Too narrow interpretation of Vipassana

avi's picture

Goenka (following his master and the Burmese tradition) took the Vipassana to a too narrow interpretation of only observing body sensations.

The Satipatthana Sutra speaks about 4 types of objects to observe, only one of them is the body sensations. If you are vigilant, you will notice that Goenka disregards the other types of objects in an elegant way (maybe in order to keep the technique as simple as possible for the masses).

For beginners, this radical interpretation serves well as the mind is focused on one type of object and has no escape to invent bypasses and personal versions.

But for old students who practice Vipassana for a long time at some point the narrowed interpretation is not enough, they feel that something is missing, that the mind has found another back route of reacting. This is the time for such people to check on the other 3 objects: to ask who is that meditate, to observe the body as a whole, and to observe emotions as they apear directly as the sutra instructs to do.

Quantum's picture

actually....I was starting to wonder that too..

That it is perfectly great in the beginning, it helps to quiet the restless mind.

But after a while, there has to be more, beyond, than just feet.

Yes, I started to play with "Who Am I?", "I AM...not anything preceded by the word 'my'." And believe it or not, you nailed it...I sometimes only feel, and anchor at, the body as a whole, no specific part--just the while, while sometimes simultaneously playing contemplating "who am I" (i.e. Who is meditating?) And I "sit here", or go about my daily business 'watching' my emotions, as's like there is more separation from them now.

Your post speaks more to me now than it did a few weeks ago.


Quantum | Tue, 12/15/2009 - 06:54

Vipassana leads to the interpreting of reality

No question of narrowness and broadness when coming to the practical aspect of Vipassana with patience to feel reality of the Self.

NIDHI PARKASH | Thu, 01/07/2010 - 18:36
Seeking's picture

About... Too narrow interpretation of Vipassana

I just completed the Vipassana course. I understand that the 10-day course is just the first level. There are further levels and as one progresses further, there is Goenka's Satipatthana course too. Maybe you should enquire about these courses and those might cover what you feel are missing.

Seeking | Wed, 01/19/2011 - 01:29