for a week should i be trusting them with brainwashing me. I am saving up for a  course at the place in the borders and continuing with trying on my own till then. at the moment i alternate between falling asleep and coming to gasping for breath.