On Saturday September 28, 2013, my world–the world of mindfulness teachers–lost a giant. Satya Narayan Goenka has passed away.
It was primarily (although not exclusively) through Mr. Goenka that I came to be influenced by U Ba Khin’s paradigm. Many years ago, I was privileged to stay at Goenka-ji’s center at Dhamma Giri in Maharashtra, India.
Here are some specific examples of U Ba Khin’s influence my teaching:
- The acknowledging of how important it is to work with body sensations.
- The interpretation of anicca (impermanence) as a positive, purificatory energy (contra the early Buddhist formulation of anicca as a pessimistic philosophical statement).
- The central role of equanimity in the process of mindfulness practice–in Goenka-ji’s lapidary phrasing “samataa hi vishuddhi hẽ” – “Equanimity is purity.” (Hope I didn’t botch the original Hindi too badly. )
- How to work with insomnia. What I describe in this blogpost is a slight reformulation of Mr. Goenka’s advice in that regard.
- A useful paradigm for how mindfulness practice works through sankhāras (subconscious blockages; see pp. 31-33 of What is Mindfulness?)