How Dhamma Giri got its name

By | 5/17/2024
In mid March 1974, a Canadian meditator named Geo Poland moved, with Goenkaji's approval, into an old stone bungalow on the newly purchased hilltop property that was to become the first Vipassana meditation centre in India. A few weeks later, Graham Gambie, an Australian, arrived. The building that they chose to live in had for years been deserted and used by local herders as a stable. It required a thorough cleaning.

No Coincidences

By | 5/11/2024
Growing up in the land of superstitions and astrological readings, I have had my share of beliefs ranging from walking through a street crossed by a black cat can bring ill fortune to trying to change one’s destiny through the use of certain gemstones which hold the power to alter future life events. I even developed a pseudo-scientific theory to explain away why I would follow the practice of wearing multiple gemstones in specific fingers and set in rings made of suitably correlated metals to derive outcomes like “vanquish one’s adversaries” to more mundane ones like preserving good health and amassing a fortune. As I tasted the nectar of objectively observing my mind and body through Vipassana, I quickly concluded that my destiny wasn’t beholden to astrological charts or apparent omens that were simple and naturally occurring physical phenomena.

Manish Chopra

The Wheel of the Dhamma, Eight Spokes or Many?

By | 5/11/2024
A wheel (cakka) is a flat circular object that turns as it moves and is considered one of the most ground-breaking inventions in the history of technology. The ancient Indians used the wheel as a symbol for political sovereignty and dominion. The first Buddhists used it as a symbol for sovereignty too, but for spiritual rather than for worldly and political sovereignty. As most meditators will know, the Buddha’s first discourse is called ‘Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma’ and a wheel flanked on either side by a deer has long been a symbol of the Buddha’s teaching this first discourse in the Deer Park at Sarnath. The Buddha sometimes made allusions to the wheel in his discourses; for example, he said: “Generosity, kindly speech, doing good for others and treating them with impartiality are to the world what the linchpin (ani) is to the wheel, keeping it turning smoothly.”
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