- Sayagyi U S.N.Goenka in 'Sensation, the Key to Satipatthāna'
The Global Pagoda exists as a towering University of Dhamma, to inform about and facilitate the practical learning of Vipassana - the universal path to gaining independence from bondages of all suffering.
In the truest and highest scientific tradition, these truths can be directly experienced - gradually from the grossest truth to subtler truths leading to the subtlest truth - by anyone correctly and ardently practicing Vipassana. The practice involves objectively observing the arising and passing of bodily sensations within. The entire story of our life, and all its secrets, are in these impermanent physical sensations within.
One can call this process by any name. If not Vipassana, call it 'Tutti Fruity Ice-cream' or 'Strawberry Fields', the name won't make any difference. The truth of nature remains the truth. The most fundamental process of nature does not get altered with any name alterations. That objectively observing the impermanent bodily sensations is the pathway to experiencing the subtlest laws of nature - and leading to happiness and liberation from all misery - is a truth as simple as 2 + 3 = 5. One cannot argue that, "No, no, this sounds very dogmatic and narrow-minded. How can we say that 2 + 3 equals only 5, and not 7, 131 or any other of the infinite number of numbers?"
Similarly, one cannot argue with the truth that objectively observing the arising, passing of sensations (Vipassana) is the only process of nature to purify the mind at the deepest level, where conditioning of habit patterns takes place.
With Vipassana practice, one experiences how the bio-chemistry of mind and matter works within, the various electro-magnetic forces that arise, interact and pass away every moment, within the physical-mental structure that we call 'I'. One can only objectively observe, understand, benefit. Vipassana enables gaining the experiential wisdom to understand the universe within us.
Ignorance, and forgetfulness, of this inner reality leads us to making mistakes that harm us and others in our lives. Vipassana cures this most deadly disease called ignorance - ignorance of the changing reality within.
The word 'Vipassana' in Pali language means insight 'to see things as they are in reality', in their tre nature, instead of apparent reality. This practice helps us develop the faculty to be aware and equanimous to the truth of what is happening within us 24 / 7. We learn to calmly face the truth, instead of diverting our mind from it.
As Principal Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U S.N. Goenka explains:
" Whatever truth is outside can be found within as well; whatever is within also exists outside. We may accept truth out of devotion or intellectual conviction, but in order to undestand it directly we must explore within, to experience truth within ourselves. By thus coming face to face with truth, we can develop experiential wisdom that will make a real change in our lives.
The meditator starts investigation from a superficial level at which gross, solidified truths appear. But as one observes the apparent truth objectively, one starts penetrating from gross to subtler truths and finally witnesses ultimate truth. This ultimate truth can be experienced only only by exploring reality within oneself.
The exploration of the truth within is Vipassana meditation. In the course of this exploration the meditator must investigate two fields, two aspects of reality: matter and mind. Investigation of the physical reality is called in Pāli kāyānupassanā. Investigation of the mental reality is called cittānupassanā. In fact, however, matter and mind cannot be experienced separately from each other because they are interdependent, interconnected.
Exploring one is bound to involve an exploration of the other. Neither can be fully understood without the other."
The inspiring way Vipassana unites all humanity can be found in in every Dhamma centre and in every Vipassana course location worldwide. People and leaders from all religions, language, nationalities, social strata come together, in the same Dhamma hall and meditation cells in a pagoda, to practice the quintessence of the practical teaching of a super-scientist, Gotama the Buddha. He taught Dhamma, the laws of nature that exist whether a Buddha exists or not.
That the objective observation of bodily sensations - call this practice by any name, Vipassana or Bugs Bunny Bonus - is the heart of all religions, the actual practice of leading a wholesome life, as taught by all religions. This is why many religious leaders from all faiths have taken Vipassana courses - including thousands of Christian priests and nuns, Islamic religious leaders including senior Ayatollahs in Iran, Hindu religious leaders, and venerable monks and nuns.
When we experience the reality as it is, our actions and decisions are based on truth, not delusions. So our life becomes happier, not torn apart with tension, stress, conflict, fear, insecurity - and every other variation of suffering that are all born out of a central disease: a big ego.
Any 'University of Life' has to teach this science of mind and matter, the technology of destroying our own ego, and thereby defeating all inner negative forces that lead to suffering.
The Global Pagoda, through its various facilities such as the world's largest meditation hall and a vast information gallery, is such a Dhamma university of happiness - and of sharing this happiness with all beings.
* Special One-day Vipassana [refresher] Course on Oct 4, 2009
* Global Pagoda developmental projects