Thiền sư Goenka là một trong những vị thiền sư có sở trường pháp hành về niệm thọ. Có nhiều trung tâm thiền của thiền sư ở rất nhiều nước trên thế giới, hướng dẫn kỹ thuật thiền này rất nổi tiếng, đem lại nhiều kết quả tốt đẹp cho rất nhiều người, vì vậy nội dung giảng giải kinh Tứ Niệm Xứ của thiền sư đáng được quan tâm nghiên cứu và đối chiếu với những bản dịch giải của các thiền sư uy tín khác, trong tinh thần không vội tin không vội bỏ mà Đức Phật đã ân cần căn dặn.
Satya Narayan Goenka (Burmese: ဂိုအင်ကာ; 29 January 1924 – 29 September 2013), commonly known as S. N. Goenka, was a Burmese-Indian teacher of Vipassanā meditation. Born in Burma to an Indian business family, he moved to India in 1969 and started teaching meditation. His teaching emphasized that the Buddha's path to liberation was non-sectarian, universal, and scientific in character. He became an influential teacher and played an important role in establishing non-commercial Vipassana meditation centers globally. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2012, an award given for distinguished service of high order.
Born on 29 January 1924 in Burma (now Myanmar) to Indian parents from the Marwari ethnic group, Goenka grew up in a conservative Hindu sanatani household. He was a successful businessman, when in 1955 he started experiencing severe, debilitating migraines. Unable to find medical relief, and on the suggestion of a friend, he met with the Vipassana teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Though initially reluctant, Ba Khin took him on as a student. Goenka subsequently trained under him for 14 years.
BiographyIn 1969, Goenka was authorised to teach by Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who died in 1971. He left his business to his family and moved to India, where he started the first Vipassana meditation centre at Kusum Nagar in Hyderabad. Seven years later, in 1976, he opened his first meditation centre, Dhamma Giri, in Igatpuri near Nashik, Maharashtra. He taught meditation on his own until 1982, and then started training assistant teachers. He established the Vipassana Research Institute at Dhamma Giri in 1985.
From the start, he taught 10-day intensive meditation retreats, and by 1988 had taught numerous people, including several thousand Westerners.
Today, Vipassana courses, in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin, are held at 341 locations in 94 countries, of which about 202 are permanent Vipassana meditation centres. There are such centres in the Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and 78 centres in India.
In 2000, Goenka laid the foundation of the 325 ft. high Global Vipassana Pagoda, near Gorai Beach, in Mumbai, which opened in 2009, and has relics of Buddha and a meditation hall. It was built as a tribute to his teacher, who in turn wanted to pay back the debt to India, the land of origin of Vipassana. However, unlike his protégé, U Ba Khin was unable to acquire a passport, and thus had been unable to travel to India in person.
Goenka was an invited speaker at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders on 29 August 2000 at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York City.
Goenka was also an orator, and a prolific writer and poet. He wrote in English and Hindi. He travelled widely and lectured to audiences worldwide including at the World Economic Forum, Davos. For four months in 2002, he undertook the Meditation Now Tour of North America.
He was conferred the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in India for social work on the occasion of India's 63rd Republic Day in 2012.
He died on 29 September 2013, at his home in Mumbai. He was survived by his wife Elaichi Devi Goenka, also a prominent meditation teacher, and six sons.