Thank you Sekha for all your kind advice and thoughts.
First, I agree the simplicity of Goenkaji's teaching is wonderful. It's pure. I've sat several courses and spent significant time at a Dhamma Center as a long-term server. Still, I feel having to wait for 2 years to take a long retreat is too much. Of course, long retreats can be quite challenging and psychologically disturbing at times, but the Buddha never made people wait until they were "ready." I've seen young monks in Burma sit for several months...surely, they are not ready for everything they will experience. Who is ever ready to have their identity shattered over and over again, to have their egos rocked day and night?
Second, does the first experience of cessation not mark the start of life as a sotapanna? Do you have a link of Pa Auk's critique of Mahasi's teachings? Almost certainly, Mahasi was confident and accurate in his teachings regarding the path to Nibbana/cessation. Aware and equanimous...if a practitioner keeps developing these qualities, regardless of technique, he is bound to be a noble person, no? The monk teachers in Mahasi's tradition I have met have been some of the best I've been around, especially Sayadaw U Thuzana. I've only practiced intensively in Goenka and Mahasi traditions, so my experience is limited, but I know when I was at Panditarama a couple years ago, I made good progress. Long retreats are awesome
Third, what are the accommodations like at the Malaysian retreat centers. I see the pictures on Sasanarakka's website shows a large dormitory for lay practitioners. Is it the same for long-term retreatants? How was your experience at Sitavana? Must have been good if you are going back there.
Thank you for your input.
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.