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Dec 31, 2010

Every Moment A Beneficial New Year, with Anicca

" Dhamma eradicates suffering and gives happiness. Who gives this happiness? It is not the Buddha but the Dhamma, the knowledge of anicca within the body, which gives the happiness. That is why you must meditate and be aware of anicca continually. "
- Sayagyi U Ba Khin, an inspiration for the Global Vipassana Pagoda, and benevolent Dhamma teacher of Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka

by the Vipassana Research Institute

Change is inherent in all phenomenal existence. There is nothing animate or inanimate, organic or inorganic that we can label as permanent, since even as we affixed that label on something it would undergo metamorphosis. Realizing this central fact of life by direct experience within himself, the Buddha declared, "Whether a fully Enlightened One has arisen in the world or not, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and fixed law that all formations are impermanent, subject to suffering, and devoid of substance." Anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), and anatta (insubstantiality) are the three characteristics common to all sentient existence.

Of these, the most important in the practice of Vipassana is anicca. As meditators, we come face to face with the impermanence of ourselves. This enables us to realize that we have no control over this phenomenon, and that any attempt to manipulate it creates suffering. We thus learn to develop detachment, an acceptance of anicca, an openness to change, enabling us to live happily amid all the vicissitudes of life. Hence the Buddha said that:

To one who perceives the impermanence, O meditators, the perception of insubstantiality manifests itself. And in one who perceives insubstantiality, egotism is destroyed. And (as a result) even in this present life one attains liberation. The comprehending of anicca leads automatically to a grasp of anatta and dukkha, and whosoever realizes these facts naturally turns to the path that leads out of suffering.

Given the crucial importance of anicca, it is not surprising the Buddha repeatedly stressed its significance for the seekers of liberation. In the Mahā Satipatthāna Sutta, the principal text in which he explained the technique of Vipassana, he described the stages in the practice, which must in every case lead to the following experience:

(The meditator) abides observing the phenomenon of arising . . . abides observing the phenomenon of passing away . . . abides observing the phenomenon of arising and passing away.

We must recognize the fact of impermanence not merely in its readily apparent aspect around and within us. Beyond that, we must learn to see the subtle reality that every moment we ourselves are changing, that the "I" with which we are infatuated is a phenomenon in constant flux. With this experience we can easily emerge from egotism and so from suffering.

Elsewhere the Buddha said:

The eye, O meditators, is impermanent. What is impermanent is unsatisfactory. What is unsatisfactory is substanceless. What is substanceless is not mine, is not I, is not my self. This is how to regard eye with wisdom as it really is.

The same formula is for the ear, nose, tongue, body and mind—for all the bases of sensory experience, every aspect of a human being. Then the Buddha continued:

Seeing this, O meditators, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes satiated with the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind (i.e., with sensory existence altogether). Being satiated he does not have the passion for them. Being passionless he is set free. In this freedom arises the realization that he is freed.

In this passage the Buddha makes a sharp distinction between knowing by hearsay and by personal insight. One may be a sutavā, that is, someone who has heard about the Dhamma and accepts it on faith or perhaps intellectually. That acceptance, however, is insufficient to liberate anyone from the cycle of suffering. To attain liberation one must see truth for oneself, must experience it directly within oneself. That is what Vipassana meditation enables us to do.

If we are to understand the unique contribution of the Buddha, we must keep this distinction firmly in mind. The truth of which he spoke was not unknown before him and was current in India in his time. He did not invent the concepts of impermanence, suffering and insubstantiality. His uniqueness lies in having found a way to advance from hearing truth to experiencing it.

Dec 22, 2010

The Practical Way Out of Suffering

by Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka
"How the lives of all living beings are infused with dukkha (suffering)! We cannot even imagine how great is the suffering of all sentient beings. In this tiny span of time while I am engaged in speaking these sentences, on this earth countless smaller beings are being devoured and crushed in bloody jaws; they are being ruthlessly swallowed without any pity. Can we ever measure their agony, their pain, their dukkha?
Even if we leave aside the suffering of the sentient beings of the animal kingdom, how immeasurable and limitless is the dukkha of man alone? In this one moment of existence, how many sick people in the hospitals of the world are groaning in agony? How many, having sensed impending death, are crying in vain, in fear and anguish? How many, at the loss of their wealth, prestige, their position, their power, are beset at this moment with pain? Who can have any reason for not accepting the truth of suffering while living in this universe where there is suffering everywhere?
We certainly do not wish to say that in life there is only dukkha and not a vestige of any pleasure. But are the pleasures of the senses really something that can be called happiness? Does not that glitter of happiness contain within it the shadow of pain? There is no sensual pleasure which is permanent, unchanging, everlasting. There is not a single pleasure in the sensual sphere which one can enjoy with satisfaction forever. All pleasures are impermanent, are changing, must come to an end. Whatever is impermanent is unsatisfactory, after all. When we get attached to something because it seems pleasurable to us, how great is the sorrow when that pleasure is no more; the pain becomes intense.
In the eyes of the world, a person may be considered very happy or even consider himself very happy. How long do people enjoy such pleasures? How quickly does the momentary brightness turn to darkness! As much as a person gets involved in and attached to these pleasures, to the same degree he involves himself in inevitable suffering. But one who enjoys pleasantness with detachment-clearly understanding its impermanent nature-is always safe from the suffering when pleasure ends. Therefore, while enjoying these pleasures, if we are aware of their changing, impermanent nature, if we are aware of the inherent dukkha in them, then we remain free of the pain that comes along when these pleasures end. To see dukkha in our pleasures is to see the truth which destroys dukkha; this is a righteous way of life which ensures our well-being.
The purpose of seeing the truth of dukkha is that as soon as the dukkha raises its head, we see it, we apprehend it, and at once extinguish the fire of this dukkha so it cannot spread. If we are aware of the dukkha involved in attachment to pleasure, then we will not allow the fire to spread. While enjoying the pleasure, we will tend not to get tense or excited, and when the pleasure ends, even then we won't become miserable, because all along we have understood the ephemeral nature of pleasure. So, the ceasing of the pleasure does not necessarily become a cause for suffering.
Everyone, without any exception, experiences some of the truth of suffering, but it is only when the suffering is experienced and observed objectively, rather than indulged in, that the truth of it becomes beneficial. Then it becomes a Noble Truth. To cry, to whimper, to writhe in pain because of some physical suffering is, no doubt, seeing the truth of suffering, but to observe and understand the suffering underlying the apparent enjoyment of boisterous laughter, wine and song is to really see the Noble Truth of suffering.
As long as we are unable to observe the real nature of sense pleasures, we shall continue to cling to them, we shall continue to yearn for them-and this is, after all, the main cause of all our suffering.
So, if we are to fully understand, fully comprehend dukkha, then we have to understand and consider the subtle reality. At the level of experience, within the framework of one's own body, one observes the transitory, impermanent nature of reality and thus realizes the nature of the entire mind-matter universe. The world of the senses is impermanent, and whatever is impermanent is suffering.
To understand and to observe this reality is to comprehend, to appreciate the First Noble Truth; and it is this understanding of the Noble Truth of suffering which can take us toward freedom from all suffering."
- For full article 'The Practical Way Out of Suffering' http://www.vridhamma.org/en2003-11
* Vipassana courses worldwide, and online applications

Dec 15, 2010

Global Pagoda one-day course on January 16

A one-day Vipassana course * has been arranged within the main dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda on 16 January 2011, Sunday, from 11 am to 4 pm (instead of 19 January). Principal teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka will be present during this course.
Registration for this 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 *)
For online registration for Global Pagoda one-day course:
Or, Contact: Mobile: 98928-55692, 98928-55945;
Tel: (022) 2845-1182, 2845-1170 (11 am to 5 pm). Or, Registration email: global.oneday@gmail.com
May all beings sitting and serving this Vipassana course experience all the infinite benefits of Dhamma, be happy, peaceful and be liberated from all suffering.
* Please Note: [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 meditation centre worldwide to register for a residential 10-day Vipassana beginner's course.]
* One-day course is also held every Sunday in the main dome Dhamma hall of the Global Pagoda, for Vipassana students.
* Dhamma service opportunities at Global Pagoda
* Directions to reach Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
* Earning boundless merits through Dhamma dana for Global Pagoda

Dec 14, 2010

Global Pagoda and Freedom from Fear

With correct, careful and constant practice of Vipassana, all fears gradually go away - including the biggest fear of all, the fear of death.

The Global Pagoda, with its largest meditation hall in the world for Vipassana students, is an inspiring battleground to courageously fight and remove one's impurities in the mind - the cause of all fears and insecurities.

With Vipassana, one realizes that the present moment, now, is the seed for the future. If one carefully ensures the present moment is wholesome - no matter what happened in the past - the future fruit will be only wholesome and sweet. Which is why Vipassana practice, and all forms of Dhamma dana, is the best investment for the future.

Sammasambuddha Gotama being offered Dhamma dana of rice cakes and honey from Tapassu and Bhallika, two merchants from Ukkala, Burma. (this is one of the vast collection of paintings in the Global Pagoda Art Gallery on the Life of the Buddha, the largest of collection of its kind in the world)

To live life wisely, knowing what happens at death becomes the most important knowledge of all. And Vipassana practice, with base of metta, the most important activity of all.

What Happens at Death?

- by Sayagyi U S. N. Goenka

(The following was originally published in the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Journal.)

To understand what happens at death, let us first understand what death is. Death is like a bend in a continuous river of becoming. It appears that death is the end of a process of becoming, and certainly it may be so in the case of an arahant (a fully liberated being) or a Buddha; but with an ordinary person this flow of becoming continues even after death. Death puts an end to the activities of one life, and the very next moment starts the play of a new life. On the one side is the last moment of this life and on the other side is the first moment of the next life. It is as though the sun rises as soon as it sets with no interval of darkness in between, or as if the moment of death is the end of one chapter in the book of becoming, and another chapter of life begins the very next moment.
Although no simile can convey the exact process, still one might say that this flow of becoming is like a train running on a track. It reaches the station of death and there, slightly decreasing speed for a moment, carries on again with the same speed. It does not stop at the station even for a moment. For one who is not an arahant, the station of death is not a terminus but a junction from where thirty-one different tracks diverge. The train, as soon as it arrives at the station, moves onto one or another of these tracks and continues. This speeding "train of becoming," fuelled by the electricity of the kammic reactions of the past, keeps on running from one station to the next, on one track or the other, a continuous journey that goes on without ceasing.
This changing of "tracks" happens automatically. As the melting of ice into water and the cooling of water to form ice happens according to laws of nature, so the transition from life to life is controlled by set laws of nature. According to these laws, the train not only changes tracks by itself, it also lays the next tracks itself. For this train of becoming the junction of death, where the change of tracks takes place, is of great importance. Here the present life is abandoned (this is called cuti-disappearance, death). The demise of the body takes place, and immediately the next life starts (a process which is called patisandhi - conception or taking up of the next birth). The moment of patisandhi is the result of the moment of death; the moment of death creates the moment of conception. Since every death moment creates the next birth moment, death is not only death, but birth as well. At this junction, life changes into death and death into birth.
Thus every life is a preparation for the next death. If someone is wise, he or she will use this life to the best advantage and prepare for a good death. The best death is the one that is the last, that is not a junction but a terminus: the death of an arahant. Here there will be no track on which the train can run further; but until such a terminus is reached, one can at least ensure that the next death gives rise to a good birth and that the terminus will be reached in due course. It all depends on us, on our own efforts. We are makers of our own future, we create our own welfare or misery as well as our own liberation.

for full article : What happens at death?

* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for Vipassana courses

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

* Earning boundless merits through Dhamma dana for Global Pagoda

Dec 9, 2010

Global Pagoda - The Monument of Truth

Dhamma is the truth.
Vipassana is the univeral, practical path to experience the truth of nature, the reality within.
The Global Pagoda is a messenger of Vipassana, to inform and enable thousands of truth warriors to practice Vipassana together, in the courageous, constant, determined battle to destroy the impurities-enemies within. And most necessarily, to share the infinite benefits of Vipassana with all beings.
With Vipassana, one undertands what really happens in the universe within oneself, within the constantly changing mind-matter phenomenon we call 'I'. Delusions and mis-understandings gradually fade away, along with ignorance of the reality within fading away.

Excerpt from 'Sampajañña: The Fullness of Understanding - by Sayagyi U S. N. Goenka':
" So long as one sees from only one angle, one has only a partial truth. Without a general understanding, this partial truth is bound to be misleading, bound to create misconceptions. When one observes a phenomenon in different ways from different viewpoints, the full truth is revealed.
This is real wisdom: to see things from different angles-in Pāli, Pakārena jānātīti paññā. As one proceeds from a narrow, partial view to an understanding of truth in all aspects, automatically illusions and confusions disappear.
By remaining extroverted we see only one aspect of reality, and inevitably are misled by partial truths. Through the practice of introspection, however, we begin to see from another perspective. Thus we emerge from illusions and start awakening to the entire truth.
How does the process of introspection actually awaken in us a comprehensive grasp of truth?
To understand this we must recall that every sensory phenomenon-whether a person, a thing, or an event-exists for us only when it comes into contact with our sense organs. Without this contact, the sensory object in fact is nothing for us. If we remain extroverted, we attach importance to external objects and ignore the essential internal base of their existence for us, because we never examine ourselves. Thus deluded by a partial truth, we are led into folly.
But if we remain aware of external reality and also observe ourselves, the entire situation changes. Now external objects help to throw light on our inner experiences, and inner experiences help us to understand the whole truth. And with this all embracing view we come out of the habit of wallowing in sensory experiences and start instead to observe them objectively.
As the meditator begins moving from a partial and fragmentary vision to an understanding of truth in its totality, he sees more clearly how the phenomenon of mind and matter actually works. As soon as a sensory object comes into contact with one of the sense doors, instantaneously the mental faculty of cognition, recognition and evaluation, sensation and reaction all follow. For this process to occur there must first be a contact between a sensory object and the mental-physical structure; otherwise the object has no reality for us. And this law applies not only to the five physical senses, but also to the mind. As much as eyes or ears, the mind exists within the structure of the body.

Therefore mental objects, just as much as sights or sounds, have their real existence for us within this physical structure, not outside. If we forget this important fact we can never attain an understanding of the entire truth.By observing sensations throughout the body dispassionately, the meditator experiences sensory objects, both external and internal, as they actually affect the mental-physical structure within. In this way he advances towards a comprehensive view of reality. He realizes by experience that whether gross or subtle, whether pleasant or unpleasant, every sensation is ephemeral, having the nature of arising and passing away; this is the fundamental fact of impermanence-anicca.
Whatever is ephemeral is liable to be a source of misery if we become attached to it; this is the fundamental fact of suffering-dukkha.
Over an ephemeral phenomenon we can have no control, no mastery. If we seek to change its nature from transitory to permanent, we are bound to fail. If we seek to make it productive of happiness instead of sorrow, we are bound to fail. This is the fundamental fact of egolessness-anattā.
Thus the wisdom of anicca, dukhha, and anattā arises in the meditator as he continues observing sensations objectively. And the more this wisdom grows, the more the mirage of "I, mine" fades. Now the meditator will give primary importance not to the sensory object, but to its manifestation as bodily sensations within the mental-physical structure. By doing so he achieves a fuller understanding of the reality of this mental-physical phenomenon, and so emerges from illusions and from suffering.
This is the real purpose of Vipassana meditation: to awaken an understanding of truth in all its aspects, and to maintain this understanding in every situation. Whether sitting, standing, lying down, or walking, whether eating or drinking, whether bathing or washing, whether speaking or remaining silent, whether listening, seeing, tasting or touching - in every action, the meditator must maintain sampajañña, and understanding of the entire truth."

for full article : Sampajañña: The Fullness of Understanding - by Sayagyi U S. N. Goenka
* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for Vipassana courses
* Directions to reach Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
* Earning boundless merits through Dhamma dana for Global Pagoda

Dec 3, 2010

The Vehicle of Liberation

Dhammam Saranam Gachchami.
One's actual surrender is to Dhamma, and only Dhamma - the truth, the universal law of nature.
Dhamma is the Law of Cause and Effect.
Vipassana practice enables living with Dhamma, with the truth, every moment.

The Global Pagoda is a vehicle for sharing the infinite benefits of Vipassana, for the happiness and liberation of all beings, from all suffering and misery:
" The law of Patticca 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 resultant vocal and physical actions will also be unwholesome. If the seeds are unwholesome, the fruits are bound to be unwholesome. But if this driving force is wholesome, the resultant actions are bound to be wholesome.
For a Vipassana meditator who develops the ability to observe this law at the level of direct experience, the answer to the question “Who am I?” becomes very clear. You are nothing but the sum total of your kamma, your sankhārā (mental conditionings). All your accumulated actions together equal “I” at the conventional level." 

(for full article http://www.vridhamma.org/en2007-07)

* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for Vipassana courses
* Directions to reach Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
* Earning boundless merits through Dhamma dana for Global Pagoda

Oct 30, 2010

The Meaning of Happiness

The following is the general text of Sayagyi U S.N Goenka's remarks at one of the panels of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January, 2000 on the subject of "What is Happiness? Is this all there is?":

Every person who is attending this Forum is among a unique group of people on our planet. They are generally among the wealthiest, most powerful, most accomplished individuals in the world. Even being invited to attend the World Economic Forum is a great recognition of the status that each participant has reached among his or her peers.

When someone has all the wealth, power and status that anyone could ever want, are they necessarily happy? Are all these accomplishments and the self-satisfaction they bring "all there is?" Or is there some greater degree of happiness, which it is possible to achieve?

Happiness is an ephemeral condition. It is rapidly fleeting. Here one moment and gone the next. One day when all is going well with your business, your bank account and your family, happiness is there. But how about when something unwanted happens? What about when something entirely outside of your control happens to disturb your happiness and harmony?

Every person in the world, regardless of their power and position, will experience periods during which circumstances arise that are outside of their control and not to their liking. It may be the discovery that you have a fatal disease; it may be the sickness or death of a near and dear one; it may be a divorce or the discovery that a spouse is cheating on you. Among people who are addicted to success in life, it may simply be a failure at something: a bad business decision, your company being acquired and the resultant loss of your job, losing a political election, someone else getting the promotion that you wanted, or your child running away from home or rebelling and rejecting all the values that you hold dear. Regardless of how much wealth, prestige and power you may have, such unwanted events and failures generally create great misery in the life.

Next, the question comes: how to deal with these periods of unhappiness, which spoil an otherwise ideal life? Such periods are bound to come in even the most charmed life. Do you behave in a balanced and equanimous manner or do you react with aversion for the misery that you are experiencing? Do you crave to have your happiness return?

Moreover, when one becomes addicted to happiness and to everything always going the way you want, the misery when things do not go the way you want becomes even greater. In fact, it becomes unbearable. It often motivates people to resort to alcohol in order to cope with disappointment and depression and to resort to sleeping pills in order to obtain the rest we need in order to keep going. All the while we tell the outside world, and ourselves, that we are sublimely happy because of our wealth, power and position.

I come from a business family and was an entrepreneur and businessman from a very early age. I built sugar mills, weaving mills and, blanket factories and established import-export firms with offices all over the world. In the process, I made a lot of money. However, I also vividly remember how I reacted to events in my business and my personal life during those years. Every night, if I had failed to be successful in a business transaction during the day, I would lie awake for hours and try to figure out what had gone wrong and what I should do next time. Even if I had accomplished a great success that day I would lie away and relish my accomplishment. While I experienced great success, this was neither happiness nor peace of mind. I found that peace was very closely related to happiness and I frequently had neither, regardless of my money and status as a leader in the community.

I remember a favorite poem of mine related to this subject:
It is easy to smile, when life rolls along like a sweet song;
But the man worth while, is the man with a smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.

How each of us copes with these periods of things going "dead wrong" is a major component of the "meaning of happiness," regardless of our money, power and prestige.

It is a basic human need that everyone wants to live a happy life. For this, one has to first experience real happiness. The so-called happiness that one experiences by having money, power, and indulging in sensual pleasures is not real happiness. It is very fragile, unstable and not lasting long. For real happiness, for real lasting stable happiness, one has to make a journey deep within oneself and see that one gets rid of all the unhappiness and misery stored in the deeper levels of the mind. So long as there is unhappiness and misery in the deeper levels of the mind and so long as unhappiness is being generated today this stored stock is being multiplied and all attempts to feel happy at the surface level of the mind prove futile.

So long as one as one keeps on generating negativities such as anger hatred, ill-will, animosities, etc. the stock of unhappiness keeps on multiplying. The law of nature is such that as soon as one generates negativity, unhappiness arises simultaneously. It is impossible to feel happy and peaceful when one is generating negativity in the mind. Peace and negativity cannot coexist just as light and darkness cannot coexist. There is a systematic scientific exercise that was developed by a great super scientist of my ancient country by which one can explore the truth pertaining to the mind body phenomenon at the experiential level.
This technique is called Vipassana meditation, which means observing the reality objectively as it is. The technique helps one to develop the faculty of feeling and understanding the interaction of mind and matter within one's own physical structure.
for full article: Meaning of Happiness 
* Dhamma service opportunities at Global Pagoda

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

* Earning boundless merits through Dhamma dana for Global Pagoda

Sep 6, 2010

One-day course on October 23 in Global Pagoda

A one-day Vipassana course * has been arranged within the main dome of the Global Vipassana Pagoda on 23 October 2010, Saturday,  from 11 am to 4 pm. Principal teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka will be present during this course.
Registration for this course is compulsory. Registration email: global.oneday@gmail.com.
Contact: Mobile: 98928-55692, 98928-55945; Tel: (022) 2845-1182, 2845-1170 (11 am to 5 pm).
* Please Note: [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 meditation centre worldwide to register for a residential 10-day Vipassana beginner's course.]
* Dhamma service opportunities at Global Pagoda
 * Directions to reach Global Pagoda, Gorai / Borivili, Mumbai
* Earning boundless merits through Dhamma dana for Global Pagoda

Sep 2, 2010

Dhamma Service at Global Vipassana Pagoda

The Global Vipassana Pagoda offers a very rare and invaluable opportunity to serve in Dhamma, to share the benefits of Vipassana and to gain immeasurable merits.

Committed Vipassana students may offer Dhamma service for the special one-day courses held periodically in the presence of Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka, and for the weekly Sunday Vipassana courses in the main dome Dhamma Hall of the Global Pagoda.
Dhamma service can also be offered in one-day courses conducted every Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm in the Global Pagoda main dome Dhamma Hall.

For more details and registering for Dhamma service at one-day courses at the Global Pagoda, kindly contact:
Mobile no.: 98928-55692, 98928-55945;
Tel: (022) 2845-1170, 3374-7543, 3374-7544
Email : oneday@globalpagoda.org

Dhamma service may also be offered for the various developmental projects being implemented by the Global Vipassana Foundation.
For details of other Dhamma service opportunities presently available at Global Pagoda, kindly contact:
General Manager, GVF, Global Vipassana Pagoda, Next to Esselworld, Gorai, Borivali (W) Mumbai 400 091. Tel: (022) 3374-7501, 2845-1204.
Email: hr@globalpagoda.org

Website: www.globalpagoda.org


* The Significance of Dhamma Service

* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Introduction to Vipassana, Code of Discipline and Daily Time-table in Residential Courses

Apr 3, 2010

How to reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai / Borivali, 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 adjacent to Esselworld Park.

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.
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)

Mar 24, 2010

The Practice of Mettā-Bhāvanā

by Vipassana Research Institute

The practice of mettā-bhāvanā (meditation of loving kindness) is the closing part of the technique of Vipassana meditation. We practice mettā by radiating loving kindness and goodwill towards all beings, deliberately charging the atmosphere around us with the calming, positive vibrations of pure and compassionate love. The Buddha instructed us to develop mettā so as to live more peaceful and harmonious lives and to help others to do so as well. The practice of mettā gives us a way to share with all others the peace and harmony that we are developing.

The commentaries state that mettā is the quality that inclines one to a friendly disposition—Mijjati siniyhatī’ti mettā. It is a sincere wish for the good and welfare of all, devoid of ill will. Non-aversion is mettā—adoso’ti mettā. The chief characteristic of mettā is a benevolent attitude. It culminates in the identification of oneself with all beings—a recognition of the fellowship of all life.

Mettā is not a prayer nor is it the hope that an outside agency will help. On the contrary, it is a dynamic process producing a supportive atmosphere where others can act to help themselves. Mettā can be directed towards all beings or towards a particular person. We must eliminate egotism and open our minds to practise mettā.

Intellectually, it is easy enough but it is far harder to develop such an attitude in oneself. To do so, some practice is needed, and so, we have the technique of mettā-bhāvanā, the systematic cultivation of goodwill towards others.

To be really effective, though, mettā-bhāvanā must be practiced along with Vipassana meditation. So long as negativity such as aversion dominates the mind, it is futile to formulate conscious thoughts of goodwill, and doing so becomes a ritual devoid of inner meaning. However, when negativity is removed by the practice of Vipassana, goodwill naturally wells up in the mind; and emerging from the prison of self-obsession, we begin to concern ourselves with the welfare of others.

For this reason, the technique of mettā-bhāvanā is introduced only at the end of a Vipassana course, after the participants have passed through the process of purification. At such a time, meditators often feel a deep wish for the well-being of others, making their practice of mettā truly effective. Though limited time is devoted to it in a course, mettā may be regarded as the culmination of the practice of Vipassana.

Nibbāna can be experienced only by those whose minds are filled with loving kindness and compassion for all beings. Simply wishing for this state is not enough; we must purify our minds to attain it.

By the practice of Vipassana, we become aware that the underlying reality of the world and of ourselves consists of arising and passing away every moment. We realize that the process of change continues without our control and regardless of our wishes. Gradually, we understand that any attachment to what is ephemeral and insubstantial produces suffering for us. We learn to be detached and to keep the balance of our minds in the face of any experience. Then we begin to experience what real happiness is: neither the satisfaction of craving nor the forestalling of fears but rather liberation from the cycles of craving and fear. As inner serenity develops, we clearly see how others are enmeshed in suffering, and naturally this wish arises, “May they find what we have found: the way out of misery, the path of peace.” This is the proper volition for the practice of mettā-bhāvanā.

In order to practise mettā, the mind must be calm, balanced and free from negativity. This is the type of mind developed by the practice of Vipassana. A meditator knows by experience how anger, antipathy, or ill will destroys peace and frustrates any efforts to help others. Only when hatred is removed and equanimity is developed can we be happy and wish happiness for others. The words, “May all beings be happy” have great force only when uttered from a pure mind. Backed by this purity, they will certainly be effective in fostering the happiness of others.

We must, therefore, examine ourselves before practising mettā-bhāvanā to check whether we are really capable of practising mettā. If we find even a tinge of hatred or aversion in our minds, we should refrain at that time and relax or lie down until the impurity or unpleasantness goes away.

However, if the mind and body are filled with serenity and well-being, it is natural and appropriate to share this happiness with others: “May you be happy, may you be liberated from the defilements that are the causes of suffering. May all beings be peaceful! May all beings be happy! May all beings come out of their misery!”

In Vipassana, no verbalization, visualization or imagination is allowed. But while practising mettā-bhāvanā, all of these are allowed.

We can use our imagination especially with those who are near and dear, we can visualize their faces and give mettā: “May you be happy, may you be happy.” As we experience the vibrations, which are characteristic of arising and passing, we can say to ourselves, “These vibrations are vibrations of mettā, of love, of compassion.” When one is alone, one can even verbalize, “May all be happy, may all be happy”. When we are in a group, we can recite mentally to ourselves, “May all be happy, may all be peaceful, may all come out of misery.”

This loving attitude enables us to deal far more skilfully with the vicissitudes of life. Suppose, for example, one encounters a person who is acting out of deliberate ill will to harm others. The common response—to react with fear and hatred—is self-centeredness, which does nothing to improve the situation and, in fact, magnifies the negativity. It would be far more helpful to remain calm and balanced, with a feeling of goodwill for the person who is acting wrongly. This must not be merely an intellectual stance, a veneer over unresolved negativity. Mettā works only when it overflows spontaneously from a purified mind.

The serenity gained in Vipassana meditation naturally gives rise to feelings of mettā, and throughout the day, this will continue to affect us and our environment in a positive way. Thus, Vipassana ultimately has a dual function: to bring us happiness by purifying our minds, and to help us to foster the happiness of others by preparing us to practice mettā. What is the purpose of freeing ourselves of negativity and egotism unless we share these benefits with others? In a retreat, we cut ourselves off from the world temporarily in order to return and share with others what we gained in solitude. These two aspects of the practice of Vipassana are inseparable.

In these times of violent unrest and widespread suffering, the need for such a practice as mettā-bhāvanā is clear. If peace and harmony are to reign throughout the world, they must first be established in the minds of all the inhabitants of the world.

May all beings be happy !

for more http://www.vridhamma.org/en2008-08
* Directions to reach the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India
* Vipassana meditation courses worldwide, course venues, online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
* Global Pagoda Developmental Projects - Phase Two
* Directions to reach Vipassana International Academy, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, India.

Mar 13, 2010

Treasure of Dhamma

7. The Highest Gain

Insignificant, O monks, is the loss of relatives, wealth and fame; the loss of wisdom is the greatest loss.
Insignificant, O monks, is the increase of relatives, wealth and fame; the increase of wisdom is the greatest gain.
Therefore, O monks, you should train yourselves thus: "We will grow in the increase of wisdom."
Thus, O monks, should you train yourselves. (I, viii,6-10)

Sayings of the Buddha arranged in numerical order (please click on link for Google Books preview of 'The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha - An Anthology of Suttas from the Anguttara Nikaya.
Translated and Edited by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikku Bodhi'
Published by International Sacred Literature Trust, London WC2N5AP, UK.
Altamira Press. A Division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc; Walnut Creek, CA 94596, USA )

Mar 9, 2010

What Really Matters

(All who benefit from Vipassana, and the Global Pagoda, would have infinite gratitude to Venerable Webu Sayadaw (1896-1977). In 1941, this highly respected monk in Burma was the first to strongly advise Sayagyi U Ba Khin to teach Vipassana. In 1999, Sayagyi U Ba Khin's most distinguished student Sayagyi U Goenka declared the start of the Global Pagoda project to commemorate the birth centenary year of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Below is one of the well-known discourses of Webu Sayadaw)

You have taken up moral conduct (sila). Now that you have undertaken to perfect yourselves in morality, fulfill it to the utmost. Only if you fulfill morality to the utmost will all your aspirations be met. You will be happy now and in the future.

Nothing but the teachings of the Buddha can give you real happiness, in the present and in the remainder of samsara, the cycle of repeated birth and death.. The teachings of the Buddha are enshrined in the Tipitaka, the three baskets of the scriptures. The Tipitaka is very extensive. If we take the essence out of the Tipitaka we shall find the thirty-seven factors of awakening. [1] The essence of the thirty-seven factors of awakening is the eight constituents of the Noble Eightfold Path. The essence of the Noble Eightfold Path is the threefold training — the higher morality, the higher mind, the higher wisdom. The essence of the threefold training is the one Dhamma or Universal Law.

If your body and mind are under control, as they are now, there can be no roughness of physical or verbal action. This is the higher morality (adhisila).You have taken up moral conduct (sila). Now that you have undertaken to perfect yourselves in morality, fulfill it to the utmost. Only if you fulfill morality to the utmost will all your aspirations be met. You will be happy now and in the future.

Nothing but the teachings of the Buddha can give you real happiness, in the present and in the remainder of samsara, the cycle of repeated birth

If morality becomes strong, the mind will become peaceful and tranquil and lose its harshness. This is called the higher mind or the concentrated mind (adhicitta). If concentration becomes strong and the mind stays one-pointed for a long time, then you will realize that in a split-second matter arises and dissolves billions and billions of times. If mind (nama) knows matter (rupa), it knows that matter originates and disintegrates billions and billions of times in the wink of an eye. This knowledge of arising and disintegration is called the higher wisdom (adhipañña).

Whenever we observe the respiration coming in or out (Anapana meditation), the incoming and the outgoing air touches somewhere in or near the nostrils. The sensitive matter registers the touch of air. In this process, the entities touching are matter and the entity knowing the touch is mind. So do not go around asking others about mind and matter; observe your natural breathing and you will find out about them for yourselves.

When the air comes in, it will touch. When the air goes out, it will touch. If you know this touch continuously, then greed (lobha), aversion (dosa), and delusion (moha) do not have the opportunity to arise, and the fires of these defilements will subside.

You cannot know the touch of air before it actually occurs. After it has gone, you cannot know it anymore. Only while the air moves in or out can you feel the sensation of touch. This we call the present moment.

While we feel the touch of air, we know that there is only mind and matter. We know for ourselves that there is no "I," no other people, no man and woman, and we realize for ourselves that what the Buddha said is true indeed. We do not need to ask others. While we know the in-breath and out-breath, there is no "I" or self.
When we know this, our view is pure; it is right view. We know in that moment that there is nothing but nama and rupa, mind and matter. We also know that mind and matter are two different entities. If we thus know how to distinguish between mind and matter, we have attained to the analytical knowledge of mind and matter.

If we know the touch of air as and when it occurs, our mind is pure and we get the benefits thereof. Do not think that the benefits you get thus, even in a split-second, are few. Do not think that those who meditate do not get any advantages from their practice. Now that you have been born in a happy plane and have met the teachings of a Buddha, you can obtain great benefits. Do not worry about eating and drinking, but make all the effort you can.

Is this present time not auspicious?

Disciple: Yes, sir, it is.
SAYADAW: Yes, indeed! Can't those good people attain their aspiration for Nibbana who, with an open mind, receive and practice the teachings of the Buddha, just like the noble people of the past who received the instructions from the Buddha himself?
D: Yes, sir, they can.
S: So, how long does the Buddha's Teaching last?
D: For five thousand years, sir. [2]
S: And now tell me, how many of these five thousand years have past?
D: Sir, about half this time-span has gone.
S: So, how much remains still?
D: About 2500 years, sir.
S: What is the life-span of a human being now? 
D: About one hundred years, sir.
S: How old are you?
D: I am thirty-seven years old, sir.
S: So, how much longer do you have to live?
D: Sixty-three years, sir.
S: But can you be sure that you will live that long?
D: That I don't know, sir.
S: You don't know yourself how long you are going to live?
D: No, sir, it isn't possible to know this for sure.
S: But even as we are born we can be sure we have to suffer old age, disease and death.
D: Yes, sir.
S: Can we request old age, pain and death to desist for some time, to go away for some time?
D: No, sir.
S: No they never rest. Can we ask them to stop their work?D: No, sir, we cannot.
S: In that case can we be certain we have to die?
D: Yes, sir, it is certain that we all have to die.
S: It is certain that we all have to die. What about living?
D: We can't be sure how long we have left to live, sir.
S: Someone whose life-span is thirty years dies when the thirty years are up. If your life-span is forty or fifty years, you will die when you are forty or fifty years old. Once someone is dead, can we get him back?
D: No, sir, we can't.
S: However many years of your life have passed, they have passed. What is it that you have not accomplished yet?
D: The happiness of the path and fruition states and the attainment of Nibbana. [3]
S: Yes, inasmuch as you haven't attained the paths and fruition states yet, you have been defeated. Have you used the years that have passed well, or have you wasted your time?
D: I have wasted my time, sir.
S: Then do not waste the time that you have got left. This time is there for you to strive with energy and steadfastness; you can be sure that you will die, but you can't be sure how much longer you have got to live.

1.Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma. These are thirty-seven aspects of practice taught by the Buddha, including the four foundations of mindfulness, the four great efforts, the four bases of accomplishment, the five spiritual faculties, the five powers, the seven factors of awakening and the eight constituents of the Noble Eightfold Path.
2. A Buddha's Teaching (Sasana) lasts about five thousand years on the human plane and then is lost.
3.The paths and fruits of stream-entry, once-returner, non-returner, and Arahatship.