Author Topic: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?  (Read 71292 times)

kidnovice

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2010, 08:55:13 PM »
I just wanted to say that, once again, I'm loving this thread. Seriously. Its fascinating to read, touching on information that is hard to ordinarily find. So, thanks to all the contributors!

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.

scrodulartum

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2010, 09:18:24 PM »
Hi notsure

It would indeed be interesting if you could scan in your copies of these letters and post the images on this forum!

notsure

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2010, 09:45:20 PM »
Hi, maybe I didn't make it clear, but in the above post I was quoting someone else.  That's why i said the 'I' mentioned wasn't me.....hehe...forgive me if this wasn't clear.  I'll add quote marks!! 

There is a publication, now out of print and which I don't have a copy of,  of the letters between U Ba Khin and Mrs King.  I can not recall the title but it is something simple like " The letters between U Ba Khin and Jocelyn King". 

The story I was relating to above was told by a close friend of Robert Hover.  Hover himself taught as U Ba Khin instructed him and he also taught in his own way, still based on what U Ba Khin had taught but using his own terminolgy, a good read would be Hovers book 'Internal Movement Healing'. 

A book worth reading which recounts one students experience in the 70's with all the teachers mentioned in this post and tradition, especially Hover, Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi would be Eric Lerners 'A Journey of Insight Meditation'......very good, informative and entertaining read!!
 

notsure

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2010, 09:49:55 PM »
I was unable to modify my first post and add quote marks...


notsure

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2010, 10:17:13 PM »
Here is a very interesting and worthwhile link that not many people I know have come across.  It is an article by John Coleman with excerpts from U Ba Khin and Webu Sayadaw.

I have never sat with John Coleman so can not comment on his approach.  I spoke with him on the telephone a few years ago whilst in Thailand where I believe he still conducts courses from around December to April.

I have had great fortune to sit courses with Mother Sayamagyi and stay at IMC UK and I have also attended Goenkas courses, conducted by assistant teachers.  Both teach the same technique, with small variations.  I personally experienced with Mother Sayamagyi emphasis on the importance of a calm, tranquil mind, free from hinderances in order for insight to develope......which is also Goenkas way and many other teachers way but you feel this more with Sayamagyi.....right attitude!!


  

« Last Edit: November 06, 2010, 10:27:09 PM by notsure »

notsure

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2010, 10:18:28 PM »
hahaha...silly me.......forgot the link!!!

http://www.saladhamma.org/pdf_files/Now.pdf

Keep knowing anicca!!!

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2010, 11:44:49 PM »
I was unable to modify my first post and add quote marks...



You have an hour to modify posts.
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notsure

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2010, 12:22:42 AM »
cool...thank you

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2010, 03:59:43 AM »
np. If you ever need a post edited or removed later you can ask - though the general policy is not to. I can add the quotation marks if you send me a PM with the post you want edited indicating how.

Warmly,

Matthew
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torgeir

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2010, 10:04:15 AM »
I understand Goenka, Mother Sayama, and Saya U Chit Tin were all taught Vipassana by Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
Then Goenka established his Dhamma centres internationally, and Sayama and U Chit Tin taught at the International Meditation Centre in Burma, and later around the world.

A LITTLE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
In 1969, Sayagyi U Ba Khin authorized 6 of his western students to teach on his behalf. U Ba Khin had previously authorized S.N. Goenka and some of the members of the Vipassana Research Association at IMC Rangoon, including Mother Sayama. The following is a little historical background to U Ba Khin and his teaching-students, some of whom really took his mission upon themselves and made it their life project to teach Vipassana as he had wanted. The author is U Chit Tin:

"As soon as his health improved, [Sayagyi] led two missions to Mandalay [where S.N. Goenka comes from] and Maymyo [in upper Burma] to teach Vipassana to the local students. He was assisted on these two missions [in 1967] by his Assistant Teacher, [Mother] Sayama Daw Mya Thwin, by me [U Chit Tin], and by Mr. S.N. Goenka and his wife, Mrs. Illaichi. These trips were the forerunners of teaching missions outside IMC-Rangoon, both at home and abroad.
....
"By the time Sayagyi retired from official assignments in 1965, he had laid a firm foundation for his second objective: to revive Buddhism in India [by introducing Vipassana to the Hindu community in Burma] and spread it to other countries. He had thoroughly coached his Assistant Teachers and trained the members of the Vipassana Research Association to teach meditation. He also commissioned the following foreign disciples and entrusted them with the Dhamma-duta work in their respective countries:

Authorized by a letter dated April 23, 1969:

       1. Dr. Leon E. Wright, PhD., Professor of Religion, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
       2. Mr. Robert H. Hover, La Mirada, California, U.S.A.
       3. Mrs. Ruth Denison, Hollywood, California, U.S.A. (to teach women only).
       4. Mrs. Forella Landie, British Columbia, Canada (to teach women only).
       5. Mr. John E. Coleman, Maidenhead, Berks., U.K.
       6. Mr. J. Van Amersfoort, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Authorized separately in July 1967, when a ten-day meditation course was conducted [for the Hindu community in Mandalay] with guidance coming from Sayagyi in Rangoon:

       7. Mr. S.N. Goenka, Bombay, India.

In Burma, the ten members of the Vipassana Research Association assisted Sayagyi in his teaching, and in particular, [Mother] Sayama Daw Mya Thwin, me (U Chit Tin), U Tint Yee, U Ba Pho, and U Boon Shain. When he taught members of the Indian community in Burma, especially the Hindus, his disciple Mr. S.N. Goenka helped him by translating to Hindi for several years. .."
...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 10:52:37 AM by torgeir »

torgeir

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2010, 01:19:49 PM »
In summary, here's the short answer to the question in this thread:

Technically speaking there is no difference between Goenka's method, the IMC / Mother Sayama's method, and Vipassana teacher U Ba Khin's method. Looking at what people who have taken courses with these two of U Ba Khin's student-teachers have reported, here in this forum and elsewhere, we can reasonably conclude it is the same method that is being taught.

The apparent difference lies in the discourses and in the presentation, which inevitably reflects the personality of the presenter. But no difference in technique. They were trained thoroughly as Vipassana teachers by U Ba Khin for many, many years, and each know in detail the ins and outs of U Ba Khin's method. They also used to assist together on U Ba Khin courses. Mother Sayama assisted U Ba Khin when Goenka took his first course. They are indeed brother and sister in Dhamma.

torgeir

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2010, 01:23:58 PM »
So why don't these two Vipassana organizations run courses together?

For about a decade after U Ba Khin's death, they taught courses amicably and interchangeably. Goenka in India and Mother Sayama in Rangoon and later in the UK. They did not make a distinction as to what it was they taught, just ''in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin''.

Then, for whatever reason, they separated their respective sprouting Vipassana organizations, and started organizing Vipassana courses distinct from each other.

One can only speculate as to the reasons why this separation happened.

One reasonable speculation is that in the Burmese / IMC camp, Buddhism as a religion and culture is / was something they had grown up with and are / were very proud of belonging to. Buddhism as a religion is very strongly ingrained in Burmese culture. Within that context, Vipassana is seen as the practical aspect of Abhidhamma, the highest teaching of the Buddha-Dhamma.

Whereas Goenka distanced Vipassana from the name Buddha-Dhamma. Rather, he emphasized that Vipassana is Dhamma, purely Dhamma, taught by the Buddha. It is universal and has nothing to do with belonging to any particular religion or culture. Buddhism as a cultural phenomenon comes under blind faith, blind belief, which is what the Buddha was trying to guide people away from.

Sounds like irrelevant semantics, but to some it is an important distinction.

Goenka's position could possibly have been viewed unfavorably by some Burmese traditionalists.

Then again, who knows.

ivana

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2011, 06:38:11 PM »
Hi everybody who are still interested about the question

I was only at Goenka's 10days course and I received a confirmation letter from IMC. They want to bring my alarm clock.
It is a surprise. I was in India and I can not imagine that we had alarm clocks, there was silent, really. Despite there was 18 girls sleeping together. Only a bell was to wake up, to meditate or to eat, I did not have my watch. It was nice. 

Take care
Ivana

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2011, 07:12:32 PM »
A LITTLE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
.....
       1. Dr. Leon E. Wright, PhD., Professor of Religion, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
       2. Mr. Robert H. Hover, La Mirada, California, U.S.A.
       3. Mrs. Ruth Denison, Hollywood, California, U.S.A. (to teach women only).
       4. Mrs. Forella Landie, British Columbia, Canada (to teach women only).
       5. Mr. John E. Coleman, Maidenhead, Berks., U.K.
       6. Mr. J. Van Amersfoort, The Hague, The Netherlands.
       7. Mr. S.N. Goenka, Bombay, India.[/color]

A little more historical background ....

Those teachers highlighted above in crimson have been kicked out of this lineage. It is therefore certainly not sure that anyone can claim they all teach the same thing.

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

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #39 on: February 01, 2011, 08:41:56 PM »
...
Buddhism as a cultural phenomenon comes under blind faith, blind belief, which is what the Buddha was trying to guide people away from.
...

Torgeir,

You are not in any position to make such a claim. Much of what is called Buddhism today - particularly in Aisa - meets this criteria.

However, Western Buddhism is much more a grassroots movement of meditators - and is propelled more by empiricism than blind belief - exactly in line with the Buddha's teachings.

In the Dhamma,

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

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2011, 05:29:09 AM »
Those teachers highlighted above in crimson have been kicked out of this lineage. It is therefore certainly not sure that anyone can claim they all teach the same thing.

My understanding was that Goenka was authorized by U Ba Khin, and retained that authorization until U Ba Khin died. Thus, I don't think it is accurate to say that he was kicked out of his lineage. Goenka undoubtedly had a "falling out" with Sayamagyi, and is thus no longer affiliated with IMC, but I don't see how that constitutes getting "kicked out of this lineage."  (unless there is more to the story, TIB?)

As for why Goenka fell-out with Sayamagyi, I can only repeat what I've heard/read on the Goenka side. The story goes that Goenka objected to IMC's practice of  "suggested donations" and the practice of teachers receiving dana. Of course, that is just one side of the story.  Somehow, I bet there is more to it than that!

With metta,
KN

  
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 06:02:53 AM by kidnovice »
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.

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2011, 09:52:37 AM »
Sayamagyi is the Dhamma heir/lineage holder of U Ba Khin. Falling out with the lineage holder ends connection.

I'm sure you are right there is more to the story.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jhana4

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2011, 07:40:33 PM »
I have the impression that Goenka's teacher was a lay person, like Goenka.  His teacher got the method from Burmese Buddhist monks.  Am I correct?

If so, what do the monks call it?

It doesn't seem right to call it "Goenka's Method" if he didn't invent it.

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2011, 10:45:50 PM »
Goos point Jhana4
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kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2011, 11:02:26 PM »
Agreed. I don't think anyone really calls it "Goenka's Technique" or "method" except for those of us on this forum, as a way of distinguishing it from other types of "vipassana."

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.

Jhana4

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2011, 12:08:40 AM »
I'm enjoying the agreement, but I'd still like to know what the proper name for the technique is -- what the Burmese Buddhist monks who have been practicing it for centuries call it.

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2011, 12:55:21 AM »
Vipassana!  HA. ;D
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.

Jhana4

Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2011, 12:46:55 PM »
I'm not sure that is right.   "Vipassana" very roughly, translates to "insight into the way things are".   The word does not refer directly to a specific technique.   "Meditation" is an English word which doesn't mean the same thing as the Pali word "Bhavanna", which means "to draw out, to develop".

Goenka calls the method "sweeping", which may be a crude translation for a Burmese or Pali word.

I don't know.

However calling "sweeping", "vipassana" is like calling every kind of exercise "aerobic exercise" and expecting all classes in it to be taught by the same person in the same way.

Matthew

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2011, 03:38:33 PM »
Vipassana is not a meditation technique. Anyone who says they are doing "Vipassana meditation" is mistaken. They may be undertaking mindfulness or "Sati" practices aimed at developing Vipassana or insight, but this is different.

Vipassana is a fruit or "Phala" of meditation/mindfulness/or "Sati" in Pali. By repeatedly being mindful (remembering) one starts to develop insight into "how things really are" - Vipassana, having first created enough distance between arisings and your habitual way of seeing them.

Bhavana means "to cultivate", hence "Metta Bhavana" practice is the practice of cultivating or, as Jhana4 says "draw out, develop", Metta.
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kidnovice

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Re: How does Goenka's method differ from the IMC and Mother Sayama's?
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2011, 05:41:53 PM »
Its true that according to how the Buddha used the term, "vipassana" is not a practice so much as a fruit of sati--an insight into how things are.  But Jhana4 asked what the Burmese Monks called the practice.  I don't know for sure, but I still think those silly monks called it "vipassana!"

Mahasi Sayadaw definitely used the term in this way, though his meditation instruction was quite different from the one taught by U Bah Khin. I believe Ledi Sayadaw also used the term "vipassana" like this (but I'm not sure).

IMHO, I think "vipassana" may be one of those terms that has shifted its meaning over the years through common usage. Specifically, I've noticed that "vipassana meditation" (or rather, "insight meditation") has become a broad term that generally refers to a practice emphasizing insight into the three characteristics: impermanence (anicca), non-identification (anatta), and suffering (dukkha).


Goenka calls the method "sweeping", which may be a crude translation for a Burmese or Pali word.

I don't know.

However calling "sweeping", "vipassana" is like calling every kind of exercise "aerobic exercise" and expecting all classes in it to be taught by the same person in the same way.

Goenka doesn't call his method "sweeping." Indeed, "sweeping" is just one way of moving awareness through the body. If that is all a practioner does, Goenka would say that person is NOT practicing "vipassana."  Indeed, he actually discusses people who get so caught up in the sweeping that they end up playing "games of sensations."

What makes the practice "vipassana" is that you are developing insight into the 3C's. This is why Goenka keeps saying, "Anicca!"  He wants you to gain insight into that aspect of your experience. Goenka's approach is great for cultivating that insight, but other practices have proven just as effective. Of course, I wouldn't expect Goenka to acknowlege that, but I still love the big guy! :D

Metta,
KN
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 05:50:30 PM by kidnovice »
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.

 

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