Reply To: Goenka´s Vipassana – Part 2


Thank you, Lang, for providing relevant segments. That’s very helpful, since I’ve been a bit short on time the last few days.

Also, Lal, thank you for going through some of the segments.

Regarding Lal’s comments:

1. I was under the wrong impression that Goenka’s meditation sessions involved breath meditation. Thanks to the above videos posted by Lang, I now have a better understanding of why many people argued with me, saying that “no, it is about vipassana.”

Breath meditation always precedes the “vipassana” part as Lang implied. It’s about 30% of the total practice during a course, but at home one does not necessarily engage in this form of anapana. One could directly start with the “vipassana” practice as well. It could be described as “equanimous observation of however the breath manifests at any given moment.”

One important note here is that Ledi Sayadaw—likely the “forefather” of this tradition as he passed it on according to Goenka—has written about anapana and based his views in part on the visuddhimagga. You can find something about it here.

3. He also gives an incorrect picture of “sankharas” being “rupa kalapas.” He seems to think that “sankharas” ARE “rupa kalapas.“

Yes, but that would give an incomplete picture. Sankhara is two-fold in that tradition. I’d like to refer to his own quote which I posted in #43909: “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.”

To add to this, in the video segments, he also states that sankhara is the “volition of the mind,”  “the reaction of the mind.” So this part comes closest to the actual meaning of sankhara. But, similarly as the quote, in the video he also stated that “sankhara are generated at the level of sensations” and that a “seed is planted as a sensation.” The latter refers to the point Lal made above.

4. If I missed anything critical or my understanding of “Goenka vipassana” is incorrect, please don’t hesitate to point them out. I want to be fully informed about this technique. I should have spent some time earlier. That would have saved a lot of arguing with people assuming that it was all about “breath meditation.” 

Perhaps to sum it up, I could add this:<br /><br />
Every time you remain equanimous with the sensations, i.e., not react to them, you get rid of them. When you react to them mentally, you plant a seed “physically.” In turn, this manifests physically (fruit) to which one reacts then again mentally and then the cycle repeats itself again. So by remaining equanimous, these “seeds” get eradicated, leading to no more new fruit.

Finally, the one point I tried to make in my previous post:<br />
Those “seeds” (physical sensations) manifest themselves in specific ways. And they originate from very tiny places/”dots,” yet radiate sensations over a much larger surface area. I understand that staying away from sensual pleasures already calms down the body and mind. I’ve also explained that in the file as well. However, advanced practitioners will find that these tiny “dots” behave in specific ways. They will beat/throb slowly at first but as you remain equanimous, and maintain focus, they beat faster and faster, until they eventually completely break down and dissolve, resulting in the much larger surface area around it to do the same.<br />
I don’t know if there’s an explanation for this phenomenon (if there’s not, so be it) but I believe it could still help those people.


Technical note:

I found that I can only replace the “<br/>” line breaks with <p/>. If I simply delete them (whether within the post or within source view) the br will simply reappear (if deleted from within the post) or it will put the lines before and after the br on the same line.