Goenka technique

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: Goenka technique

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:02 am

Great report, FijiNut!
metta

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Re: Goenka technique

Postby upekkha » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:34 am

Great report Fijinut!

If you read the Progress of Insight I believe you will see that your experiences line up quite nicely and clearly with the ancient maps.

After the stage of "Knowledge of Arising and Passing away" (What you report experiencing on day 4), there are stages which are rightly named (Knowledge of) Dissolution, misery, disgust, desire for deliverenace and re-observation (toughest one yet), before one reaches the 'Knowledge of Equanimity regarding formations' stage. (After crossing the 4th nyana you will probably begin to feel a strong pull towards spiritual practice, desire to renounce to world and dedicate more and more time to spritual practice, feeling that the world is unsatisfactory.. these have been reported by many many meditators crossing the infamous 4th nyana - do you find this in your own experience?)

In my own experience of practicing both body-scanning as well as other Vipassana techniques intensly, body-scanning becomes less effective after the 4th Nyana (Arising and Passing away) in those stages called 'Dukkha Nyanas' since one needs to objectify many mental objects as well as physical ones, and favouring body formations over mental formations seems to cause a stagnation.
Since all formations are anatta, you cannot 'stop' wanting to progress, or thinking about progress, or wanting some other experience, these are just mental phenomena arising on their own and are as 'holy' as any other sensation or vibration. One needs to see through them, objectify them, in order to continue making progress. One cannot fight craving, craving needs to be seen for what it is. Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta. You do not create craving, craving arises in a causal manner as any other mind/body formation.
I suggest trying some Mahasi noting, you'd be surprised how such a simple technique can bring about profound progress in short time (even during daily life). At least that's what I found in my own experience.

Enjoy!
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:28 pm

Hi Fijinut

Thanks for reporting back. I hope you don't mind me asking - did you gain an understanding of anatta in your experience?

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Re: Goenka technique

Postby fijiNut » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:06 pm

ryb,
If that is a roundabout way to ask about attainments, I can honestly say.. no. Nothing to proclaim. :tongue:

Just to say that there were these states of mind that was experienced, and just about it.
I would be even sceptical to say the experience entailed anything special. I can't be sure.

But taking the results of practice out of context of just a 10 day retreat into daily life, the mind is very cautious about breaking sila, the discursive mind calms down extremely quickly, and also confidence in the Path is quite strong, one feels one can dedicate one's whole life to this.
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby vitellius » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:46 pm

rowyourboat wrote:'Bhangha' is another term- possibly with new usage with the tradition. It is said to denote a point where all body sensations disappear. Previously in the commentaries bhanga nana (knowledge of dissolution) is when everything seems to be dissolving. These two are different. I suspect that bhanga may occur in two instances- one is when samadhi is developed to a great degree and the mind cannot direct itself towards body sensations (this naturally happens in samatha) and focuses internally on the mind away from body sensations. Or it happens when there is stream entry.


Hi rowyourboat, I have also came to conclusion that "bhanga" in Goenka's tradition is most probably is a (near-)jhana state.
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby Ben » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:15 pm

rowyourboat wrote:'Bhangha' is another term- possibly with new usage with the tradition. It is said to denote a point where all body sensations disappear.

No, that is not correct. The description of Bhanga within the tradition is completely consistent with the commentarial explanation. Goenkaji goes into considerable detail and explains that sensations do not disappear. As for 'new usage', Goenkaji has been describing bhanga-nana since I have been involved in 1985. And before that, I have a transcript and audio file of U Ba Khin saying much the same thing in 1969. And before that, we can look at the writings of Ledi Sayadaw, so its been around for awhile.
Oleksandr wrote:Hi rowyourboat, I have also came to conclusion that "bhanga" in Goenka's tradition is most probably is a (near-)jhana state.

That is not correct either. One apprehends bhangha from practicing vipassana. Within this tradition, vipassana is not practiced only after the attainment of jhana. It would be the exception rather than the rule that practitioners within this tradition experience bhanga from the basis of jhana. Bhanga and jhana are two very different states.
kind regards

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Re: Goenka technique

Postby vitellius » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:46 pm

Hello Ben,

I understand that in Goenka tradition "bhanga" is not associated with jhanas. It is my personal opinion that state called "bhanga" by S.N. Goenka and his students is the same or near that what is called "jhana" in some other traditions.

Anyway, may be you can recommend texts or dhammatalks where "bhanga" is described in details (more or less) by S.N. Goenka or somebody else from his tradition? Then I would be able to elaborate on this topic or to correct my opinion.
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:46 am

Hi Oleksandr,
As a matter of interest, what is your opinion based on?
kind regards

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Re: Goenka technique

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:51 am

Ben wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:'Bhangha' is another term- possibly with new usage with the tradition. It is said to denote a point where all body sensations disappear.

No, that is not correct. The description of Bhanga within the tradition is completely consistent with the commentarial explanation. Goenkaji goes into considerable detail and explains that sensations do not disappear. As for 'new usage', Goenkaji has been describing bhanga-nana since I have been involved in 1985. And before that, I have a transcript and audio file of U Ba Khin saying much the same thing in 1969. And before that, we can look at the writings of Ledi Sayadaw, so its been around for awhile.
Oleksandr wrote:Hi rowyourboat, I have also came to conclusion that "bhanga" in Goenka's tradition is most probably is a (near-)jhana state.

That is not correct either. One apprehends bhangha from practicing vipassana. Within this tradition, vipassana is not practiced only after the attainment of jhana. It would be the exception rather than the rule that practitioners within this tradition experience bhanga from the basis of jhana. Bhanga and jhana are two very different states.
kind regards

Ben


You say "bhanga" has been around for quite a while (at least 100 years). Was it around at the Buddha's time and did the Buddha elaborate on it?

Is "practicing" vipassana possible?

You say Bhanga and jhana are two very different states, is this from personal experience?

:smile:
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:54 am

Brizzy wrote:
Is "practicing" vipassana possible?

Cultivating the conditions that give rise to insight is possible.
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: Goenka technique

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:57 am

Brizzy wrote: Is "practicing" vipassana possible?


What is your opinion of this Brizzy? And how did you come you your conclusions?

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Re: Goenka technique

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:34 am

cooran wrote:
Brizzy wrote: Is "practicing" vipassana possible?


What is your opinion of this Brizzy? And how did you come you your conclusions?

with metta
Chris


Refer to tiltbillings post. A meditation technique/ritual/bodyscan that one decides to label "vipassana" is a misnomer.

:smile:
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:39 am

Brizzy wrote:]

Refer to tiltbillings post. A meditation technique/ritual/bodyscan that one decides to label "vipassana" is a misnomer.
It is just one of those things like "taking" refuge or "enlightenment."
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote:]

Refer to tiltbillings post. A meditation technique/ritual/bodyscan that one decides to label "vipassana" is a misnomer.
It is just one of those things like "taking" refuge or "enlightenment."


:shrug: I do not understand.

:smile:
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:57 am

Brizzy wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote:]

Refer to tiltbillings post. A meditation technique/ritual/bodyscan that one decides to label "vipassana" is a misnomer.
It is just one of those things like "taking" refuge or "enlightenment."


:shrug: I do not understand.
One does not "take" refuge; the Pali is gacchami, I go for refuge. Bodhi is awakening, not enlightenment. Calling the practice "vipassana" because it cultivates those things that leads to vipassana is just one of those things. It is no big deal.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:11 am

tiltbillings wrote: One does not "take" refuge; the Pali is gacchami, I go for refuge. Bodhi is awakening, not enlightenment. Calling the practice "vipassana" because it cultivates those things that leads to vipassana is just one of those things. It is no big deal.


It is, if one believes that by following a certain technique/rite/ritual/bodyscan etc. one will necessarily cultivate the eightfold path. A technique is just that and should not be vaunted as the thing itself. The Buddha was very reticent about such things as "techniques", he rather gave a teaching and left it to each individuals wisdom to penetrate.

:smile:
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby PeterB » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:12 am

Oleksandr wrote:Hello Ben,

I understand that in Goenka tradition "bhanga" is not associated with jhanas. It is my personal opinion that state called "bhanga" by S.N. Goenka and his students is the same or near that what is called "jhana" in some other traditions.

Anyway, may be you can recommend texts or dhammatalks where "bhanga" is described in details (more or less) by S.N. Goenka or somebody else from his tradition? Then I would be able to elaborate on this topic or to correct my opinion.

No, sorry. bhanga is not Jhana. Although some may conflate the two.
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:30 am

Brizzy wrote:
It is, if one believes that by following a certain technique/rite/ritual/bodyscan etc. one will necessarily cultivate the eightfold path. A technique is just that and should not be vaunted as the thing itself. The Buddha was very reticent about such things as "techniques", he rather gave a teaching and left it to each individuals wisdom to penetrate.
My initial response is: tough beans. The fact of the matter is that it is going to be called vipassana meditation whether you like it or not and your petulant "rite/ritual" slam adds nothing. "Techniques" are simply tools, which may or may not be a fit for those who try them, but if they help one cultivate a concentrated/mindful mind, why complain? Being tools they are sooner or later let go.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:09 am

Brizzy wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: One does not "take" refuge; the Pali is gacchami, I go for refuge. Bodhi is awakening, not enlightenment. Calling the practice "vipassana" because it cultivates those things that leads to vipassana is just one of those things. It is no big deal.


It is, if one believes that by following a certain technique/rite/ritual/bodyscan etc. one will necessarily cultivate the eightfold path. A technique is just that and should not be vaunted as the thing itself. The Buddha was very reticent about such things as "techniques", he rather gave a teaching and left it to each individuals wisdom to penetrate.

:smile:

are the instructions to rahula not a technique? or the anapanasati sutta, or 4 things one does that leads to the 1st stage of awakening. they are like goenka's or mahasi sayadaw's or anyone else's technique, simply instructions one follows to allow for the arising of the conditions necessary for insight to arise. nothing more. it would seem those who vilify these techniques as more than this make more of them than do those who follow them or instruct other's in them.
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Re: Goenka technique

Postby upekkha » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:15 pm

I find this whole 'bhanga: jhana or not jhana' discussion to be faulty, since it is too general.
It's not like you are analyzing someone's description of a certain meditation experience and then commenting on what you think that was, you are talking in broad terms.
'Bhanga' can mean different things to different people. 'Jhana' can mean different things to different people (Sutta Jhana vs. Visudhimagga Jhana).

If you take the 'Vipassana Jhana' approach (Mahasi Sayadaw), then the experience of Bhanga is within the 2nd Vipassana Jhana.
But from my own experience, what Goenka calls 'Bhanga' can be experienced in different ways. You could have a 'Bhanga-like' experience in the First Nyana (Mind & Body) where you feel the whole body as vibrations, but you can also have a 'Bhanga' experience (which is probably what Goenka means) at the 4th nyana (Arising and passing away), which feels much more intense than Nyana 1. It could be felt as the whole body exploding into vibrations, lack of orientation of body and so on.

It is simply a matter of one's own personal experience, and talking so broadly is really point-less, I think :)
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