Satya Narayan Goenka (Shri S N Goenka) is the master of Vipassana
meditation. Vipassana is the experiential aspect of the Teachings
of Lord Buddha. S. N. Goenka learnt Vipassana from Sayagyi U
Ba Khin - the great Burmese Vipassana Teacher. Sayagyi U Ba Khin
belonged to a long lineage of celebrated Vipassana teachers.
Dr. S N Goenka, D.Litt (Nalanda University) is considered an expert
in pariyatti (the theory) and patipatti (the experiential
aspect-Vipassana) of the teachings of Lord Buddha. He has established
the Vipassana Research Institute (VRI) at Igatpuri (Nasik) in India.
Below is a collection of Goenka's sayings and Q/A on Buddha, Dhamma
Buddha taught Dhamma (the way, the truth, the path). He did not
call his followers "Buddhists"; he referred to them as "Dhammists"
(those who follow the truth)
You keep referring to the Buddha. Are you teaching Buddhism?
- I am not concerned with 'isms'. I teach Dhamma, and that is
what the Buddha taught. He never taught any 'ism', or any sectarian
doctrine. He taught something from which people of every background,
every religion, can benefit. He taught the way with which one can live
a life full of benefits for oneself and other. He didn't merely give
empty sermons saying, "Oh, People. You must live like this, you
must live like that". The Buddha taught practical Dhamma,
the actual way to live a wholesome life. And Vipassana is the
practical know-how to lead a life of real happiness.
What is the connection between Vipassana and Buddhism?
- Buddha never preached Buddhism. We have compiled 140 volumes of Buddha's
existing talks into a CD-ROM and found that the word Bauddha or Buddhism
is not mentioned even once. Buddha talks of Dhamma (Pali for
Dharma), not Bauddha Dharma. Buddha was against organized
religion. It was his followers who later created a religion out of his
talks. A person who identifies with a religious community can never
is nothing but a pure science, a super-science of mind and matter:
the interaction of mind and matter, the cross-currents and the under-currents
happening deep inside every moment. Things are happening inside every
moment, but we remain extroverted, giving importance to things outside.
Say somebody has abused me, and I don't have this practice of observing
what is happening within myself: I become angry and start shouting.
What am I doing.
observe anger as anger, or hatred as hatred, or passion as passion,
is very difficult. It takes time. That is why the wise people, the enlightened
people, the saints and seers of India advised: "Observe yourself."
Observing oneself is a path of self-realization, truth-realization;
one can even say "God-realization," because after all, truth
is God. What else is God? The law is God, nature is God. And when one
is observing that law; one is observing Dharma. Whatever is happening
within you, you are just a silent observer, not reacting. As you observe
objectively, you have started taking the first step to understand Dharma;
the first step towards practicing Dharma in life.
- What one's mind contains, at this moment, is Dhamma. Dhamma
is everything there is.
the other hand, if you learn the art of Dharma, this means the
art of living, and you stop generating negativity, you start experiencing
peace and harmony within yourself. When you keep your mind pure, full
of love and compassion, the peace and harmony that is generated within
permeates the atmosphere around you. Anyone who comes in contact with
you at that time starts experiencing peace and harmony. You are distributing
something good that you have. You have peace, you have harmony, you
have real happiness, and you are distributing this to others. This is
Dharma, the art of living.
is so simple, so scientific, so true-a law of nature applicable
to everyone. Whether one is Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian; whether
one is American, Indian, Burmese, Russian or Italian - it makes no difference;
a human being is a human being. Dhamma is a pure science of mind,
matter, and the interaction between the two. Do not allow it to become
a sectarian or philosophical belief. This will be of no help.
greatest scientist produced by the world worked to find the truth about
the relationship between mind-matter. And discovering this truth, he
found a way to go beyond mind-matter. He explored reality not just for
the sake of satisfying his curiosity but to find a way to be free of
suffering. So much misery in every family, in every society, in every
nation, in the entire world. The Enlightened One found a way to come
out of this misery.
- Shri S N Goenka
(Collection of Q/A from the Vipassana website www.vri.dhamma.org)