Sri Satyanarayanji Goenka was born in Mandalay, Myanmar in
1924. Although he topped the list of all successful candidates in the
whole of Myanmar in the tenth class he could not continue his
studies further because of financial constraints of his family. At a
very early age he set up many commercial and industrial institutions
and earned fabulous wealth. He also established many social and
cultural centres. Because of tension he became a victim of migraine,
which could not be cured by doctors of Myanmar and of other
countries in the world. Then some one suggested him to take a
course of Vipassana. Vipassana has done well not only to him but it
has also been benefiting many others.
He learned Vipassana from Sayagyi U Ba Khin in 1955. Sitting at
the feet of his teacher he practices it for fourteen years He also
studied the words of the Buddha during this period. He came to India
in 1969 and conducted the first vipassana course in Mumbai. After
that a series of courses were held. In 1976 the first residential
course of vipassana was held in Igatpuri and the first centre of
vipassana was established here. Up till now 167 centres have been
established all over the world. New centres also are coming up. At
these centres 1200 trained teachers teach vipassana in 59
languages of the world. Not only ten- day courses are conducted at
these centres but also at some centres 20-day, 30-day, 45-day and
60-day courses are conducted. All courses are free of charge. The
expenses on food and accommodation etc. are met by the self-willed
Dana given by those who benefited from the course. Seeing its
benevolent nature vipassana courses are held not only for the
inmates of jails and school children in the world but also for police
personnels, judges, government officers etc.
The practice of the four-fold satipatthana, the establishing
of awareness, was highly praised by the Buddha in the suttas,
Mentioning its importance in the Mahdsatipatthana Sutta,
the Buddha called it ekayano maggo—the only way for the
purification of beings, for Overcoming sorrow, for extinguishing suffering, for walking on the path of truth and for
realising nibbang (liberation)!
In this sutta, the Buddha Presented a practical method for
developing self-knowledge by means of kayanupassang (observation of the body), vedandnupassana (observation of
sensations), cittanupassang (observation of the mind), and
dhammanupassana (observation of the contents of the
To explore the truth about ourselves, we must examine
what weare: body and mind. We must learn to observe these
directly within ourselves, Accordingly, we must keep three
points in mind: 1) The reality of the body may be Imagined
by contemplation, but to experience it directly one must
work with vedang (body sensations) arising within it 2)
Similarly, the actual experience of the mind is attained by
working with the contents of the mind. Therefore, in the same way as body and sensations cannot be experienced separately, the mind cannot be observed apart from the
contents of the mind. 3) Mind and matter are so closely
inter-related that the contents of the mind always manifest
themselves as sensations in the body. For this reason the
Vedana-samosarana sabbe dhamma.
Everything that arises in the mind flows together with
Therefore, observation of sensations offers a means —
indeed the only means — to examine the totality of our
being, physical as well as mental.
Broadly speaking, the Buddha refers to five types of
1. Sukha vedana — pleasant sensations
2. Dukkha vedand — unpleasant sensations
3. Somanassa vedand — pleasant mental feeling
4. Domanassa vedana — unpleasant mental feeling
5. Adukkhamasukhd vedana — neither unpleasant
nor pleasant sensations.
In all references to vedana in the Satipatthana Sutta the
Buddha speaks of sukha vedand, dukkha vedana, i.e., the
body sensations; or adukkhamasukha vedana, which in this
context also clearly denotes neutral body sensations.
The strong emphasis is on body sensations because they
work as a direct avenue for the attainment of fruition
(nibbana) by means of "strong dependence condition"
(upanissaya-paccayena paccayo), i.e., the nearest dependent
condition for our liberation. This fact 1s succinctly highlighted in the Patthana, the seventh text of Abhidhamma
Pitaka under the Pakatupanissaya, where it is stated:
Kayikam sukham kayikassa sukhassa, kaytkassa dukkhassa, phalasamapattiya upantssayapaccayenapaccayo.
Kayikam dukkham kayikassa sukhassa, kayikassa dukkhassa, phalasamapattiya upanissayapaccayena paccayo.
Utu kayikassa sukhassa, kayikassa dukkhassa, phalasamapattiya upanissayapaccayena paccayo.
Bhojanam kayikassa sukhassa, kayikassa dukkhassa,
phalasamapattiya upan issayapaccayena paccayo.
Sendsanam kayikassa sukhassa, kayikassa dukkhassa,
phalasaméapattiya upan issayapaccayena paccayo.
Pleasant body sensation is related to pleasant sensation of the body, unpleasant sensation of the body,
and attainment of fruition (nibbana) by strong dependence condition.
Unpleasant body sensation is related to pleasant
sensation of the body, unpleasant ‘sensation of the
body, and attainment of fruition by strong dependence condition.
The season (or surrounding environment) is related
to pleasant sensation of the body, unpleasant sensation of the body, and attainment of fruition by strong
Food is related to pleasant sensation of the body,
unpleasant sensation of the body, and attainment of
fruition by strong dependence condition.
Lying down and sitting (i.e., the mattress and cushions, or the position of lying, sitting, etc.) is related to
pleasant sensation of the body, unpleasant sensation
of the body, and attainment of fruition by strong
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