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Dec 26, 2009

Significance of the Pali term 'Dhuna' in the practice of Vipassana


The core purpose of the Global Pagoda is to share infinite benefits of Vipassana with all beings. The essence of Vipassana meditation is to be objectively aware of the reality within at this moment, as it is, from moment to moment. Awareness and equanimity, as the Buddha explained, have to be simultaneous.

Vipassana is safest, effective, powerful universal practice to purify the mind since it involves absolutely no artificial, external created element - with no imagination, no mantras etc. Vipassana involves pure objective self-observation of truths of nature, and realities about oneself manifesting themselves from moment to moment. One observes these realities about oneself with equanimity at the level of sensations - however ugly or unpleasant these truths about oneself may be. Equanimity is purity.


(A confused student diluting the effectiveness of Vipassana - by mixing it with other techniques, or by losing equanimity to manifesting realities about oneself, and reacting blindly with ego-based aversion or craving- cannot experience benefits of Vipassana. Instead of generating negativity to the teacher, teaching etc - which is pure practical science of mind-matter- the student is well-advised to contact his or her assistant teacher guide in Vipassana, and calmly discuss the problem. Taking another 10-day Vipassana course would help, in order to practice correctly and experience the inevitable fruits and benefits of correct Vipassana practice).
May all beings benefit from practice of Vipassana, and be liberated from all suffering.

The Vipassana Research Institute article below explains deeper aspects of Vipassana practice: 

Significance of the Pali term 'Dhuna' in the practice of Vipassana 


In the Pali language, there are several words which appear to be quite insignificant, but yet have very deep meaning and relevance in the practice of Vipassana. One such word, occuring in the Tipitaka, is the word dhuna(1) which means combing out, shaking off, doing away with. This word is derived from the root 'dhu', which means to 'comb out'. Regarding patipatti (the actual practice), the question arises: what to comb out, and how?

The Buddha replied to these queries in the following udana (exclamation of joy):
Sabbakammajahassa bhikkhuno,

Dhunamanassa pure katam rajam.
Amamassa thitassa tadino.
Attho natthi janam lapetave. (2)

The monk who does not make new kamma
And combs out old defilements as they arise
Has reached that meditative state where there remains no 'I' or 'mine'.
For him mere babbling makes no sense.
Engrossed in silent practice, he is bent.

The occasion for this joyous utterance of the Buddha was the sight of a monk sitting near the Compassionate One, cross-legged, erect and determined. Undergoing the fruition of his past actions, he was wracked by intense, piercing, gross sensations but due to his constant distinct awareness of impermanence, he did not lose his calm or balance of mind.

Indeed, the above few brief lines of udana set out the complete technique of Vipassana meditation, the actual way to reach liberation.

Let us understand what the Buddha actually meant, in more detail. The Pali word 'Vipassana' means to see things as they really are - not just as they appear to be. This is a state of pure observation without the cloud of imagination, preconception and illusion. That is why the Buddha described the state of Vipassana as yatha-bhuta nana-dassanam (3) (as it is, so is it observed and understood). To put this into practice is to realize reality by direct experience and proper understanding.

Ego-centricity is the greatest and most dangerous of all the illusions. We can accept the doctrine of 'Non-Self' doctrine of 'non-self' or anatta on an emotional or intellectual basis simply because of blind faith or intellectualisation. But what use is this intellectual acceptance alone, if at the practical level in our daily life we continue living an ego-centered life? This illusory ego keeps its hold over us simply because at the actual level we are continually submerged in it. Even to be totally convinced intellectually about the dangers of this illusion is simply not enough. In reality we are rolling in suffering because there is no direct realisation of these dangers, or the means to come out of it.

It is because the intellect is not capable of totally dispelling this illusion that the Buddha perfected this wonderful technique of Vipassana - the Fourfold Establishing of Awareness (Satipatthana) (4) which he called ekayano maggo, the one and only way for liberation. How could anyone become liberated while rolling in complete illusion about one's own reality? The removal of illusion by truth-realisation, by self-realisation, is liberation.

The direct experience of our own reality prevents new mental conditioning, while at the same time eradicating bondages of the old accumulated kammas-

Khinam puranam, navam natthi sambhavam. (5)
The past has been destroyed, there is no new becoming.

How does Vipassana help us to stop tying new knots and to open up the old ones, eradicating all the accumulations of the past? The text says that first, a meditator should sit correctly nisinno hoti pallankam abhujitva ujum kayam panidhaya (6) cross-legged and erect. Then he sits with adhitthana (determination), no movement of the body of any kind. Now at the grossest physical level, all the bodily and vocal actions are suspended so there can be no new physical kamma (kayika-kamma) or vocal kamma (vacika-kamma).

Now one is in a position to try to stop mental kamma formations (mano-kamma). For this, one has to become very alert, very attentive, fully awake and aware, all the time maintaining true understanding, true wisdom. Aware of what? Anicca vata sankhara, uppadavaya-dhammino-the truth of impermanence; the arising and passing of every compounded phenomenon (7) within the framework of one's physical structure.

A Vipassana meditator soon realizes the difference between apparent and actual truth. By simply observing objectively and equanimously feeling the sensations in one's own body in a proper way, one can easily reach a stage where even the most solid parts of the body are experienced as they really are - nothing but oscillations and vibrations of subatomic particles (kalapas). What appears solid, hard and impenetrable at the gross level is actually nothing but wavelets at the subtlest, ultimate level.

With this awareness, one can observe and realize that the entire pancakkhandha (the five aggregates of mind and matter), are nothing but vibrations, arising and passing away. The entire phenomenon of mind and matter has this continuously ephemeral nature. This is the ultimate truth (paramattha saccaparamattha sacca) of mind and matter-permanently impermanent; nothing but a mass of tiny bubbles or ripples, disintegrating as soon as they arise (sabbo loko pakampito sabbo loko pakampito).(8)

This realisation of the basic characteristic of all phenomena as anicca (impermanent) leads one to the realisation of the characteristic of anatta (no 'I', no 'me', no 'mine', no 'my soul'). The various sensations keep arising in the body whether one likes it or not. There is no control over them, no possession of them. They do not obey our wishes. This in turn makes one realize the nature of dukkha (suffering). Through experience, one understands that identifying oneself with these changing impersonal phenomena is nothing but suffering.

The more one is established at this level of ultimate truth, the more strongly and more steadfastly one will become established in real wisdom. In contrast to this, anyone entangled in ignorance will crave for pleasant sensations to continue and crave for unpleasant sensations to end. This blind reaction based on craving and aversion is the strongest bondage.

Initially, the meditator fights a tug-of-war between the new wisdom of understanding all phenomena as impermanent and transitory, and the old ignorance to attachment to the flow of sankhara (reactions). With patient, persistent practice, one learns how to appreciate the difference between reality and what is illusory. For longer and longer periods, continuity of awareness of this truth will predominate. Each sensation felt is recognised as impermanent; hence the perception that accompanies each cognition is free from the self-consciousness of 'I' and 'mine'.

With continuous practice, the truth that the sensation immediately passes away begins to predominate, instead of the old tanha (craving) for it to continue, or the tanha for it to pass away. It is meaningless to like or dislike sensations that pass away on their own, as they arise. It is this liking and disliking which turns into very strong attachments that condition the mind and produce the bhava-sankhara, the bhava-kamma (actions which are responsible to give a new birth), driving individuals in the cycle of becoming and suffering for countless lives.

A non-reacting mind produces no new conditioning to create any new suffering. The law of nature is such that the old accumulation of conditioning in the flow of the consciousness (bhavanga-santati) will automatically rise to the surface to be eradicated when no new sankhara is given as input. This comes about by remaining equanimous with the direct understanding of the wisdom of anicca-vijja-nana.

Here again, it is the practice of Vipassana which enables the meditator to silently and attentively observe these old bondages of the past, as they arise, in their true impermanent nature. With heightened equanimity, based on the constant thorough experience of impermanence (sampajanna) at the level of bodily sensations, craving and aversion lose their grip on us. In a non-reacting mind, the latent conditions cannot multiply - rather they are progressively eradicated.

At times, however, the fruition of the old kamma is so intense that an inexperienced or careless meditator loses all balance of mind. Wisdom fades away and the old habit pattern of blind reaction returns. The impersonal attitude towards painful or pleasurable sensations is lost, and one begins to identify with the sensations. One may try intellectually to come out of reactions, but actually one begins generating aversion to the pain as if it will never end. The cycle of suffering continues.

To break this cycle of suffering from moment to moment, one realizes the impermanent nature of all phenomena and to break the apparent solidity of perceptions. For this, a Vipassana meditator must objectively experience the stage of uppadavaya-dhammino (the instantaneous arising and passing away of the vibrations or wavelets) of nama-rupa (mind and matter) at the level of bodily sensations, from moment to moment.

This stage can be reached only by proper practice of Vipassana meditation, the sure, proven way to break these bondages. In fact, Vipassana meditation is for the purpose of 'dhunamanassa pure katam rajam' - combing out all old defilements from the deepest part of the mind.

With this persistent, patient process of pure observation of impermanent bodily sensations - observation without any 'I' evaluating and reacting - old knots automatically open up. Old defilements are washed away from the deepest parts of the mind. A Vipassana meditator objectively working on physical sensations quite distinctly experiences this mind purification process.

This 'combing' process is not complete while even the smallest knot remains unopened. In the same way, the practice of Vipassana must continue until all impressions of solidity anywhere in the framework of the physical and mental structure have been removed. How can this stage be achieved? As the text says-

Puranakammavipakajam dukkham tibbam kharam katukam vedanam adhivasento. (9)
The meditator dwells enduring equanimously the fruition of his or her past actions, no matter how painful, severe, sharp and terrible they are.

How is this possible? Not enduring (that is, becoming agitated or crying because of the old habit patterns of the mind) would be completely opposite to the process of purification. One can only endure such intense sensations by developing awareness (the thorough experience of impermanence at the level of bodily sensations (sampajanna) and equanimity to the sensations (upekkha). This awareness and equanmity have to be simultaneous and together.

It is by knowing perfectly the true nature (anicca) of the phenomenon of mind-matter arising and passing away as sensations, at this present moment and from moment to moment, that one is able to bear these fruits of the past without any reaction. The meditator becomes an impartial observer of the suffering, rather than the sufferer. This enlightened detachment allows old bondages to get eradicated.

With this detached process of non-identification with sensations, one experiences how there is no observer, but only observation. There is no more sufferer, only suffering.

From time to time, slight agitation or identification with the sensation may reappear and trigger fresh craving and aversion. But with patient, persistent, continuous practice, a vigilant meditator reaches the stage of amamassa thitassa, or the stage where the illusion of 'I' and 'mine' is eradicated.

When this stage of detachment is reached, he or she can bear anything, even the most severe sensations, in the state of avihannamano, or a mind free from agitation. As a result comes sabba kammajahassa - the cessation of all kinds of new kamma formations.

Now the meditator is fully engrossed in dhunamanassa pure katam rajam, or continual purification, because he or she has stopped making new sankharas, that is, new cetana (volition) or new kamma. In this way, the old sankharas naturally get eradicated little by little (thokam thokam) so that the state of visankhara gatam cittam (10) or total purification of mind, is reached.

A meditator engaged in such a task needs to spend all his or her time in actual practice - for one's own benefit as well for sharing of such gained benefits with all suffering beings.

Where is the time for useless talk? Every moment is precious, not to be wasted. The only ones who waste time in talking are those who do not realize the seriousness of the task, and who do not work properly. The noble practice of truth-realisation is degraded to mere intellectual chatter. Liberation can only be gained by practice, never by discussion.

That is why the Buddha burst forth in praise of the monk who was so resolutely practising the sure path of liberation. 'Cross-legged, erect and determined, undergoing the fruition of his past actions, wracked by intense, piercing, gross bodily sensations, with sharpened awareness and the constant thorough understanding of impermanence (sati-sampajanna), making no new kammas, combing out old defilements as they arise, with nothing remaining of "I" and "mine".

Notes: (All references VRI edition)
(1) In the entire Tipitaka, the word occurs nineteen times;

(2) Udana 21;
(3) Patisambhidamagga 1.18;
(4) Digha Nikaya 2.373;
(5) Khuddaka-Patha 6.1, Suttanipata 238;
(6) Udana 21;
(7) Digha Nikaya 2.221;
(8) Samyutta Nikaya 1.1.168;
(9) Udana 21;
(10) Dhammapada 154

  Original article from the Vipassana Research Institute

 ----
* Directions to reach the Global Pagoda
* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Global Pagoda Developmental Projects - Phase Two

Dec 22, 2009

Global Pagoda Developmental Projects - Phase Two

Basic construction of the Global Vipassana Pagoda is now complete. It took 11 years to build, and apart from the cost of land, about Rs. 800 million (US$16.8 million) have been spent in the construction of the Pagoda.

90 million man hours, over three million tonnes of Jaipur and Basalt stones (sourced over a 1,000 kms away from the project site) and 3000 truck loads of sand have gone into the construction of the Global Pagoda.

Many Vipassana students and yet-to-be students from India and around the world have personally contributed to the Global Pagoda, and gained boundless merits.

The Global Vipassana Pagoda is unique among the historical monuments in the world. Such a meditation hall for over 8,000 Vipassana students to work hard together to purify the mind, and share merits thereby gained with all beings, does not exist anywhere in the world.

It is essential that the inspiring size of the Pagoda should be matched by its elegant, pleasing surroundings. Facilities have to be provided for the convenience and comfort of each of the thousands of visitors already visiting the Global Pagoda every week.

Developmental projects are continuing in the second phase of the Global Pagoda construction. Therefore, all connected with the spread of Dhamma in their individual capacity, as well as all Vipassana centres, may avail themselves of the rare opportunity to earn merits by participating in the remaining beautification projects of the Pagoda.
Important remaining projects are:
1. External finishes to the Global Vipassana Pagoda
Putting up ornamental designs on the Pagoda, decorating the canopy, canopy pillars, inspiring Dhamma verses (dohas) on the Pagoda walls, and golden painting of the Pagoda. The 70-feet Parikrama path (around the Pagoda) will be laid with a special kind of marble, donated from Burma, whose temperature will change according to the weather - being cooler on hot days, and warmer on cold days, to ease walking barefoot.

Work has started on painting the Global Pagoda with gold paint donated from Thailand.

Estimated cost of completion of these projects is Rs. 20 million (US$ 420,000).

2. Landscaping around the Global Vipassana Pagoda
Landscaping the outer areas of the Pagoda, building parks and roads, laying water lines etc. will require about Rs. 25 million (US $ 530,000).

3. Art Gallery and Welcome Hall
An Art Gallery on the Buddha’s life and a Welcome Hall will be built at an estimated cost of Rs. 20 million (US $420,000). The Art Gallery will house a collection of intricately created paintings on significant events in the life of Gotama the Buddha. The paintings by leading artists in Burma, Thailand and India will comprise the single largest thematic collection of paintings in the world.

4. Small Pagoda - South of the Global Vipassana Pagoda
This small pagoda will be connected to Dhamma Pattana Vipassana Centre with a cell complex spread over four stories. 108 cells are ready, and will be in use in another two months. The construction of each cell in this air-conditioned Pagoda is estimated at Rs. 150,000 (US $3,200). The smaller pagoda on the north side is ready.

5. Construction of Guest Houses
Guest houses are essential to ensure the comfort of visitors to the Global Vipassana Pagoda. The cost of each twin-sharing room in these guest houses has been estimated at Rs. 600,000 (US $ 12,600). A Burma Guest House is already being built with dana (donation) from Burma.

A towering 'Burma Gate' is being built at the outer entrance to the Global Pagoda.

The Global Pagoda is in an area facing water scarcity. To ensure water self-sufficiency, 1.5 million-litres rain-water harvesting tanks are already functioning. Additional 600,000-litres under ground tanks are being added.

All are welcome to share the merits of the above and other projects.
1. Donations by cheque/draft favoring: ‘Global Vipassana Foundation’ payable at Mumbai can be sent to the following address: Kamlesh Vikamsey, Khimji Kunverji & Co., Sir P. M. Road , Fort, Mumbai 400 001. India Tel: 91-22-2266-2550.
2. Donations through Core Banking: Donations to "Global Vipassana Foundation" can now be remitted from anywhere in India through any branch of the Bank of India under core banking system. Global Vipassana Foundation, Bank of India, Stock Exchange Branch, Fort, Mumbai 400023. S.B. A/c No. 008610100011244 MICR No. 400013051. IFSC Code: BKID0000086
3. Donations from outside India through SWIFT transfer Name of the Bank: Bank of India. S.B. A/c. No.: 008610100011250. Address: Stock Exchange Branch, Jejeebhoy Towers, Dalal Street, Fort, Mumbai -400 023, India
The Bank has instructed the following for remittance: From USA – Union Bank of California International - New York has account code BOFCUS33NYK for transferring the funds to Bank of India to Mumbai (Bombay) Treasury Branch – US # Account No. 912002201121 and further transferring this sum to Bank of India – Stock Exchange Branch. Their Swift Code Number is BKIDINBBABLD. Instruction may be given to transfer this sum to Global Vipassana Foundation S.B. A/c No. 008610100011250.
Please send copy to kamlesh@kkc.in with name and contact details so that the receipt can be sent to you.
4. Online donation facility: Please visit:

http://www.globalpagoda.org/donation#online

Directions to reach the Global Pagoda

Dec 14, 2009

Global Pagoda: December 20 one-day course with Goenkaji

A special one-day Vipassana course with Principal Teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka is being held on 20 December 2009, Sunday, (from 11 am to 4 pm) in the main dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India. Goenkaji will be present at the Global Pagoda during this course.
For registration for the December 20 one-day course, kindly contact telephone: 9892855692 / 9892855945 / 022- 28451204 / 022- 28452238
N.B: Registration for the above course is compulsory.
[One-day courses are only for students who have already taken a 10-day Vipassana course, as taught by Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. New students may kindly contact a convenient Vipassana course centre to register for a residential 10-day Vipassana beginner's course.]
Note: Old students may register or update their mobile phone numbers and e-mail Ids at the above contact address so that they can be informed of future programmes.

Dec 11, 2009

Global Pagoda: The Law of Cause and Effect

90 million working hours, over 3 million tonnes of Basalt and Jodhpur stones and selfless involvement of thousands of people from all over the world gave rise to the Global Pagoda in Mumbai, India. Yet the fundamental law of nature that gave birth to this monument, a monument that is unprecedented in human history, is the law of cause and effect.

The omnipresent law of cause and effect is Dhamma. Dhamma is the law of cause and effect. Nobody escapes the consequences of one's actions, good or bad. As the seed is, so the fruit will be.

A painting depicting an event in Gotama the Buddha's life. In this instance, the Buddha won over a furious Bharadwaja by maintaining his balance of mind, composure and generating compassion in the face of abuse. The painting is part of a series to be displayed in the Information Gallery of the Global Pagoda, Mumbai, India. Created by some distinguished artists in India, Burma and Thailand, these intricate paintings accurately depict some important events in the Buddha's life. They would comprise the single largest thematic collection of paintings in the world.
Gratitude to Dhamma created the Global Pagoda, a towering vehicle to share the message of Vipassana - the quintessential practical path of liberation from all suffering, as taught by the Buddhas. As Principal Teacher of Vipassana the past 40 years, Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka has been asked thousands of questions. One such pertains to the law of cause and effect:
Can you describe in practical terms what is happening in the body and in the mind, how this law of cause and effect works, and how this change can help us?
Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka: The Buddha said that understanding the Dhamma is nothing other than understanding the law of cause and effect. You have to realize this truth within yourself. In a ten-day Vipassana course, you have the opportunity to learn how to do this. This investigation of truth pertaining to matter, pertaining to mind and pertaining to the mental concomitants, the mental contents, is not merely for the sake of curiosity, but to change your mental habit pattern at the deepest level of the mind. As you keep progressing, you will realize how the mind influences matter, and how matter influences the mind.Every moment, within the framework of the body, masses of subatomic particles which the Buddha called 'kalapas' arise and pass away. How do they arise? The material input of food is one cause. The atmospheric conditions around you is another cause. One begins experiencing how matter helps matter to arise and pass away.
The third cause for matter to arise is the mental conditioning of the past, or accumulated sankharas. The fourth cause of matter arising is because of the present conditioning of the mind. Thoughts cause a biochemical flow in the body. The quality of the mind is according to the content of the mind. For example, when a mind full of passion, anger or fear has arisen, you will notice that as such a mind arises, it helps to generate certain type of subatomic particles. This type of biochemical flow of impurities is called kamasava.

As a very objective scientist, you are observing your own mind and matter phenomenon, observing the truth as it is, how the law of nature works. When this biochemical secretion of kamasava starts, it influences the next moment of the mind with more passion. Thus this kamasava turns into a craving of passion at the mental level, which again stimulates kamasava, a flow of passion at the physical level. One starts influencing and stimulating the other, and the passion keeps on multiplying for minutes, at times for hours together. The behavior pattern of the mind of generating passion is strengthened because of the repeated generation of passion in the mind.

Not only passion but also fear, anger, hatred, and craving - every type of impurity that comes in the mind simultaneously generates an asava (flow) which keeps stimulating that particular negativity, that particular impurity, resulting in a vicious cycle of suffering. You may call yourself a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Jain, or a Christian - it makes no difference- the process and law is applicable to all without discrimination.

Merely understanding this process at the intellectual level will not help to break this cycle, and may even create difficulties. Your beliefs from a particular tradition may look quite logical, yet these beliefs will create obstacles for you. The intellect has its own limitation. You cannot realize the ultimate truth merely at the intellectual level. The ultimate truth is limitless, infinite, while the intellect is finite. It is only through direct experience that we are able to realize that which is limitless, infinite. Even those who have accepted this law of nature intellectually are not able to change the behavior pattern of their minds, and as a result they are far away from the realization of the ultimate truth.

This behavior pattern is at the depth of the mind. What is called the "unconscious mind" is actually not unconscious; at all times it remains in contact with this body. And along with this contact of the body a sensation keeps arising, because every chemical that flows in the body generates a particular type of sensation. You feel a sensation - pleasant, unpleasant or neutral - and with the feeling of this sensation, you keep reacting.
At the depth of your mind you keep constantly reacting with craving or aversion, and generating different types of sankharas, negativities, impurities. The process of multiplication of misery continues. You can't stop it because there is such a big barrier between the conscious and the unconscious mind. When you practice Vipassana you break this barrier. Without Vipassana the barrier of ignorance of what is happening within remains.

At the conscious, intellectual level of the mind, one may accept the entire theory of Dhamma, of truth, of law, of nature. But still one keeps rolling in misery because one does not realize what is happening at the depth of the mind. Sensations are there in your body every moment. Every sensory contact with the outside world results in a sensation. This isn't a philosophy, it is the actual truth which can be verified by one and all.

On the surface the mind keeps itself busy with outside objects, or it remains involved with games of intellectualization, imagination, or emotion. That is the job of your "tiny mind" (paritta citta), the surface level of the mind. Therefore you do not feel what is happening deep inside, and you do not feel how you are reacting to what is happening at the deeper level of the mind.

Practice of Vipassana breaks the barrier of ignorance. One starts feeling sensations throughout the body, not merely at the surface but also deep inside because throughout the entire physical structure. Wherever there is life, there is sensation. And by observing these sensations you start realizing the characteristic of arising and passing, or 'anicca' (Pali language). By this understanding, you start to change the habit pattern of the mind. Nothing is permanent, everything changes. So why generate misery by reacting with craving or aversion to that which is constantly changing?

For example, you are feeling a particular sensation which may be due to the food you have eaten, which may be due to the atmosphere around you, which may be due to your present mental actions, or which may be due to your old mental reactions that are giving their fruit. Whatever it may be, a sensation is there, and you are trained to observe it with equanimity and not to react to it. But you keep on reacting because of the old habit pattern.

You sit for one hour of meditation, and initially you may get only a few moments when you do not react, but those few moments are wonderful moments. You have started changing the habit pattern of your mind by observing sensation and understanding its nature of impermanence. This stops the blind habit pattern of reacting to the sensation and multiplying the vicious cycle of misery. Initially in an hour you get a few seconds, or a few minutes of not reacting.
But eventually, by practice, you reach a stage where throughout the hour you do not react at all. At the deepest level you do not react at all. A deep change is coming in the old habit pattern. The vicious cycle is broken: your mind was reacting to the chemical process which was manifesting itself as a sensation, and as a result, for hours together, your mind was flooded with a particular impurity, a particular defilement, and speeding towards misery. Now it gets a brake for a few moments, a few seconds, a few minutes. As the old habit of blind reaction becomes weaker, your behavior pattern is changing. You are coming out of your misery.
Again, this is not to be believed because the Buddha said so. It is not to be believed because I say so. It is not be believed because your intellect says so. You have to experience it yourself. People coming to these courses have found by their experience that there is a change for the better in their behavior.
May all beings be happy, be peaceful, be liberated.
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* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Global Pagoda developmental projects

Dec 7, 2009

Directions to reach Global Pagoda

Global Pagoda Timings: 9.00 am to 7.00 pm. Open all days of the week.

(The last ferry leaves Gorai jetty to the Global Pagoda at 5.25 pm)

Visiting the Global Pagoda is free of charge. There is no entry fee.

* Vipassana students - those who have taken one or more 10-day Vipassana courses as taught by Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka - are permitted to meditate inside the main dome Dhamma Hall of the Global Pagoda.

How to reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai / Borivali, Mumbai, India:
The Global Pagoda can be reached overland by car, as well by ferry. Pre-paid taxi services are available at the Mumbai domestic and international airports. Ask for "Esselworld", if "Global Vipassana Pagoda" draws a blank stare. The Global Pagoda is within the Esselworld Park premises.

Reaching Global Vipassana Pagoda by Road from Mumbai City / Domestic Airport / International Airport / Railway Stations in Mumbai
  1. Reach Western Express Highway and go North towards Dahisar/Borivali/Ahmedabad.
  2. Cross the Dahisar Toll Booth and keep going straight.
  3. When you reach the Mira-Bhayandar crossing, turn Left towards Mira-Bhayandar. The crossing has a statue of Shivaji Maharaj positioned at the centre.
  4. Keep going straight till you reach Golden Nest Circle. At the Golden Nest Circle, take a left turn and stay on the main road.
  5. Keep going straight till you take a hard right turn at the end of the road. This point will come after Maxus Mall, which comes on your right. After the hard right turn, take a left at the T point junction.
  6. Keep following directions to Esselworld or Global Vipassana Pagoda from this point forward.
  7. When you reach the Esselworld Parking Lot, go ahead a few metres and take a right turn towards Esselworld. Tell the guard at the security post that you want to go to the Pagoda.
  8. Keep going straight till you reach the Helipad. At the Helipad, take a right turn to the Global Pagoda Road through the Sanchi Arch.

The Pagoda is about 42 km from the Domestic Airport Terminal.

Please click here For more detailed directions and maps

Hiring a car for airport pick-up to Global Vipassana Pagoda:

Private taxis and vehicles can also be hired from many car rentals in Mumbai, besides the airport pre-paid taxi service. Rates may vary. Many Vipassana students make use of the services of private taxi operator Mr Jagdish Maniyar. Contact : Tel (Res): 91-22-26391010 or cell phone 09869255079. As of February 2011, Mr Maniyar charges Rs 800 ( approx US $17, 13 Euros) for airport pickup to Global Pagoda (inclusive of road taxes). From Mumbai airport to Dhamma Giri Vipassana centre, Igatpuri, he charges Rs 2,550 (approx US $56).

From Borivali Railway station:
From Borivali Station (Western Railway, Mumbai) please use the western exit gates of the station (for the train from Churchgate, the exit is on the left). One can take Bus number 294 or hire an auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk) to Gorai Creek. The bus fare is Rs. 6 and auto rickshaw fare is approx Rs. 25 (approx US $0.50) to Rs 35.
For the auto-rickshaw, please take one heading to your right, after crossing the road from the western exit of the railway station. The Gorai jetty is approximately 10-15 minutes-ride from Borivili station. Please take the ferry for Esselworld from Gorai Jetty. The return fare for the ferry is Rs. 35/- per person.
On arrival at Esselworld, you will see signs guiding to take you to Global Pagoda (which anyway is too big to be missed !).
The Dhamma Pattana Vipassana Centre is less than five minutes walking distance from the Esselworld Jetty gate.

Prefer a shorter sea trip? One can take the more frequent (and humbler) ferry to Gorai Village (Rs 5 one way - actually it's only a jetty, the village is not in visible distance). From there, shared autorickshaws (Rs 15 a seat, or Rs 40 for 3 passengers) and the more quaint horse-drawn carriages (Rs 10 a seat) are available for a nice ride to the Essel World entrance through the flat landscape of marshlands. The Global Pagoda, a brief walk from the gates, is of course visible throughout the 10-minute ride from the Gorai Village jetty.

Other Bus Numbers to Gorai: From Kurla railway station (West) - 309 L; From Mulund station (West) - 460 L;From Ghatkopar Bus Depot - 488 L (please re-confirm before boarding bus)

Wishing you a very happy and most beneficial visit to the Global Pagoda.

For any further details and assistance, please contact:

Global Vipassana Pagoda
Telephone: 91 22 33747501 (30 lines)
Email: pr@globalpagoda.org

Pagoda Address:
Global Vipassana Pagoda
Next to Esselworld, Gorai Village,
Borivali (West), Mumbai 400091

For sending any post/courier, please use this address:

Head Office Global Vipassana Foundation
2nd Floor, Green House, Green Street, Fort
Mumbai – 400 023

Telephone: +91 22 22665926 / 22664039
Fax: +91 22 22664607

Dhamma Pattana Vipassana Centre
Inside Global Vipassana Pagoda Campus
Next to Esselworld, Gorai Village,
Borivali (West), Mumbai 400091
Tel: [91] (22) 3374 7519
Fax: [91] (22) 3374 7518
Email: info@pattana.dhamma.org

* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses

* One-day Vipassana courses at Global Pagoda (for those who have completed a 10-day Vipassana course)

New website of Global Vipassana Pagoda

Nov 24, 2009

Global Pagoda One-day Course with Goenkaji

A special one-day Vipassana course with Principal Teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka is being held on 20 December 2009, Sunday, (from 11 am to 4 pm) in the main dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India. Goenkaji will be present at the Global Pagoda during this course.
For registration for the December 20 one-day course, kindly contact telephone: 9892855692 / 9892855945 / 022- 28451204 / 022- 28452238
Or, please e-mail: global.oneday@gmail.com or globalvipassana@gmail.com;
N.B: Registration for the above course is compulsory.
[One-day courses are only for students who have already taken a 10-day Vipassana course, as taught by Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. New students may kindly contact a convenient Vipassana course centre to register for a residential 10-day Vipassana beginner's course.]
Note: Students may register or update their mobile phone numbers and e-mail Ids at the above contact address so that they can be informed of future programmes.

* Directions to reach Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
*Global Pagoda Development Projects

Nov 19, 2009

Global Pagoda and Happiness Re-Charge

As an objective matter of fact, never before in this world has there existed a beneficial facility such as the Global Pagoda. Never before has there been a vast, pillar-less meditation hall such as the inner dome of the 325-feet tall Global Pagoda, in which thousands of people can practice Vipassana, nature's most powerful reality-check, and share the happiness gained with all beings.

One-day, refresher Vipassana courses are held at the Global Pagoda every Sunday, for those who have already completed a ten-day Vipassana course. (registration for the one-day courses, and more details can be requested from info@pattana.dhamma.org or tel: 91 - 22 - 2845 2261 )


View of inner dome Dhamma Hall of the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai, India

Batteries, vehicles and the human body can do with periodic re-fuelling. But the mind needs constant re-feulling of reality every moment. Or, it falls into the sufering of ignorance - of not knowing what is really happening within at the deeper levels of interaction of body and mind. Vipassana gives the mind a priceless life-time training to be with reality as it is, from moment to moment, and free from delusions and apparent realities that cause problems. One starts with a residential ten-day beginner's course, gives a minimum of daily two hours practice, and continues with atleast one 10-day course a year.

Group sittings and one-day courses are held in various locations in India and worldwide for Vipassana students, to help stay strongly with Dhamma, the natural, universal path of pure happiness and sharing this happiness with all beings. There isn't any work more beneficial than serving in whatever way one can in this Dhamma path of liberation from misery.

Principal Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U Goenka says:
With Vipassana, how can there be sorrow in our lives? Sorrow is caused by one's own defilements, not by external events. An external event has occurred, we do not generate a defilement, we do not become miserable. An external event has occurred, we generate a defilement, we become miserable.
We are responsible for our misery.

Unfavourable external events will continue to occur and if we are strong and do not generate defilements, our lives will be filled with happiness and peace. We do not harm others; we help ourselves and help others. Every meditator should understand that one has to meditate regularly so that one is happy and peaceful for the whole life. All those who have come on the path of Vipassana should understand that they have received an invaluable jewel.

The Importance of Daily Meditation

by S. N. Goenka

(The following has been translated and adapted from a discourse by Goenkaji to about 5,000 Vipassana students at University Ground, Nagpur city, India, on October 8, 2000.)

My dear Dhamma sons and Dhamma daughters,
I am very happy that we have sat together and practised pure Dhamma. Meditating together is of great importance.


Sukho buddhānam uppado (Happy is the arising of the Buddhas in the world
Sukhā saddhammadesanā (Happy is the teaching of pure Dhamma)
Sukhā sanghassa sāmaggī (Happy is the coming together of meditators)
Samaggānam tapo sukho (Happiness is meditating together)

Two thousand six hundred years ago, Gotama Buddha arose in this country and taught pure Dhamma resulting in great happiness for the world. People started living in accordance with this teaching. They started meditating together just as we have done today: there is no greater happiness than this.

If one meditates alone, one becomes liberated from mental defilements and becomes truly happy. But when Dhamma brothers and sisters sit together and meditate in such large numbers, if someone's meditation is a little weak, it is strengthened because the meditation of others is strong and the entire atmosphere is charged with Dhamma vibrations.

Whenever possible, meditators should have joint sitting at least once a week. If in the past week anyone's meditation has become weak, it is strengthened by the group meditation and he is able to face the vicissitudes of life for the whole week with renewed strength.

Every meditator has to develop the strength to face the ups and downs of life. For this, it is necessary to meditate one hour in the morning and evening daily, to meditate together once a week, and to take a ten-day course at least once a year. Then we will keep progressing on the path of Dhamma.


Householders face many difficulties, many obstacles. What to speak of householders, even those who have renounced the household life tell me that they are not able to meditate regularly. But we must not give up in spite of all difficulties; we must meditate daily, morning and evening.

We do physical exercise-yoga, jogging or walking - to keep the body healthy and strong. Otherwise, the body becomes weak and diseased. In the same way, it is even more necessary to keep the mind healthy and strong.


The mind is more important; one should not allow it to become weak or diseased.

Vipassana is exercise of the mind. Meditating morning and evening makes the mind strong and healthy; it is not a waste of time. We live in a complex and stressful world. If the mind is not strong, we lose the balance of the mind and become miserable.

Those who do not know pure Dhamma, who have not learned this meditation, are unfortunate. But those who have received this benevolent teaching and are not using it are even more unfortunate. They have found such a priceless gem but have discarded it as if it is a useless pebble. What can be a greater misfortune?

It is a matter of great fortune to be born as a human being. Only a human being can become introverted and eradicate mental defilements from the depth of the mind. This work cannot be done by animals or birds or reptiles or insects or other lower beings. Even a human being cannot do this work if he does not know this technique.
One gets a human birth, finds such a wonderful technique, learns to use it, benefits from it, and still discontinues the practice. What a misfortune! A bankrupt person finds a treasure. And he discards it and becomes bankrupt again. A hungry person gets delicious food. And he discards it and becomes hungry again. A sick person finds medicine. And he discards it and becomes sick again. Very unfortunate, indeed! One should not make this mistake.

Sometimes meditators come to me and say: "I have stopped meditating. What to do, I am so busy." It is a poor excuse. Do we not give food to the body three-four times a day? We do not say, "I am such a busy person, I don't have time for food today."


This meditation that we do every morning and evening makes the mind strong. And a strong mind is more important than a strong body. If we forget this, we harm ourselves. We should never make this mistake. Even if there is too much work, we must do this exercise.

Sometimes it is not possible to meditate at the same place at a fixed time. Though desirable, it is not a must. What is important is to meditate twice in twenty-four hours. In rare circumstances when one is not able to sit with closed eyes, one may meditate with open eyes; sitting with others with the mind directed inwards. We should not make an outward show of meditation; the others need not know that you are meditating.

We may not be able to meditate as well as we could have done while sitting alone with closed eyes, but at least we have calmed and strengthened the mind a little. Without regular practice, the mind becomes weak. A weak mind makes us miserable because it reverts to its old behaviour pattern of generating craving and aversion.

We have got human birth. We have come in contact with this wonderful Dhamma. We have developed faith in this technique because we have benefited from it, and yet, we have stopped meditating. Let us not be heedless.

We are not doing anyone a favour by meditating twice a day. "Our teacher has told us, so we are doing it." 
You are not doing your teacher a favour; you are doing yourself a favour. This is such a great teaching. When one starts feeling sensations on the body, understand-the door of liberation has opened. A person who cannot feel sensation on the body is unfortunate; the door of liberation has not opened for him. And when one learns to remain equanimous to the sensations, not only has the door of liberation opened but one has entered it and has started walking on the path of liberation.

In Vipassana we experience different types of sensations on different parts of the body and maintain equanimity towards them. A wise meditator understands from experience how the practice benefits one in daily life. Every step taken on this path takes one closer and closer to the final goal. No effort is wasted; each effort bears fruit.
Lack of awareness of sensations takes us on the path of misery. Blind reaction to them out of ignorance results in misery, deep misery-dukkhasamudayagāminīpatipadā. Awareness of sensations and equanimity towards them takes us on the path that leads to liberation from all suffering-dukkhanirodhagāminīpatipadā.

If we experience sensations and react to them-react with craving to pleasant sensations and with aversion to unpleasant sensations-we are on the path of bondage. This is the teaching of the Buddha; this is the enlightenment of the Buddha.

At the time of death, some sensation will arise, and if we are not aware and react with aversion, we will go to lower planes of existence. But a good meditator who remains equanimous to these sensations at the time of death will go to a favourable plane. This is how we make our own future.


Death can come at any time. We do not have an agreement with death that it should come only when we are ready. We are ready whenever it comes. This is not an ordinary technique. It is a priceless gem that can liberate us from the cycle of birth and death and can improve not only this life but also future lives ultimately leading to full liberation.

"But we do not have time. We have too much work." We squander an invaluable jewel by making these excuses. Whenever there is sorrow or despair or dullness in daily life due to any reason, this technique will help us. Just understand, "At this moment there is sorrow or despair or dullness in my mind," and start observing breath or sensations.


The external reason is not important. Vedanā samosaranā sabbe dhammā. Whatever arises in the mind is called dhamma. A sensation arises on the body with whatever dhamma arises in the mind: this is the law of nature. The mind and the body are interrelated. When a defilement arises in the mind, some sensation will arise in the body. Whatever sensation arises in the body at that time is connected to the defilement in the mind. This is what the Buddha taught.

One understands that there is a defilement in the mind and observes sensation in the body. One practises this thoroughly, not just once or twice, but again and again-every sensation is impermanent. So the defilement that is connected to it is also impermanent, how long will it last? We are observing sensations and also observing how long the defilement lasts. It becomes weak and ceases, like a thief who enters a house, and finding that the master of the house is awake, runs away.

Take the example of anger. When anger arises due to any reason, one understands, "At this moment there is anger in the mind. Now let me observe what sensation has arisen in the body." It does not matter what is the cause of this anger. One is observing sensation and understanding that it is impermanent. This anger is also impermanent. It would have increased and overpowered one completely. Now it becomes weaker and weaker and passes away. It is such a great benefit.

No matter what defilement arises, whether lust or egotism or envy or fear or anything else, one does not get overpowered by it. Now that we have learnt this technique, we have learnt the art of living. All that we have to do is to accept, "This defilement has arisen. Let me face this enemy. Let me see what is happening in my body. It is impermanent, anicca, anicca (impermanence / change)." The enemy starts getting weaker and runs away.

Defilements will keep coming throughout our entire life, sometimes for this reason, sometimes for that reason. When you become fully liberated from all defilements, you will become a fully liberated person, an arahant. At present, that stage is far away. Now in ordinary life, one has to face these difficulties. We have found a very effective weapon in the form of these sensations. No enemy will be able to overpower us for the whole life, how will it overpower us at the time of death? It cannot overpower us. We are the masters. This is the technique for becoming our own master.

We have learned the art of living. How can there be sorrow in our lives? Sorrow is caused by defilements, not by external events. An external event has occurred, we do not generate a defilement, we do not become miserable. An external event has occurred, we generate a defilement, we become miserable.

We are responsible for our misery.

Unfavourable external events will continue to occur and if we are strong and do not generate defilements, our lives will be filled with happiness and peace. We do not harm others; we help ourselves and help others. Every meditator should understand that one has to meditate regularly so that one is happy and peaceful for the whole life. All those who have come on the path of Vipassana should understand that they have received an invaluable jewel.

May all beings be happy, be peaceful, be liberated.


[ One-day courses are only for students who have already taken a 10-day Vipassana course, as taught by Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. New students may kindly contact a convenient Vipassana course centre to register for a residential 10-day Vipassana beginner's course.]

* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Directions to reach the Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
* Global Pagoda developmental projects

Nov 12, 2009

Global Pagoda: the Value of Dhamma Service

The Global Pagoda is a testimony to the persistent, selfless Dhamma service of many for over a decade. Voluntary Dhamma service is an essential part of growth in Dhamma through Vipassana - the universal, practical path towards freedom from all suffering. There is no greater joy and happiness than in sharing with all beings the merits one has gained, by sharing without expecting anything in return.

The following is based on a talk given by Principal teacher of Vipassana Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka for ten-day students in Kathmandu on 15 April 2000:

You have completed a ten-day Vipassana course. But this is not enough. Now you have to learn how to apply it in your day-to-day life. When you go out, you will have to face the world. And whatever equanimity you have learned here, see that you apply it in your life in spite of all the difficult situations. You know, and I also know, that the world is such that it is so difficult to maintain equanimity in life. But this is what you have to learn.

For that, one important way is that you learn to apply equanimity in an atmosphere of a Dhamma centre where a course is going on. You can come for some time whenever you are free and give service, ten days of Dhamma service. The atmosphere here is definitely better than the atmosphere outside. Outside, the entire atmosphere is full of negativities. Here, the students who come will also generate negativity time and again. But the atmosphere will not be so strong. You can face it. So first, you learn in a Dhamma centre how to remain equanimous dealing with people who are generating negativity. This is a training ground for you.

And moreover, you will not be serving the entire day. Whenever you are free, you have an opportunity to meditate. This is how you will strengthen yourself.
Besides this, there are many other benefits of giving Dhamma service. One important benefit is that you will develop your pāramīs. It is only your pāramīs that will take you to the final goal. And you get a good opportunity here while you are serving people to develop your pāramīs.

One pāramī you will develop is mettā. Whenever you serve people, naturally you generate mettā for them, love and compassion for them. And that helps you to develop your own pāramī of mettā.

Another important pāramī, especially for a householder, is the pāramī of dāna. It is a very important pāramī. When you give dāna of money and of other things required by people in the world, this is good. But here the dāna is the dāna of Dhamma, the greatest dāna in the world.

Why is it the greatest? Because the law of nature is such that whatever the seeds you plant the fruit will be exactly according to that and multiplied. When you give food to somebody, then in return when the time ripens, you will get food in bigger quantities.

You are now joining a course to give Dhamma. Of course, the teacher gives Dhamma. And it takes time for someone to reach the stage of becoming a full-fledged teacher or even an assistant teacher. But still you can be a partner in this Dhamma service, in this dhamma-dāna.

Understand, a teacher cannot give dhamma-dāna unless there are proper facilities. So those people who are helping to construct proper facilities are also partners in giving Dhamma. Similarly, Dhamma cannot be given if the management is not proper. So those who are managing a Dhamma course are also partners in dhamma-dāna. And so also, Dhamma cannot be given unless there are good Dhamma workers to help. So, you are also becoming a partner. And you get the benefit of this.

And I know, from my own experience, how much benefit one gets. From the time I finished my first course until I was appointed a full-fledged teacher after fourteen years, I kept going to my teacher and to the centre to give Dhamma service. I benefited immensely.

Similarly, the students who give Dhamma service keep on reporting to me that, "By giving one ten-day Dhamma service, I received so much benefit."

When you plant the seed of Dhamma and giving the dāna of Dhamma is planting the seed of Dhamma you receive a large quantity of Dhamma in return for yourself. Your Dhamma becomes stronger and stronger. This is a very good benefit you are going to get by giving Dhamma service.

Another big benefit is that you get so much satisfaction. When you received Dhamma, so many Dhamma workers served you. Now you feel that you are paying your debt of gratitude by serving other people in the same way. "Others have served me. Now I better serve others." This is a great satisfaction.

Another great satisfaction is that at the end of serving a course, you will feel so much joy. And this is not ordinary joy. This is a very sublime joy, muditā, sympathetic joy. You notice when people join the course, their faces are full of melancholy, sadness, having this kind of misery or that kind of misery. But on the tenth day, when they leave the course, there is a glow on their faces, so much happiness and so much joy. And when you generate sympathetic joy, you also become so happy. This is a great advantage of Dhamma service.

Dhamma is not only for your own liberation. Of course, the teaching of the Buddha is that you liberate yourself, but at the same time, you help others to get liberated. And you are doing the same thing by giving Dhamma service. You are trying to liberate yourself from misery and you are helping others to get liberated from misery.
Therefore, I keep on advising my students that they must find time to give Dhamma service for at least one ten-day course. As you find time to take your own ten-day course, similarly it is very important to give service for one ten-day course.

At times, you cannot find ten days. All right, then serve as many days as possible. Maybe during the weekend you can come for two days. You may discuss this with the management, and if they agree, you can come for two or three days or even one day and give service. Service is always good for you.

May you all develop in Dhamma, get established in Dhamma, for your good, and for the good of so many others. May you all keep on growing in Dhamma, may you all keep on glowing in Dhamma.
----
N.B: Vipassana students are generally permitted to offer dana (donation) of Dhamma service after completion of three 10-day courses.
Dana of money and kind can be offered by any grateful student at the end of a Vipassana course, provided if he or she has benefited from the path and shares the volition that others too should likewise benefit and be happy.

* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Directions to reach the Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
* Global Pagoda developmental projects