Artikel-Schlagworte: „Buddhist teaching“

Global Pagoda

Global Pagoda (from Wikipedia)

Movie about the Global Pagoda on blip.tv

Movie about the Global Pagoda on pariyatti.org

There is a new interview with S.N. Goenka on Vipassana and its benefits available at the Indian Express titled ‚You have to work out your own salvation.‘ Although all interviews with Goenkaji are very inspiring, I like this one because it is reduced to its core essence of what’s important in Vipassana. Not only that he is very clear about the fact the he does not teach Buddhism, there is also no place for any Guru, and no other rites or rituals are involved. It is just pure science of mind and matter by observation ‚within.‘  Thus, one confronts reality as it is. Enjoy it – and practice!

Photo courtesy prison.dhamma.org

Vipassana Meditation brings the opportunity to change heavy life patterns towards positivity. This is true not only for monks, nouns, and lay people from everyday life, but also – and especially – for people who did things they should not have done during their life time. In the context of prisons, Vipassana can play an important role. Not that it is only good for inmates to change their view on previous actions and to help them to perform positive and healthy actions in future. Furthermore, the whole organization can change. Sometimes it makes only a small difference whether one is a guard or an inmate.

To bring Vipassana into prisons is not an easy job. It seems that every time this happened it started from the inside – from within the prison. This great and healthy work to bring Vipassana into prisons is documented by three documentary movies:

All movies are available from Pariyatti, a non-profit resource dedicated:

to bring people into contact with the teachings of the Buddha.

Question: Krishnamurti did not believe in a technique or gurus. I believe you met him, did you discuss this?

Answer by S. N. Goenka:
Certainly, I met him. He was a very saintly person, and I very much understood why he is against technique and why he is against gurus. Because he observed the situation all over the country where gurus just exploit the people saying „Look I am your guru and you are my disciple, you are so weak, how can you liberate yourself ? Just surrender to me and I will liberate you. I will liberate you.“

This is exploitation by gurus, this is against Dhamma and when you talk of technique that means you have got one object and you are just working with one object. It does not take you to the final goal.

Things are changing from moment to moment you are observing, you are observing. (This is Vipassana, this is not a technique, Vipassana is not a technique, it is a process of observation.)

So I discussed with him „Well in age you are an elderly person and in experience also you are an elderly person.“ It was 30 years ago when we met. „You are elderly so let me know if I am making any mistake. I am teaching Vipassana because I got benefit from it and I want to share my benefit with others. That is the only reason. If I am making any mistake please tell me“. then he (K) asked me „First day what you teach?“. (I replied and he said)

“Oh! This is not a technique“…second day… (K said) “This is not a technique“.
….all the ten days I explained (and K said) „This is not a technique, you are observing the truth. The truth from moment to moment. Perfectly all right !“.

And guru? (I said) „I never say that I will liberate you, you have to work out your own liberation. A guru can only show the path then only sadguru. Otherwise if he tries to exploit then he is not a guru, he is harmful to the country.“ He said, „no this is not gurudom.“ He accepted both.

J. Krishnamurti

J. Krishnamurti (Photo from Wikipedia)

X

(S. N. Goenka met K at KFI Rajghat in early 1970’s.)

Question for Shri S. N. Goenka about his meeting with J Krishnamurti (K)
Location: Pune, India.
Date: 17 October 2000.
Occasion: public Q/A session after a public talk by Shri S N Goenka on Vipassana meditation.

Thanks to buddhanet.net for posting this and thanks to Munish Agarwal who compiled the sayings of Krishnamurti to “ … present the teachings of Lord Buddha in the words of J. Krishnamurti.“

SN Goenka at the UNO (2000)

SN Goenka at the UN 2000 (Photo courtesy Beliefnet, Inc.)

Student: Our residence is in the midst of a crowded city which makes it difficult to meditate. Is there any way to keep outside disturbances away from our meditation?

S. N. Goenka: Either you change your residence, run away from the noises of society, or you become so powerful that you can stop all the noises around you. Both are not possible. You have to live in society and you may have to live in the same circumstances where you had been living before. Therefore, you have to strengthen yourself and learn how to ignore all these disturbances. Just as a lotus flower growing in a pond is not affected by the water, in the same way, all these disturbances can be ignored. We are now talking and a bird is chirping outside. The bird does not disturb us. We are busy with our discussion. In the same way, we are busy with our meditation. Let the noises be there. One has to train oneself. One has to live in the world full of disturbances, and, in spite of that, have peace and harmony. 

Thanks to Silent Lotus blog for posting this.

Much has been said about induction. I like the following very old citation:

„Yet, in fact, as I shall show here with very good reasons, the properties of the numbers known today have been mostly discovered by observation, and discovered long before their truth has been confirmed by rigid demonstrations. There are even many properties of the numbers with which we are well acquainted, but which we are not yet able to prove; only observations have led us to their knowledge.“

[Euler, Opera Omnia, ser. 1, vol. 2, pp.459, Specimen de usu observationum in mathesi pura]

There were and there are still many arguments about induction and whether induction is possible or not. However, I think this is the wrong question, because it is quite clear that there is nothing which can explain everything. We live in a relative world and if we think we work with mental or mental-somatic models and not with reality itself. Furthermore, anything is part of a context and this leads to the important question of:

  • What from our present context (which elements) has influence on our topic of interest and what has not?
  • How can we describe, understand, explain, forecast, and change these influences?

One of the best short outlines of induction can be found in Jaynes (2003). There, the author also performs a dedicated criticism of Popper’s argument against induction. In short, Jaynes argument that one should work on realistic problems and not just in abstract theory like Popper did. This reveals that one should not compare one theory with every possible imaginable theory, because then no solution at all is possible. This becomes clear at once. Moreover, what is needed is a critical comparison of all available and existent theories. Then, induction makes sense. This process of drawing inferences can be labeled as ‚plausible reasoning‘ which was elaborated by George Polya (1954).

Technically, Bayesian statistics gives much respect to plausible reasoning and consistent argumentation. The Bayes Theorem allows to update the formula in accordance to all known information. In case of new information the formula is updated. By application of the Bayes Theorem it is possible to compare different theoretical approaches and explanations. Then, induction makes sense, because the best of all available theories or hypotheses can be chosen. But ‚best‘ is always ‚relatively best‘ and not an absolute term.

The same can be learned from the teaching of the Buddha: There is relative reality and there is absolute reality (nibbana). However, as long as we live in the realm of relative reality and in the field of sensual experiences of mind and body, it does not make sense to search for anything absolute with is not a product of cause and effect. So we can learn much from Buddhist teaching for scientific purposes.  But we have to remember that the teaching of the Buddha is a practical path of direct experience. It is not an academic and intellectual discussion. It is meant to be applied directly in life. Besides that, we can also mention that the Buddhist teaching involves a very complex system of logic. Some of these ideas actually found their way into psychotherapy and systemic structural sculpturing as it is shown very successfully by Varga von Kibed and Insa Sparrer (2009).

References:

Jaynes, E.T. (2003). Probability Theory. The logic of science (Edited by G.L. Bretthorst). Cambridge University Press.

Polya, G. (1990). Mathematics and plausible reasoning. Volume I: Induction and analogy in mathematics. (First print 1954). Princeton University Press.

Polyga, G. (1990). Mathematics and plausible reasoning. Volume II: Patterns of plausible inference. (First print 1954). Princeton University Press.

Sparrer, I. & Kibed, Varga von (2009). Ganz im Gegenteil: Tetralemmaarbeit und andere Grundformen Systemischer Strukturaufstellungen – für Querdenker und solche, die es werden wollen (6th edition). Heidelberg: Carl-Auer-Systeme.