Mumbai: Global Vipassana Pagoda In Borivali Hosts Thousands For Birth Centenary Celebration Of Vipassana Pioneer SN Goenka

Mumbai: Global Vipassana Pagoda In Borivali Hosts Thousands For Birth Centenary Celebration Of Vipassana Pioneer SN Goenka

The world’s largest pillar-less stone dome that towers over 325 ft, which was opened in 2009, enshrines relics of the Buddha.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Monday, February 05, 2024, 09:29 PM IST
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Global Vipassana Pagoda at Gorai, Borivali | FPJ

Vipassana meditators from all around the world gathered at the Global Vipassana Pagoda at Gorai, Borivali, on Sunday to celebrate the birth centenary of Vipassana meditation’s foremost teacher, Vipassana Acharya Satya Narayan Goenka.

Goenka, who was born in Mandalay, Burma (now Myanmar) in a prosperous business family, spent 16 years under the guidance of his master, Sayagyi U Ba Kin who taught him Vipassana meditation. Goenka later travelled to India, the land of his forefathers. According to Vipassana followers, over the centuries, the authentic techniques of Vipassana vanished from the birthplace of Buddhist thoughts and the principles were often distorted.

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In 1969, Goenka came to Mumbai and introduced 10-day meditation courses to help Indians reclaim what they had lost. He built a global Vipassana network, with 250 meditation centres, nearly half of them outside India, where the technique is taught in over 69 languages by around 2000 teachers.

On February 4, the penultimate day of the culmination of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of Goenka, between 8,000 and 10,000 meditators from all walks of life and religions gathered at the golden pagoda which was built under Goenka’s guidance. The world’s largest pillar-less stone dome that towers over 325 ft., which was opened in 2009, enshrines relics of the Buddha. The pagoda, which attracts thousands of visitors every day, was built as a tribute to Goenka’s teacher, who in turn wanted to pay back the debt to India, the land of origin of Vipassana.

FPJ

Practitioners of meditation believe it is a tool to tackle symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental issues. “Thousands of meditators came together and paid homage to the person who showed how to live life peacefully and harmoniously with all living beings and established a technique to achieve peace worldwide,” said Lokesh Goenka, trustee of Global Vipassana Foundation and Vipassana Research Institute.

The gathering during the weekend meditated together under the relics of Buddha. They aimed to realise their teacher’s vision – a world transformed through inner peace. Apart from the meditation sessions, there was the release of Goenka’s autobiography ‘Let Us Walk the Path of Dhamma’ and ‘Chalein Dhamma ke Panth’, and the unveiling of a coffee table book. The Vipassana fraternity’s long demand for a Souvenir Diary: Life of Dhamma was also realised.

FPJ

The highlight of Sunday’s programme was the inauguration of a 20,000 square-foot ‘Immersive Museum’ titled ‘Journey of Dhamma from Lord Buddha to Shri S N Goenka (Chain of teachers), offering a perspective on the Vipassana tradition.

Goenka established the Vipassana Research Institute at Dhamma Giri in 1985. He is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also issued a video message on the occasion of Goenka’s birth centenary celebrations.

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