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October 1, 2013

Honoring a Great Meditation Master’s Passing

In every generation, there are a few visionary and profound masters who hold high the lamp of the Dharma to illuminate the world. Like the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, Ven. S.N. Goenka, was one of the great world masters of our time. Brilliant and charismatic, tireless advocate for the transformative power of meditation practice, supporter of retreats encouraging hundreds of thousands to have a direct experience of wisdom, founder of 172 meditation centers worldwide, and man of virtue, samadhi and understanding, Goenka has passed away at age 90.

He always taught meditation as an inner exploration, urging students to simply “Come and see for yourself”. Born and trained in Burma, Goenka was an inspiration and teacher for Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, Ram Dass, Daniel Goleman, and many other western spiritual leaders.

His style of Vipassana practice, awareness of the breath and mindful awareness of the vibrations and energy field of the body brings deep understandings of impermanence, inner purification and freedom. This practice has been used in health care, prisons, schools businesses and meditation centers across the globe.

From Spirit Rock and the whole movement of the Dharma in the west we offer bows of gratitude and respect for all he has offered, prayers of blessings for him and continuing appreciation for all who follow his example in Dharma practice and selfless service.

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19 Responses to Honoring a Great Meditation Master’s Passing

  1. clay evans says:

    You taught me with love and care Goenkaji. I’m forever in your debt for your incredible teachings. I have come to know the deepest aspects of my being through your guidance. You will forever be in my heart and as you instructed – I don’t feel so sad – recalling that “it’s a promotion, not a demotion :o )”. I will do my best to embody your teachings of the dharma. I love you my teacher, my friend. Feeling the sacredness of this moment – infused with deep, deep gratitude.

  2. From your Grace, Jack – to another’s Grace, Our Ancestor, now in spirit.

    Gratitude to you and your ways of beauty in these dreams of creation….ho’shoni, Sahn

  3. Thank you so much for the beautiful tribute to Goenkaji. He was indeed a true master. I sat my first vipassana retreat at Spirit Rock (in 1997 I believe) with Christopher Titmus and then had an opportunity to sit a course at the California Vipassana Center in Northfork, which was closer to where we lived at the time. I have since sat and served many courses at CVC over the years. But I will always be grateful to Spirit Rock and Christopher Titmus for my introduction to the technique the wonderful Path of Dhamma. May you and all your great teachers be happy and peaceful and continue your wonderful work of spreading the dhamma around the world. May all beings be free.

  4. Margrit Romang says:

    Thank you dear Jack. I am so happy I discovered you’re blog. I did not know of this teacher ( I am a student of Thay) but now I
    feel I get a sense of him through your writing. We are so blessed to have encountered greatness. With a deep bow of gratitude to you as well and prayers for his continuation.

  5. Yes, S.N. Goenka provided great inspiration, and my first direct contact with meditative practice!

    I do hope that the Vipassana tradition under Sayagyi U Ba Khin does now begin to open up a little towards the inestimable value of the jhanas in meditation …

    Walter Tonetto

  6. marielea says:

    So difficult for me not to cry ……..he was the One who show me the way……since i never did without meditation
    Thank you very Master GOENKADJI

  7. Carroll Young says:

    Jack, I, too, thank for your wonderful and true words for Goenkaji. Having more than 20 years of using his teachings as the foundation for my daily practice, I hear his words and the tone of his voice every time I sit. No matter that I have had short sojourns into other types of training, I’ve always returned to the practice given me in Goenkaji┬┤s retreats. I’ll be forever greatful. When it’s my time, I’ll follow his lead.

  8. sosolobi says:

    His greatest asset: Making it possible for everyone to attend and offering the 10 day silent retreats on a donation basis, so people – like me – with a minimum income can still be present at a retreat.
    This way of attending a course has been going on for decades now, and it WORKS, more and more centers are being founded.
    A good example how to spread dhamma, that should find a following.
    Unfortunately retreats and developing oneself spiritually have become yet another way of business.
    Big Thank You to Goenka to offer retreats on a donation basis.

  9. Chris says:

    I am so humbled so opened by this Love, the grace of the Dharma by all the great teachers.. I did not know Goenka, but have been broken open by those who sat with him
    In gratitude and deep love

  10. JSP says:

    Goenkaji was actually born in Myanmar (Burma). Not in India.

  11. jyoti says:

    very well said that its a promotion …now dhamma brothers and sisters our responsibility increases in the manner to protect DHAMMA technique in its purest form as guruji gave us…we should nt mix the technique wid other meditation and we shouldn’t let people to do that ……….this will be one of the greatest tribute to GOYANKAJI FROM OUR SIDE…………METTA

  12. Sylvie MAITRE says:

    I just wanted to join you all and say Thank you to this beautiful teaching that helps me so much,and helps so many people. Thank you. May all beings meet this technique and be free.

  13. Gretta O'Hagan says:

    A beautiful tribute. What has always stayed with me is the understanding and compassion demonstrated in taking Vipassana to those who society shuns.

  14. Tarun Katial says:

    Guruji taught me to life life in the moment.. And it’s that that keeps us going..

  15. shaheda says:

    A tireless & devoted teacher whose light beckons me whenever the challenges of life begin to take over the happy moments….I take a deep breath and remind myself “BE HAPPY” –Thank you dear Teacher–the spiritual and eternal, Goenka.

  16. gerald krumland says:

    I took a five day with him near Willits, ca around 1980, in a tent at a Boy Scout retreat. I always remember his voice, in the middle of a “storm” as he called mental trouble: “Keep a calm and equanimous mind.”
    And his instruction to me personally to deal with this “storm”, focus on your breathing.
    He just “dropped his mortal frame.”

  17. Thank you for kind tribute, Jack.

    My first introduction to Vipassana was a Goenka retreat in North Fork. It wasn’t until I read your book, A Path With Heart, and sat a daylong retreat with you that I was able to integrate the teachings of Goenka with the psychological compassion you bring to the practice, that I was able to benefit so deeply and continually from Vipassana. I’m deeply grateful and indebted to you both–he for the foundation and you for the compassion.

    May all beings be happy. May all beings be free from suffering and delusion.

  18. anatta says:

    Heart warming to see your blog entry Jack, expressing gratitude to this master, who has served us all with dhamma.

  19. Lucy Block (@cindersblock) says:

    Congratulations on your promotion, Goenkaji! I hope you can read comments on internet message boards ;)

    Wishing you infinite metta and with all my humblest gratitude,
    Lucy

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