Thursday, October 3, 2013

S.N. Goenka passes away at 90

The great S.N. Goenka (
Famous vipassana (Buddhist insight meditation) teacher S.N. Goenka -- who formed a worldwide network of free 10-day meditation retreats -- passed away today at his residence in Mumbai (Bombay), India. He was 90 years old.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Goenka-ji, as he was known, was a leading lay teacher of vipassana meditation in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. He trained more than 800 assistant teachers, and each year more than 100,000 people attend Goenka led vipassana courses, according to Wikipedia.

Insight Meditation
(Wiki) The technique S.N. Goenka taught represents a tradition which is traced back to the historical Buddha. Goenka emphasized that "The Buddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dharma -- the way to liberation -- which is universal." He presented his teachings as universal truths open to people of any and all faiths. Goenka called vipassana meditation an experiential scientific practice, through which one observes the constantly changing nature of mind and body at the deepest levels, a profound understanding that leads to a truly happy and peaceful life.
Mrs. and Mr. S.N. Goenka (right)
Although Indian by descent, Goenka was born and raised in Burma, where he met his teacher. He was an industrialist until he had the good fortune to come into contact with U Ba Khin, from whom he learned the vipassana (or dry insight) technique. After receiving training from his teacher for 14 years, Goenka settled in India and began teaching vipassana in 1969.
In a country still sharply divided by differences of caste and religion, the courses offered by Goenka have attracted thousands of people from every part of society. In addition, many people from countries around the world have come to join courses in vipassana meditation.

He was recently conferred the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor in India, for social work on the occasion of India's 63rd Republic Day.
The Insight Center, whose founders have sat more than a dozen 10-day courses between them, mourn the loss of this great lay Buddhist teacher. A special session will honor Goenka's work and passing at 10:00 am, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2013.

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