ivipassana: network marketing spritiual scam :(

Daniel Johnson, modified 8 Years ago at 2/19/15 9:29 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/19/15 9:29 AM

ivipassana: network marketing spritiual scam :(

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
My friend just facebook messaged me after not talking for months. She said:
"I started this game thats started to change my life. Im only on level 8.
But its called vipassana. N i read ur status last night with the buddism
saying and i thought ud be interested"

So, I'm curious and ask her more. What kind of game? like a video game?
No, it's a real world immersive game with 200 challenges in the four quadrants of life (social, mental, financial, physical). It's called "Vipassana: The Art of Living"  - although Vipassana is supposedly a sanskrit word that is pronounced "vee-puh-sauna" 

So, it is a network marketing thing. For $100 a month, you get protein supplements and some vitamins (for the physical quandrant) and then you get access to the game with 200 videos describing each challenge, and also a community and forum to discuss with other people playing the game.

Now, I feel happy if this actually is helping my friend change her life. That's definitely good. And, I feel some sadness, knowing that her tender heart has been swept away by a network marketing group. I feel sad knowing that she is paying $100 a month for this, probably having been sold on some dream that she will soon be making thousands of dollars a month.

It is such an interesting concept and idea, as well. The idea that people can support each other through life-changing challenges and really become better people making the world a better place, while suppporting each other in community. How wonderful!

The truth is, I think I would probably be supportive of her, if it weren't for the fact that they just totally ripped off the name vipassana. I don't know what they were thinking?!! Like, some jackass just googled "spiritual stuff" and goenka came to the top of google, with the book called "Vipassana: The Art of Living" - and then they just said "oh, that sounds good... let's just completely plagiaraize that and name our company after that thing. Nobody could possibly find out, right?"

From the website:

This is a word of Sanskrit origin that means “to see things as they really are” or “to know oneself.”

Another way this word and its intent are translated is simple:

“The Art of Living.”

There is only one person who ever translated Vipassana to mean "The Art of Living" - and that is S.N. Goenka...
Poor Goenka, if he's somewhere above the clouds, he'll be shedding tears: "What kind of devotees I have?" Madness.

Anyway, thought you all might be interested.
(the above link is not my affiliate link, though probably I should sign up and then get all of you enrolled and make some bank of your spiritual asses. j/k)
bernd the broter, modified 8 Years ago at 2/19/15 11:23 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/19/15 11:23 AM

RE: ivipassana: network marketing spritiual scam :(

Posts: 376 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
Haha, this is awesome. It should go directly to the humor section.

Here are my favourite parts:

Vipassana has created the first completely personalized game that allows its players to infuse components of their actual life into the platform.

With Vipassana Onyx, your body will get the ideal formulation needed to fortify your muscles.

To be able to live a fast-paced life, you must provide your body with the complete nutrition that it needs. [...] Proprietary blend of 42 fruit and vegetable

In addition, we encourage each member to give back to their community by partnering up with nearby Vipassana members to truly make a difference in the lives of those around us.

We choose to offer our members the opportunity to be rewarded as they spread the Vipassana purpose, message, and experience.

(And Here's how to make money)

Also, I love level 6: 'Clean your room'. It sounds unbelievable that anyone would fall for that kind of scam. It's not exactly... convincing.

By the way, if some mod reads this: I suggest creating an own category 'Scam'. This isn't the first thing of this kind I've seen, and I imagine it's not the last one either.
CJMacie, modified 8 Years ago at 2/20/15 4:26 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/20/15 3:48 AM

RE: ivipassana: network marketing spritiual scam :(

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Thanks for pointing this out.

The art of living via entering the "industry of network marketing"? With a long audio of JFK's inagural speech in 1960?

And when you go to the youtube clips (sales pitches), the side-bar shows umptime other variants -- some, it appears, genuine Goenka followers; some just individuals doing a youtube self-promotion (one pronouncing it as "vipash-ana"
, as if "vee(stressed)-puh-sauna" weren't bad enough).

First CBS 60-minutes and Kabat-Zinn ... then Mindfulness magazine ... and here it goes viral, in terms of wannabes and scams of all sorts ... and this is likely just the beginning... 

So now, when one uses the word 'vipassana' in conversation with people, they will already be familar with the term, in some way, shape or form.

Makes one think about going and finding a real remote, secluded forest monastery somewhere... and let this all blow over...

Edit: "vipash-ana" is probably Sanskrit/Hindu pronunciation, would appear as a diacritical mark over an 's' to make it 'sh' -- apparently the official pronunciation in the Goenka school.)
CJMacie, modified 8 Years ago at 2/20/15 7:50 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/20/15 7:49 AM

RE: ivipassana: network marketing spritiual scam :(

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
It turns out, that the "Buddhist Sanskrit" word is "vipaśyanā" (according
to the PTS Dictionary), so that mark on the 's' makes it sound like 'sh'.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 8 Years ago at 2/21/15 2:05 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/21/15 2:05 AM

RE: ivipassana: network marketing spritiual scam :(

Posts: 3257 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yeah. Vipassana is the Pali term.