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Dhamma: Light Out of Darkness
 
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Dhamma: Light Out of Darkness
by S N Goenka

(The following is an excerpt from Goenkaji’s address to Vipassana meditators during the Annual Meeting at Dhamma Giri, January 1993. It has been adapted for the Newsletter.)

We have again assembled to review whatever we have done, to find whether there have been any defects, to understand how to eradicate those defects, and to make practical plans for the future. However, this meeting should not be like other ordinary social gatherings where people debate, pass resolutions, and forget all about it. No! The practical aspect of Dhamma is of utmost importance to us.

That is why, before starting this annual meeting, most of you participated in a long course, and after the meeting, many others of you will do so. This is a good sign. You are giving more importance to the practice, and discussions are based on this foundation. This healthy tradition should be maintained in the future; otherwise our service to suffering humanity will not be successful.

There is suffering; it cannot be denied. People are miserable and they are groping in the darkness, not knowing how to come out of misery. Throughout the world, there are conflicts and wars in the name of different religions. Unfortunately, this country, which takes pride in being the land of origin of the pure Dhamma, is also suffering from such conflicts. When the darkness is very deep, light is required.

It is good that the light has come and that the way is becoming clearer. In the past few years, a beginning has been made. People have started examining the technique and have found that it gives results. Wise people-intellectuals from different communities, sects, countries and traditions-have come to the Ganges of Vipassana, taken a dip and found that it is truly refreshing and fruitful.

Every step on the path has to be examined at the intellectual level: ’Is it rational and pragmatic?’ And, at the actual level of practice: ’Is it fruitful? Is it giving benefit here and now?’ The path leads you to the goal where you become totally liberated, an arahant. That is good, but what result does it give now? Is one coming out of misery now? Everyone who walks on the path finds that it is fruitful. Of course, the fruits differ from person to person according to one’s own past accumulations and how one works now but the path is fruitful.

There is suffering all around, let people know that there is a way out. And you can do that only by your own way of life. If people find that there is a change for the better in you, they will be attracted. This is how Dhamma will spread.

Just as every town must have schools, colleges, hospitals and gymnasiums, it must also have some place where mental training is given to control and purify the mind. When one goes to a school, hospital or gymnasium, one is not converted from one religion to another. Similarly, one going to a Vipassana course is not converted to a different religion.

Vipassana is free from sectarianism. It has been universal and it should remain universal in the future. The purity of the path keeps it universal. Vipassana is helpful to one and all. Everyone who practices it is bound to benefit. This is a very important message that should reach the world. And it is possible to spread this message only when you yourself show that your mental impurities are being eradicated by this technique and you have started coming out of your misery. This will be the best example of the value of Dhamma.

Another important thing that we have started doing is making the theoretical aspect of Dhamma more widely available. Because the practice was lost in many countries, the meaning of some of the Buddha’s words was not clear and wrong interpretations were made. It is important for a meditator to understand the theoretical aspect of Dhamma in order to see whether what we are practicing is correct.

The theoretical aspect of Dhamma will support the practice of Dhamma. But understand that this should not become our main aim. Out of over-enthusiasm, if we start giving too much importance to the theoretical aspect of Dhamma and forget the practical part, we will miss everything. This practical aspect of Dhamma is of utmost importance. Keeping this in mind, we have to research the theoretical aspect of Dhamma.

May all of you become flag-bearers of Dhamma, torch-bearers of Dhamma. Take the message of Dhamma throughout the world to help people to come out of their misery.

Generate compassion, love and goodwill to help more and more people to come out of their misery. We have nothing to do with these organized religions. We have nothing to do with sectarianism. The suffering, the malady, is universal and here is a remedy which is also universal. See that it remains universal, and helps people to come out of their misery.

May more and more people come in contact with Dhamma. May more and more people start coming out of their misery. May more and more people start experiencing real peace, real harmony.

Bhavatu sabba maṇgalaṃ.


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