10 Day Vipassana Course Discourse Summaries

Vipassana discourse summaries, in the words of Mr. S.N.Goenka , explain in
precise manner the purest form of vipassana meditation .The following
discourse summaries for 10 days vipassana meditation course; merely
explains to beginners what vipassana is , how it is rightly practised and what is done everyday in ten days meditation course . With little understanding
and application of mind the results of this unique and one of the most ancient
forms of meditation would be self evident to a true seeker of truth.

The meditation practise is for 10 days , but discourse is given on eleventh
day on completion of ten days practise to guide the meditators to take on the
practise from there to their own respective lives independently , the masters
are always present; to guide the meditators whenever they encounter any
difficulties in regular meditation practise in their daily lives , but primarily
true dharma does not make u dependent upon others but independent , and
with this objective in mind the eleventh day discourse is aimed at guiding the
independent meditation practise by the meditators in their routine lives once
they leave the meditation centre's campus .During the 10 days course one is
strictly not allowed to leave the meditation centres' campus in any; condition
and is bound in a strict schedule of 4 am to 9 : 30 pm with regulated diet and
has to commit to speaking truth at all times and being honest to make the
meditation a success . Their are certain regulations that a sadhaka commits
oneself to before entering the meditation course which are for the benefit of
the sadhakas themselves .

Readers are advised beforehand that reading and intellectualising the 11
days discourse summaries is no substitute for actual practise of vipassana
meditation .And If one tries to practise by oneself without appropriate
guidance by the trained and realized masters the results can be harmful and inconsistent with what has been promised by the correct practise of
vipassana meditation. Readers are humbly requested not to limit oneself to
reading and discussions of the meditation pratice , but to follow accurately as guided in the vipassana meditation 10 days course and achieve the self transforming results .

A step towards true freedom

"Liberation can be gained only by practice, never by mere discussion," S.N.
Goenka has said. A course in Vipassana meditation is an opportunity to take
concrete steps toward liberation. In such a course the participant learns how
to free the mind of the tensions and prejudices that disturb the
flow of daily life. By doing so one begins to discover how to live each
moment peacefully,productively, happily. At the same time one starts
progressing toward the highest goal to which mankind can aspire: purity of
mind, freedom from all suffering, full enlightenment.

None of this can be attained just by thinking about it or wishing for it. One
must take steps to reach the goal. For this reason, in a vipassana course the
emphasis is always on actual practice. No philosophical debates are
permitted, no theoretical arguments, no questions that are unrelated
to one's own experience. As far as possible, meditators are encouraged to
find the answers to their questions within themselves. The teacher provides
whatever guidance is needed in the practice, but it is up to each person to
implement these guidelines: one has to fight one's own battle, work out one's
own salvation.

Given this emphasis, still some explanation is necessary to provide a context
for the practice. Therefore every evening of a course goenkaji gives a
"Dhamma talk", in order to put into perspective the experiences of that day,
and to clarify various aspects of the technique. These discourses, he warns,
are not intended as intellectual or emotional entertainment. Their purpose
is simply to help meditators understand what to do and why, so that they will
work in the proper way and will achieve the proper results.

It is these talks that are presented here in condensed form.

The eleven discourses provide a broad overview of the teaching of the
Buddha. The approach to this subject, however, is not scholarly or analytical.
Instead the teaching is presented in the way that it unfolds to a meditator: as
a dynamic, coherent whole. All its different facets are seen to reveal an
underlying unity: the experience of meditation. This experience is the inner
fire that gives true life and brilliance to the jewel of the Dhamma. Without this
experience one cannot grasp the full significance of what is said in the
discourses, or indeed of the teaching of the Buddha. But this does not mean
that there is no place for an intellectual appreciation of the teaching.

Intellectual understanding is valuable as a support to meditative practice,
even though meditation itself is a process that goes beyond the limits of the
intellect. For this reason these summaries have been prepared, giving in brief
the essential points of each discourse. They are intended mainly to offer
inspiration and guidance to those who practice Vipassana meditation as
taught by S.N. Goenka. To others who happen to read them, it is hoped that
they will provide encouragement to participate in a Vipassana course and to
experience what is here described.

The summaries should not be treated as a do-it-yourself manual for learning
Vipassana, a substitute for a ten-day course. Meditation is a serious matter,
especially the Vipassana technique, which deals with the depths of the mind.
It should never be approached lightly or casually. The proper way to learn
Vipassana is only by joining a formal course, where there is a
suitable environment to support the meditator, and a trained guide. If
someone chooses to disregard this warning and tries to teach himself the
technique only from reading about it, he proceeds entirely at his own risk.

Fortunately courses in Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N.
Goenka are now held regularly in many parts of the world. Schedules can
available online.The summaries are based primarily on discourses given by
Goenkaji at theVipassana Meditation Centre, in Shelburne Falls,
Massachusetts, U.S.A.during August 1983. An exception is the Day Ten,
Summary  which is based on a discourse given at that Centre in August 1984.

While Goenkaji has looked through this material and approved it for
publication, he has not had time to check the text closely. As a result, the
reader may find some errors and discrepancies. These are the responsibility
not of the teacher, nor of the teaching, but of myself. Criticism will
be very welcome that might help to correct such flaws in the text.

May this work help many in their practice of Dhamma.
May all beings be happy.

Sayings of the Buddha and his disciples that are quoted by Goenkaji are
taken from the Collections of Discipline (Vinaya-pitaka) and of Discourses
(Sutta-pitaka) of the Pali canon. (A number of quotations appear in both
Collections, although in such cases only the Sutta references are given here.)
There are also a few quotations from post-canonical Pali literature. In his
talks, Goenkaji explains these passages more often by paraphrase than by
word- for-word translation from the Pali. The intention is to give the essence
of each passage in ordinary language, stressing its relevance to the practice
of Vipassana meditation. Where a Pali passage appears in the summary, the
explanation given is that of Goenkaji in the discourse on which the summary
is based. In these documents, in the section of Pali with English
translation, an attempt has been made to give more exact renderings of the
passages quoted, still emphasizing the point of view of a meditator. In the
text of the summaries, the use of Pali words has been kept to the necessary

Day One Discourse

Initial difficulties--the purpose of this meditation--why respiration is chosen as
the starting point--the nature of the mind--the reason for the difficulties, and
how to deal with them--dangers to be avoided.

The first day is full of great difficulties and discomforts, partly because one is
not accustomed to sit all day long and to try to meditate, but mostly because
of the type of meditation that you have started practising: awareness of
respiration, nothing but respiration.

It would have been easier and faster to concentrate the mind without all
these discomforts if, along with awareness of respiration, one had started
repeating a word, a mantra, a god's name, or if one had started imagining
the shape or form of a deity. But you are required to observe bare
respiration, as it naturally is, without regulating it; no word or imagined form
may be added.

They are not permitted because the final aim of this meditation is not
concentration of mind.Concentration is only a help, a step leading to a higher
goal: purification of mind, eradicating all the mental defilements, the
negativities within, and thus attaining liberation from all misery,
attaining full enlightenment.

Every time an impurity arises in the mind, such as anger, hatred, passion, fear
etc., one becomes miserable. Whenever something unwanted happens, one
becomes tense and starts tying knots inside. Whenever something wanted
does not happen, again one generates tension within.Throughout life one
repeats this process until the entire mental and physical structure is a bundle
of Gordian knots. And one does not keep this tension limited to oneself, but
instead distributes it to all with whom one comes into contact. Certainly this is
not the right way to live.

You have come to this meditation course to learn the art of living: how to live
peacefully and harmoniously within oneself, and to generate peace and
harmony for all others; how to live happily from, day to day while progressing
towards the highest happiness of a totally pure mind,a mind filled with
disinterested love, with compassion, with joy at the success of others, with

To learn the art of living harmoniously, first one must find the cause of
disharmony. The cause always lies within, and for this reason you have to
explore the reality of yourself. This technique helps you to do so, to examine
your own mental and physical structure, towards which there is so much
attachment, resulting only in tensions, in misery. At the experiential level one
must understand one's own nature, mental and physical; only then can one
experience whatever there might be beyond mind and matter. This is
therefore a technique of truth-realization, self-realization, investigating the
reality of what one calls,oneself'. It might also be called a technique
of God-realization, since after all God is nothing but truth, but love,but purity.
Direct experience of reality is essential. "Know thyself'-from superficial,
apparent, gross reality, to subtler realities, to the subtlest reality of mind and
matter. Having experienced all these, one can then go further to experience
the ultimate reality which is beyond mind and matter.

Respiration is a proper point from which to begin this journey. Using a self-
created, imaginary object of attentions word or form-will lead only in the
direction of greater imaginings, greater illusion; it will not help one to
discover the subtler truths about oneself. To penetrate to subtler
truth, one must begin with truth, with an apparent, gross reality such as
respiration. Further, if a word is used, or the form of a deity, then the
technique becomes sectarian. A word or form will be identified with one
culture, one religion or another, and those of a different background
may find it unacceptable. Misery is a universal malady.The remedy for
this malady cannot be sectarian; it also must be universal.Awareness of
respiration meets this requirement. Breath is common to all:observing it
will be acceptable to all. Every step on the path must be totally free from

Breath is a tool with which to explore the truth about oneself. Actually, at the
experiential level, you know very external appearance, the parts and functions
of it that you can consciously control. You know nothing of the internal organs
which operate beyond your control, nothing of the cells of which the entire
body is composed, and which are changing every moment. Innumerable
biochemical and electromagnetic reactions are occurring constantly
throughout the body, but you have no knowledge of them.

On this path, whatever is unknown about yourself must become known to
you. For this purpose respiration will help. It acts as a bridge from the known
to the unknown, because respiration is one function of the body that can be
either conscious or unconscious, intentional or automatic. One starts with
conscious, intentional breathing, and proceeds to awareness of natural,
normal breath. And from there you will advance to still subtler truths about
yourself. Every step is a step with reality; every day you will penetrate further
to discover subtler realities about yourself,about your body and mind.
Today you were asked to observe only the physical function of respiration, but
at the same time, each one of you was observing the mind, because the
nature of the breath is strongly connected to one's mental state. As soon as
any impurity, any defilement arises in the mind, the breath becomes
abnormal-one starts breathing a little rapidly, a little heavily. When the
defilement passes away, the breath again becomes soft. Thus breath can help
to explore the reality not only of the body, but also of the mind.
One reality of mind, which you began to experience today, is its habit of
always wandering from one object to another. It does not want to stay on the
breath or on any single object of attention: instead it runs wild.

And when it wanders, where does the mind go? By your practice, you have
seen that it wanders either in the past or in the future. This is the habit pattern
of the mind; it does not want to stay in the present moment. Actually, one has
to live in the present. Whatever is past is gone beyond recall; whatever is
future remains beyond one's reach, until it becomes present. Remembering
the past and giving thought to the future are important, but only to the extent
that they help one to deal with the present. Yet because of its ingrained habit,
the mind constantly tries to escape from present reality into a past or future
that is unattainable, and therefore this wild mind remains agitated,
miserable. The technique that you are learning here is called the art of living,
and life can really be lived only in the present. Therefore, the first step is to
learn how to live in the present moment, by keeping the mind on a present
reality: the breath that is now entering or leaving the nostrils. This is a reality
of this moment, although a superficial one. When the mind wanders away,
smilingly, without any tension, one accepts the fact that, because of its old
habit pattern, it has wandered. As soon as one realizes that the mind has
wandered, naturally, automatically, it will return to awareness of respiration.

You easily recognised the tendency of the mind to roll in thoughts either of
the past or of the future. Now of what type are these thoughts? Today you
have seen for yourselves that at times thoughts arise without any sequence,
any head or tail. Such mental behavior is commonly regarded as a sign of
madness. Now, however, you have all discovered that you are equally mad,
lost in ignorance, illusions, delusions-moha. Even when there is a sequence
to the thoughts, they have as their object something that is either pleasant or
unpleasant. If it is pleasant, one starts reacting with liking, which develops
into craving, clinging-raga. If it is unpleasant, one starts reacting with
disliking, which develops into aversion, hatred-dosa. The mind is constantly
filled with ignorance, craving, and aversion. All other impurities stem from
these three basic ones, and every impurity makes one miserable.

The goal of this technique is to purify the mind, to free it from misery by
gradually eradicating the negativities within. It is an operation deep into one's own unconscious, performed in order to uncover and remove the complexes hidden there. Even the first step of the technique must purify the mind, and this is the case: by observing respiration, you have started not only to concentrate the mind, but also to purify it. Perhaps during today there were only a few moments when your mind was fully concentrated on your breathing, but every such moment is very powerful in changing the habit pattern of the mind. In that moment, you are aware of the present reality, the breath entering or leaving the nostrils, without any illusion. And you cannot crave for more breath, or feel aversion towards your breathing: you simply observe, without reacting to it. In such a moment, the mind is free from the three basic defilements, that is, it is pure. This moment of purity at the conscious level has a strong impact on the old impurities accumulated in the unconscious. The contact of these positive and negative forces produces an explosion. Some of the impurities hidden in the unconscious rise to the conscious level, and manifest as various mental or physical discomforts.

When one faces such a situation, there is the danger of becoming agitated,and multiplying the difficulties. However, it would be wise to understand that what seems to be a problem is actually a sign of success in the meditation,an indication that in fact the technique has started to work. The operation into the unconscious has begun, and some of the pus hidden there has started to come out of the wound. Although the process is unpleasant, this is the only way to get rid of the pus, to remove the impurities. If one continues working in the proper way, all these difficulties will gradually diminish. Tomorrow will be a little easier day more so. Little by little, all the problems will pass away,if you work. Nobody else can do the job for you; you have to work yourself.You have to explore reality within yourself. You have to liberate yourself.

Some advice about how to work:

During meditation hours, always meditate indoors. If you try to meditate
outside in direct contact with the light and wind, you will not be able to
penetrate to the depths of your mind. During breaks you may go outside.
You must remain within the limits of the course site. You are performing an
operation on your mind; remain in the operating room.

Resolve to remain for the entire period of the course, no matter what
difficulties you may face. When problems arise during the operation,
remember this strong determination. It can be harmful to leave in the middle
of a course.

Similarly, make a strong determination to observe all the discipline and rules,
of which the most important is the rule of silence. Also resolve to follow the
timetable, and specially to in the hall for the three one-hour sittings of group
meditation each day.Avoid the danger of overeating, of allowing yourself to
succumb to drowsiness, and of needless talking.

Work exactly as you are asked to work. Without condemning it, leave aside
for the course period anything that you may have read or learned elsewhere.
Mixing techniques is very dangerous. If any point is not clear to you, come to
the guide for clarification. But give a fair trial to this technique; if you do so,
you will get wonderful results. Make best use of the time, the opportunity, the
technique, to liberate yourselves from the bondages of craving, aversion,
delusion, and to enjoy real peace, real harmony, real happiness.

Real happiness to you all.
May all beings be happy!

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