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Jan 23, 2012

How to reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai / Borivali, Mumbai, India

Everyone is most welcome to visit the Global Vipassana Pagoda, to start experiencing the immeasurable benefits from accurate and ardent practice of Vipassana meditation.
Visiting the Global Pagoda is free of charge. There is no entry fee. No charges for the tour guide.
Timings: 9.00 am to 7.00 pm. The Global Vipassana Pagoda is open all days, including Sunday.
(The last ferry leaves Gorai jetty to the Global Pagoda at 5.25 pm)
* Vipassana students - those who have taken one or more 10-day Vipassana courses taught in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin - are permitted to meditate inside the main dome Dhamma Hall of the Global Pagoda.

* Simple food facilities are available in the Global Pagoda premises. Larger food stalls serve visitors in the adjacent Essel World complex.

* Safe drinking water and clean toilet / wash-room facilities are available in the Global Pagoda premises.

* Non-commercial photography is permitted in the Global Pagoda. There can be no copyright to any image of the Global Vipassana Pagoda - visuals are to be made freely available to all for non-commercial use.

* For any clarification / questions, please contact Global Vipassana Foundation, Mumbai, India, Telephone: 91 - 22 - 33747501; Email: pr@globalpagoda.org

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.

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
* Dhamma reasons why there are no fees are charged for Vipassana courses - including for boarding and lodging
* One-day Vipassana courses at Global Pagoda (for those who have completed a 10-day Vipassana course)

Jan 14, 2012

Significance of Vedana (bodily sensations) in Vipassana, for True Happiness

(from 'The Importance of Vedana and Sampajanna', a milestone seminar held in Dhamma Giri in 1990)

Vedana (sensations) are of diverse types (vividha) [1], and are experienced every moment within the body. Broadly speaking, however, there are three kinds: pleasant (sukha), unpleasant (dukkha), and neutral (adukkhamasukha). The sensations arise within the body as a result of contact (phassa) and sooner or later pass away.[2]

The experience of painful contact within the body results in an unpleasant sensation that is unpalatable, distressful, painful, sorrowful, and an affliction. Faced with such an experience, an ordinary person becomes distressed, disturbed and unbalanced. When the pain is intense, he weeps, laments, cries, falls into despair and becomes deluded.[3]

Experiencing an unpleasant sensation, he desperately makes every possible effort to get rid of it, to pull himself out of it. He musters his will to free himself as quickly as possible. Because of this bodily pain and affliction, he becomes unhappy, restless, worried, disturbed and mentally distressed. He is thus miserable and troubled, both bodily and mentally, as if pierced by two arrows at the same time.[4]

This suffering is due to his attachment to the sensations.[5] He is ignorant, not knowing their true nature and hence is unable to have a dispassionate attitude towards them. He makes every effort to repel the cause of his pain. He does so because of the latent tendency of repugnance (patighanusaya) so deeply rooted in him. He fails to understand that this tendency (anusaya) of aversion is a defilement. Instead, he multiplies and perpetuates it. He is carried away by this anusaya and continues to flow with it.[6]

Even while striving to get over the unpleasant sensation, he indulges himself in craving for imaginary situations where there is no unpleasant sensation whatsoever. He starts enjoying this imaginary state and thereby develops lust for it.

This is suffering. A person ignorant of the reality within though distressed by his unpleasant sensation also delights in and craves for the sensual desire (kamasukha) that he has created in his mind.[7]

Why cannot one maintain a balanced, dispassionate state of mind when experiencing an unpleasant or pleasant sensation? One is unable to do so because of attachment to the sensation, and being overpowered by it.

Out of ignorance of the truth within, one does not comprehend the true impermanent nature (anicca) of the sensation. One does not realize its arising (samudaya), its passing away (atthangama), the habit pattern of relishing of it (assada), the danger in it (adinava) or the liberation from this misery (nissarana).

More dangerously, unaware of this anusaya (tendency of repugnance), the attachment to unwholesome thought patterns keeps multiplying. Such ignorance of inner reality causes not only attachment to pleasant sensations, but addiction to reacting to all types of sensations - and with it rolling endlessly in misery, such as the cycle of birth, decay and death, and so on.[8]

The Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India is a Dhamma monument to share benefits of Vipassana - the timeless, universal practice to purify the mind, and thereby liberate oneself from all misery and attain true happiness.

When a pleasant contact arises in the body, one experiences it as pleasant, as it apparently is. But not comprehending its true nature of impermanence, one becomes involved and attached and starts taking pleasure in it.[9]

The pleasant sensation that has arisen due to bodily contact (with worldly objects) is transitory, ephemeral, impermanent, and sooner or later is bound to pass away. Being ignorant or forgetting this truth, one tends to develop craving for its continuance.

One also becomes unaware of the dormant tendency of lust (raganusaya), the deep-rooted defilement within. Because of this attachment,[10] one keeps increasing craving, continues to flow with it.[11] Not understanding the true nature of a pleasant sensation as it really is - the arising of it (samudaya), the passing away of it (atthangama), the relishing of it (assada), the danger in it (adinava) or escape from it (nissarana)- one becomes attached to it, and thus, cannot escape the attendant lamentation and sorrow.

There arise situations where one experiences neither pleasant nor unpleasant sensations (adukkhamasukha vedana) and becomes delighted and satisfied with this. Such relishing indicates avijja (ignorance), as one does not know, or forgets, that this experience is also transitory, ephemeral and still within the sphere of nama-rupa (mind and matter).

Being unaware or forgetful of the dormant tendency of ignorance (avijjanusaya) within, one acts in such a way as to multiply this avijja, and continues to flow with it. This is delusion [12], and it results in only despair and unhappiness.

Both an ordinary person and a well-trained Vipassana meditator, who has reached the stage of saintliness, can experience the same sensations in the body. But there is a vast difference in their comprehension and outlook. As stated above, since a puthujjana (person ignorant of truth within) is the victim of the anusayas (dormant tendencies), he immediately starts reacting blindly when he experiences any sensation arising in the body. Being unaware of the true nature of these sensations, he remains attached (samyutta) to them.

In contrast, an ariyasavaka (noble one) practices by minutely observing the impermanence of the sensations (aniccanupassi viharati), their passing away (vayanupassi viharati). He does not cling to these sensations (viraganupassi viharati), he observes the ceasing of them (nirodhanupassi viharati), and thus, emerges from the habit pattern of blindly reacting to them (patinissagganupassi viharati).[13]

In this way, he eradicates all the latent tendencies (anusaya) which can no longer defile him. When he experiences an unpleasant sensation, he is not disturbed by it. He observes it as a wound on his body, (sallato), with equanimity keeps a dispassionate attitude towards it and remains unattached to it.[14] He maintains a balanced state of mind and is not disturbed mentally.[15]

Further, if he experiences a pleasant sensation, he does not take any pleasure in it. He fully understands its true nature of anicca, and so develops no lust for it, which would eventually lead to misery. Thus he keeps himself detached from the sensations.[16] He knows correctly that sooner or later they will pass away. He has no tendency towards lust (raganusaya) in him.

When he experiences a neutral sensation of peace and tranquility of mind, he does not get deluded by it. Rather, he keeps himself detached. A developed Vipassana student fully understands that this tranquil and peaceful state of mind is not the final stage. It too is impermanent (anicca) and, like the other sensations, is in the field of nama-rupa. The meditator does not take any delight in it and keeps a balanced, dispassionate state of mind.

The Vipassana practitioner is always mindful and attentive (sato) and keeps a constant understanding of anicca (sampajano) towards bodily sensations. Since the avijjanusaya (tendency of ignorance) is destroyed, the meditator truly knows the arising (samudaya) and passing away of it (atthangama), the relishing of it (assada), danger in it (adinava) and the escape (nissarana) from the sensations, it is said-

Samahito sampajano, sato Buddhassa savako;
Vedana ca pajanati, vedanananca sambhavam.
Yattha ceta nirujjhanti, magganca khayagaminam;
Vedananam khaya bhikkhu, nicchatonicchato parinibbuto'ti.[17]

A follower of the Buddha, with concentration, awareness and constant thorough understanding of impermanence, knows with wisdom the sensations, their arising, their cessation and the path leading to their end. A meditator who has reached the end (has experienced the entire field) of sensations (and has gone beyond) is freed from craving, fully liberated.

This is the main aim of Vipassana and the ultimate purpose of this practice. This is the consummation of brahmacariya (The Path of Purity and Truth). The Buddha praises a well-trained practitioner who has perfectly understood the true nature of sensations and is not attached to them. He says-

Na vedanam vedayati sapanno, sukham pi dukkham pi bahussuto pi;
ayam ca dhirassa puthujjanena, maha viseso kusalassa hoti.
Sankhatadhammassa bahussutassa, vipassato lokamimam param ca;
itthassa dhamma na mathenti cittam, anitthato no patighatameti.[18]

A wise, well-trained practitioner is not afflicted (mentally) when either experiencing a pleasant or unpleasant sensation (or otherwise).

This is the vast difference between an ordinary person and a skillful, wise person (pandita). For he who has mastered the Truth, is well-trained and has correctly viewed this world and beyond, neither desirable things churn in his mind, nor do undesirable ones harm him.

The practice of Vipassana is fulfilled only when a practitioner comes to realize perfectly the true transitory nature of sensations at this moment, now, and remains ever mindful (sato) with continuous thorough understanding (sampajano) of them, every moment. Then the mind is progressively purified of all defilements.

With Vipassana practice, the mind reaches the state of ultra-purity, a state of mind infinitely beneficial to oneself and beneficial to all beings. This is the ultimate aim of Vipassana and this is the essence of the practice.

May all beings be liberated from all suffering, be happy.

Notes: (All references VRI edition of Tipitaka)
1. Samyutta Nikaya 2.4.260
2. Ibid. 2.4.252, Saririkaya vedanaya. Also Ibid. 2.4.258, Vedana phassaja phassamulaka, phassanidana, phassapaccaya.
3. Ibid. 2.4.254, Sammoham apajjati.
4. Ibid.2.4.254, So dvisallena vedanam vedayati... So dve vedana vedayati kayikam ca cetasikam ca.
5. Loc. cit., Sannutto hoti.
6. Loc. cit., Dukkhaya vedanaya patighavantam, yo dukkhaya vedanaya patighanusayo so anuseti.
7. Loc. cit., So dukkhaya vedanaya phuttho samano kamasukham abhinandati.
8. Loc. cit., Dukkham ce vedanam vedayati sannutto nam vedayati. Assutava puthujjano sannutto jatiya jaraya maranena sokehi...
9. Loc. cit., Sannutta hoti... abhinandati.
10. Loc. cit., Sukham ce vedanam, vedayati, sannutto nam vedayati.
11. Loc. cit., Yo sukhaya vedanaya raganusayo, so anuseti.
12. Ibid 2.4.252, Sammoham apajjati.
13. Samyutta Nikaya 2.4.255-256, Pathamagelanna-Sutta and Dutiyagelanna-Sutta.
14. Ibid. 2.4.254, visannutto nam vedayati.
15. Ibid. 2.4.254, vedayati, kayikam, na cetasikam.
16. Ibid. 2.4.254, visannutto nam vedayati.
17. Ibid. 2.4.249
18. Ibid. 2.4.254

How to reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India
* 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)

* Rare opportunities to earn and share merits in participating in Global Vipassana Pagoda projects

Jan 6, 2012

Global Vipassana Pagoda Photographs

Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India, at night 
 from Maharashtra Tourism website (Mumbai is capital city of Maharashtra state)
View of the main marble stairway 
Visitors thronging the main stairway
 Global Pagoda at night

Global Pagoda dome (pix from Wikimedia)
View of Global Pagoda from Gorai Ferry Jetty
A ferry passes by the Global Vipassana Pagoda

Adjacent Burmese style structures - as gratitude to Burma for preserving Vipassana in purity, for millennia

The Asoka Pillar in Global Vipassana Pagoda premises.
Emperor Asoka, an ardent Vipassana practitioner, was instrumental in sharing the Buddha's universal teachings of Dhamma within and outside India.
December 23, 2011. More Global Pagoda photos from this Picasa Album

Myanmar Gate, seen from atop main entrance steps to Global Pagoda

One of intricately engraved wooden entrance doors to the stone dome Dhamma Hall 

Global Pagoda, seen outside Dhamma Pattana Vipassana Centre

Dhamma Pattana Vipassana meditation centre, adjacent to the Global Pagoda

View from ferry 
Global Vipassana Pagoda as seen from the Borivili National Park

October 4, 2011. From mumbai-eyed.blogspot.com

Global Vipassana Pagoda in the Mumbai city horizon 
The Myanmar Gate entrance to the Global Vipassana Pagoda. The entrance, under construction, is similar to the entrance to Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, and is built as gratitude to Burma that preserved the teaching of Vipassana in its purity. More Global Pagoda photographs in this Picasa Album

The inner dome of the Global Pagoda, the vast meditation hall that can seat approximately 8,000 Vipassana students. This is the world's largest stone-enclosed space of its kind without any supporting pillars, and is being termed a modern day wonder of the world.
At the centre is the raised, revolving platform from which Principal Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka gives instructions during special one-day Vipassana courses.

The Global Pagoda Dhamma Hall
Vipassana meditators inside the Inner Dome Dhamma Hall of the Global Pagoda.
(from Afternoon Dispatch and Courier, June 6, 2011. Article A Monumental Wonder)

Art Gallery of the Global Pagoda : the world's single largest collection of paintings on the life of Sammasambuddha Gotama.

(Afternoon Dispatch and Courier, June 6, 2011. Article A Monumental Wonder)
Global Pagoda Art Gallery on Sammasambuddha Gotama's life

Global Pagoda Art Gallery: Sammasambuddha Gotama being offered dana of rice cakes and honey from Tapassu and Bhallika, two merchants from Ukkala, Burma. 
Paintings from the Buddha Life History Gallery of Global Pagoda

Bell Tower of the Global Pagoda
(April 26, 2011. More Global Pagoda photographs from this Picasa Album )

Motif of Global Vipassana Pagoda, by artisans from Burma

Centre of the ceiling of the Dhamma Hall of Global Pagoda. The Dhamma Wheel marks the spot where the Sammasambuddha Gotama's bone relics are preserved *The bone relics serve as reminder that: a) the existence of the Buddha as a historical fact, and not as a mythological figure; b) the impermanence of all phenomena. o being escapes decay and death.  Liberation from suffering, at the deepest level, can be gained only from the actual, ardent, correct practice of Vipassana - the universal practice that a Sammasambuddha rediscovers.
 Students of S.N.College Mumbai, at the main stairway
Global Vipassana Pagoda during construction

 Global Vipassana Pagoda: The Light House of Dhamma.... May all beings be happy, be liberated from all suffering

Online application for beginners' 10-day residential Vipassana courses
More Photographs of the Global Vipassana Pagoda:

1. http://www.globalpagoda.org/pagoda-pictures
2. Construction of the Global Pagoda 
3.  Global Vipassana Pagoda - Mumbai's Haven of Peace
4. Photos from Tripadvisor
Please Note: Global Vipassana Pagoda photographs / visuals are not subject to any copyright. This Dhamma material may be freely used for non-commercial purposes only. For clarifications, kindly contact Global Vipassana Foundation.
* How to reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India