I Remember by Junior Win

Satya Narayan Goenka ( February 7, 1924 – September 29, 2013)

Having heard the news of his death, I remembered him as one of the meditation masters who held the meditation center called ‘Dhamma Zawti Yeiktha Vipassana Meditation Center at Ngar Htet Gyi Pagoda Road’ in Rangoon, Burma. I visited there with my grandparents long time ago. However I had never met him in person, or I had never thought to take a meditation course there although my grandparents once practiced meditation at his center, I know him very well with unforgettable memories…..

(My grandparents and my mother at the front gate of the ‘Dhamma Zawti Yeiktha Vipassana Meditation Center’ in 1993.)

I also remembered that not only old people, but also young people were interested in meditation to take 10-day courses or more to the practice of Vipassana meditation at the center. My young cousin said she took several 10-day courses there and she also worked as dhamma worker until now since she was in tenth standard. I remembered I and my brother accompanied with my grandfather brought to the center, because our grandfather decided to take 10-day course there.

When we arrived, I met my friend, and my brother met his friend. We thought that our friends came here because they brought their grandfather or grandmother to the center like us. To our surprised, they themselves were here to take 10-day course as our grandfather did. 

One thing I always remembered was his disciplines in his meditation centers were, very strict. The one I remembered was all the people who came and enlisted to take  meditation course there, were not allowed to speak each other during the meditation course (it might be at least ten days). They were required to make an oath of silence during the course. When my grandmother took 10-day course at the center, and then tenth day came, I saw my grandmother and her companions were talking a lot, and they seemed could not stop talking. My grandfather also said that on the last day of the course, he thought he forgot to speak, or he might be dump. 

I remembered when my grandmother took a meditation course at the center, she saw lodgings for women were too remote from the hall of meditation where all the people came
to practice three or four times a day during the course. There was no roof or platform between them. My grandmother thought that if there was a long roof or a platform which connected the hall of the meditation to the women’s lodgings, it might be better for older women especially in the rainy season. But she could not afford to build a long roof or a platform. When she received hundred dollars for her article published in W.H.O magazine, she started to donate her earning to build a passage. After her donation, many people joined, and their generously contributions pouring in towards the constructing of a long roof and a passage. I felt happy because our grandmother’s small token was part of the contribution to the meditation center.  

I still remembered from my friends that Sayagyi Goenga gave all the people who came and practice meditation there best attention. They added that Sayagyi Goenga and his Dhamma teachers listened to every yogi’s experience of meditation very carefully, and discussed in detail with them. My uncle also took meditation course there, and he said that making an oath of silence might be the thing that different from other meditation center. He thought it gained better concentration for him. He also thought that all the Dhamma yogis’s faces after the meditation course seemed clean and full of purity.

I ended my writing with the words (that my cousin said to me) as ‘Be happy, Be Peaceful, and Be liberated’ that the three things SN Goenga always mentioned in his talk, and he always gave Myitta – Loving kindess to all the people around the world. 

(Photo credit – My cousin, Ohnmar Soe Min. She took this photo when she paid respect S.N Goenga at the funeral today in Rangoon.)

 Acknowledgement:  My cousin Ohnmar Soe Min who gave precious memories of her experience when she had been as Dhamma worker since she was 10th standard, and my uncle, U Soe Myint who gave me his thoughts and opinions of his experience of meditation.