Meditation is intimately bound up with the religious context within which it was practiced for thousands of years. Things like rebirth, nagas, bodhisattvas, cosmology, etc are supernatural beliefs which are generally not believed by secular buddhists because they cannot be empirically substantiated. Goenka’s non-sectarian approach is progressive and was not shared by his mentor Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who was a Theravadan buddhist (like the vast majority of Burmese). But the idea of secular Buddhism and meditation was a radical and reformist viewpoint until very recently. The program which you attended in Hong Kong looks great, I personally do not know very much about Goenka or vipassana, although vipassana is generally understood to be a Buddhist practice from what I can see: vipassana movement. Although I haven’t read Goenka’s actual literature, it sounds like he has a good approach which many people from different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds can relate to.
I’m in. Only available on weekends.