Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Dmytro
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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby Dmytro » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:29 am



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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:14 pm


fijiNut
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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby fijiNut » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:54 am

There is an academic text which trawls through the Suttas surveying what the Buddha taught in regards to vedana (sensations/feelings).
(requires registration)
http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/2075

Hope this is useful to the original post(er).

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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby Korpo » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:53 am


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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:36 am


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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby practitioner » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:18 am

In my humble opinion, the body scan method is not one Buddha taught.

The sutta refers to contemplating body parts not body sensation. The body scan method can develop equanimity but not correct for vipassana.

Vipassana is observing rising and falling away mental and material phenomenon. You observe the breathe, then when prominent sensations from any where in the body arise, you note its arising and stay with it until it disappears. It is passive observation of bodily sensations, feeling, mind changes, and dhamma nature.

Body scan is active vipassana. I have done qi (or chi or prana) practice. In Taoism, the mind's intention leads qi flow which leads blood flow. When my mind tries to feel my hand, I can feel active energy movement in my hand. Yoga Nidra is active body scan. With active body scan, the mind is inducing energy flow which creates sensations. We want to observe whereever it comes from, and not to direct or induce the arising of sensation in an orderly fashion.

It is fine for training equanimity but I dont feel it is true vipassana. After having done body scan for two months, I reverted back to anapanasati because the body scan made my mind noisier.

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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:03 am


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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby practitioner » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:47 pm

Then the more advanced course makes more sense; however, I dont consider the first 10 days course vipassana rooted in Buddha's teaching.

I used to do a meditation to cultivate qi. This meditation uses the mind to direct qi to flow from the tip of left hand to the heart then to the tip of right hand. At first you feel nothing, then after few practices you can feel something inside moving in synchronicity with the mind.

I know Taoism through direct experience that mind's intention leads qi movement which leads blood movement.

I thought one was supposed to attain access concentration before doing vipassana; however, Goenka doesnt emphasize that. Only when your mind is agitated he says to do anapanasati to calm down. I would do anapanasati and know my mind is very calm; however, the body scan causes more and more thoughts to arise the more body scans I do in each session.

I followed Buddha's advice that I should know from direct experience if a teaching is true for me or not. After having given body scan 3 months and meditation just got worse, I switched back to anapanasati. I will wait until i attain jhana then switch to do passive vipassana and do both in tandem, using jhana to do vipassana.

For me, the principle is that it has to be passive. During the day I do vipassana. I am always in passive awareness. Every thought affects the body, so when you apply attention to a spot or an area in the body you will induce sensation. You wait for blind spot. You are making active decision if the wait has been long enough or not, and if it is time to go to the next area. However quiet the decision is, it is an activity of the mind which makes the mind active.

When you visit an area that had sensation before, memory can very well induce faux sensation or memorized sensation.

The first insight is to teach the subconscious mind that there is no self. By being aware how things just arise and disappear one learns the first insight. One learns all phenomenon are happening without a self. His first level retreat is teaching equanimity not vipassana. I would have to do many retreats and practice that style to get to his real vipassana retreat.

I am still a preacher for his retreat for non meditators because he makes it possible for people to learn about meditation and cure psychosomatic issues. They can still keep practicing anapanasati.

I consider the body scan more like Qi practice. I can have wave of sensation going up and down my arm by doing body scan on my arm. That is not vipassana. Mental intention induce qi flow. Every night when I sleep I relax my body and when my mind intents to feel certain part of body I can feel energy movement there. It is not vipassana.

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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:08 pm

You do realize this is very idiosyncratic, I hope. Other people may have the opposite experience.
Also, it's not because you may feel more agitated that you are not making progress at that time.
In the end, it all depends on what you are really looking for.

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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:09 am


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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby practitioner » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:46 pm

There is a technique that fits someone. Works for some and not for others. Body scan is no exception to that. Though I am not a fan of body scan, I am a passionate preacher for Goenka retreat whenever I talk to people because it is a good opportunity for non-meditators or beginners to get started. It does train equanimity.

A general guidance that I would advise people is that if a technique is making it worse then try a different technique.

Body scan not only causes my mind to become noisier but also causes my body to unconsciously change posture.

When the mind directs its attention to an area and then move to the next area, it is not developing insight into anatta instead it is deveolping equanimity to train the mind to treat plesant and unplesant sensations equally.

The first insight is to see how sensations arise and disappear. In body scan, the minute you feel sensation you move on, exactly the opposite of the principle. When the mind is waiting for blind sensation, it is training the mind to cultivate qi. There is also the case of people remembering previous sensation as the current sensation in the current scan.

Passive vipassana does not create expectation or induce fabricated sensation. You focus on tummy or nostril. When prominent sensation arise from anywhere, you observe until it fades away. You dont even think about where it comes from. The very fact that the mind has to travel up and down to visit areas sequentially is not in tune with the principle of vipassana.

Vipassana is to observe as is and see that whatever arises also disappears. This first insight develops knowledge about anatta. In body scan, you are not observing the arising and disappearing of sensations; instead you move on to the next area as soon as you think you are feeling sensation there. To me, it is more of Tao meditation than vipassana.

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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:32 pm


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Re: Sutta Support for "Goenka's method" ?

Postby practitioner » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:42 pm

Smile. Definitely different technique works for different people.

When I look at what goes on in my arm, there is energy flow so there is impermanence and therefore rise and fall; however, this is mind induced. Intention is followed by qi.

In passive vapissana, nothing is induced by the mind. The mind is focusing on the breath. Sensation can come from anywhere; thus, naturall sensation is observed. The rise and fall is observed for that sensation from beginning to end.

In body scan, you notice the sensation then move to the next area right away. How can you say that you observed the falling away of that sensation? The sensation can last for more than 15 seconds, but your mind already moved on to another area in 1second so you never saw the falling away of that sensation.

If it is highly effective, who do you not continue doing it?

Body scan has its purpose which is highly effective in equanimity training but not for gaining first insight. Sure, real passive vipassana maybe taught in the advanced course, but the first course does meet the principle of attaining the first insight.


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