by Sayagyi U Goenka
A synopsis of the landmark discourse of Principal Vipassana Teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka (1924 – 2013) at Kaivalyadham Yoga Academy, Mumbai, April 30, 1990
Reclaiming India's treasures of practical wisdom
From original Patanjali texts, we see how he gave very little importance to asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercise). He refers to asanas and pranayama in barely five sentences in his treatise Patanjali Yoga Sutra! But the rest of his treatise has been forgotten! Dedicated students of yoga must take careful note of this fact.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra refers to personal experience of the truth, to realizing rational truths i.e. ‘rt’. People have forgotten actual meaning of ‘rt’. Rt means universal truth or omnipresent reality. It is law of nature that always exists, a universal law not limited only to people calling themselves Hindus, Jains, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs etc.
For example, the intrinsic nature of fire is to burn. This is a natural law, timeless and universal, irrespective of religions.
Likewise, Patanjali treatise contains universal truths realized through experiential wisdom (paññā) i.e. wisdom gained from one’s own experience.
Suffering is an obvious reality. Sickness, unwanted things happening, the wanted not happening – all this makes us miserable. But we also find that people having much money, fame, luxuries, adulation, power are also unhappy. One may accumulate all wealth and power, but something disagreeable happens, and becomes unhappy, discontented, or insecure about losing one’s wealth and possessions.
[ here it must be carefully noted that attachment refers to attachment one's own ego, the intense attachment to 'I and 'my'. Vipassana does not lead to indifference to responsibilities and being aloof from others. Vipassana practice reduces selfishness, and related suffering]
Now you may accept these truths through lectures or literature, but after practicing Vipassana you will experience them yourself.
Eradicating the root cause of suffering
Similarly, if suffering is there and its cause i.e. craving is there, definitely the remedy to remove the habit of craving must also be in existence. That universal remedy is Vipassana - the practice of gaining wisdom through direct experience.
The wisdom filled with experiential wisdom i.e., rtambhara prajna and Vipassana are synonyms to each other.
Attaining Full Enlightenment by one's own efforts
With this wisdom of impermanence, there is no more blind reaction of craving or aversion to sensations. The habit pattern of generating new sankaras of suffering is broken. The old sankaras arise to the surface as sensations and pass away. The mind is getting purified. One is coming out of misery.
A more detailed summary : Patanjali’s Yoga - True experiential understanding through Vipassana
From the original 'Yoga - as seen in the light of Vipassana', Vipassana Research Institute