(The following message from Mr. S. N. Goenka was played for the participants of the Vipassana courses held at Tihar Prison in January,1994)
You have all assembled here to liberate yourselves, liberate yourselves from all bondages, all miseries. To be imprisoned in prison like this is a great agony. And to be liberated from prison is very fortunate. But besides the confinement within these four walls, there is a greater prison in which all of us suffer so much. This is the prison of our own negativities, our own mental defilements, which keep overpowering us.
We have become the slaves of our own anger, hatred, ill will, animosity; slaves of our defilements of craving, clinging, greed, passion, attachment, ego. Any defilement that arises in our minds overpowers us—makes us its prisoner so quickly! We start suffering immediately. This suffering is not limited to the area inside these prison walls. People inside this jail or outside this jail are all prisoners of their own habit patterns. They keep generating one negativity or the other, and they keep on suffering.
If we are relieved of these negativities, we start enjoying the true happiness of liberation. We start enjoying real peace, real harmony. When our minds are freed from impurities, the entire habit pattern of our life changes. A pure mind is naturally full of love and compassion, infinite love and compassion; full of joy, sympathetic joy; and full of equanimity, perfect equilibrium of mind. This is real happiness, real peace, real harmony.
The bondage of mental defilements is a universal bondage. And the happiness of liberation from these negativities is also universal. Whether one is a Hindu or Muslim, Jain or Buddhist, Christian or Jew, Sikh or Parsi–it makes no difference. Anyone who is imprisoned in the bondage of defilements is bound to suffer. And anyone who comes out of this bondage starts to enjoy peace and harmony.
The first day of the new year has brought you this wonderful technique of ancient India, the technique discovered by the Enlightened Ones. The technique is so scientific, so result-oriented, so non-sectarian. It brings you the message of liberation, the message of peace and harmony.
May all of you who participate in this camp work diligently, patiently and persistently, to come out of all your bondages, all your miseries. May a new era start in your lives. May Dhamma bring you full liberation. May you all enjoy real peace, real harmony.