Reply To: Goenka´s Vipassana – Part 2


1. Please explain, Lal, in the table presented here, it says “issa” is removed for a Sōtapanna.

3. Corrected to āpānā!  (I didn’t see “pāna” in any post, so I just made a mistake).

4. I attempted to explain “sankharas” as used in that tradition in regard to the practice itself. However, here is an excerpt from “The art of Living” by S.N.Goenka himself:

All sakhāras are impermanent.

When you perceive this with true insight

then you become detached from suffering;

this is the path of purification.

In response to the above dhammapada (not sure which dhammapada, but anicca is translated as impermanence), he writes (bolded parts by me):

“Here the word sakhāra has a very wide meaning. A blind reaction of the mind is called sakhāra, but the result of that action, its fruit, is also known as sakra; like seed, like fruit. Everything that we encounter in life is ultimately the result of our own mental actions. Therefore in the widest sense, sakhāra means anything in this conditioned world, whatever has been created, formed, composed. Hence, “All created things are impermanent,” whether mental or physical, everything in the universe. When one observes this truth with experiential wisdom through the practice of vipassanā-bhāvanā, then suffering disappears, because one turns away from the causes of suffering; that is, one gives up the habit of craving and aversion. This is the path of liberation. The entire effort is to learn how not to react, how not to produce a new sakhāra. A sensation appears, and liking or disliking begins. This fleeting moment, if we are unaware of it, is repeated and intensified into craving and aversion, becoming a strong emotion that eventually overpowers the conscious mind. We become caught up in the emotion, and all our better judgment is swept aside. The result is that we find ourselves engaged in unwholesome speech and action, harming ourselves and others. We create misery for ourselves, suffering now and in the future, because of one moment of blind reaction. But if we are aware at the point where the process of reaction begins—that is, if we are aware of the sensation—we can choose not to allow any reaction to occur or to intensify. We observe the sensation without reacting, neither liking nor disliking it. It has no chance to develop into craving or aversion, into powerful emotion that can overwhelm us; it simply arises and passes away. The mind remains balanced, peaceful. We are happy now, and we can anticipate happiness in the future, because we have not reacted. This ability not to react is very valuable. When we are aware of the sensations within the body, and at the same time maintain equanimity, in those moments the mind is free.”

Regarding the bolded part:

In the practice one observes sensations because “Anything that arises in the mind flows together with sensations.” (I addressed this part, though, in a separate section). So, that means that defilements supposedly manifest in the body through physical sensations (besides in the mind). When you observe sensations with equanimity, they “break down” from gross to subtle. And then they literally disappear at some point (which i refer to as “dissolve.”) I referred to these “sankharas” as “energy knots” because that’s how some experience them (for example when you have a throbbing sensation somewhwere). I don’t remember Goenka calling them such, though. Anyway, When they “dissolve,” new layers of “sankharas” (physical sensations) arise after a little while again (sensations feel heavier and unpleasant again), and they can be dissolved through the same equanimous observations. Those subtle sensations feel nice and are said to be manifestations of craving (because the mind wants more of them). The gross sensations are mostly unpleasant and are said to be manifestations of aversion (the mind doesn’t want them).

I should probably rephrase that sentence “What are these ‘sankharas’ in the physical body?” It’s better to say “the mental defilements that manifest/show themselves through the physical body. That’s why the mind can be applied towards the physical body in order to eradicate the defilements/”sankharas.” (According to this method).

I attempted to offer some explanations in that section that Lal addresses to that physical experience that occurs. I’ve never heard an explanation for this. I know it has nothing to do with the eradication of defilements, so I tried offering other explanations there to that process. One of which is related to the utuja kaya, hence I was hoping I could get some feedback on my theory. Please read the section for more details (starting p. 80).