The Chain Of Teachers
“The Chain of Teachers” by Rivers Cuomo
Journey to Igatpuri Knowing that I may soon have a life partner is dramatically affecting my personality. I’m bolder, braver, and less afraid of what people will think of me. After all, even if I am shamed and vilified by the masses, even if every other woman on earth thinks I am a disgusting worthless scumbag, I’ll know that I have my partner to love me and accept me as I am. I just did something that I’ve never done before, something that I’ve always wanted to do, but was afraid to try. I went number two on an airplane.
Okay, I arrived at my hotel in Mumbai. They don’t have an internet connection here. I’m leaving.
I transferred to a posher place. Typically, I haven’t left my hotel all day. I could fly to the moon and never step outside my ship—as long as I had high-speed internet.
I’ve been haunting the usual few sites, watching soccer on TV, running on the treadmill, writing a bit of this and that in my journal, emailing, and talking on Skype. I’m terribly afraid of getting sick here. I got sick two out of the four times I went to Mexico. It’s not pretty. Flourescent orange semi-solids coming out of two or more orifices at a time. This morning, I had a croissant, a donut, a muffin, and some cereal without milk for breakfast. I figured none of that could get me sick. I’m drinking water only out of sealed bottles. A cab driver accosted me as I was walking from one hotel to the other. “I take you—show you sights—cheap! cheap!” “I’m just trying to get to the hotel two blocks away.” “I take you! Get in taxi!” His name was Raju. He said he would take me out on the town tonight. “You like techno beat?” “. . . Yes?” I was afraid he was trying to rip me off or murder me. When we finally got to the hotel—what seemed like the long way around the block—I asked him how much he wanted for the ride. “Whatever you think.” He smiled through his thick, dark moustache. I gave him a hundred rupees not having any idea whether I was being generous or stingy. He smiled again, jumped back into his cab, and was off. Here in Mumbai, I’m probably only a few hundred miles away from where the Buddha used to teach Vipassana 2500 years ago.
I met with my friends Thao and Lan today. They are a retired couple from Vietnam that now lives in Florida. I met them when I served a 10-day Vipassana course in Jacksonville earlier this year. Thao was managing the course and I was working in the kitchen. We hit it off. He told me about his life growing up penniless in Vietnam, taking a bullet in the butt for the South Vietnamese army, and barely escaping the communists when Saigon fell in 1975.
I told him about my life in Weezer.
Ann Poonkasem, from “I Want To Be A Hilton,” was also at that course, as were a number of other attractive women. I was having a hard time remembering why I was there. Thao and Lan are two of many Vipassana friends I will probably see over the next few weeks. The course we are attending, called the Teacher’s Self Course, is given once a year and is open to all serious Vipassana students from around the world. Each year several hundred students make the trek out to Igatpuri to meditate and meet with the head teacher, S.N. Goenka, for fourteen days. Just a few days ago I learned that Mr. Goenka is not going to be able to attend the course this year for health reasons. He’s in his mid-eighties and apparently pretty sick.
Tomorrow my friends Marika and John arrive. They’ll be documenting our trip on video. Marika is originally from South Africa and now lives in D.C. John I don’t know too well. There are more and more Westerners congregating in this part of the city now. I’m getting excited. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, we’ll head out to Igatpuri, a few hours from here, and move into our rooms at the meditation center.
Today Thao, Lan, and I went sightseeing. “Why don’t you buy something for your girlfriend?” suggested Lan at one point, which I thought was rather prescient of her because I hadn’t told either of them about Kyoko yet.
“What should I get?” “Silk!” In the silk shop she tried on shawl after shawl for me as Thao and I looked on with increasing stupefaction.
“Which one you like, River?” “Uh . . . I don’t know. What do you think?” “You choose! She your girlfriend!” In the end I picked something understated but beautiful, I think, a cream colored shawl with little rhinestones all over it. I hope Kyoko likes it. It cost 1700 rupees which for all I know could be anything from ten to a thousand dollars. I have the distinct suspicion that Kyoko doesn’t trust my taste in these matters. The other day I asked her if she wants to come along with me when I shop for an engagement ring (assuming we decide to get engaged) in case she wants to have some input in the choice. “Let me talk to my friends and get back to you,” she said. The next day I got an email from her saying, “Maybe I should just pick out the ring here in Japan and you can buy it when you arrive in December. How does that sound?”
These Indians seem to use car horns like bats use sonar. It’s hard for me to concentrate on what I’m writing. The first day of documentary-shooting went really great. Marika is extremely talented. I was a little worried because for as long as I’ve known her she’s never really asked me any questions about myself. (I’m a much better listener than talker.) But lo, in the midst of lunch today, she busted out this huge video camera and started grilling me about my sexual insecurities in front of everyone. It was a bravura performance on her part. I think the documentary is going to be cool—not in the usual sense of cool but in the completely-spill-your-guts-in-front-of-everyone-and-make-a-fool-out-of-yourself sense of cool. John’s fun too. It’s good to have another dude around whose first language is English. Well, I think I’ll be signing off soon for a couple of weeks. Tomorrow we head off to the meditation center and there I won’t be able to use my computer. (Boo-hoo-hoo!) For fourteen days I’ll be sitting in a meditation cell trying to observe my breath and the sensations on my body with equanimity but mostly thinking obsessively about all the situations in my life. Am I going to marry Kyoko? Are we going to live together before we get married? Are we going to have sex before we get married? Should I just be a monk? Should I keep playing music? Should I follow others’ advice or should I go my own course? Where should I live? The east coast? The west coast? Should I alternate between the elliptical and the treadmill when I work out?—Wait. I was supposed to be meditating. It’s going to be great.
One thing’s for sure: when I come out, all of these questions and conundrums will be a little weaker in mind, a little less shrill, and the right path will be a little clearer before my feet. Talk to you in a few weeks!
The course ended today.
There’s no way to sum up in a few words the experience I’ve had over the last fourteen days so I won’t even try. I’ll just start small with a few words about the day and hope things will unfold naturally from there. I’m sitting in my residential quarters. I just left Marika and John sitting out in front of the dining halls. I was a little scared walking back here in the dark because there are reportedly snakes in the area and I didn’t have my flashlight. I saw some kind of reptile in my room a few times during the course, and a few spiders, but mostly my experience was critter free, which surprised me, being as I am in a tropical country. I got electrocuted once during the course. The water immersion device I used to heat my bathing water was not supposed to be submerged past a certain point but I didn’t notice the warning label on the handle and dunked the whole thing in. I got zapped. That was day four of the course. On day eight I got the hugest headache, threw up, couldn’t sleep, and could hardly eat. It was my “dark night of the soul” of the course. When the pain finally cleared I found I had relatively tremendous concentration and had one of the deepest evenings of sittings. I was examining all the innards of my body in great detail, from the lining of my abdominal cavity to the backs of my eyeballs. Of course, the goal of the meditation, in a technical sense, is to go much deeper than that, to observe the sub-atomic quanta that make up one’s body and mind arising and passing away trillions upon trillions of times per second, so I have a long way to go yet. I called Kyoko this evening. We talked mostly small talk.
“There’s an ox walking by.” “Yeah?” “He’s pulling a cart . . . It’s really cool.” I also told her about the nun I met on the course, from Vietnam, who inspired me so much with her radiant happiness and the fact that she had been a nun since she was thirteen. Kyoko told me about her mom and sister’s fender-bender and about how she’d done a little research on our potential marriage. Apparently it doesn’t take long to make marriage happen legally but for her to obtain a green card to live in the States does take a long time. I checked the email on my blackberry and found an incredibly small amount of information contained in the 150 or so new messages I received. Much of it was just junk mail concerning the apparently inadequate size of my private parts. I don’t seem to have much to say at the moment so I’m not going to push it. I’ll talk to you again soon. I had a great course.
I just got off the phone with Kyoko. Things are feeling better than ever. I had a dozen red roses delivered to her today for her birthday. She was really touched. I told her about the Buddha’s advice to husbands to buy gifts and jewelry for their wives.
“I’m surprised to hear that from Buddha”, she said. “I always thought of him as against materialism.” “Me too!”
I admitted to her though that it was Lan’s idea to buy the flowers and it was Weezer’s assistant, Sarah’s, idea to make them a dozen red roses. Still, Kyoko and I both acknowledged that this was a giant step forward for me in the romance department. She emailed a photo of the bouquet to her mom to share the experience. One of the sexiest moments of the call was when I asked Kyoko if she was comfortable being the boss from now on.
“Sure,” she said softly. “I can be the boss.” Kyoko used to be my housekeeper. She had to do whatever I asked her to do within professional parameters. It’s been hard for us to make the transition to an equal relationship. I try to be gentle but so often we fall into the old pattern of angry-boss and tearful-employee. The more I encourage her to take the reins, however, the healthier our relationship feels. I will naturally always have a strong vision for where I want to go in life, I imagine, but I feel safe and happy knowing that I have a partner to keep me on a relatively sane path.
Today, I learned that my teacher, Mr. Goenka, definitely won’t be able to see me before I leave India. Apparently there’s been some sort of complication after his surgery and he has a fever. He’s not able to see anyone.
Now we’re off to Myanmar where we’ll visit the sites that are related to our particular tradition of meditation.
Siddatha Gotama Here’s the Vipassana story in a nutshell: 2500 years ago in northern India, a man named Siddatha Gotama sat down under a tree and resolved not to get up until he discovered a way out of his sadness, anger, fear, and craving. The way he discovered was Vipassana meditation (or “Insight meditation”). With this technique he purified his mind completely. For the next forty-five years he walked around India teaching Vipassana to whoever was interested. Thousands upon thousands benefited. The teaching spread all over Asia, including to Myanmar. Siddatha Gotama became known as the Buddha, or “the enlightened one”.
After about five hundred years, however, the practice of Vipassana was lost. Only the words of the Buddha remained. These words were mixed with local philosophies and superstitions and became what we know of today as “Buddhism”. Luckily, there were a few meditators in Myanmar who kept the practice of Vipassana going. They established a lineage of teachers that continued on for the next couple of thousand years right down to Mr. Goenka. The next week will be my chance to investigate the lives of the last few of these teachers.
The government here in Myanmar apparently blocks use of my cell phone service and my email services. I can’t even get on AIM or Skype. I’m totally cut off from the rest of the world—unless I want to use the hotel phone for $7.65 a minute. Highway robbery. The hotel is alright, though. I ate non-Indian food for the first time in weeks today. I had pizza. Unfortunately it was from a chef who had to make it gourmet, with old-sock-smelling cheese on it, rather than just a good old fashioned New York style pizza.
They also have tennis courts and a big swimming pool. The women in Myanmar are very beautiful. It’s kind of depressing: after all this meditation and two-and-a-half years of celibacy I still feel like a ravenous dog as soon as I get out on the street. They stare right back at you here too with deep brown eyes and shy smiles blossoming into giggles.
Three women today pointed at my arms. “Good,” one of them said. “Good?” “Good.” She ran her hand down my arm. My arms were exposed because I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. I realized they were talking about the extreme pale color of my skin. Most of the people here are pretty dark. I held out my arm alongside hers to view the contrast as starkly as possibly but she got shy, giggled, and the three of them ran off. Marika explained to me that the people here value pale skin because it signifies higher-than-working-class status. I thought of my days working construction and how I must have been a good deal darker then. The dingy recording studios and rehearsal rooms that I live in now are what have made me so pale. I was talking to a monk the other day in India. He told me how easy it is for him not to get aroused by the sight of pretty girls. “Just think of them as your sister.” I keep trying to do that and sometimes it works a little but there are still at least a few seconds with every pretty woman I see when I melt and say to myself, “Aww, she’s pretty . . .” I hope getting married helps that sting go away.
Sometimes I wonder if I should tell Kyoko about my wandering eye and my constant meaningless crushes. She’s kind of a jealous person and I don’t want to hurt her and I don’t know if there’s any real point in telling her.
We went to the Shwedagon Pagoda today. This is supposedly where a few locks of the Buddha’s hair are kept.
In ancient times, two businessmen from Myanmar were traveling across India and happened to meet the Buddha. They realized immediately that he was a fully enlightened being and asked for a few locks of his hair to bring back to their king. The king received the locks and built the pagoda to house them.
The gigantic golden pagodas, Buddha statues, and throngs of worshippers bowing and praying here make me feel confused. What do these things have to do with the Buddha’s teaching? The Buddha playfully scolded his disciples whenever he found them worshipping his physical form. “I am just a sack of bones and blood,” he would say. “Bones, blood, mucus, sweat, phlegm, feces . . .” He would go on and on. His point, I think, was that there’s no use in worshipping any person, no matter how great you think they are. We each have to save ourselves from our own miseries. The scene at Shwedagon pagoda today seemed to be an example of how the Buddha’s teaching has been distorted over the years from a non-superstitious, non-sectarian discipline of morality and meditation to a set of rites and rituals designed to gain favor with some supernatural being.
I love buffets. I love going through and picking out a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I also love that all the food is ready and you don’t have to wait for anything to be prepared. You can just walk right in and eat. I don’t even mind that sometimes the food isn’t totally fresh. I guess that’s proof that I’m not a very refined person.
If I were a sultan in Persia I think I would work my way through my harem in the same fashion. Little bit of this, little bit of that. I just had cocoa krispies, dried mango, dried apricots, a croissant, a half-slice of cheese, honeydew melon, and papaya. Mmm, mmm. Pretty random but mmm, mmm.
On the way back to the hotel tonight, I had a metal bonding moment with the kid who drove me. He was wearing a Guns N’ Roses shirt. I asked him if he actually knew Guns N’ Roses’ music. “Yes. I grow up on heavy meta music: Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Cinderella . . .” “Me too! That’s awesome!”
Then I asked him who the most popular singer in Myanmar was.
“Rod Stewart . . . so popular!” “Hmm . . . that’s interesting.” He said he had also heard of Weezer. Today we drove out to a small village in the countryside, a village called Pweybaji. The people were incredibly warm, friendly, and happy. Swarms of kids surrounded and followed us, fascinated by our pale skin, light brown and blonde hair, clothes, language, and the video cameras that John and Marika pointed at them. We all just stared at each other for ten minutes at a time and laughed. It was amazing.
I got into a hackey-sack-like game with a bunch of guys with a plastic ball. It was super fun. These kinds of games are a universal language. Give a bunch of guys from totally different cultures a ball and they’ll know what to do with it.
Even Thao joined in. He’s pretty athletic for a sixty-year old. He whipped my ass at tennis last night. Lan was good too. She beat John. John and I had to buy them dinner at the Italian restaurant downstairs in recognition of their triumph. I had an assortment of pastas from the buffet, soup, pizza, panna cotta, tiramisu, and mousse. It was a big dessert night.
In any case, I was so touched by all the good vibes from the villagers today. Here, of all places, halfway around the world, no email, no cell phones, different skin colors and different languages, I felt a real bond of kinship with these people through a shared appreciation of ball games and the sheer joy of checking each other out.
Sayataji The reason we drove out to Pweybaji was to visit the meditation center of a teacher named Sayataji. Sayataji is the teacher who opened the door for Vipassana to spread throughout society by teaching non-monks—simple farmers, laborers, professionals, and housewives. It was because of his determination to learn the technique in the first place that it has become available to us common people.
Sayataji was a farmer who lived here in Pweybaji village with his wife and two children from 1873-1945. When his daughter died in his arms of cholera he was devastated and resolved to find a way out of the suffering of life. He left Pweybaji and started an intensive practice of Vipassana. After several years he returned but when he saw his daughter’s name inscribed on a memorial stone he burst into tears again and realized he had more work to do. He kept practicing. Eventually he purified his mind of all its pains, finding a deep and lasting happiness. He began to teach, establishing the meditation center we visited today. His wife joined him in the practice. And naturally, the students that came to him were other farmers and laypeople. Vipassana began to spread throughout society.
Sayataji’s meditation center is no longer active but I was able to sit in his cell where he spent many long hours meditating. I wish I could have had some sort of transcendental experience here but as it turned out I felt like I was being crushed by an invisible two ton weight and I got bit by a mosquito. That’s the way meditation works sometimes.
Back at the hotel: I’m embarrassed whenever I get in the elevator now. Marika pointed out that there’s a small security camera mounted in the crook of the wall and the ceiling. I have been shadowboxing on my trips up and down. The Burmese security guys must have been having a good laugh watching me punch the air and make sound effects in the mirror. Unbelievably my credit card’s no good here. I was able to charge my hotel costs but that’s it. The rest of the country only accepts cash. I’m actually going to have to scrimp now to get by. On top of that the largest bill is only 1000 Kyats or roughly one dollar. You have to walk around with a huge wad in your pocket just to go out for the evening. Luckily things are pretty cheap. To hire a taxi for an hour is about six bucks. The metal kid from last night is going to come over now and bring a “famous” Burmese singer, Tiger, who covered “Hash Pipe”. He showed me Tiger’s video. Tiger was singing “Hash Pipe” in Burmese. It was hilarious.
By the way Burmese is the language they speak in Myanmar. The kid’s also bringing some music journalists who want to interview me. I bet they’re pretty surprised to have an American rock star suddenly appear in their country for no apparent reason, especially seeing as how they have no email, cell phone service, charge cards, or anything larger than a one-dollar bill. Not exactly the usual trappings to attract rock stars.
I’ll be happy to talk to these guys, though. They probably have no idea of the particular importance of their country in the history of the Buddha’s teaching. They’re probably going to be like “What? So have you met Rod Stewart?” I’m estimating, though, that about a million people around the world have learned Vipassana in the last thirty years and interest in the technique is only growing. All of this is possible only because of the long line of Myanmar teachers, like Sayataji, who kept the technique alive over the millennia.
U Ba Khin After Sayataji, the next teacher to continue the tradition was one of Sayataji’s protégés, a man named U Ba Khin. U Ba Khin took Sayataji’s efforts one step further and taught Vipassana not only to Burmese laypeople but also to laypeople of other religions and backgrounds that were in Burma.
Born in 1899, U Ba Khin started out as a lowly clerk in the Accountant General of Burma’s office. He happened to hear about Vipassana meditation and was inexplicably drawn to try the technique at Sayataji’s center. He advanced rapidly and eventually was urged to teach. He decided to teach the government employees right there in his office. He got permission to give courses there once a month. Over some time, it became clear that the corruption and inefficiency rampant at that time had been cleared up. Moreover, U Ba Khin found his own capacity to work increased dramatically. He was promoted again and again until eventually held four important government posts at once, including that of Accountant General. He became convinced that Vipassana could benefit laypeople all around the world like this, regardless of profession, nationality, or religion. He stripped the teaching bare of whatever “Buddhist” trappings had accreted over the millennia and stress the non-sectarian, scientific nature of the practice. He established a proper meditation center here in Yangon and invited foreigners and people of all religions to come and learn.
We went to U Ba Khin’s center the other day and looked into Mr. Goenka’s cell but I didn’t try it out. I had one of those “I’m not worthy” moments.
We ended up attending a party and concert for the upper crust here at my hotel last night. All the top celebrities, fashion models, singers, actors, and actresses in Myanmar were in the house.
They have the funniest way of partying here. In between songs no one claps. It’s dead quiet.
I clapped, though. Clap-clap . . . clap.
Eventually some other people joined in but it was pretty pathetic. I felt so bad for the performers. It reminded me of going to strip shows in Bangkok in 1997 (my relatively “wild” days.) The girls on stage took their clothes off and shuffled their feet back and forth with vacant gazes on their faces. They made no attempt to appear “sexy”. This struck me as such a contrast to Western strip shows in which the women bump, grind, and try to make you think they’re having orgasms just because you and three other scummy guys are watching them.
Thailand and Myanmar both are Buddhist countries. I wonder if that has something to do with the relative dispassion. In the Buddha’s teaching, sexuality isn’t repressed or given free license. It’s simply observed in meditation. It never has a chance to build up and come out in exaggerated and lascivious ways. The meditator breaks free from the pangs of libido and achieves a deep and lasting calm. That’s how it seemed last night. Everyone just seemed kind of peaced out. There was no energy or tension driving everyone to clap, dance, go wild, or take their clothes off and jump in the pool like we do in the West.
The crazy thing is I think they were having a really good time.
Last night I jammed with Tiger and his band. We played “Hash Pipe”, “Island In The Sun”, and “Beverly Hills” at their request. His parents, sister, and friends all crowded into the control room of his garage studio to watch us play. The sound was horrendous but everyone seemed really happy to hear it.
After the jam we went to a restaurant/bar and had dinner. Tiger signed an autograph for one of his fans. There were lots of pretty girls but it didn’t seem appropriate for a foreign man like me to approach them so I kept to myself. Of course, I’ve been making excuses like that since I was five years old.
What am I talking about anyway? I’m supposed to be on the threshold of engagement. I haven’t been able to talk to Kyoko recently because of the phone situation here. I had a few brief conversations with her via the rapacious hotel phone. I’m going to see her in forty-eight hours.
I just went into the men’s room by the Chinese restaurant downstairs. I saw a beautiful Burmese woman standing in there in a traditional dress with long flowing hair and make-up.
At first I was shocked to see a woman in the men’s room but I figured there must be some kind of local custom to explain the situation. I went over to the urinal and started peeing.
Just as I was finishing up, the woman walked over next to me, leaned in, and looked directly at my privates. “Hello!”
It was at about this moment that it occurred to me that this might not actually be a woman. I went over to wash my hands. The “woman” followed me.
“What’s your name?” she said. I turned towards her to answer but reached back with my left hand for the door.
“uhhh . . . Rivers”
She suddenly grabbed me between the legs. I opened the door and jumped out of the bathroom. She held the door open behind me.
“Where are you going?” “ . . . the restaurant.”
“Come back . . . Please!” I kept my head down and continued walking. In our particular tradition of meditation it is recommended that a person either stay celibate or commit to one partner for life. A circumscribed sex life is believed to calm the mind and assist in meditation. That is why I became celibate in the first place and that is the reason I started looking for a wife.
I never expected my celibacy to be tested by a person of undetermined gender in the men’s room next to a Chinese restaurant in Myanmar
S.N. Goenka It turns out I won’t be going to Mandalay. I can’t buy a plane ticket there because I don’t have a hundred-and-eighty one-dollar bills. I wanted to go to Mandalay because that’s where my teacher, Mr. Goenka, was born. I wanted to learn more about his origins.
Mr. Goenka is the last in our story of the line of teachers who kept Vipassana going since the time of the Buddha. He is the teacher who actually brought the technique all around the world, from its second home in Myanmar back to India, to Europe, and to the Americas, realizing U Ba Khin’s vision of a global dissemination. Today there are approximately eighty Vipassana centers around the world.
Mr. Goenka was a young, rich and powerful Hindu industrialist in Myanmar in the early 1950’s. His life was apparently fantastic in every respect except that he suffered from severe migraine headaches. At a friend’s recommendation he went to U Ba Khin’s center in Yangon and took the ten-day Vipassana course. His migraines quickly went away but he also fell in love with the practice, believing that he had found a path to real happiness. Here was a technique for helping him achieve the bliss that was described in the Hindu scriptures he had read growing up but never shown how to attain. As a non-Buddhist, Mr. Goenka was ideally suited to take this technique back to the country of its origin, India, and too the rest of the world. U Ba Khin urged him to go When Mr. Goenka started teaching in 1969, not only Hindus came, but Muslims, Jews, Jains, Christians, and a new group of spiritual seekers from the west, the Hippies. Mr. Goenka taught all of these groups and after 2500 years the Buddha’s technique was once again freed from all religious dogma and available to all who wanted to come out of their suffering. Since the late 1970’s, Mr. Goenka has traveled all around the world teaching this technique.
It was from Mr. Goenka that I took my first Vipassana course, in a facility near Joshua Tree state park in Southern California in 2003. My aim at the time was to kick-start my musical creativity which, I believed, had become mired in fear and self-doubt. Has the meditation been effective? I’ll leave that to each listener to decide for him or herself, but I certainly worry about things a lot less.
I’m in Yangon International Airport soon to leave for Tokyo. The taxi driver on the way here asked me where I was from. “California.” “Ahh, Los Angeles. You look like Harry Potter.” “Uhh . . . yeah.” “A joking, sir.” I started singing “Ooo-wee-ooo, I look just like Harry Potter” in my head. I have a bittersweet feeling leaving here. So many beautiful experiences—the kids in Pweybaji village and the laughs and good times with John, Marika, Thao, and Lan. So many missed opportunities—not talking to all the pretty girls that smiled at me and not getting to meet Mr. Goenka. It’s on to my next destination now, Japan, home of Kyoko and site of the next Weezer tour. I’m sure the coming weeks will bring nothing but more bittersweetness. I’ll keep doing my daily sittings and bringing myself back to a place of relative calm and contentment. I’ll keep facing the storms that are bound to come up from my unconscious mind—the sadness, the fear, the anger, the craving. And I’ll look forward to being released from these negativities, slowly, slowly, just as the Buddha taught 2500 years ago.
My gratitude goes out to Siddatha Gotama for discovering this technique, to Sayataji for opening this technique to laypeople, to U Ba Khin for opening it to people of different religions and nationalities, and to Mr. Goenka for bringing it all around the world, to anyone who wants it, to me.
One Month Later The Weezer tour in Japan was great. Kyoko and I got engaged. Furthermore, we learned that Mr. Goenka had mostly recovered, and we flew back to India together to meet with him. Here is the picture Kyoko took of Mr. Goenka and me:
As you can see, I was very happy to meet him. With that, I will conclude the story of my trip to India and Myanmar. Take care!
For more information about Vipassana meditation, please visit www.dhamma.org.