S.N. GOENKA, or Goenkaji as he is widely and respectfully referred to, passed away on September 29th, 2013. He was renowned in numerous countries of the world as a master teacher of meditation.
He received the technique that he taught in the 1950s from Sayagyi U Ba Khin of Burma, who had in turn received it from Saya Thet Gyi, who had received it from the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw, a monk who had received it from his own teacher, in a lineage of teachers descended directly from the Buddha. The preservation of the technique through such a long period of time is extraordinary and a cause for gratitude in those who practice it. In a world hungry for inner peace, there was a remarkable spread of the technique during Goenkaji’s lifetime: today, Vipassana courses are given in over 150 meditation centers as well as many temporary sites in India and around the world, attracting growing numbers (now about 100,000 people annually).
Despite his magnetic personality, Goenkaji gave credit for the success of his teaching to the efficacy of Dhamma itself. He never sought to play the role of a guru or to found any sect, cult or religious organization. He never omitted to say that he received the technique from the Buddha through a chain of teachers down to his own teacher, and to express his gratitude to them for the benefits that he had personally gained in his own meditation. He continually emphasized that he did not teach Buddhism or any kind of “ism,” that instead he taught a universal technique which could be practiced by people from any religious or philosophical background or belief.
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