Reply To: Goenka´s Vipassana


Thanks to Cubibobi (Lang) for providing a detailed description. This clarified to me what is done in the Goenka “Vipassana sessions”.

  1. Lang said: “vedanā-samosaraṇā sabbe dhammā”, translated as “Everything that arises in the mind starts flowing with a sensation on the body.”
  2. Vedana is not just “body sensations” involving just kaya or the body.; see, “Vēdanā (Feelings) Arise in Two Ways“.
    – Each and every thought is initiated by a sensation received by any of the six indriya (or ayatana): cakkhu (seeing), sota (hearing), ghana (a smell), jivha (a taste) ,kaya (body sensation), and mano (dhamma coming to the mind).

  3. Then the mind starts automatically generates mano sankhara based on how that sense input matches with one’s gati.
  4. – For example, classical music may trigger joyful mano sankhara in an older person who loves classical music, but may generate irritating thoughts in a teenager who loves loud music. Then one may generate more vaci sankhara (good or bad). In another example, a habitual thief may see a valuable item, may get attached to it instantaneously (mano sankhara) and decide to steal it (vaci sankhara), which in turn lead to kaya sankhara to grab the item and flee.

  5. So, the critical step here in Vipassana (or Anapana or Satipatthana) is to be aware of those mano sankhara that automatically arise due to one’s gati (based on sense inputs from ALL SIX senses), and not to let “bad vaci sankhara” to take hold.
  6. – The second aspect is to cultivate any good mano sankhara that arise – Both can be investigated based on Tilakkhana, as one’s understanding of Tilakkhana grows.

  7. To look at it from a different angle: the mind starts making good or bad judgments based on initial “vedana” as described by Paticca Samuppada: “salayatana paccaya phassa”, “phassa paccaya vedana”, vedana paccaya tanha, tanha paccaya upadana, upadana paccaya bhava, bhava paccaya jati.
  8. – Here “salayatana” means “six ayatana“: cakkhu, sota, ghana, jivha, kaya, and mano.
    – These “bhava” are the energies created by the mind for future births, and dhamma in this context is another term for “bhava”; see, “What are rūpa? – Dhammā are rūpa too!“.

  9. Again, the point is that not only “kaya vedana” but vedana due to all six senses lead to the mind making good or bad decisions, which end up in “sabbe dhamma” in the above verse, “vedanā-samosaraṇā sabbe dhamma”, which now we can translate as, “all types of vedana coming together to lead to each and all dhamma”.
  10. – Now it should be clear to those who have studied Pure Dhamma posts on these subjects that there is a definite answer to Lang’s second question: “Is there potential in this technique in removing defilements? Is there a sound foundation for it in the tipitaka?”

  11. Just by being aware of body sensations, one cannot remove defilements (greed, hate, and ignorance, where ignorance includes both removal of the 10 types micca ditthi and then comprehending Tilakkhana). That should be obvious even without such a lengthy and deeper explanation given above.

So, I can say without any doubt that such kind of “vipassana” cannot lead to Nibbana.