did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 3:52 am

Greetings,

robertk wrote:Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.

Even two years after attending my one and only Goenka course, I can still remember the sound of him repeatedly reminding us, "anicca, anicca, anicca".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 08, 2009 4:00 am

Robert: Without right view at the level of pariyatti - correct theroretical understanding- there can be no direct experience.


That does not say much about the efficacy of the practice.

You are asking me to list specific vipassana teachers? Could I ask why ?


You speak of unnamed vipassana teachers in a general way and you speak about them in a negative way, which has the effect of tarring them all with your aspersions. If you mean specific vipassana teachers, you should say so.

Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.


In a sense, present-moment awareness practice is a simple technique, but I suspect there is far more to what he teaches than just that, though I am no Goenka expert. Others here can speak more directly to that. Any other naughty vipassana teachers we should know about?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby Jechbi » Fri May 08, 2009 4:01 am

Hello Robert,

As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.

Earlier in this thread, you made this statement:
robertk wrote:I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
There are several problems with this statement. One is that it ignores the fact tha the term "vipassana" is used to mean more than just one thing. You are correct that "doing" vipassana is not a correct notion if one is using the term "vipassana" in the way that you are using it. However, when one uses the term "vipassana" in the context of what is commonly referred to as "Vipassana Meditation," then it may be correct to discuss whether one is "doing" the technique or not. I hope this response is on-topic in this forum.

Another problem with your statement is that your contention that "little can be done to help" individuals who do this technique because "the attachment runs to deep usually" appears to me to be a cynical disregard for the core teachings of the Buddha that individuals are not beyond hope of making better kamma and practicing the 8fold path, even if they have not perfected sublime right view. Indeed, until we have attained to the fruit of arahantship, we will not have perfect sublime right view. I believe this viewpoint is supported in many teachings, such as for example throughout the Sammaditthi Sutta, and I'm sure you will be more adept than I am in finding more.

Another problem is that you presume to see into the hearts and minds of Vipassana meditators, and to know their kamma. I hope it goes without saying that such a claim contradicts any classical teaching.

robertk wrote:Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.
Goenka is using this phrase "simple mental technique" in the context of using the term "vipassana" as it is used when talking about "Vipassana Meditation." Goenka is not describing Vipassana in its classical sense as "a simple mental technique," as you erroneously contend.

I believe the burden is on you, Robert, to show in the teachings where it is prohibited to use the term "Vipassana" in any other way than that which you wish it to be used, namely, as a noun synonymous with true insight.

I have done my best to keep this post on-topic within the framework of this particular forum, and at the same time address some of your comments. My apologies if this post falls short in that regard.

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 08, 2009 4:10 am

As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.


Will probably need to separate this sub-discussion out, putting it into its own thread in the "free-for-all" section.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 4:43 am

Greetings,

robertk wrote:I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.


I wonder if this isn't akin to the conversation going on elsewhere about rebirth, and whether someone needs to give caveats about anatta everytime they mention rebirth in order not to be falling into the fallacy of wrong view regarding the self.

Is anyone "doing vipassana" anymore than they're being "reborn in hell"?

Is this simply a case of stated versus unstated assumptions?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 08, 2009 4:48 am

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:
As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.


Will probably need to separate this sub-discussion out, putting it into its own thread in the "free-for-all" section.

In the meantime, I'm going to move this to the Meditation Forum.

Jcsuperstar ~ let us know if you object to this and would like it moved back. What is your preference? Are you specifically and exclusively interested in the Classical Mahavihara perspective, as embodied within the commentarial tradition?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 08, 2009 4:55 am

Good move.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby pink_trike » Fri May 08, 2009 4:55 am

robertk wrote:
I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.


I'm curious...what is your opinion of the many teachers who offer this practice? Are they also attached too deeply? Should we dismiss their training, qualifications, ,and assessment of current conditions that leads them to make a decision to offer this practice in these times, to modern minds? Does a narrow interpretation of "Vipassana" cancel out the skillful means of countless teachers?
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 08, 2009 5:20 am

While I obviously disagree with Robert (otherwise I wouldn't keep doing Mahasi-style meditation with my teachers) I do think he makes a cruial point that it is very easy for meditation to become oriented towards a self and involve a lot of desire and clinging.

I had some thoughts on this issue here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1151

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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby zavk » Fri May 08, 2009 5:32 am

Mike's post reminded me off this essay by Christopher Titmuss, 'Has Vipassana Reached the End of the Road?', which I stumbled across a while ago. I think it connects with some of the themes raised in this thread and also in Mike's own thread.

I'd be interested to hear what fellow 'vipassana' meditators have to say.

Moderators: Do you think this is worth a thread on its own? It kinda straddles both this one and Mike's.
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby Individual » Fri May 08, 2009 7:01 am

jcsuperstar wrote:vipasanna is very popular, but is it a method taught by the buddha? is there a sutta where the buddha teaches vipasanna the way he teaches anapanasati
or is this a modern method?

I think that suttas aren't a sufficient source to describe traditional Theravadin meditation. Meditation is such a complex and personal thing that writing instructions about it would not be practical or useful. Even some of the suttas suggest that early monks were separated into jhana (meditation) monks and "dhamma-devotee" (scripture studying) monks. So, the oral traditions and practices of Theravadin meditation developed over time are just as important as scripture, in my opinion, and certainly legitimate.

Basic descriptions of the Buddha's meditation teachings are found in the Tipitaka, but more detailed descriptions are not, hence the need for a meditation teacher.
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby robertk » Fri May 08, 2009 12:28 pm

Jechbi wrote:Hello Robert,


robertk wrote:Anyway the comment in my post above about the teacher who claims vipassana is a 'simple mental technique' comes from Goenka. Now if you agree with him please discuss or show evidence from the teachings.
Goenka is using this phrase "simple mental technique" in the context of using the term "vipassana" as it is used when talking about "Vipassana Meditation." Goenka is not describing Vipassana in its classical sense as "a simple mental technique," as you erroneously contend.



I:


I actually have no idea of the difference that you mention above. Vipasssana is insight leading to nibbana and it is thus the highest level of buddhist achievement. I contend that it is not a simple mention exercise and I cited the Buddha's
word that it is difficult and profound. If however I am wrong and vipassana is something other than insight and if it is indeed a mental technique - then this would be news to me.Please cite the evidence.

Now one further thing, I have conceded on several threads on esangha that this mediation may have many benefits. It may make all who practice it calm and loving and law abiding. Indeed even transcendental meditation has been proven by science to make its practioners into better beings all around. This I am not disputing. What I am suggesting is that my reading of the texts does not have people doing special techniques and then claiming vipassan insight. Now when people make special claims of high levels of achievement in Buddhism at times someone needs to call them out. This unpleasant task seems to have fallen my way but it has also been suggested by participants on this thread that I am 'obssesed' and carrying out a 'bizarre vendetta' and I was told to 'get a grip" .
'Please moderators do decide whether you want me to continue writing on this thread or not?
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby robertk » Fri May 08, 2009 12:59 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Robert: Without right view at the level of pariyatti - correct theroretical understanding- there can be no direct experience.


That does not say much about the efficacy of the practice.

?

Is this meant to disagree with what I said? In that case you disagree with the Theravada position .
Neither among a hundred bulls, nor among a thousand, will even a single bull ensure the continuance of his line in the absence of a cow. Even so, neither among a hundred bhikkhus intent on insight, nor among a thousand, will even a single bhikkhu penetrate the noble path in the absence of pariyatti.

Marks are engraved in rock to show the location of buried treasure; for as long as those marks endure, the treasure is not reckoned as lost. Even so, for as long as pariyatti endures, the Teacher’s Dispensation is not reckoned to have disappeared.
(Manorathapūraṇī i. 92-3, Translted by Dhammanando
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri May 08, 2009 1:17 pm

Hi Robertk
have a read of Tilts Signature may give you an idea of what he meant

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Robert: Without right view at the level of pariyatti - correct theroretical understanding- there can be no direct experience.


That does not say much about the efficacy of the practice.

?

Is this meant to disagree with what I said? In that case you disagree with the Theravada position .
Neither among a hundred bulls, nor among a thousand, will even a single bull ensure the continuance of his line in the absence of a cow. Even so, neither among a hundred bhikkhus intent on insight, nor among a thousand, will even a single bhikkhu penetrate the noble path in the absence of pariyatti.

Marks are engraved in rock to show the location of buried treasure; for as long as those marks endure, the treasure is not reckoned as lost. Even so, for as long as pariyatti endures, the Teacher’s Dispensation is not reckoned to have disappeared.
(Manorathapūraṇī i. 92-3, Translted by Dhammanando
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri May 08, 2009 1:31 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:
As a preface that I hope will not be off-topic: It is very difficult to have this discussion in this particular forum, because this is a specialized forum for Classical Theravada, but you are attempting to discuss one way in which some of that tradition is manifesting itself in the present day. If you wish to try to discredit Goenka, I would argue that this is not the correct forum in which to do so. But of course that is up to the moderators to decide.


Will probably need to separate this sub-discussion out, putting it into its own thread in the "free-for-all" section.

In the meantime, I'm going to move this to the Meditation Forum.

Jcsuperstar ~ let us know if you object to this and would like it moved back. What is your preference? Are you specifically and exclusively interested in the Classical Mahavihara perspective, as embodied within the commentarial tradition?

Metta,
Retro. :)

i'm cool with it, i had put the question here to make sure that any answers came from before the modern movement, and i think i got that.. lets see where this goes, might be productive.
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby Jechbi » Fri May 08, 2009 2:05 pm

Dear Robert,
robertk wrote:I actually have no idea of the difference that you mention above. Vipasssana is insight leading to nibbana and it is thus the highest level of buddhist achievement. I contend that it is not a simple mention exercise and I cited the Buddha's
word that it is difficult and profound. If however I am wrong and vipassana is something other than insight and if it is indeed a mental technique - then this would be news to me.Please cite the evidence.
If you have no idea of the difference that I mention above, it is because you have chosen to ignore posts in this very thread that point you to places where this difference is described, such as here. It's very difficult for me to understand how you could not be aware that the term "Vipassana Meditation" is commonly used to refer to a technique. I also don't understand how you could not be aware that the term "vipsassana" itself has broader and more varied usages than as a noun synonymous with insight. The evidence is all over the place, and it has been presented to you many times.

robertk wrote:Now one further thing, I have conceded on several threads on esangha that this mediation may have many benefits. It may make all who practice it calm and loving and law abiding. Indeed even transcendental meditation has been proven by science to make its practioners into better beings all around. This I am not disputing. What I am suggesting is that my reading of the texts does not have people doing special techniques and then claiming vipassan insight. Now when people make special claims of high levels of achievement in Buddhism at times someone needs to call them out. This unpleasant task seems to have fallen my way but it has also been suggested by participants on this thread that I am 'obssesed' and carrying out a 'bizarre vendetta' and I was told to 'get a grip" .
'Please moderators do decide whether you want me to continue writing on this thread or not?
Nobody is making special claims of high levels of achivement in Buddhism as a result of practicing what is commonly referred to as Vipassana Meditation. Can you please point to an instance where a Vipassana meditator has done so? I will join you in speaking with that person out of compassion to help them come to grips with any misunderstanding.

With regard to the discussion over at E-Sangha, Robert, I was the one who told you to "get a grip" because you began making bizarre statements such as this one:
robertk2,Apr 18 2009, 11:11 AM wrote:I can't recommend to my daughter not to join the moonies because I was never a moonie, I shouldn't say the Heaven's gate cult were wrong when they killed themselves to get on board Halleys comet. I reject this sort of advice as being idiotic_ one is then open to cults who say "try us out see for yourself", all teh while indoctrinating using cult techniques into their belief system and way of practice. Very very dangerous.

To which my response was:
Jechbi wrote:Comparing Goenka-style meditation retreats with "moonies" and Heaven's Gate cultists is outlandish and uncalled for.

I have been respectful of you and your contributions to discussions related to Abhidhamma, but really, Robert, your behavior now is going overboard. It's obvious that you have some sort of deep personal aversion to Goenka's approach. That's fine, you can have whatever strange opinions you choose. But this bizarre vendetta you are pursuing cannot be regarded as rational.

Get a grip please.

Yes, I spoke harshly to you. Certainly I was hoping that you would not take it personally, and that you would not hold a grudge. If my words were hurtful, then I apologize for my role in bringing that unpleasant experience to fruition in your life. But my underlying intention also was to try to rein in what I saw as irrational criticism out of control.

In that same thread over at E-Sangha, you presented other inaccurate information about the Goenka-taught technique. It appeared to me that your words had caused people to have needless doubts. After all, you are a university instructor with an Abhidhamma Web sight, so you have some authority.

But this is not even the first time you have sought to discredit Goenka. Your bid to discredit him also pops up in completely unrelated threads, such as this one, where you and I had this exchange (emphasis mine):
robertk wrote:
Jechbi wrote:Can we break the link between vipāka and kamma? Is that the point, that there really is no hard-and-fast link? Or am I missing some important understanding here? It seems like there's some volitional component between those two.

Metta
:smile:

Are you talking about the javana processes arsing shortly after the vipaka citta or the initial kamma - maybe done aeons ago that led to this pleasant or unpleasant result.
In the first case the vipaka and the akusala or kusala (at the moments of javana) are of different jatis.
The vipaka is a supporting condition but not neccessarily a main condition for teh arising of the kusala or akusala. For example one coudl hear Dhamma well explained but have aversion (akusala ) to it. Or listen to false Dhamma and think that that was good(akusala).

The idea we sometimes hear about breaking the chain at the vedana link is mostly motivated by an idea of a self who can control and also by lobha which looks for a quick result. If there is understanding of any element - including vedana- then at that moment there is a weakening of the chain, but this doesn't imply trying to be equanimous or detached. It rather needs clear pariyatti wisdom that knows all elements are merely that- ephemeral and conditioned, thus anatta.

At the time, I thought you were trying to help me understand Abhidhamma. But later, it became very clear that your underlying message was that the Goenka technique is invalid. I cannot tell you how counterproductive your comments were in that thread. I became literally ill when I tried to apply your subsequent notion that some vipaka is a legitimate object of desire.

Robert, I highly value your insights and knowledge, and I respect you. But in all honesty, I find your repeated efforts to discredit Goenka to be inexplicable and potentially harmful. Can you please try to view my comments without seeing them as a personal attack? And can you please try to examine the effects of your words on others? Thank you.

Metta
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby robertk » Fri May 08, 2009 3:19 pm

Jechbi wrote:I find your repeated efforts to discredit Goenka to be inexplicable and potentially harmful. :smile:

Remember Jason saying that that I always ripped Thannisaro, or the guy who was so upset that I said Bodhi was out of line for dismissing Abhidhamma as not Buddha vacca. Or the Thai on esnagha that sent me pm for not respecting A. Mun properly. They all think I am out to get their man.
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby Jechbi » Fri May 08, 2009 3:33 pm

Again, Robert, you are ignoring most of my post. Instead, you are narrowly focussing on those elements that are easiest to misinterpret as a personal attack.

I don't know about Jason or the "Thai on E-Sangha" or all those other people who also apparently have told you that you have conducted yourself in an inappropriate manner. But if so many people are objecting to your attempts to discredit the way others present the Buddha's teachings, maybe you should start listening?

Also, I would be interested to hear your response to the several posts related to this statement you made:
I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
How is it that you claim to be able to know the kamma of others? Certainly that is a claim of Buddha-like attainment.
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri May 08, 2009 6:19 pm

AN 4.170
Yuganaddha Sutta
In Tandem
Translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu PTS: A ii 156



On one occasion Ven. Ananda was staying in Kosambi, at Ghosita's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Friends!"

"Yes, friend," the monks responded.

Ven. Ananda said: "Friends, whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four?

"There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity. As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. As he develops tranquillity in tandem with insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control. There comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, and becomes unified & concentrated. In him the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of these four paths."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Revised: Tuesday 2007-08-14
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: did the buddha teach vipasanna meditation?

Postby Ben » Fri May 08, 2009 10:34 pm

Hi Robert
I disagree with your assessment of the technique that Goenkaji has propagated. I disagree with your statement that vipassana meditators either here or on e-sangha have claimed high attainments and I disagree with you with your statement
I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
.

I have been 'doing' vipassana under the guidance of Goenkaji for the better part of the last 24 years. I can assure you, over that time, my attachment to my teacher has lessened considerably and the objectivity with which I analyse the actual benefits of practicing the technique has increased. I don't think that I am 'one eyed' with regards to my teacher or the technique.

My opinion is that I believe that the technique of vipassana as propagated by Goenkaji may have originated with the early commentators or later teachers who wanted to provide a structured environment in which vipassana (special wisdom) has an opportunity to arise.

Robert, please keep in mind that the ten-day course is an introductory course. Numerous times during that ten-day course, Goenkaji explains that it is 'the kindergarten of Dhamma'.
Also, I agree with Jechbi with regards to your comparison of Goenka / Goenka's students with the Moonies. Such comparisons and other provocative statments do little for your argument.
Metta

Ben
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