Author Topic: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.  (Read 28005 times)

shendy

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Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« on: July 01, 2010, 04:43:16 PM »
A Yahoo survivors group for ex Goenka practisioners who could benefit from a safe secure space to talk about how they were negativelly effected by the Goenka method and organisation has been set up.

The group is only open for ex Goenka practisioners who were negativelly effected by their experiences within the Goenka tradition.

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/goenkasurvivors/




shendy

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 05:23:13 PM »
Sitting with Goenka
by Jason Farrell

http://www.surabhi.dhamma.org/articles/news-farrell-97.html

These next little sentances show a little bit of the dark side of GoenKa.

"By day eight there was an amazing amount of old "stuff" or sankharas (karmic
knots) bubbling to my surface consciousness.......We had been working very hard
in this "boot camp" of Goenka's".

( end of quote)

Jason thankfully was able to cope with his "old stuff", many others are not so
fortunate. Light heartedly he calls it a boot camp. For others perhaps it was an
abusive boot camp?

shendy

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 05:25:21 PM »
Sorry,should have said,the post above is from the Goenka Survivors forum. It is not a private post so no problem copying here.

Morning Dew

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 08:20:55 AM »
Is that old "stuff" his psychological traumas? I am asking this because i too have deep traumas and wonder whether vipassana is good for my crazy self or can vipassana cause more damage than good. Instead of talking about karma can we talk about simple this life traumas vs. Vipassana thanks

Fabrice

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2010, 11:28:43 PM »
I have done three Goenka 10 day courses in the past. I'm still alive and well. Does that make me a survivor? ;)  (just teasing)

What I find slightly amusing is how people who have felt "hurt" by Goenka's retreat feel this incredible need to share it and tell everyone. This in my opinion is revelatory of inner motives, and perhaps negativity? THe best thing to do there is to inform yourself and especially look inside.

Seems reasonable that if you felt you were mistreated that you would want to tell others.

But in my experience most of the negative feedback I have read about the courses doesn't hold up. THis couild go on for hours so I won't debate about it, as it has been noted many times before. Let's just say in general what I see is people have their own past and negativities and their own "agenda". But they can't see through it. That is not to say that Goenka's courses are perfect. THey certainly could be better in some places, but it is the very nature of the work that is done there, which makes it so that those who could not complete a course will find faults with it.. but no faults in themselves...

You quote:

"By day eight there was an amazing amount of old "stuff" or sankharas (karmic
knots) bubbling to my surface consciousness.......We had been working very hard
in this "boot camp" of Goenka's".

People like to call it a boot camp. I've seen Reddit comments calling it "baptism by fire". The point is, it's hard for everyone to wake up at 4:30 am, to meditate so much, to eat less, to sleep less and so on. All of these things can not be understood in one course. All of these things have a purpose.

I sure hope you have a lot of "old stuff" coming up during such courses! Wouldn't you want that?

I'm posting here mostly for Morning Dew's question.

What do you call traumas?

I used to be overwhelmed with anxiety. I was so desperate when I went to my 1st ten day retreat I gave it my best because I knew anti depressant medicines were not a real solution. It has worked wonders for me.

I don't think I have traumas.. depend what you mean by that. Like being raped or beaten as a child and so on?

AFAIK the technique taught at a Goenka retreat is meant for RESULTS. Some people are lazy or lack courage to see results, they want an easy way to heal. Sorry. If you want to heal you will have to FACE your pain. In Goenka's retreat you face only physical pain. If you apply the technique exactly as it is taught, you only observe the physical aspect of mental phenomenas. The technique is purposely made to be very effective and easy to grasp at the same time.

But some people don't want to understand. They don't want to grasp. They silently practice something else, or they just keep "fighting" with the sensations. THis is not what is taught.

Morning Dew, I personally believe that if you have a deep motivation to heal, you will come out for the better of such course, with permanent positive change to your life. Nothing else for me has had this kind of effect. There are many "energy" healing techniques out there, many of which appears to be temporary. Goenka's vipassana approach is designed to bring long lasting changes, even if you don't meditate regularly afterwards.

If you don't have a past of regular drug or alcohol abuse, I would say that regardless of your trauma(s) you can deal with them there in the most effective way. BUT it will not be easy. Some people want it easy. Then they will lovingly write long posts about why Goenka is bad and dangerous and son- on, all the while never looking at themselves in the process. See a patterrn?

Give you an example. I believe I have a lot of pain around the heart due to feeling abandoned and generally lack of affection during childhood and even my first months in life. And coincidentally, I felt a lot of physical pain around the left side of my chest during such courses. Sometimes it was very intense, like having a knife in the chest. But so what? Are you there to heal or are you there to sip a martini? You face it with as best equanimity as you can. And it HEALS. It heals FFS!!! THe pain reduces. And maybe after two or three courses you will find the pain is not so intense anymore, or it has moved; and then months later in your life you see the real changes. Of course outside of the course, without such a sharp mind as is built during those retreats you no longer feel these deep rooted pain physically. Whew;)  The point is not to feel pain (a lot of people do that and keep coming back and dont understand), the point is to acknowledge whatever sensations there are (which are just one aspect of these mental phenomena).

It has come to my realization that Goenka's approach is all about seeing reality as it is.

Everyday life unfortunately does not allow such deep healing to take place because simply by being "me" we are lready lying to ourselves. Our ego is the biggest lie. We have out hidden motives and agendas. It is very hard to see clearly in daily life. So in daily life the exact same technique does not work as well. But the good news is that the BOOT CAMP is worth it. Because such changes last.

Like my father came with me the 3rd time. But he did not understand. He told me about some "qi kong" music of whatever it is that he listened to which the vibrations bring a great feeling in you? And he thought it was the same, he felt confident about it. He did not understand that this thing he played with, is only temporary. And I can tell you. Because we'd just spend a few hours together and there was anger, in sublte ways, which he doesnt see, but was very apparent to me.

Goenka's Vipassana courses are difficult, no question. But it's totally worht it. If you are really MOTIVATED to heal, you will be rewarded. If you have not much traumas (a lot of young people go by curiopsity), it may not be very diffcult at all. Some people have "spiritual" experiences there, feelingds of oneness and so on. But if you go with a lot of PAIN , as I did, then you should look at your motivation. If you expect something easy, don't go. THen yes it may hurt more than it may heal, you are not ready, you should probably try something more progressive.

convivium

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2010, 01:24:47 AM »
eh.

Tom

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Goenka survivor story
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2010, 03:36:03 PM »
 This is my Goenkato survival story. I did my first retreat with Mr. G when I was29 years old. after that I did perhaps six retreats including one in India with Mr. G. himself. At that time I remember him asking me if I was having any thoughts.

"Yes." I said.

"Are they of the Buddha?"

"Yes."

He has an incredible presence which infects all of those around him. It had affected me greatly.

Three years later I suffered a severe personal crisis. I was convinced that if I did enough meditation I could heal myself.

One afternoon I sat for four hours without moving. I didn't experience a single sensation. Later I did two more retreats and got no relief at all. The thoughts just wouldn't stop.

At that time I was traveling around Thailand. I went to one monastery and told him that I wanted to do meditation there. When I told them that I was a student of Mr. G, they said that there was nothing wrong with that technique but that I would not be allowed to practice it there. In that meditation Center one had to do the technique that Mahasi Sawadaw taought.

I was desperate so I said okay.

With that technique one simply notes what ever is going on in the body and mind. One of the techniques of noting is labeling one's thoughts. So if one gets many thoughts of anger one can just mindfully note, "Anger arising." In that tradition there is also walking meditation. I found that I enjoyed walking meditation and that it helped heighten my concentration.

After 10 days of practicing the Mahasi Sawadaw technique I got some relief for my painful thoughts.

Since that time I've done perhaps 100 retreats in the tradition of Mahasi Sawadaw or Buddhadasa.

Once, however, I was trying to introduce a friend to meditation so I went back and did a Goenka reateat. I hated it. I didn't like it at all when Mr. G. ridicules every other meditation technique. Also I didn't like not being able to do walking meditation.

Later, talking to the students of Mr. G. I realize that what happens with this technique is that one initially has an extremely dramatic experience which can stay with one for years and years. The experience is so dramatic that many people are convinced that this is the one and only authentic meditation practice. Later however they get stuck in there practice because after one reaches a certain point, not much else happens. In my case, on my third retreat with Mr. G., I went back and relived many of my early childhood experiences which involved some violence. So it was very dramatic. But when push came to shove that technique let me down.

Later I took heart in the fact that people like Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Saltzberg and Christopher Titmuss also did the Goenka technique and ultimately found it unfulfilling.

When former student of Mr. G. told me that when he meditates he is able to field a sensation in every single part of his body and he is able to squeak through his body from head to foot and foot to head with perfect concentration. "But so what?"

I found that to be true. But just practicing mindfulness of breathing I've always found to be ultimately fulfilling.

You can read more about my meditation experiences at
http://thomasriddle.net

Dear you'll see links to Suan Mokkh, a meditation center in Thailand, Buddhist holy places, and a recent travel journal to India.

Matthew

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2010, 11:58:50 PM »
Fabrice,

I have done three Goenka 10 day courses in the past. I'm still alive and well. Does that make me a survivor? ;)  (just teasing)
....

Yes. (just teasing)

...
Give you an example. I believe I have a lot of pain around the heart due to feeling abandoned and generally lack of affection during childhood and even my first months in life.

More likely to be a Vitamin D deficiency. Though I do not want to diminish the hurt of your upbringing.

Tom,

Thanks for your revealing post. Mindfulness of breathing is my recommendation with the focus on the entire body-mind experience.

Welcome to the forums to you both.

Warmly,

Matthew

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

MEDITAT0R

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2010, 12:17:43 PM »
Dear Tom,
with great interest I was reading your story. Myself, I have 18 Goenka retreats now and am still suffering of a lot of painful thoughts and physical tension. There is a slight and continuous progress over the last years, but my concentration is still very weak and thoughts and feeling of depression keep on overwhelming me.
I am a bit sad about the negative and almost personnel attitude against Goenka - as in my case, I would never blame the technique or Goenka for my state - it might just be that it is not the right approach for my present state of mind. All teachers work on a voluntary base and dedicate a certain amount of their lifetime to Vipassana, and in contrary to many other traditions, they don't make it a living!

In December, I will join a retreat in the Mahasi Sayadaw technique, and am thus curious: You said that this technique finally gave you some relief. I would be very happy and grateful if I experience the same!!

When you focus, do you also focus on bodily sensations, or how does this approach work? I will join the Panditarama in Lumbini which seems to be an awesome nice place.

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2010, 05:41:53 PM »
Hey Tom,

I just wanted to say thank you for your open and detailed post. It was inspiring to read how you found a practice that works for you. 

I hope you don't mind my saying that the real lesson that I take from your story is that we should always be prepared to further develop in our practice, even if that means dropping tools that previously worked in our meditation. We must always move toward more refined states of insight and peace.

However, when me make those shifts in our development, its tempting to reject the previous approach we had been taking (despite the fact that it may have given us benefits), and label it "wrong" for us (or just wrong, period.)  Personally, I would be wary of falling into this trap. If you were in the middle of a construction project, a hammer would prove quite useful. But at some point, you would need to put it down to use a screw driver. That's perfectly natural, and quite wise. I just wouldn't suggest throwing out the hammer with the idea that its an ineffective tool. You might find it helpful later!  :)

Personally, I fell into that trap years ago when I shifted from Zen to Vipassana, and I now my old feelings and ideas ("They're right and I'm wrong") seem pretty goofy. :) Currently, as I see myself shifting in my "view" and "practice" again,  I am trying to take a more integrative approach with all I've learned. I"m not rejecting any tools that have benefited me (and Goenka has given me some kick-ass tools that often come in useful), but simply learning how to use additional tools as I find I need them on my path.

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.

Vosbo

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2010, 01:31:59 PM »
Quote
If you don't have a past of regular drug or alcohol abuse, I would say that regardless of your trauma(s) you can deal with them there in the most effective way. BUT it will not be easy.

Fabrice,

I'm interested why drug and alcohol abuse precludes you from dealing with traumas in a retreat environment?

Vosbo

rideforever

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2010, 01:41:34 PM »
Well, it's clear that people do come out of Goenka retreats feeling they need support, and that they aren't getting it.

You can laugh at these people.  You can say "try harder, do this, do that".  You can say it was 'vitamin D deficiency'.  'You' are part of the problem.


Lokuttara

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2010, 06:02:59 PM »
Well, it's clear that people do come out of Goenka retreats feeling they need support, and that they aren't getting it.

This seems to be quite true. Which leads me onto...

Quote
If you don't have a past of regular drug or alcohol abuse, I would say that regardless of your trauma(s) you can deal with them there in the most effective way. BUT it will not be easy.

Fabrice,
I'm interested why drug and alcohol abuse precludes you from dealing with traumas in a retreat environment?

One friend of mine had a past of drug and alcohol misuse, and after his first 10-day course he was completely fried. He was a fairly outgoing, social guy who was into outdoor sports and used to train children in rock climbing and surfing. After the course he was filled with anxiety and was prone to panic attacks. He was unable to deal with people anymore, and found it hard to get his confidence back and had to stop working. Now you can say it's sankaras and that it's part of his process, but I think sometimes it's worth asking the question; "Is this a good idea for everyone? Or should there be some introductory, shorter, gentler techniques for people with a history of serious abuse (of any kind) before diving into a 10-day deep dive?".


I just wanted to say thank you for your open and detailed post. It was inspiring to read how you found a practice that works for you.  

I hope you don't mind my saying that the real lesson that I take from your story is that we should always be prepared to further develop in our practice, even if that means dropping tools that previously worked in our meditation. We must always move toward more refined states of insight and peace.

However, when me make those shifts in our development, its tempting to reject the previous approach we had been taking (despite the fact that it may have given us benefits), and label it "wrong" for us (or just wrong, period.)  Personally, I would be wary of falling into this trap. If you were in the middle of a construction project, a hammer would prove quite useful. But at some point, you would need to put it down to use a screw driver. That's perfectly natural, and quite wise. I just wouldn't suggest throwing out the hammer with the idea that its an ineffective tool. You might find it helpful later!  :)

Personally, I fell into that trap years ago when I shifted from Zen to Vipassana, and I now my old feelings and ideas ("They're right and I'm wrong") seem pretty goofy. :) Currently, as I see myself shifting in my "view" and "practice" again,  I am trying to take a more integrative approach with all I've learned. I"m not rejecting any tools that have benefited me (and Goenka has given me some kick-ass tools that often come in useful), but simply learning how to use additional tools as I find I need them on my path.


This is a very intelligent and optimistic approach. To be commended. So many are quick to condemn other techniques as soon as they move on in their practise, but isn't this another form of spiritual materialism or egoism? A distraction best avoided :)
"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

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2010, 09:36:32 PM »
...
One friend of mine had a past of drug and alcohol misuse, and after his first 10-day course he was completely fried. He was a fairly outgoing, social guy who was into outdoor sports and used to train children in rock climbing and surfing. After the course he was filled with anxiety and was prone to panic attacks. He was unable to deal with people anymore, and found it hard to get his confidence back and had to stop working. Now you can say it's sankaras and that it's part of his process, but I think sometimes it's worth asking the question; "Is this a good idea for everyone? Or should there be some introductory, shorter, gentler techniques for people with a history of serious abuse (of any kind) before diving into a 10-day deep dive?"....

Or is it a poor introduction of a mistaken technique that many survive, few continue and some suffer serious abreactions to?

Just a thought.

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

MEDITAT0R

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2010, 09:02:38 AM »
Matthew,
maybe you should put your key-statements on the opening page of this forum:
1. Goenka courses are not good.
2. Anapana is self-hypnosis.
3. Vitamin D deficiency is the root to all evil.
4. You recommend Samatha.

So you wouldn't have to keep on repeating yourself.
I have read it already so many times.

Where is your traumatic Goenka experience - what happened, man, that you seem to be so full of negativity towards these courses?
They keep on helping millions of people, more and more centers are growing, more and more people have benefit.
If you could just let it stand as a method that doesn't suit YOU or some people, the self-image you would create in this forum would be of a much more mature and spiritual developed person. Honestly, I really don't understand why you keep on beating the same scapegoat again and again.


Morning Dew

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2010, 09:18:10 AM »
Before all this escalates please all remember KISS (keep it simple stupid) :)

Remain relaxed

Lokuttara

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2010, 03:07:27 PM »
Yes, I can see this one escalating!

I think Matthew just can't resist bashing the courses :) Matthew, do you think someday you will develop equanimity towards Goenka courses?

There are always two sides to every argument. Then there is the truth, which is neither :)
"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

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2010, 04:56:23 PM »
Or is it a poor introduction of a mistaken technique that many survive, few continue and some suffer serious abreactions to?

Just a thought.

Matthew,
maybe you should put your key-statements on the opening page of this forum:
1. Goenka courses are not good.
2. Anapana is self-hypnosis.
3. Vitamin D deficiency is the root to all evil.
4. You recommend Samatha.

So you wouldn't have to keep on repeating yourself.
I have read it already so many times.

Where is your traumatic Goenka experience - what happened, man, that you seem to be so full of negativity towards these courses?
They keep on helping millions of people, more and more centers are growing, more and more people have benefit.
If you could just let it stand as a method that doesn't suit YOU or some people, the self-image you would create in this forum would be of a much more mature and spiritual developed person. Honestly, I really don't understand why you keep on beating the same scapegoat again and again.

I merely asked a question. You do seem deeply troubled by it. Perhaps you are very attached to these courses? Certainly that is no reason to attack me. Examine your own clinging.

And by the way, when you signed up these are the terms of service you agreed to:

Quote
1) This forum is not associated with the Vipassana international Organisation of S.N. Goenka. There are many forms of Vipassana practice. Often new Goenka students do not know this. Some of our members are Goenka practitioners - most are not.

2) You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, adult material, or otherwise in violation of any International or United States Federal law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum.

Please do not use your attachment to Goenka as an excuse to be abusive towards me.

And if I repeat myself it is because there is a need to.

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

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2010, 05:07:31 PM »
Yes, I can see this one escalating!

I think Matthew just can't resist bashing the courses :) Matthew, do you think someday you will develop equanimity towards Goenka courses?

There are always two sides to every argument. Then there is the truth, which is neither :)

I can and do resist "bashing" the courses. Will I stop pointing out the errors in Goenka's teaching? Very unlikely - especially where it has lead to harm. Will I "develop equanimity" towards them. I already have equanimity towards them. I am not bashing Goenka on emotional grounds, merely that his method is mistaken and can lead to harm at worst.

Equanimity does not mean treating all "truths" as equal - as you rightly point out there are always two sides to an argument and then there is truth. Equanimity means dealing with things as they are. I asked a simple question and it triggered strong reactions. Does this say more about the question, the questioner or the reaction and persons who react? You tell me ...
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

kidnovice

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2010, 06:45:22 PM »
I must confess that when I read TIB's comment, I breathed a "sigh" of resignation. But it wasn't a sigh of "oh that bastard, how could he attack MY wonderful practice." Rather, it was a sigh of, "Oh  boy, here goes this same debate again. And so should I respond?"

With that said, I didn't read much anger into TIB's statement. I didn't really read that much anger into Lokuttara and Meditator's response (at least no more than Matthews). HOWEVER, it is worth noting that both Lokuttara and Meditator, without even probably realizing it, fell into attacking Matthew instead of what he said. And that's something we should avoid. To be more specific:

MEDITATOR suggested that the only explanation for TIB's critique is that he has somehow been traumatized. Then, he implied that TIB is motivated primarily by his self-image, and that he appears immature and spiritually undeveloped. (really, dude? Doesn't this seem like punching below the belt when you think about it?) You can read it here:

Where is your traumatic Goenka experience - what happened, man, that you seem to be so full of negativity towards these courses?

...the self-image you would create in this forum would be of a much more mature and spiritual developed person. Honestly, I really don't understand why you keep on beating the same scapegoat again and again.


Lokuttara then followed through with another attack on Matthew, suggesting that his impulse to criticize Goenka courses stems from a personal failing: lack of equanimity.


 Matthew, do you think someday you will develop equanimity towards Goenka courses?



I apologize if it sounds like I am unfairly harping on Lokuttara and Meditator. But this is unskillful speech--not simply in the Buddhist sense but in the sense of intellectual discourse. As much as possible, we should focus on what is being said, not who said it. And I say this knowing that we all do it sometimes. If I post enough in this forum, I will probably inadvertently do it too! They are patterns that we have been deeply conditioned to follow. But we should watch out for them if we want to intelligently disagree in harmony.


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.

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2010, 06:59:48 PM »
As for responding to TIB's actual criticism:


Or is it a poor introduction of a mistaken technique that many survive, few continue and some suffer serious abreactions to?


This exaggeration is belied by many many personal experiences including my own. As MEDITATOR pointed out:

Quote
They keep on helping millions of people, more and more centers are growing, more and more people have benefit.

Those who have taken great benefit are not part of "few who continue" or "survive."  In my opinion, TIB's characterization is founded on the reports of a loud but tiny minority of people who are now amplified by the power of the internet. This is a phenomenon that occurs in many areas (not just buddhist). The vast majority of people I have met at courses either say, "Hey, I'm glad that I did that, but its not for me." OR "Hey, I can't wait to bring this into my life, and I can't wait to come back."

In my own personal experience, this "mistaken technique" has provided me with extremely powerful tools for cultivating concentration, equanimity, and joy in my practice, on and off the cushion. And while I see some areas where it may seem like the teaching takes liberty with the Buddha's meditation instructions, I also see how it is quite consistent with the Buddha's instructions, and deeply true to the spirit of his teachings. What else is there to say?

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.

Lokuttara

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2010, 11:49:54 PM »
I'm sorry if it seemed like I was somehow attacking. My post should have said, "Matthew, do you think you have any feelings of aversion towards this particular technique?".

There wasn't any aversion towards Matthew, just a questioning of what could appear to be some form of reactionism, or a war that is being waged against a particular technique. You are pointing out evidence of this yourself in the following:

In my opinion, TIB's characterization is founded on the reports of a loud but tiny minority of people who are now amplified by the power of the internet.

And this loud minority appear to mostly be caught up in reactions to the technique instead of moving on and exploring the truth from different angles within themselves. They are waging a full scale war, and that is a fact. If you don't believe me, have a browse around the forums a little more. This is IMHO anyway :)

Did you ever hear the story about a spiritual speaker who went to give a talk in an ajahn-cha monastery? He ended up trying to convert all of the ajahn-cha monks to Christianity, and told them that this was the only way to God. He started preaching at them, and doing all sorts of things to brainwash them into his belief system. Of course some of the monks were outraged and disappointed that such a thing should take place in an ajahn-cha monastery! They went to one of the most senior ajahn-cha monks to tell him of this terrible situation. The senior monk simply replied, with a smile, "Maybe he's right".

[Note: this is a rough retelling of a story I heard a while back. Can't remember the exact details, but that was the general outline.]

Do you understand where I'm coming from with the above story?
"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

Matthew

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2010, 02:18:50 AM »
As for responding to TIB's actual criticism:


Or is it a poor introduction of a mistaken technique that many survive, few continue and some suffer serious abreactions to?


This exaggeration is belied by many many personal experiences including my own.......

We are not going to go over old ground repeatedly. However, less than 2 per cent of people who take one Goenka course return for a second. It is no exaggeration to ask the question I did.

It's not just Goenka that has it wrong. I also do not find I can agree with: Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism, Pureland Buddhism, Shin Buddhism, and the vast majority of East Asian Buddhists who go to the temple and offer food for merit in their next lives and worship Buddha statues then go get drunk and frik a whore.

And it may be a tiny minority of negative reports one hears - but I can assure you, there is an equally tiny minority of Goenka course attendees on the other side of this argument, making noise about how good it is.

It's all clinging to view and this is pointless and hinders progress on the path.

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

Crystal Palace

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2010, 09:49:47 AM »
Since we are talking about criticism, an interesting story comes to mind:

In the early days of the Vipassana movement in India, Shri SN Goenka would reside at Dhammagiri in Mahrashtra, the principal meditation centre then (and even now). Within a few hour's drive was Pune, where Osho's main meditation centre was located. Osho used to talk about Vipassana, and meditators would often encourage a meeting between these two teachers. And so once a meeting was finally arranged and Shri Goenka paid Osho a visit. They met up and chatted, and after a while Mr. Goenka told Osho rather clearly that they have a meditation centre within a few hours drive from Pune, and that if he wished he would be most welcome to take up a course and learn Vipassana. This was the end of it.

Subsequently Osho criticized SN Goenka openly in one of his talks, and also said that they have never met. To confirm this, a news reporter went to Osho and asked him about his meeting, but Osho denied ever having met Goenka. The reporter then came to SN Goenka and told him that Osho insists you two have never met. To which Mr. Goenka replied by simply saying, "Well then one of us must be lying!"

This witty remark highlighted to me Mr. Goenka's skillfull approach dealing with criticism. He said exactly what he had to, and in a way that hurt nobody's ego. Some of the criticism on this forum sometimes gets rather too direct - an unskillfull approach in my books. This is highlighted by the fact that one of the parties always leaves the forum after a fight. Now, Matthew is repetitive because he has an obligation to do so. As the Administrator of this forum, it is his duty to correct any of the misapprehensions that he thinks people may have - each time, every time. Similarly, if someone is convinced Matthew is wrong, he also has the right to point it out, in his capacity as a member of this forum. Just that respect for each other should always be there.

Ultimately, and over a period of time, frequent visitors to this forum will always come to realize who is consistent with his behaviour and views, and who is not. Visitors and members are not fools, and if they find Matthew using aggressive speech consistently on a particular topic, they will automatically diminish the importance of Matthew's views - so a member need not point it out.

Also, a house where there is no questioning, no criticism, no debate is not a good house to live in. Often it means something has become stagnant, that something is wrong. Therefore, I personally welcome all debate on this forum - within the rules of decency and respect. All our members, irrespective of their traditions and choices, are equal and are viewed in that sense. I myself am a Goenka practitioner and disagree with Matthew's views on SN Goenka, but am still a Moderator of this forum - proof that we can all coexist. There's nothing wrong with repetition, just that it should not be made personal.

That being said, I would really like to know where this fact comes from:


We are not going to go over old ground repeatedly. However, less than 2 per cent of people who take one Goenka course return for a second.


Because as far as my understanding, only VRI is really in a position to release figures as there are such a large number of centres worldwide. In my own experience, every time I have gone for a course, roughly about 1/5th's of the people were 'old students'

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 09:51:56 AM by Crystal Palace »
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

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Re: Ex Goenka practisioners Survivors Group.
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2010, 10:29:03 AM »
Yes! :) this is my favorite Buddhist Wars episode yeeeee :)

Charge my Jedi Buddhist Knights, chaaaarggggge!

But wait which one is Dart Wader, Goenka or TIB? Hmmmm...

So far as i see it the result is next;
TIB Knight 3 - 2 Goenka Knights

Tight game! And now comercials! Please stay tuned we are right back with more Buddhist Wars :D !!!!

 

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