Dear Robert and all others,
QUOTE(RobertK @ Jul 7 2006, 09:54 AM)
... you wondered about other teachers of the U Ba Khin method including Robert Hover.
many thanks for the link, I was really shocked! - I didn't know, should I laugh or cry? How far can one move from Dhamma after a life of practice, I thought. Hover already in the seventies wrote wired stuff, but that should not become worse. Now, at least, it becomes understandable why Goenkaji would separate from him.
Hover is known as the ballistic-missile engineer in Goenka's 10-day course discourses. Goenka tells the story that he was send by Sayagyi U Ba Khin to check how Robert Hover was doing in his meditation cell. Sri Narayan Goenka was quite surprissed, as he saw Hover standing up side down on his shoulders, violently shaking with his whole body. U Ba Khin allegedly only laughed and added, it would be OK, let all his sankharas come out. ...the strong sankharas of one who constructed ballistic missiles for atomic bombs...
After trying to read Hover's website (I only flew it over - his writing style is really deterring) and that those 4-5 westerners were authorized to teach by Sayagyi U Ba Khin after a meditation period of only 1 1/2 month in the case of Hover (3 1/2 in the case of Ruth Denison) and with only as little Dhamma as such short times permitted to receive personal instructions - it was really U Ba Khin who was too eager about choosing his western propagators - I think now (Beside, of course, authorization to teach the Dhamma to laypeople is itself a invented tradition. Begun by Aggamahapandita Ledi Sayadaw - when he authorized Saya Thetgyi)
I feel as if I have been lucky now - that Goenkaji's video tapes were the teacher who introduced me to Dhamma. (beside my deep gratitude to Goenkaji for him being the person intruducing me to Dhamma. Of course, via tapes is not what I idealy expected) Goenka, even as a convinced Hindu, at least did some homework. As also Aggamahapandita Rewata Dhamma personally confirmed to me. They knew each other from Burma and when Rewata Dhamma left Burma - Goenkaji allegedly came with questions and met for some private lessons with him. (Goenkaji also assisted U Ba Khin for 17 years translating for Hindi-disciples and received trained in teaching)
I always thought it natural that those figures, who had the charisma and power to ignite a spreading Vipassana tradition, like Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw or Sayagyi U Ba Khin, where followed by lesser successors - like Venerable U Pandita and U Goenka - who both seemingly simplified the teachings of their own teachers. Now I am no more sure about that.
In U Ba Khin's tradition I had this impression because I read reports of personally tutored disciples. For example in: 'Theravada Meditation', The Buddhist Transformation of Yoga, by Winston L. King (Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi) in the Chapter, 'Contemporary Theravada Meditation in Burma' (page 126).
Where Van Amersfoort (according to Hover authorized to teach Vipassana too, and as I deduce from this book's acount, after only 3 days of meditation!) relates how he was personaly guided by U Ba Khin.
A Quote from this book: Notwithstanding the creation of an U Ba Khin tradition, U Ba Khin's methodology is more difficult to describe prescribe precisely than some other teachings because he never wrote out a detailed manual and he was not a narrow traditionalist - though he was a completely devout Theravada Buddhist in thought and feeling. As a pragmatist he perceptively adapted his method to the needs and characters of his disciples. This, plus his immense charisma, yielded a "method" that, although generally in the vipassanic mold, was more of a master-disciple personal relationship than a cut-and dried technique.
- So different from Goenkaji's streamlined Video-tutorial. -
In respect to Mahasi's tradition I had this impression, because one German disrobed bhikkhu, authorised by Venerable Mahasi to teach (who allegedly only authorised Pali speakers) had told me - that the labeling, for which this tradition is so well known for, actually was thaught in a very subtle manner. Giving only, maybe 5 percent of one's attention to it. However, later teachers, as allegedly Venerable U Pandita, had droped such subtleties.
Everyone please understand that I never took any course in any of Mahasi's succeding traditions, so this could be completely wrong. But maybe one of the Venerables here, who have experiences with Mahasi's traditions, would have the kindness to correct me? I would appreciate that gratefully.
In this respect there is an anecdotal story of a layman and personal disciple of Venerable U Rewata Dhamma (authorised to teach shortly before U Rewata's death). In which Ven. Rewata went back to Burma after many years and visited and payed respect to his former teacher, Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw.
Ven. Mahasi, allegedly asked Ven. Rewatta Dhamma how his teaching is doing. And Ven. Rewata answered: Fine, but that he had to admit to his respected teacher that he no more thaught exactly the method he had received from his teacher. Venerable Mahasi allegedly only replyed not to worry, that with his teaching it had been similiar in respect to his teacher's method.
Thanks in advance for any corrections. Kind regards,