A tribute to Acharya S. N. Goenka

“Anicca vata sankharā” – all component things are subject to change.

Article written by Bro. H S Tan

Renowned Vipassana Meditation Teacher, Acharya S. N. Goenka, passed away peacefully in Mumbai, India on Sunday, 29 September 2013 (early Monday, 30 September, Malaysian time).  He was 90.

Nalanda Buddhist Society Malaysia offers our deepest condolences to Mataji, her family, and all faithful followers of Acharya Goenka for their loss.  Although Acharya is no more with us today, we are nonetheless not bereft of the teachings and legacy he left us.  We can take comfort and find solace in continuing with our practice, and in the propagation of Dhamma as done by Goenkaji for the past half a century.

Nalanda would also like to pay tribute to a prodigious teacher who has created the conditions for millions of meditators to experience the technique first taught by the Enlightened One 2,600 years ago!  Hence, Goenkaji has a large following in many countries throughout the world, including scores of devoted practitioners in Malaysia.

I personally benefited from Goenkaji’s teachings through attending his meditation course in 1992. Since then I have met Goenkaji and Mataji twice.  Both meetings left me with a deep imprint on the importance of Vipassana practice, and the endearing image of an elderly couple committed to that meditative way of life, as well as to propagating it.  I feel blessed to have had the ‘dassana’, that opportunity of meeting Acharya, and hearing his deep resonant voice repeating the enlightening teachings of the Buddha.

Nalanda Malaysia also benefited greatly from the gift of a set of Pāli Tipitaka from the Vipassana Research Institute of Igatpuri, founded by Acharya Goenka.  Indeed Acharya has been an extraordinary facilitator for the spiritual progress of countless people.  And for that, the best way that we, the beneficiaries of his teachings, can honour him is by practicing diligently what he taught us.

Goenkaji in his talks reminded us about the onslaught of death.  There is no bargaining with death when our time comes.  And thus our practice should never slacken.  As the Buddha Himself admonished His disciples before His own passing,

Vayadhammā sañkhārā; Appamādena sampādetha – Subject to change are all component things; strive on with diligence!”

We fervently thank Acharya Goenkaji for all that Guruji had done for the Buddha-Sasana.  We further wish Guruji the most blissful peace.  SOTTHI.