SeekingDharma wrote:I hope I didn't muddy the waters for you, I very much look forward to my first 10-day Goenka retreat!
Hi delf,delf7 wrote:hello all, i am thinking of applying to attend a 10-day course in "vipassana meditation as taught by s.n. goenka in the tradition of sayagyi u ba khin" offered at a retreat in northern illinois, usa. the goenka organization holds these world-wide.
i am very interested in doing this, but in researching this, i have read some very bad reviews of mr. goenka's teaching (or should i say his "assistant teachers" as mr. goenka's discourses tend to be via videotape) and his "schools". i have also read some very good things (one such "review" by a trusted member of this forum, who i tend to believe).
i have read people calling his retreats "cult boot-camps" and "not based in true theravada" while others have called them "wonderful experiences".
i am curious as to if anyone here has attended any of these retreats and what impressions you had of the experience.
any input would be greatly appriciated.
Ud 5.5 wrote:Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch.
delf7 wrote:i've always been the type of person who jumps right in the deep end, but maybe i should learn to tread water first?
How can I be sure I am capable of doing the meditation?
For a person in reasonable physical and mental health who is genuinely interested and willing to make a sincere effort, meditation (including "noble silence") is not difficult. If you are able to follow the instructions patiently and diligently, you can be sure of tangible results. Though it may appear daunting, the day's schedule is neither too severe nor too relaxed. Moreover, the presence of other students practicing conscientiously in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere lends tremendous support to one's efforts.
Modus.Ponens wrote:I have done a 10 day vipassana retreat in that tradition and it was the best thing that I did in my life. The technique is very useful and the results profound. I advise anyone to try it.
Modus.Ponens wrote:Having said that, I also have to say the following:
1- I've read that Mahasi style is more efficient in producing insight than Goenka style. The problem with Goenka tradition is that it requires a certain commitment to the tradition in order to be able to attend certain retreats, like the teacher's self course. If you have practiced any other meditation technique between the last retreat and the teacher's self course, for example, you can't attend the TSC. which brings me to the second point:
Modus.Ponens wrote:2- The whole Goenka organization may be a cult. Most acusations online of this organization being a cult are ignorant and could apply to any form of retreat, which would imply that every temple offering retreats are cults. However, there have been at least 2 cases I've encountered worth considering as more than ignorant talk. A critic from inside the organization (going by the name of "pamojja") apeared on e-sangha and described his case where he was threatened to either embrace the views of Goenka regarding the teachings or never being able to attend another course again. He tried to contact Goenka himself to expose the case but with no reply. Here lies the nature of my doubt: either Goenka was to busy to take care of that subject or he neglected it (which is bad) or he encouraged it (which is worse). Now bear in mind that all this happened on the internet and could mean nothing, but, nevertheless, I would like to make the warning.
Why do I recomend this retreat despite having a slight doubt that it is a cult? Because you can learn the technique _ which has nothing wrong and is very beneficial _ and still not become a cult member.
delf7 wrote:i am looking forward to it, but i am very aware that i need to "get ready" for it. much more reading, much more study and much much more practice need to be done before this undertaking.
delf7 wrote:after giving this much thought, i have decided to apply for the course. i had planned to "jump right in" a.s.a.p., but some good advice here has led me to decide to wait a little longer, so i could have a little more practice under my belt, and give me time to read more of the suttas to achive better footing before taking on the 10-day session.
the whole "could be a cult" warnings do not bother me, as i think it would be easy to call ANY retreat such as this "cult-ish".
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