Poll

To what extent does the simile below (from the Buddha) describe your experience when working with "subtle sensations" in the body?  

This perfectly describes my experience!
2 (22.2%)
This sounds like what I experience, at least some of the time.
2 (22.2%)
I guess this could describe my experience, but not really.
2 (22.2%)
This doesn't sound anything like what I have ever experienced.
2 (22.2%)
This simile dangerously injects craving into the practice, and shouldn't be discussed.
1 (11.1%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Author Topic: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners  (Read 3756 times)

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« on: September 24, 2010, 10:45:07 PM »
"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've often been struck by the above passage (and similar ones), and its connection to my own experience following Goenka's style of Vipassana. I'm wondering whether its something peculiar to me, or if its a common experience for Goenka-practitioners. I think many people from different traditions will resonate with the Buddha's simile; but that's not really what I'm wondering. So, please don't be offended if you practice Vipassana in a different tradition!

With metta,
KN

P.S. The entire sutta from which I excerpted the simile can be found here.
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.

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2010, 05:30:06 AM »
KN could you please translate this simili into common english words for us whos english is not their mother tongue please :)
I am not sure what buddha is talking about.
Thanks a lot if you can :)

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2010, 08:29:03 PM »
First part of the simile:
Quote
"Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip

I'm pretty sure you can understand this image if you just think of making dough for bread, etc. You would have to knead the dough over and over again, making sure that the water was evenly spread ("saturated,"  "permeated") through every part of the dough. Just imagine that at the end of kneading the dough, you got soap instead of bread! :)  I actually think this was a traditional way of making soap/bath powder-balls. You can find a similar, but modern recipe here

Second part of the simile:
Quote
even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal."

So, just like the way you knead water into the dough, making sure every part is evenly moistened, the meditator ("monk") is supposed to completely spread ("permeate") joy ("rapture") and pleasure throughout the body until there isn't a single part unfilled ("unpervaded") with the joy and pleasure.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

hope that helps!
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 08:41:22 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.

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2010, 05:45:22 AM »
Cool thanks :)

But by which means does the meditator monk permates joy into his whole being?
Intelectual? Thinking about all the body parts and focusing on inducing love and compassion to his body parts? Or is it just letting things be and not permating a single thing not wishing a single thing but engaging into the actuality of each moment.

I am not sure that this permating joy is the very essence but just a small part which relaxes the mind via joyful (serotonin full) body. Sure i can invoke this feeling with certain drogs or other means maybe. But what about the actual troublemaker, the mind, the conditioned one?
Does this joyful feeling helps in knowing that mind better? Does that joy help in defragmenting the conditioned self?

Or is joy just the opposite Yang of the Yin which is suffering?! Doesnt this yet again causes division, separation?
One is desired other rejected!

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2010, 07:22:34 AM »

But by which means does the meditator monk permates joy into his whole being?
Intelectual?


no

Thinking about all the body parts and focusing on inducing love and compassion to his body parts?

not exactly, but not totally wrong.



I am not sure that this permating joy is the very essence but just a small part which relaxes the mind via joyful (serotonin full) body.

Yes, its just one small part of the path. A useful tool.

Sure i can invoke this feeling with certain drogs or other means maybe.

But then the only skill you would have attained would be swallowing a pill. And you'd be conditioning yourself to cling to the sensory world for happiness.

But what about the actual troublemaker, the mind, the conditioned one?
Does this joyful feeling helps in knowing that mind better? Does that joy help in defragmenting the conditioned self?

yes, and yes. but again, the joy is just a tool. what matters most is not the joy, but how you relate to it. its the same with pain. 


with metta,
KN
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 07:26:44 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.

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Staff
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 06:10:55 AM »
Quote
So, just like the way you knead water into the dough, making sure every part is evenly moistened, the meditator ("monk") is supposed to completely spread ("permeate") joy ("rapture") and pleasure throughout the body until there isn't a single part unfilled ("unpervaded") with the joy and pleasure
Hi, KN. When it is said in the Sutta that whole body is pervaded by joy and pleasure, I wonder, are subtle sensations being indicated by this. What do you think?
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2010, 08:08:19 AM »
Hey Vivek, thanks alot for adding to the poll.

Hi, KN. When it is said in the Sutta that whole body is pervaded by joy and pleasure, I wonder, are subtle sensations being indicated by this. What do you think?

That is sort of the question that prompted this poll. However, I really don't think the formula is so simple as "subtle sensations" = rapture. From conversations with others (and seeing how my own relationship to subtle vibrations has evolved over time), I think its more complex. For example, some people might experience "subtle-vibrations" throughout their body, recognize it is pleasant, but it can actually trigger stress/anxiety. Thats really not uncommon.

Thus, my "working hypothesis"  is that a calm, kind, and concentrated awareness brought to "subtle sensations" (as Goenka calls them.) amounts to rapture. Of course, how you move your awareness obviously plays a big a role (At least for me. Some modes of moving the awareness seem to amplify the joy, others sort of subdue it or calm it. Both are useful tools). But really, I don't think we can overstate the value of a calm, kind, and concentrated awareness . Its extremely important :)

Of course, "rapture" is a matter of degrees, and we might speak of less extreme experiences that I also associate with "subtle vibrations" like euphoria, happiness, ease, or simply a basic sense of well-being.

Well, those are my thoughts. I welcome yours and any others! Thanks again for your contribution,
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.

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Staff
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2010, 09:57:52 AM »
Quote
Thus, my "working hypothesis"  is that a calm, kind, and concentrated awareness brought to "subtle sensations" (as Goenka calls them.) amounts to rapture.
That's seems a far more accurate interpretation, KN. :)
Subtle sensations by themselves are just sensations. When there is concetrated and equanimous (I hope by "calm" you meant equanimous?) awareness brought to bear on the subtle sensations, that would amount to rapture. I hope we understand each other correctly.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2010, 06:16:38 PM »
Quote
I hope we understand each other correctly.

I think we do. :)
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

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Question for all Goenka-style Vipassana Practioners
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 06:40:30 PM »
Thank you everyone for your contributions to the poll.  :)
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.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
1829 Views
Last post October 28, 2008, 12:28:54 AM
by Flipasso
3 Replies
1938 Views
Last post November 30, 2010, 04:33:07 AM
by Vivek
48 Replies
14403 Views
Last post September 11, 2013, 12:01:02 PM
by redalert
1 Replies
1444 Views
Last post September 05, 2013, 11:43:17 AM
by joiedelivre
9 Replies
2618 Views
Last post April 03, 2014, 06:16:01 AM
by siddharthgode
8 Replies
3476 Views
Last post September 09, 2014, 07:05:49 PM
by JMatlack
2 Replies
544 Views
Last post March 12, 2019, 06:34:08 PM
by Matthew