These stories not only help to sustain and strengthen established Vipassana meditators in their quest, but also to encourage others searching for peace and understanding to take up the practice of getting to “know thyself” truly, on an experiential level—to develop their own wisdom.
Satya Narayan Goenka (affectionately called "Goenkaji" by his students) was a teacher of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin of Myanmar.
Although Indian by descent, Goenkaji was born and raised in Myanmar. While living there he had the good fortune to come into contact with U Ba Khin, and to learn the technique of Vipassana from him. After receiving training from his teacher for 14 years, Goenkaji settled in India and began teaching Vipassana in 1969. In a country still sharply divided by differences of caste and religion, the courses offered by Goenkaji attracted thousands of people from every part of society. In addition, many people from countries around the world came to join courses in Vipassana meditation.
Goenkaji taught tens of thousands of people in more than 300 courses in India and in other countries, East and West. In 1982 he began to appoint assistant teachers to help him to meet the growing demand for courses. Meditation centers were established under his guidance in India, Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and other countries.
The technique taught by S.N. Goenka represents a tradition that is traced back to the Buddha. The Buddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dhamma—the way to liberation—which is universal. In the same tradition, Goenkaji's approach is totally non-sectarian. For this reason, his teaching has had a profound appeal to people of all backgrounds, of every religion and no religion, and from every part of the world.
In his lifetime, Goenkaji was the recipient of many honors but insisted that they were all really for the Dhamma.
S.N. Goenka peacefully breathed his last on Sunday evening September 29, 2013, at his home in Mumbai, India. He was in his 90th year and had served half his life as a teacher of Vipassana meditation. His legacy will continue as long as people around the world seek to learn the teaching of liberation.