The Many Traditions

The issue of how to become liberated is confusing. Just like with Christianity it seems that everyone has their take on how to reach the divine state. One challenge that I’ve found within Goenka’s teachings is the idea that he teaches the one and only way to become liberated. He states that he has helped reintroduce the pure and complete teachings of the Buddha to the world. So what do I do with this?

Vipassana, as taught by Goenka, has helped me tremendously. My mind has become more peaceful and my days happier since incorporating this practice into my daily life. There’s no debate there. This is my personal experience. But does this put me in a position to question someone else’s meditation practice or more general spiritual practice? Absolutely not. If someone else has found a technique or strategy that makes their mind more peaceful and their days happier, they have just as much reason to believe in their technique as I have.

Intellectually, the way that I resolve this is to accept that I’m a long way from liberation. If I reach a point where this practice is no longer helping me I will look for a more advanced technique that can help me further along the path. Similarly, I would expect anyone who grows to the limit of a different technique to search for a more advanced strategy to take them further. If one of us gets lucky and our current technique takes us to the final goal, great! If not, who cares! Basically, I don’t think any of us are in a place to debate the absolute effectiveness of a technique if we aren’t enlightened ourselves.

With this in mind, it seems practical that we can  support and encourage each other across traditions without feeling threatened or attacked. For me, this means simply continuing to meditate in the only way I know how so I can continue growing. I hope everyone finds the strength and inspiration to continue with their own personal practice. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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2 Responses to The Many Traditions

  1. Great post Ryan, particularly the last paragraph.

  2. Branden says:

    Each of us planting and harvesting, planting and harvesting — The seeds and fruits of our mental actions which immediately effects us and others.

    Vipassana helps me see how I continuously remain slave to unwholesome plantings of mental seeds. When I find others practicing any other tradition, acceptance of them is without question. I’m seeing how accepting others where they are is enabling them to grow they we they deem reasonable. As such, their realizations are left to them.

    Nice topic Ryan. 🙂

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