Satya Narayan Goenka, global Acharya of Vipassana meditation, passed away peacefully at the age of 90 years at his residence in Mumbai on September 29, 2013. Acharya Goenkaji was a teacher of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of the late Saya Gyi U Ba Khin of Burma (Myanmar).
Erik Braun , the author of The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw, and a teacher of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, writes in his blog :
“Goenka came from a family of Indian extraction, but was born in 1924 in British Burma, a Theravada Buddhist culture. Seeking a cure for his debilitating migraines, Goenka consulted the lay meditation teacher U Ba Khin at his International Meditation Center (IMC) in Rangoon in 1956. While U Ba Khin refused to teach meditation for the purpose of curing headaches, the teacher’s demeanor nonetheless impressed Goenka. “I said to myself, ‘Look, this is another religion, Buddhism. And these people are atheists, they don’t believe in God or in the existence of a soul! If I become an atheist, then what will happen to me? Oh no, I had better die in my own religion. I will never go near them.” Still, he sensed an atmosphere of peace at the IMC that he wanted for himself. Eventually, he overcame his initial concerns and undertook a retreat.