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Vol. 6 No. 1-2, January/April 1996


Mettavihari yo bhikkhu
pasanno buddhasasane
adhigacche padam santam
sankharupasamam sukham.

The bhikkhu, who dwells in loving-kindness
and is devoted to the Teaching of the Buddha,
attains to that state of peace and happiness
(Nibbana)–the stilling of conditioned things.

My Teacher’s Boundless Metta


Sayagyi was the epitome of compassion and loving-kindness. Although deeply engrossed in official duties, he was full of enthusiasm for giving Dhamma service to the maximum number of people. He taught Dhamma to any person who approached him, even if it caused him much inconvenience. Sometimes he would hold a course for even one or two students, and would exert as much effort for them as for a large number. His mind remained suffused in love for every student. They seemed like sons and daughters to him. Only three days before he passed away, he completed a course. And until the day before his demise, he was still teaching Dhamma.

He had immense love and compassion for all creatures. All Creatures at his centre, even snakes and scorpions, were affected by his boundless metta (loving-kindness). Every particle of the centre radiated with his love. He tended the trees and plants there with great compassion. It was because of his strong metta that the fruits growing in that sacred piece of land came to have an exceptional sweetness and flavour. The flowers also had a distinctive hue and fragrance.

One year something unusual happened in Burma. A situation bordering on famine developed. This was a shock for a country like Burma, which had always produced an abundant harvest. Food production was diminished and the government had to introduce rice rationing. The people were deeply affected by this. At this time Sayagyi’s compassion for his afflicted countrymen knew no bounds. Not only from his lips, but from every pore of his body seemed to resound the sentiment: "May the people be prosperous, may the ruler be virtuous!"

Sometime later a famine also occurred in India, continuing for two years. Sayagyi’s compassion was enlivened once again. In one corner of his centre he had arranged to have erected a model of the lofty peaks of the

Himalayas. He was very fond of this reminder. He would meditate beside it every day, sending his goodwill to India with the wishes: "I cannot recall how many times I was born in India and remained in that snow-clad region for so long, developing my meditation. Today the people of that country are in distress. May peace and tranquillity come to them. May all abide in Dhamma!"

Teacher of a Non-sectarian Path

S. N. Goenka

One of the things which kept attracting me closer and closer to my teacher was his non-sectarian interpretation of Dhamma. The teaching of Buddha is so universal that people from different sects and communities can follow it and experience its benefits. I never found Sayagyi interested in converting people to the formal, organised Buddhist religion. Of course, he himself was Buddhist by birth, and proud to be so. But for him the essence of Buddhism was Dhamma, and a true Buddhist was one who practised Dhamma. He was interested in helping people to establish themselves in Dhamma—that is, in sila (morality), samadhi (concentration) and panna (wisdom); to show people how to convert themselves from misery to happiness. If someone who had undergone this conversion from impurity to purity then wished to call himself a Buddhist, Sayagyi was pleased; but the important point was the change in the person’s life, not merely the change in the name he called himself.

Sayagyi would even admonish enthusiasts who were eager to convert others to Buddhism, saying to them, "The only way to convert people is to become established oneself in Dhamma—in sila samadhi, panna—and to help others similarly to get established. When you yourselves are not established in sila, samadhi, panna, what is the sense in your trying to convert others? You may call yourselves Buddhist but unless you practise sila, samadhi, panna, to me you are not Buddhists. But if someone practises sila, samadhi, panna, then even though he may not call himself a Buddhist, nevertheless he is a true follower of the teachings of the Buddha, whatever he may label himself."

One incident, illustrating this non-sectarian attitude, occurred when a staunch Christian came to take course under Sayagyi. While the opening formalities were being explained, this man became frightened that he was being asked to convert from Christianity to Buddhism; and out of this groundless fear, he refused to take refuge in Buddha. "I can take refuge in Jesus Christ, but not in Buddha," he said "Very well," replied Sayagyi smilingly, "take refuge in Jesus Christ—but with the understanding that you are actually taking refuge in the qualities of Christ, in order to develop these very qualities in yourself." In this way the person began to work; and by the end of the course he realized that his initial objections had been unnecessary, that his fears of conversion had been without cause.

Interview with S.N. Goenka

By Dr. Chung-An Lin,

Space Scientist, Institute of Space Science

National Central University, Taiwan

(Abstracts from the Interview at Dhamma Giri, Feb. 1996)

Dr. Lin: What is the purpose of practising Vipassana?

S. N. Goenka: The purpose is to purify the mind; and generate love and compassion to help others. For this one has to realise the truth pertaining to the mind-matter phenomenon. Then only one can develop wisdom to come out of the habit of craving and aversion, and illusion and delusion of I, Mine or My soul.

While practising Vipassana, why does the meditator observe his mind-matter phenomenon inwardly? Why not observe outwardly to find the truth about the universe?

While trying to observe the truth outside there is a danger of one’s getting involved in merely intellectual games. But when one works within one experiences the truth directly. Direct experience of the truth is easier inside than outside. The truth inside is the same as the truth outside. In Rohita Sutta of Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha has clearly said that within the framework of the fathom-length body, there lies the entire Universe.

You emphasize that the most important discovery of Buddha is the Vipassana technique of observing the body sensations. Is there any evidence from the Suttas?

Yes, the Satipattana sutta, Pratitya (Paticca) Samutpada, Vedana Samyutta are important suttas which embody the essence of Vipassana technique. All the religious teachers of India before Buddha and even after Buddha have been teaching that people should come out of the attraction of sense-desires. Everyone had accepted the fact that the attachment to the sense-object is the real bondage. Buddha went further in investigating the truth about the arising of misery. He discovered that the actual attachment is not to the sense objects but the reality is that when the sense object comes into contact with the sense doors there is a feeling of sensation in the body and the actual reaction of craving or aversion depends on this feeling of sensation. Therefore, one has to work not merely on the sense doors and their respective object but the resultant feeling of sensation that comes because of the contact of the two. There itself one is to be alert not to react with craving and aversion (trŒna). His announcement of Pratitya (Paticca) Samutpada is quite clear that the missing link of Vedana between the contact of the sense doors with the respective objects and reaction of trŒna was the unique discovery of the Buddha. Before him no one had even thought of vedana the nearest cause of trŒna. This was Buddha’s realisation. That is why he declared that his eyes of wisdom got opened with the light when he realised the entire truth about vedana (Nana sutta). Buddhas principal teaching is the eight-fold noble path and refering to this he explains to us very clearly that this noble path is for realizing the truth pertaining to the entire field of vedana (Vedana Panha sutta). Similarly, the four satipatthanas are the main teaching of the Buddha for meditation and for this he exhorts us to practise the four satipatthanas, to realise the truth pertainig to the entire field of vedana (Vedana sutta) For practising all the four satipatthanas, he wants us to remain "atapi sampajano satima;" and giving the explanation of sampajanna (samprajnana) he clearly states that one should be constantly aware of the arising and passing away of the Vedana along with other realities being experienced.

All the above quotations are sufficient to prove that the awareness of vedana plays such an important role for a meditator and is in consonance with the teaching of the Enlightened One.

By observing our bodily sensations how can we eradicate our defilements and change our habit pattern? Isn’t it easier to practise by observing our mind directly and not let unwholesome thoughts arise?

Purifying the mind by changing the thoughts from unwholesome to wholesome is certainly a good practise. This was taught by many other teachers before Buddha and after Buddha. But this is not the depth of Buddha’s teaching. It is difficult to observe the mind but easy to observe the sensation which is nothing but the manifestation of the mental state at any given moment. When you miss the feelings of bodily sensations and you don’t give it any importance you are missing the important teaching of Pratitya (Paticca) Samutpada. The truth is that at the deeper level, it is the feeling of the body sensation, which produces craving and aversion. This was the realisation of the Buddha. Because he discovered that anything that arises in the mind starts flowing with the feeling of sensation in the body. "Vedana samosarana sabbe dhamma" (Dasakanipata, A.N.). His teaching is to feel the sensation and yet not to relish it but remain equanimous and detached from it, and thus come out of the old habit of creating bondages and misery for oneself.

Changing the thoughts of the mind from unwholesome to wholesome will purify the intellect, but the anuœaya kleœa the deep rooted impurities of the mind and the habit pattern of the mind at that level will remain untouched. Therefore so much importance is given to bodily sensations, by the Buddha.



1. Dr. Om Prakash

1. Dhamma Sota, Delhi

2-3. Ram Singh & Jagdish Kumari

1. Central Co-ordination

2. Research Council

4-5. John &Gail Beary

1. Dhamma Bhanu, Japan

2. Japan, America, Canada, China, and South East Asia

6-7 Patrick & Ginnie Given-Wilson

1. Dhamma Bhumi, Australia

2. Australia region

8-9. Dr Bhogilal & Kamala Gandhi

1. Dhamma Dipa, UK

2. UK, Europe, Russia, Israel regions

10-11. John & Joanna Luxford

1. Dhamma Medini, NZ

2. New Zealand Region

12. Dr (Mrs) Kay Wain

1. Dhamma Joti

2. Myanmar region


1. L. N. Rathi

1. Dhamma Bodhi, Bodh Gaya

2. Dhamma Cakka, Sarnath, Bihar

3. Dhamma Licchavi, Muzaffarpur

4. Dhamma Kanana, Balagat

5. Dhamma Ketu, Durg-Bhilai

6. Dhamma Suvatthi, Sravasti

7. Dhamma Vimutti, Kushinagar

8. Dhamma Upavana, Baracakia

9. Dhamma Tarai, Birganj

10. Dhamma Janini, Lumbini

11. Dhamma Ganga, Calcutta, W. B.

12. Dhamma Pala, Bhopal

13. Dharma Shringa, Kathmandu, Nepal

14. Bihar, UP, MP, Orissa, West Bengal, and Nepal areas.

2-3. Natvarlal & Kaushalya Parikh

1. Dhamma Kota, Rajkot

2. Dhamma Pitha, Ahmedabad

4-5. S. N. & Laj Tandon


2. Dhamma Salila, Deharadun

3. Dhamma Sikhara, Dharmsala

4. Delhi area

6. S. Adaviyappa

1. Dhamma Sumana, Bangalore

2. Childrens courses

3. South India courses

7. Miss Shanti Shah

1. Female Jail Courses

8. Usha Modak

1. Training Female Dhamma Workers

2. Pune area

9-10. Dr B. G. & Pushpa Savala

1. Dhamma Sindhu, Bada

2. Kutch area

11. Bachubhai Shah

1. South Gujarat

12. Dr R. M. Chokhani

1. Research

13-14. Kashyap & Kamala Dharmadarshi

1. Gujarat (except South Gujarat & Kutch)

15. R. S. Goenka

1. Pali Tipitaka

2. Publication

3. Mumbai & Adjacent Area

16-17. Premji & Madhu Savla

1. Dhamma Giri centre construction & planning

2. Dhamma Giri centre management (in the absence of Mr & Mrs Khandhar)

18-19. Arun & Kamala Toshniwal

1. Tape room equipment including its import

2. AT Kit

3. Production, distribution & Policy Formation for tapes

20. B. K. Goenka

1. Dhamma Khetta (Hydrabad)

2. Dhamma Setu (Madras)

21. Vimalchand Surana

1. Dhamma Thali, Jaipur

2. Jaipur & Rajasthan area

22-23. Mahasukh & Manju Khandhar

1. Dhamma Giri centre management

24-25. Narayana & Rama Patil

1. Dhamma Sarovara, Dhule

2. Maharashtra (except Mumbai, Pune, & Vidarbha areas)

26-27. Prof P. L. & Susheela Dhar

1. Dhamma Tihar, Tihar Jail

2. Courses at IIT, Delhi

28-29. Sudhir & Madhuri Shah

1. Dhamma Naga, Nagpur

2. Vidarbha area

30. John Burchall

1. Dhamma Niketana, Melbourne, Australia

31. Anne Doneman

1. Dhamma Rasmi, Queensland, Australia



Senior Assistant Teachers

1. Vimala Mahajan, Dhule

2-3. Prakash & Shubhangi Borse, Dhule

4. K. B. Chikkanarayanappa, Banglore

5. Thakorbhai Parekh, Navasari

6-7. Ratilal & Chanchal Savla, Bombay


Assistant Teachers

1-2. Dr Chandrakant & Sarala Chouhan, Pune

3. Dinesh Meshram, Bilaspur

4. Dr Ishwarchandra Sinha, Muzaffarpur

5. Dr Prem Narain Somani, Varanasi

6. Nathuji Bambarde, Nagpur

7. Prahlad Raghute, Nagpur

8-9. Rameshwarlal & Anandi Sharma, Jaipur

10. Pushpa Makharia, Bombay

11. Vanita Mehta, Bombay

12. Jaya Modi, Bombay

13-14. L. N. & Pushpa Todi, Calcutta

15. Dr Kishore Chandiramani, New Delhi

16. Suresh Khanna, Jaipur

17. Sajjandevi Dhariwal, Jaipur

18. Vimala Kumari Jain, Jaipur

19-20. Ishwarlal & Hiraben Shah, Mandvi, Kutch

21-22. Roop & Beena Jyoti, Kathmandu, Nepal

23. Col. Purna Prasad Dhakal, Kathmandu

24. Suman Dhakhwa, Kathmandu

25. Prof. Keshav Lal Shrestha, Kathmandu

26. Mahendra Muni Bajracharya, Kathmandu

27. Gyanu Raja Bajracharya, Kathmandu

28. Miss Roshni Shakya, Kathmandu

29. Narayan Prasad Tiwari, Kathmandu

30. Om Prakash Mor, Kathmandu

31. Radhadevi Dalmia, Madras

32. Jaya Sangoi, Bangalore

33. Mohinidevi Saraogi, Madras

34. Dr Dhananjay Chavan, Dhamma Giri

35. Anil Dharmadarshi, Gandhinagar

36. Prakash Mahajan, Dhule

37. Ashalata Thorat, Rahuri

38. Dr Sunita Jain, Kota

Junior Assistant Teachers

1. Damini Bhatia, Gurgaon, Haryana

2. Suresh Gaikwad, Bombay

3. Ravi Belpathak, Dhule

4. Vijay Dhande, Akola

5. Machindra Kolpe, Ahmednagar

6. Renuka Manandhar, Kathmandu, Nepal

7. Mona Dhakhwa, Kathmandu

8. Ashta Ratna Shakya, Kathmandu

9. Amrit Man Tamrakar, Kathmandu

10. Kumar Bhattarai, Kathmandu

11. Sharada Pant, Kathmandu


Senior Assistant Teachers

1. Torben & Tiske Rosgaard-Bosserez, Belgium

2. Jugen & Ella-Mae Stowassaer, France

3. Stephen & Hazel Strange, UK

Assistant Teachers

1-2. Stephen Whitfield & Sarah Bennet, Australia

3-4. David & Amanda Crutcher, USA

5. Dr. Danial Mayer, USA

6-7. Philix Lee & Yu Yen, USA

8. Ian McCrorie, Canada

9-10. Nomand Williams & Francine Gigras, Canada

11-12. Mario Desharnais & Martine Gariepy, Canada

13. U Tun Hla, Myanmar

14. U Tin Maung Shwe, Myanmar

15. Dr Boonchey Sathaphatayavongs, Thailand

16. Ms Jittinun Jewcharoensakul, Thailand

17. Larry Jack & Ruth Senturia, Dhamma Giri

Junior Assistant Teachers

1-2. Lise & Pierre Rodien, France

3. Ms Ladachat Saingam, Thailand

4. Ms Juechan Limchitti, Thailand