Dear Friends, In this Issue...
  • Master of Meditation: An Interview with S.N. Goenka
  • Centre Update
  • Questions-and Answers
  • Dhamma Modana Virtual Monday Group Sittings
  • Virtual Group and Day Sittings & Pariyatti Free Resources

Words of Sayagyi U Ba Khin


ANICCA is inside of everybody. It is within reach of everybody. Just a look into oneself and there it is. ...for householders, ANICCA is the gem of life which they will treasure to create a reservoir of calm and balanced energy for their own well-being and for the welfare of society.

Master of Meditation

- and interview with S. N. Goenka

(The following is the Sayagyi U ba Khin Journal, p.169) 

If I'm not mistaken, the technique of observing sensations throughout the body is called "sweeping."
Yes, sweeping in the sense that, at a certain stage, all the solidity of the body dissolves. The apparent truth of the material body is solidity. We feel a solid body. But, as you keep observing it objectively, this solidity starts dissolving, and you start experiencing that the entire material structure is nothing but a mass of subatomic particles arising and passing away, arising and passing away. The entire body is just a mass of vibrations. At first, however, when you are still with the solidity, you can't sweep, can't get a flow of vibration throughout the body, because there are blockages here and there- pain, pressure, heaviness. Instead, you keep observing part by part, and little by little all that solidity dissolves, and you reach the stage of total dissolution, mere vibration. Then your attention can move easily from the head to the feet and back again without any obstruction. This is what I refer to as "sweeping."
So sweeping occurs when you are totally clear.
Totally- when there is no blockage anywhere. The Buddha says: "By this technique, a student learns how to feel the entire body in one breath. Breathing in, you feel the entire body. Breathing out, you feel the entire body." This happens only when the body dissolves, when all solidity disappears. Then as you breath out, you feel from head to feet; as you breathe in, you feel from feet to head. That is what we call sweeping- a stage where the body dissolves and intense mental contents dissolve as well. If there are strong emotions, you can't get this sweeping, because strong emotions result in a feeling of solidity in the body. When emotions are dissolved at the mental level, and the solidity of the body is dissolved at the material level, nothing remains but a mass of vibration, a mass of energy moving in the body.
Ideally, one would be able to do this at all times, throughout the day. 
Yes. Once one reaches this stage, one continues to work with sweeping. But certain conditionings or impurities of the past, called sankharas, may exist at a very deep level of the mind. Through this sweeping, moving from head to feet and feet to head, these impurities get shaken and start coming to the surface. Say a certain sankhara manifests itself as gross sensations in the body. You work on these gross sensations by just observing them, until they too dissolve and you again get a free flow. 
The goal of the technique is not to achieve free flow of vibrations, which is after all just another transitory experience, but to accept with equanimity whatever manifests itself. In this way, you eradicate your mental conditioning layer by layer, and along with it your suffering. 
How is this practice different from other forms of Vipassana?
I don't want to give an opinion about others. But as I understand the teachings of the Buddha in the Sattipatthana Sutta and elsewhere, the starting point can be different for different people, but at a certain stage everyone must follow the same path towards nibbana.
At the start of practice, Buddha gave different objects of meditation to different people, according to their mental conditioning, temperament, understanding, and capability. For example, those who have great attachment to the body and the the passions of the body, Buddha would have contemplate a corpse, so they would come to understand that their body is also like that- made up of flesh and bones and blood and pus and mucus and so forth. Someone who is so attached to the body doesn't want to accept that the body is dirty, after all. What, then, would there be to develop attachment toward?
One can start this way, but eventually one must reach the stage where one experiences anicca, impermanence, how things arise and pass away. This arising and passing away should not be accepted at the intellectual or devotional level only; Buddha wanted us to experience it for ourselves. And it can be experienced only with sensation in the body. At the level of sensation, one find, "Look, it has arisen, and look, it has passed away." Sensation arises, passes away; arises, passes away. When it is solidified, intensified, it arises and seems to stay for a while; but sooner or later it passes away. 
When all solidity dissolves, it turns into subtle vibration, and every vibration becomes a wavelet that arises and passes away. So one experiences both solid sensation and subtle sensation arising and passing, arising and passing. unless one experiences this directly, one hasn't understood the Buddha properly. Even before the Buddha, there were those who taught that the whole universe is impermanent, arising and passing. But Buddha discovered a technique by which one can experience it. And when we experience it, attachment, craving, and aversion go away, and the mind becomes purified. At a later stage, arising and passing occur so rapidly that one can't separate the one from the other. Then, after further purification of the mind, one reaches the stage of nibbana. Whether one starts with contemplating a corpse, the material parts of the body, respiration, or some other object, the rest of the path must be the same. 

Dhamma Modana, December 26, 2021
 
Dhamma Modana Centre Update
 

Local Support Team  

Dhamma Modana is developing a team of local old students who are stepping in to support and fill management responsibilities.

2 Opportunities

1. Looking for an old student interested in preparing food for the in-between course service period. 
2. Looking for an old student who has computer support/office equipment experience  - someone who could be called on to periodically clean-up the desktop, offer on-site training on Microsoft 365.

If you live within a 2 hour drive from the Centre and are interested in serving on the Local Support Team, please contact [email protected]

Dhamma Hall, December 22, 2021
Questions and Answers

Question: It seems to me that it would take forever to eliminate the sankharas one by one.

S. N. Goenka: That would be so if one moment of equanimity meant exactly one less sankhara of the past. But in fact, awareness of sensation takes you to the deepest level of the mind and allows you to cut the roots of past conditioning. In this way, in a relatively short time, you can eliminate entire complexes of sankharas, if your awareness and equanimity are strong.

Question: I wonder whether we can treat obsessive thoughts in the same way that we treat physical pain?

S. N. Goenka: Just accept the fact that there is obsessive thought or emotion in the mind. It is something that was deeply suppressed and now has appeared at the conscious level. Do not go into the details of it. Just accept emotion as emotion. And along with it, what sensation do you feel? There cannot be an emotion without a sensation at the physical level. Start observing that sensation.

Question: Would you say that emotion and sensation are the same?

S. N. Goenka: They are two sides of the same coin. Emotion is mental and sensation is physical, but the two are interrelated. Actually every emotion, anything that arises in the mind, must arise along with a sensation in the body. This is the law of nature.



If you have questions about your practice you may email 
at‑[email protected] indicating whether you prefer an email response or a phone call.
Dhamma Modana, December 28, 2021
Dhamma Modana Virtual Sitting

Weekly Group Sitting / Dhamma Modana / Followed by Q&A and Discussion

Dhamma Modana's weekly group sittings are on Mondays, 7pm-8pm, followed by AT-led Q&A.  

It is good to meditate together at least once a week.

All old students are welcome to join through the link or by calling in.
Link:  Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
Phone:  +1 647-317-5363   Canada, Toronto (Toll)
Conference ID: 843 089 335#

Pariyatti Free Resources & Newsletters

We recommend using Pariyatti.org as a resource, not only for the purchase of books but also for its large archive of free downloads. These include audio, video and text.

Be sure to check out their Free Resources section.

You may enjoy and be inspired by the Daily Words of the Buddha in your inbox each morning. A lovely way to start the checking email part of your day.

Visit Pariyatti’s archive of featured articles. You can read the latest December Pariyatti newsletter,  available for download here.
Dhamma.org App

There are many audio, video and written resources now available on the Dhamma.org app to support your practice, including:
  • Self course FAQs for doing your own self course
  • On the Subject of Happiness
  • Video documentaries “From Myanmar to the World” and many more
More Resources

For more resources, visit the Dhamma Modana website. To access the Dhamma Modana old student website and all Vipassana related sites, the username is: oldstudent and the password is always the same. 

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Best wishes,
Vancouver Island Vipassana Association
Dhamma Modana
2359 Calais Rd
Duncan, B.C. V9L 5V5
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