*The Buddha did not teach 'Buddhism' * Why no fees charged for Vipassana *Application for Vipassana courses *Beneficial power of Metta *Anapana for children
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Apr 15, 2013

Time is Now


"When you can grasp this Dhamma opportunity [to practice Vipassana and serve in Dhamma], grasp it. If you don't take this opportunity and with life being as short as it is, you may die and not meet with such a chance again. You lost it."


Bimbisara, king of Magadha, offering half his powerful kingdom to the ascetic Gotama. "Kingdoms  are not for me. I have already walked away from one," replied the former prince Siddhattha. He was steadfast against all temptations, unshakeable in his renunciation - in urgency of supreme efforts to serve all beings, in the purest, most beneficial way. 

The ascetic Gotama worked on alone with adhitthana, meaning utmost strong determination, to fulfill his Dhamma destiny of re-discovering Vipassana, and serving all beings as a Sammasambuddha.
Through countless aeons and endless time, may every moment of purity from Vipassana practice go for the liberation of all beings 

Apr 9, 2013

Benevolent Power of Metta

(From the Vipassana Research Institute article: The Practice of Metta Bhāvana In Vipassana Meditation)
 
Aham avero homi, avyāpajjho homi,
Anīgho homi, sukhī attānam pariharāmi.

Mātā pitu ācariya, ñati samūhā

averā hontu, avyāpajjhā hontu, anīghā hontu,
sukhī attānam pariharantu.

Sabbe sattā, sabbe pānā,

sabbe bhūtā, sabbe puggalā,
sabbe atta-bhāva pariyāpannā,
sabbā itthiyo, sabbe purisā,
sabbe ariyā, sabbe anariyā,
sabbe manussā, sabbe amanussā,
sabbe devā, sabbe vinipātikā,
averā hontu, avyāpajjhā hontu, anīghā hontu,
sukhī attānam pariharantu.

Sabbe sattā sukhī hontu, sabbe hontu ca khemino.

Sabbe bhadrāni passantu, mā kiñci pāpamāgamā,
mā kiñci dukkhamāgamā, mā kiñci sokamāgamā.
May I be free from ill-will; may I be free from cruelty;
May I be free from anger; May I keep myself at peace.

May my mother, father, teacher, relatives, the whole community

be free from ill-will, free from cruelty, free from anger;
May they keep themselves at peace.

May all creatures, all living things,

all beings, all individuals,
all persons included,
all women, all men,
all noble ones, all worldlings,
all humans, all non-humans,
all celestial beings, all those in states of woe
be free from ill-will, free from cruelty, free from anger;
May they keep themselves at peace.

May all beings be happy; May they all be secure.

May they all see good fortune; May no evil befall them.
May no suffering befall them; May no sorrow befall them.
Pali verses traditionally recited during the practice of mettā

The practice of mettā-bhāvanā (meditation of generating pure compassion for all beings) is an important adjunct to the technique of Vipassana meditation - indeed, it is its logical outcome. It is a technique whereby we radiate goodwill towards all beings, deliberately charging the atmosphere around us with the calming, positive vibrations of purity and compassion. The Buddha instructed meditators to develop in mettā practice - to lead more peaceful, harmonious lives, and help others do so as well. Students of Vipassana should follow that instruction because mettā gives us a way to share with all others the peace and harmony we are developing.


The commentaries state: Mijjati siniyhati 'ti mettā - that which inclines one to a friendly disposition is mettā. It is a sincere wish for the good and welfare of all, devoid of ill-will. Adoso 'ti mettā - "non-aversion is mettā."



The Buddha overcame many challenging situations, including assassins sent to kill him, with a perfectly balanced mind overflowing with mettā. Here he calmly deals with the furious Bharadwaja abusing the Buddha in a public gathering. After this meeting with the Buddha, Bharadwaja practised Vipassana and became an arahant - one who has removed all impurities in the mind. 
(Painting from Buddha's Life Gallery of the Global Vipassana Pagoda).

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.


To grasp this concept at least intellectually 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 toward others. To be really effective, though, mettā meditation must be practiced along with Vipassana meditation. So long as negativities such as aversion dominate the mind, it is futile to formulate conscious thoughts of goodwill, and doing so would be a ritual devoid of inner meaning. However, when negativities are 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.


As we practice 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 (through Vipassana practice of objectively observing bodily sensations), and to keep the balance of mind in the face of any experience. Then we begin to experience what real happiness is; not the satisfaction of desire nor the forestalling of fears, but rather liberation from the cycle of desire 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.


Mettā is not 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 omni-directional or directed toward a particular person. In either case, meditators are simply providing an outlet; because the mettā we feel is not 'our' mettā. By eliminating egotism we open our minds and make them conduits for the forces of positivity throughout the universe. The realization that mettā is not produced by us makes its transmission truly selfless.


In order to conduct mettā, the mind must be calm, balanced and free from negativity. This is the type of mind developed in the practice of Vipassana. A meditator knows by experience how getting irritated, angry, generating ill-will destroys peace and frustrates any efforts to help others. Only as the ego is reduced 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 transmitting mettā. If we find even a tinge of hatred or aversion in our minds, we should refrain at that time. Otherwise we would transmit that negativity, causing harm to others. However, if 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."


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-centredness, 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 even 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 is the spontaneous overflow of 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 foster the happiness of others by preparing us to practise mettā. What, after all, 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 have gained in solitude. These two aspects of the practice of Vipassana are inseparable.


The need for such a practice as mettā-bhāvanā is clear. If peace and harmony are to reign throughout the world, inner peace and harmony must first be established in the mind of the individual.

 -----


Most Compassionate Principal Vipassana Teacher Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka answers questions on Metta:

1. What is metta?
        
Metta or Metta Bhavana is the practice of generating vibrations of goodwill and compassion [that a Vipassana student is first taught on the 10th day of a 10-day Vipassana course]. Later, at the end of every Vipassana course, or a one-hour sitting, a meditator is asked to practice metta, to share the merits gained with all beings. Metta vibrations are tangible vibrations whose beneficial power increases as the purity of the mind increases.
 
2. Does metta get stronger as samadhi (concentration) gets stronger?
      
Yes. Without samadhi, and Vipassana practice of paññā , the metta is really no metta. When samadhi is weak, the mind is very agitated, and it is agitated only when it is generating some impurity, some type of craving or aversion. With these impurities, you cannot expect to generate good qualities, vibrations of metta, or karuna (compassion). It isn’t possible.
 
At the vocal level, you may keep on saying "Be happy, be happy’, but it doesn’t work. If you have samadhi then your mind is calm and quiet, at least for a moment. It is not necessary that all the impurities have gone away; but at least for that moment when you are practicing metta, your mind is quiet, calm, and not generating any impurity. Then whatever metta you generate is strong, fruitful, beneficial.
 
3. Is the generation of metta a natural consequence of the purity of the mind, or is it something that must be actively developed? Are there progressive stages in metta?
    
Both are true. According to the law of nature – the law of Dhamma – as the mind is purified, the quality of metta develops naturally. On the other hand, you must work to develop it by practicing Metta Bhavana. It is only at a very high stage of mental purity that metta is generated naturally, and nothing has to be done, no training has to be given. Until one reaches that stage, one has to practice.
 
Also, people who don’t practice Vipassana can practice Metta Bhavana. In such countries as Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Metta Bhavana is very common in every household. However, the practice is usually confined to mentally reciting "May all beings be happy, be peaceful". This certainly gives some peace of mind to the person who is practicing it. To some extent good vibrations enter the atmosphere, but they are not strong.
 
However, when you practice Vipassana, purification starts. With this base of purity, your practice of Metta naturally becomes stronger. Then you won’t need to repeat these good wishes aloud. A stage will come when every fiber of the body keeps on feeling compassion for others, generating goodwill for others.

Mettā and purity go together. If there is no purity, you can't generate mettā. By practising Vipassana, you purify your mind, and that will help to develop your quality of mettā.
 
4. How does metta help in the development of mudita (sympathetic joy) and karuna (compassion)?
 
Mudita and karuna naturally follow as one develops metta. Metta is love for all beings. Metta takes away the traces of aversion, irritation, anger, animosity and hatred towards others. It takes away the traces of jealousy, and envy towards others. One rejoices in seeing the success and happiness of others.

Question and Answers on Vipassana and life 
----

Apr 2, 2013

The Boundless Benefits of Dana

 
Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati
(The highest dana is the dana of Dhamma)
- Sammāsambuddha Gotama

 The Global Vipassana Pagoda was built with selfless Dhamma service and voluntary donations from people worldwide, for the benefit and happiness of many. 

"As with all other kamma, so too the kamma of dāna is good or bad according to the volition of one’s mind... The mind when giving must be free of craving, free of aversion, and free of ignorance... While giving such dāna, we do not consider our own benefit. Instead, we are delighted to see the happiness and welfare of the person receiving our dāna. When we take delight in the happiness of others, our minds become pure and tender and is freed from the limitations of narrow self-interest." -  Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka. Right Volition of Dana
                            
Most infinite gratitude to Venerable Webu Sayadaw (1896 - 1977). He strongly exhorted Sayagyi U Ba Khin to teach Vipassana.  U Ba Khin later enabled beings worldwide to benefit from this universal, non-sectarian Dhamma practice, through the visionary Dhamma service of his representative. the Principal Teacher Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka.

May all beings benefit from practicing Vipassana, be happy, be liberated from all suffering.Ongoing projects in the Global Vipassana Pagoda:

* Designs on the Pagoda, decorating the canopy, canopy pillar, and Dhamma verses on the Pagoda walls. The Parikrama path will be laid with a special marble from Burma (to ease walking barefoot even on hot days). Estimated cost of completion of these projects: US $260,000; INR 1,25,00,000* Landscaping the outer areas of the Pagoda, building parks and roads, laying water lines etc.Estimated cost: US$ 530,000, INR 2,50,00,000
*Gong Tower : $25,000, INR 12,50,000

*Cell Pagoda Dome: $80,000, INR 40,00,000
* Two auditoriums: $180,000, INR 90,00,000
* Dhamma Library: $60,000, INR 30,00,000
* Security and Information Centre: $445,000, INR 2,22,50,000\
* Maintenance: Estimated cost $900 (Per day) $324,000, INR 1,62,00,000
*Boundary Wall: $335,000, INR 1,67,50,000
* Pagoda Parikrama Flooring: $670,000, INR 3,35,00,000
* Landscaping: $670,000, INR 3,35,00,000
* Estimated Total Funds needed: $3,579,000, INR 17,89,50,000

(Daily maintenance costs of the Global Pagoda are continuous) 
Corpus Fund for the Global Vipassana Pagoda
The Global Vipassana Foundation has established a Corpus Fund for uninterrupted management of the Vipassana Pagoda, to maintain the Pagoda successfully for centuries without any outside pressure.
This Corpus Fund cannot be utilized by any individual for personal gain. The income from this Fund, deposited in an Indian Government-owned bank, will be used for maintenance and daily expenditure of this unique Dhamma monument.

Donation through Cheque/Draft favoring “Global Vipassana Foundation” payable at Mumbai can be sent to the following address:
Kamlesh Vikamsey
Khimji Kunverji & Co.
Sunshine Tower, Level 19,
Senapati Bapat Marg,
Elphinstone Road,
Mumbai 400013,
India
Tel: +91 22 2439 1111
 
Donations through Core Banking (within India)
Donations to “Global Vipassana Foundation” can now be remitted from anywhere in India through any branch of the AXIS BANK LTD. under core banking system.
Global Vipassana Foundation
AXIS BANK LTD, MALAD (WEST)
A/C NO: ‐ 911010032397802
SWIFT CODE:‐ AXISINBB062,
IFSC CODE:‐ UTIB0000062,
MICR CODE:‐ 400211011
Address:
SONIMUR APARTMENT, TIMBER ESTATE,
S.V.ROAD, MALAD (WEST)
MUMBAI‐ 400064

Donations from Outside India can be remitted through SWIFT transfer to Bank of India
SWIFT Transfer details are as follows:
Name of the Bank : J P Morgan Chase Bank
A/c. No. : 0011407376
Swift: CHASUS33
Address :
New York, US Global Vipassana Foundation

Bank Of India
Stock Exchange Branch.
A/C No008610100011250
Swift Code BKIDINBBBLD
Address:
PHIROZE JEEJEEBHOY TOWERS,
(NEW STOCK EXCHANGE BUILDING) DALAL STREET,
FORT, Mumbai 400001

Copy of communication may please be enclosed to kamlesh@kkc.in.For donation made through option 3 & 4, Please informMr. Kamlesh VikamseyGlobal Vipassana FoundationKhimji Kunverji & Co.Sunshine Tower, Level 19,Senapati Bapat Marg, Elphinstone Road,Mumbai - 400013, IndiaTel: +91 22 2439 1111(Or)Email to: Kamlesh@kkc.inPlease inform all relevant details such as Name, Address, Contact Number, for receipt of donation to be sent.  http://www.globalpagoda.org/donation----Online application for Vipassana coursesDhamma reasons why no fees are charged for Vipassana courses - including for boarding and lodging How to Reach Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai, India



 Across countless aeons and endless time, may every moment of purity from Vipassana practice go for the benefit, happiness and liberation of all beings.