Reply To: Goenka´s Vipassana – Part 2


“Please let me know if anyone has seen him refer to various types of anusaya and abhisankhara. I need to review them to see if there are any explanations of those terms.”

I can confirm a couple of things at this point:

(1) There are no reference to anusaya and abhisankhara in the discourses from a 10-day course.

That said, there are longer courses in this tradition: 20-day, 30-day, 45-day, 60-day.

I don’t know if there are discourses in those longer courses. I do know for sure that the technique remains the same: scanning bodily sensations from head to toes.

(2) Many practitioners in this tradition do believe that this practice alone leads to wisdom, that book knowledge is not necessary.

Again, that said, there is a 7-day course that discussed the Satipatthana Sutta. Those who have gone through three 10-day courses can take this course.

I just saw that the discourses for that course are also online:

SN Goenka Mahasatipatthana Sutta Discourse (ENGLISH)

The book used in this course has Pali / English side by side, and the English part is a word-for-word translation.

It has been too long since I took that course. I will need to re-listen here and there, but I do remember the impression I had at that time: that he interpreted the Satipattana Sutta in a way to fit this technique, not the other way around.

Finally, this tradition is not about breath meditation, but it does play an important role. Breath meditation is used to “sharpen” the mind so that the mind can observe subtler “realities”, meaning bodily sensations. For a 10-day course, the first 3 days are spent on breath meditation. For a 20-day course, I heard that the first 10 days were spent on breath meditation. Furthermore, they take breath meditation to be anapanasati.