“It is a basic human need that everyone wants to live a happy life. For this, one has to experience real happiness. The so-called happiness that one experiences by having money, power, and indulging in sensual pleasures is not real happiness. It is very fragile, unstable and fleeting. For real happiness, for lasting stable happiness, one has to make a journey deep within oneself and get rid of all the unhappiness stored in the deeper levels of the mind. As long as there is misery at the depth of the mind all attempts to feel happy at the surface level of the mind prove futile.”
Satya Narayan Goenka (30 January 1924 – 29 September 2013) was a noted Burmese-Indian teacher of Vipassanā meditation. Born in Burma, he followed the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin, under whom he trained for 14 years. In 1969, he shifted to India and started teaching meditation, and started a meditation centre at Igatpuri, near Nashik in 1976. In time, he became an influential non-sectarian teacher of the Vipassana movement and a pioneer of Vipassana meditation in India. He trained more than 1300 assistant teachers and each year more than 120,000 people attended Goenka-led Vipassana courses.
The technique which S. N. Goenka taught represents a tradition that is traced back to the Buddha. Goenka emphasises that, “TheBuddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dhamma – the way to liberation – which is universal” and presents his teachings as non-sectarian and open to people of all faiths or no faith. “Liberation” in this context means freedom from impurities of mind and, as a result of the process of cultivating a pure mind, freedom from suffering. Goenka calls Vipassana meditation an experiential scientific practice, through which one can observe the constantly changing nature of the mind and body at the deepest level, a profound understanding that leads to a truly happy and peaceful life.