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Sep 21, 2009

Global Pagoda One-day course with Goenkaji

A one-day Vipassana course with Principal Teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka is being held on 4 October 2009, Sunday, (from 11 am to 4 pm) in the main dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India.

For registration, kindly contact: Mr.Jadhav (between 10 am to 6 pm), Mobile: 98928-55692,98928-55945; Tel: (022) 2845-2104, 2845-1182; Email: 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 Email Ids at the above contact address so that they can be informed of future programmes.
*Global Pagoda Development Projects

Global Pagoda and the Kamma Inheritance

Ananthapindika and Prince Jeta: A painting depicting an event in Gotama the Buddha's life, to be displayed in the Information Gallery of the Global Pagoda, Mumbai, India. These intricate paintings on the Buddha's life would comprise the single largest thematic collection of paintings in the world.

The core purporse of the Global Pagoda, in Mumbai, India, is share the benefits of Vipassana, the practical, universal path to liberation from all suffering.

Residential 10-day Vipassana courses are held in Dhamma Pattana, the Vipassana centre at the Global Pagoda, as well as over 150 worldwide locationsVipassana courses of longer duration are offered to students more established in the practice of Vipassana, as well as in Dhamma service.

The following are excerpts from discourses given by Sayagyi U S. N. Goenka for Vipassana long course students: 
Kammassaka, bhikkhvave, satta kammadayada, kammayoni, kammabandhu, kammapatisarana, yam kammam karonti-kalyanam va papakam va-tassa dayada bhavanti - A.X.206

O meditators, beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs of their deeds, born of their deeds, kin to their deeds; their deeds are their refuge. Whatever actions they perform, whether good or evil, such will be their inheritance.

Kammassakā: beings are the owners of their deeds. 

The law of paticca samuppāda (dependent origination) is the universal law of cause and effect: As the action is, so the result will be. Mental volition is the driving force for action at the vocal or physical level. If this driving force is unwholesome, the vocal and physical actions will be unwholesome. If the seeds are unwholesome, then the fruits are bound to be unwholesome. But if this driving force is wholesome, then the results of the actions are bound to be wholesome.

For a Vipassana student who develops the ability to observe this law at the level of direct experience, the answer to the question "Who am I?" becomes so clear. You are nothing but the sum total of your kamma, your sankhāra. All your accumulated actions together equal "I" at the conventional level.

Kammadāyādā: the heirs of their deeds.
In the worldly, conventional sense, one says, "I received this inheritance from my mother or my father or my elders," and yes, at the apparent level this is true—but what is one’s real inheritance? Kammadāyādā. One inherits one’s own kamma: the results, the fruits of one’s own kamma.

Whatever you are now, the present reality of this mind-matter structure is nothing but the sum total of and the result of your own accumulated past kamma. The experience of the present moment is the sum total of all that is acquired, inherited—kammadāyādā.

Kammayonī: born of their deeds.
One says, "I am the product of a womb, I have come out of the womb of my mother," but this is only apparent truth. Actually, your birth is because of your own past kamma. You come from the womb of your own kamma. As you start understanding Dhamma at a deeper level, you realise this. This is kammayonī, the womb which every moment produces the fruit of the accumulated kamma.

Kammabandhū: kin of their deeds. 

None other is your relative, not your father, your mother, your brother nor your sister. In the worldly way we say, "This is my brother, my relative, or my near or dear one; they are so close to me." Actually, no one is close to you; no one can accompany you or help you when the time comes.

When you die, nothing accompanies you but your kamma. Whomever you call your relatives remain here, but your kamma continues to follow you from one life to another. You are not in possession of anything but your own kamma. It is your only companion.

Kammapatisaranā: their deeds are their refuge. 

Refuge is only in one’s own kamma. Wholesome kamma provides a refuge; unwholesome kamma produces more suffering. No other being can give you refuge. When you say "Buddham saranam gacchāmi" (I take refuge in Buddha), you understand fully well that a person by the name of Gotama the Buddha cannot give you refuge. Your own kamma gives you refuge. Nobody can protect you, not even a Buddha. Refuge in Buddha is refuge in the quality of Buddha, the enlightenment, the teaching that he gave. By following the teaching, you can develop enlightenment within you. And the enlightenment that you develop within you, that is your wholesome kamma. This alone will give you refuge; this alone will give you protection.

Yam kammam karonti—kalyānam vā pāpakamvā—tassa dāyādā bhavanti: Whatever actions they perform, whether good or evil, such will be their inheritance.

This should become clear to one who is on this path. This law of nature should become very clear. Then you will become inspired to take responsibility for your own kamma. Remain alert and on guard each moment, so that every action, physical or mental, is wholesome. 

You will not be perfect, but keep trying. You may fall down, but see how quickly you get up. With all the determination, with all the inspiration, with all the encouragement, get up and try again. This is how you become stable in Dhamma. 
May all beings be happy.

Sep 14, 2009

Global Pagoda and Pali - the Buddha's language

The inspirational Global Pagoda in Mumbai, India, serves to not only share the immense benefits of Vipassana, but to also re-awaken the learning and understanding of the Pali language in which the Buddha taught.

Pali is one of the world's oldest and accurate of languages. In deep detail, it describes very subtle realities of nature, universal realities pertaining to the impermanent, constantly changing mind-matter phenomenon that we call 'I'.

Residential Pali language courses are now offered in Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri (near Mumbai), India, for Vipassana students.

The Vipassana Research Institute also offers an Advanced Pali language course to serious Vipassana students - those who have completed a basic Pali language course, as well as having completed five ten-day courses and a seven-day Satipatthana Sutta course.

Below is a Pali language-related article the Vipassana Research Institute published, a beneficial example of how invaluable is the understanding of Pali for a deeper, practical understanding of Vipassana:

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)

One 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 realization of the basic characteristic of all phenomena as anicca (impermanent) leads one to the realization 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 Vipassana 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-realization 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 practicing 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


Sep 9, 2009

Directions to reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India

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