Author Topic: Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi  (Read 7510 times)

srkatona

Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi
« on: August 25, 2010, 05:27:01 PM »
I would like to hear from someone who has attended a 10 day course at the IMC (preferably in Maryland) and about their experience. I have attended 2 10-day courses at a Goenka center and have practiced in that manner for some years. I want to do a 10-day course this year. I have reservations about the requisite unquestioning acceptance of Goenka's particular method, particularly the prohibition against practicing any other form of meditation. Having failed to transmit (for want of a better word) in all these years also gives me pause. I spent many years studying with a roshi who has not given one person the right to teach and he's been here for over 50 years. His group is definitely a personality cult and that emperor has no clothes. I should add that I have never sought ordination or position beyond board member in any organization.

As life does, I have been handed a 2 to 3 year life expectancy and while I currently have the energy and stamina for another retreat I cannot predict how long that will last. I'm not exactly sure why I am more and more concerned about the monolithic structure of the Goenka organization but the IMC approach would not be changing a black horse for a white horse, so to speak, as the founding teachers of both of the aforementioned organizations are direct students of U Ba Khin.

Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated. In metta...Steve

Yorba

Re: Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 02:32:14 PM »
I have reservations about the requisite unquestioning acceptance of Goenka's particular method, particularly the prohibition against practicing any other form of meditation.

I think that this is a bit strong.  Goenka does not require unquestioning acceptance -- he encourages participants to investigate themselves and take nothing on faith.  He is not after followers, but he is emphatic that students should pick a means of practice and stick with it rather than following the common tendency to dabble a bit here and there without becoming proficient in any specific technique.  The Buddha taught different people different techniques depending on their capabilities, paramis, etc... but he would likely not have encouraged them to start working with some other monk's technique.

I am sorry to hear about your situation.  I once did a 45 day meditation retreat with a man who was expected to pass away at any point in the retreat.  He was fine for the 45 days and he told me at the end that there was no better way to spend his final days than experiencing anatta in such a profound way (he ended up passing away 4 days after the course ended, but was strong and energetic because of how he had let go of his expectations).  I can't think of a better way to spend one's days -- final or not -- than in a meditation retreat working deep inside, whether it is lead by Goenka or some other teacher just doesn't matter that much.  Go with the technique that you know.

With Metta,
Yorba

srkatona

Re: Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 11:52:57 PM »
Thanks for your reply. Thoughtful comments and observations that ring true to my mind. I will accept that some of my comments were too strong about the 'cultish' aspects of Goenka's system and centers. I don't believe they are a cult but there are some potentially dangerous patterns that could easily deteriorate after he is gone.

"The Buddha taught different people different techniques depending on their capabilities, paramis, etc... "

This probably comes closer to what I am struggling with. I have no illusions about enlightenment--whatever that is and even if it is more than just another mindset--but wonder if I couldn't benefit from practising with a teacher who evaluates each student as an individual and can tailor practice guidance to that student. My sense of my special uniqueness that only a realized master can guide is not an issue. I don't believe I am particularly unique. This is more about wanting to find a way to practice that has genuine potential for growth. Obviously, we should all be ready to die at any time but admittedly my prognosis has greatly affected how and what I plan to do and spend my time.

I spent more than 15 years in Zen practice and a lot of time doing Goenka Vipassana. None of that time was wasted.  I am currently sitting twice a day and doing my best to realize sila. I would not consider  anything but some form of Vipassana as an alternative and may just let all this go and as they say...shut up, sit down, and pay attention. in metta...sk

Morning Dew

Re: Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2010, 07:53:48 AM »
Quote
may just let all this go and as they say...shut up, sit down, and pay attention. in metta...sk

Yes, good choice :)
Your best teacher is your conditioned self all else is just another hindrance just another escape from aloneness.
This article opened my eyes just recently even though i read these words once already i was not ready to realy hear them, not ready to listen;
http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/mindfulness_in_plain_english_14.php



srkatona

Re: Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2010, 02:00:32 PM »
Much appreciated. Numerous times in the last few days--and posting, because of the process of composing these posts--I have thought that I am still searching outside of myself--the same old childish plea to be rescued. Intellectually, I know that whatever changes will occur will happen because of my own efforts. On a more integrated, 'being' level if you will, I still want some thing other to hear my plea, pluck me from my suffering, make it all perfect. Regardless of the discipline, the structure, the technique or method, I must sit and I must dissolve. I read recently that when we realize we are nothing we have wisdom. When we realize we are everything we have love. Our lives take place somewhere in between. Thank you for the link. Bhante Gunaratana's book is now off the shelf and on my desk.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Goenka and Mother Sayamagyi
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 07:08:23 AM »
Quote
may just let all this go and as they say...shut up, sit down, and pay attention. in metta...sk

Yes, good choice :)
Your best teacher is your conditioned self all else is just another hindrance just another escape from aloneness.

Well said.

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

 

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