Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

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Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby Boeta » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:13 am

Hello everyone,

I would like some advice please. But firstly, I should just explain a few things. I am not very interested in Buddhist philosophy. I respect it but it is not for me. I am more of an atheist that doesn't believe in anything other than matter. I believe we evolved naturally to our current position on earth and that there is no spiritual or Divine realms of existence. I like inquiring into the nature of reality through the medium of science and Western philosophy.

Now that that is out of the way, I think that it has been proven without a doubt that meditation is beneficial. So, I want to find a meditation technique that I can do everyday. I would also like to learn this meditation from a teacher, not just online. I have read a lot about the different forms of meditation and have been thinking about doing a ten day Goenka/vipassana retreat. I would like to know whether this is considered a good technique or not. I would also like to hear the opinions of people who have been meditating for years, not beginners please. And I also would like the opinions of people who actually have experience with this technique of meditation. My main questions are, as far as a meditation technique is concerned, is this a good one? Please bare in mind that I am not looking for "enlightenment" and that I will reject their theoretical dogma completely. I dont believe in past lives, I dont believe in "liberation" and I dont believe that we are releasing "samskaras" while meditating. What I am interested in is the actual meditation technique. Is it a good technique, buddhist theory aside?

I would appreciate any help with this.
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ram peswani » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:10 am

[list=][*]
Boeta wrote:Hello everyone,



Now that that is out of the way, I think that it has been proven without a doubt that meditation is beneficial. So, I want to find a meditation technique that I can do everyday. I would also like to learn this meditation from a teacher, not just online. I have read a lot about the different forms of meditation and have been thinking about doing a ten day Goenka/vipassana retreat. I would like to know whether this is considered a good technique or not. I would also like to hear the opinions of people who have been meditating for years, not beginners please. And I also would like the opinions of people who actually have experience with this technique of meditation. My main questions are, as far as a meditation technique is concerned, is this a good one? Please bare in mind that I am not looking for "enlightenment" and that I will reject their theoretical dogma completely. I dont believe in past lives, I dont believe in "liberation" and I dont believe that we are releasing "samskaras" while meditating. What I am interested in is the actual meditation technique. Is it a good technique, buddhist theory aside?

I would appreciate any help with this.

[/list]



I was in an exact position that you are now in.
After a search I joined Vipassana of Goenka, and did a few retreats.
Result is that I have completely changed and last 20 years of my life have been very interesting .
Scientific mind will be really encaptured.
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby Clarence » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:16 am

Better to ask at www.dhammawheel.com

But, I liked doing my 10 day Goenka retreat.
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby Jikan » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:02 pm

The best kind of practice is the one that you can do, can learn how to do well (eg you have a teacher there to guide you), and will do.

Why not give it a try?
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby dakini_boi » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:03 pm

Yes, it is a good technique. The 10-day retreats are very intense, but I think it's great, because you totally immerse yourself in the experience. Also, you will appreciate it because it is presented in a way that is palatable to the scientific mind. It's all about giving it a try and seeing what your experience is, and no emphasis is given to anything mystical.

Please understand that "samskaras" are simply psychological conditioning. "Liberation" is becoming free from your psychological conditioning. Nothing unscientific about that, just language that you might not be used to.

If I remember correctly, they do ask you to "take refuge" at the start of the retreat - but this is explained as committing to try out the techniques they teach you for 10 days. If the idea of taking refuge concerns you, you should email them and ask about it.

Overall, given what you expressed, this would be a great place to start. As Goenkaji says, "You are bound to succeed!"
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby Boeta » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:03 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.

dakini_boi wrote:
Please understand that "samskaras" are simply psychological conditioning. "Liberation" is becoming free from your psychological conditioning. Nothing unscientific about that, just language that you might not be used to.

If I remember correctly, they do ask you to "take refuge" at the start of the retreat - but this is explained as committing to try out the techniques they teach you for 10 days. If the idea of taking refuge concerns you, you should email them and ask about it.



I've read about the vipassana technique taught by Goenka. It's a body scan technique, as you know. Do you think that calmly observing bodily sensations can really lead to a change in a person's psychological conditioning? I think the theory is that people react more to bodily sensations than they realize and that the vipassana technique can be used to stop those reactions, leading to a calmer, more peaceful life. I'm just not sure that this is true. That is really my problem right now, if I thought it was true then I would probably be at a retreat right now.
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby dakini_boi » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:03 pm

Boeta wrote:I've read about the vipassana technique taught by Goenka. It's a body scan technique, as you know. Do you think that calmly observing bodily sensations can really lead to a change in a person's psychological conditioning? I think the theory is that people react more to bodily sensations than they realize and that the vipassana technique can be used to stop those reactions, leading to a calmer, more peaceful life. I'm just not sure that this is true. That is really my problem right now, if I thought it was true then I would probably be at a retreat right now.


Not being sure is not a problem. Actually, it is a very good, honest place to start. And it sounds like you are open-minded - if you were sure the theory weren't true, then you wouldn't even be considering the retreat. The point of the retreat is to discover if it is true. The great thing about Buddhist practice is it's about experience, not about believing in theories - I think that is what draws you to it.

I can't say I know exactly how it works, BUT - I can tell you that I went into that retreat very depressed, and through the process I tasted that happiness is possible, and totally unrelated to conditions outside myself.

At Goenka's retreats, they don't ask you to believe anything or accept any theories. Mainly, they give you simple instructions and ask you to practice them to the best of your ability for ten days. Then you are in a better position to formulate opinions.

Really, you have nothing to lose by trying it out. If you don't give it a chance, you will always wonder about it. . . and if you try it and find no value, you never have to try it again. But at least you will know it's not for you. :smile:
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby Matt J » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:07 am

One can always find an excuse to NOT do something. Why not just try it and see what happens?

Boeta wrote:


I've read about the vipassana technique taught by Goenka. It's a body scan technique, as you know. Do you think that calmly observing bodily sensations can really lead to a change in a person's psychological conditioning? I think the theory is that people react more to bodily sensations than they realize and that the vipassana technique can be used to stop those reactions, leading to a calmer, more peaceful life. I'm just not sure that this is true. That is really my problem right now, if I thought it was true then I would probably be at a retreat right now.[/quote]
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:19 am

Boeta wrote:I'm just not sure that this is true. That is really my problem right now, if I thought it was true then I would probably be at a retreat right now.


Well, maybe it's just not the right thing for you. Or not yet.

Generally in Buddhism it is advised to start with short meditation sessions like maybe 5-10 minutes a day and then gradually increase. The Goenka retreats are very intense, and the only criticism about them I've ever heard of is that some people say for beginners who have never meditated before starting with such an intense retreat is just too much.

Your problem of not being able to make the decision to go to this retreat is probably related to that. It is quite a big leap you have to take if you go to such an intense retreat. Having so many perfectly legitimate doubts and questions in your head it would be good for you to have an opportunity to join a meditation session in a local centre maybe once a week, so that after each session you have plenty of time to digest what you experienced during that session, make up your mind, sort out which questions to ask the teacher in the next session and so on.

The Shambhala centers in the tradition of Chogyam Trungpa offer Meditation sessions for non-Buddhists. What they do is Shamatha meditation, participants are not expected to prostrate or bow before the altar, and the usual Buddhist prayers which are normally recited at the beginning and end of the session are left out. I once went there to accompany a friend of mine who was in a similar situation. He was interested in meditation but coming from a Christian background he wasn't sure how much he wanted to commit to the Buddhist religion. So we both went to the Shambhala center and joined the non-Buddhist meditation. It was very good, very recommendable.

First a teacher gave a bit of an explanation, about the technique and sitting posture, and then everybody practiced together. Basically it was exactly what you're looking for: an authentic Buddhist meditation technique without the religious and philosophical "superstructure".

Afaik also some Zen centers offer meditation for non-Buddhists.

Best wishes,

R'n'R
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ram peswani » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:56 am

[*][quote="ReasonAndRhyme"]
Well, maybe it's just not the right thing for you. Or not yet.


Minimum one has to put up an effort to rest the mind and body for 10 days. It should not be difficult. But it is good to start the right way. At least one will come to know what it is about.
One can observe the sensations if one wants to. No one is going to enter your body and see that you are following the sensations.

Later one can take further courses to make a serious effort and see the emerging of tremendous changes in your emotional pattern.
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:16 am

ram peswani wrote:Minimum one has to put up an effort to rest the mind and body for 10 days. It should not be difficult.


Maybe it's not difficult if you know this is what you really want to do. But the OP is not a Buddhist and he is still undecided if he wants to practice meditation and if so, which form of meditation. I didn't mean to critisize Goenka Vipassana, nor the OP, btw. I'm just suggesting that it might be more suitable for his current situation to go to a couple of meditation sessions in one or more local dharma centers to make up his mind if Buddhist meditation (or Buddhist meditation techniques offered for non-Buddhists) is the right thing for him.
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:21 am

P.S. besides, if it's difficult or not also depends on a lot of factors. In some countries people have only 14 days of holiday a year. Under such circumstances going to a 10 day retreat can be a big sacrifice.
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ram peswani » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:46 am

[*]
ReasonAndRhyme wrote:P.S. besides, if it's difficult or not also depends on a lot of factors. In some countries people have only 14 days of holiday a year. Under such circumstances going to a 10 day retreat can be a big sacrifice.



A true scientific mind will be fascinated by the effect on body of sensations.
Sensation is a physical thing as it requires energy which is a form of matter.
And its effect by doing vipassana change the mind.
Thus vipassana gives a clear cut result that mind and matter are connected.
Searching mind will fly in imagination on understanding this.
All the latest scientific research is spending billions of dollars and time to find this connection between mind and matter.

Should we be worried about 10 days loss of holidays?
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ram peswani » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:27 pm

[[*]*][quote="ram peswani"]

Thus vipassana gives a clear cut result that mind and matter are connected.


This further leads to UNITY of this universe.
Mind then can visualise that the source of this universe is ONE.

EMPTINESS OR SUNIATA which are the source of all Mahayana sutras will not be far off to visualise.

Breaking of ONE into many thro the process of CAUSE and EFFECT will automatically lead the scientific mind to have firm faith in KARMA and REBIRTH theory of Buddhism.

All the Mahayana sutras then bring out deeper and deeper knowledge.
The purpose of existence then opens up.
Further SENSES open out.
Earning and living becomes easier.
In fact life becomes very interesting for an INQUISITIVE mind.

VIPASSANA is best scientific tool for research on questions on existence and reaping the benefits.
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:58 pm

Shamatha and Vipassana are the most basic Buddhist meditation techniques, and they are taught in every Buddhist tradition. It appears to me that for you the aim of this thread is to convince Boeta that Goenka Vipassana is the one and only option to practice Buddhist meditation. For me the aim of this thread is to help Boeta find a way that is good and suitable for him/her. I'm sure there are many other alternatives of Buddhist meditation for non-Buddhists.

Are you saying that Goenka Vipassana is the only authentic form of Buddhist meditation?
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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Re: Is Goenka Vipassana a good technique?

Postby ram peswani » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:13 am

[*]Are you saying that Goenka Vipassana is the only authentic form of Buddhist meditation?[/quote]


No.There are many types of authentic meditations. Suitability of each person also varies.
Boetha said that he is an athiest. And he says that he has seen the benefits of meditation.So I think in these conditions vipassana of Goenka is the best for him.I had also said earlier on this thread that I was in same situation 20 years back.
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