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Beyond the Breath: Extraordinary Mindfulness Through Whole-Body Vipassana Meditation Paperback – November 15, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Glickman is nothing if not practical, as his credentials suggest. The editor and publisher of Green Living, an environmental journal, and author of The Mindful Money Guide argues that sensation-based vipassana meditation as taught by revered Indian master S.N. Goenka is the most effective meditation method. Twenty years of meditation appear to have brought Glickman useful clarity: his meditation instructions will help beginners, his unpacking of the idea of Buddhist detachment is insightful and his correlation of new brain research results with ancient Buddhist wisdom is fresh and persuasive. When he moves beyond meditation and the insights of the four noble truths about reality, however, he overreaches. He discusses ethics, karma, nirvana as a nod to the whole complex way of seeing and being that Buddhism offers, yet here seems to be much more un-Buddhistically theoretical. His connections can be hard to grasp: Darwin's consonance with Buddhism is an intriguing idea that is under-explained, and the topic of addiction to pleasure is similarly underdeveloped. The biggest disappointment in the book, though, is the editing. Someone should have corrected the misspelling of Henepola Gunaratana's name in the bibliography as well as a dozen other distracting mistakes in text ("snacked very discretely," "severals times," "compliment and reinforce"). The book's strength is Glickman's nitty-gritty appreciation of the somatic experience of reality. The Buddha knew that suffering hurt. Glickman does well to emphasize the "mindbody" as the vehicle we humans have to drive to nirvana.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Marshall Glickman began meditating in 1982. He has worked as a financial consultant, writer and is the editor and publisher of the environmental journal Green Living. He is the author of The Mindful Money Guide and his articles have appeared in many publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. He lives in Williamsville, Vermont with his wife and two daughters.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 1 edition (November 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582900434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582900438
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By M. Bradley on December 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read several books by S.N. Geonka and his followers, but none really gave me insights into the actual technique. It is explained in detail here. I understood it,applied it in my practice and it has definitely given me new insights into this particular style of Vipassanna meditation. It was intense, a lot of emotions materialized and my sensitivity to bodily sensations is makedly increased. I've have been practicing "noting" as well as "just sitting" for a while. Both techniques have been effective also, but this Vipassana technique is more refined.

The book stated a strong case for practicing the precepts of Buddhism in addition to just meditation. The explanation and tie in to the laws of attraction and Kharma were very clear and well thought out.

Any one interested in Vipassana should try this book. Anyone interested in integrating meditation and Buddhism into their lives, but have yet to make the jump, should also try it.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Vipassana Meditation As Taught By S.N.Goinka is, indeed, a jewel. Unfortunately, because of the way his organization is structured, there are few sources of information or perspective on this meditation technique or on the experience of meditation apart from those written by S.N.Goinka himself or his teachers. "Beyond the Breath" by Marshall Glickman is a valuable addition to this too small body of literature.
In "Beyond the Breath" Marshall discusses Buddhism in general, Vipassana meditation in particular, and the scientific and biochemical underpinnings which make Vipassana meditation so effective. All of this in a simple and accessible style which both beginners and experienced meditators will read with enjoyment. Marshall points out some of the critical points concerning Vipassana mediation such as the fact that it is a gradual process; like "a dawn" rather then "a lightning bolt", that we must learn not to "confuse pleasure with happiness", and that the mind-body connection is such that it is possible to understand the term "mind" as including not only the brain and it's congnitive processes but also the body and it's physical sensations. He then goes on to explain how these and other abstract ideas from Buddhist philosophy and cosmology are realized in meditation practice and how such insights lead to a greater happiness.
I would, however, express reservations (or perhaps further stress similar assertions made by Marshall) concerning the practical and specific recommendations and meditation instructions contained in this book. I'm not certain that this form of Vipassana can be effectively learned by most people outside of a 10-day course. I would recommend reading these sections of the book as the particular opinions, perspectives and experiences of one meditator rather then as an instruction manual.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By j.travelle on December 31, 2010
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i've purchased this book at least 15 times in my life to give it away. You dont have to be Buddhist to read or benefit from the teachings and practice; most people who i gave it to were not.
If you want to understand the science behind meditation, if you want to enliven your practice, if you just want a little help with the day to day upsets in life and manage your emotions...READ THIS BOOK.
It's actually classified as a "Self Help" book, and thats the section you'll find it in at Barnes & Noble, and it truly is. Glickman nailed it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Theodore Kavanau on March 1, 2011
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Author Marshall Glickmn details the difficulties and discomforts (even suffering a
'traditional' clubbing from a Zen Master in the process) during the decades he spent
trying different Buddhist meditative techniques, looking for the most effective
method to transcend his ego. His excellent book about Vipassana Meditation,
"Beyond the Breath", (no clubbing in that technique) was the result of his search.
Glickman thinks Vipassana is likely closest to the style of meditation practiced
by the Buddha himself. The author takes us on a very intellectually accessable
tour of Buddhist and related Western philosophical thought, including showing how
modern science supports what the Buddha taught about people and the Universe
thousands of years ago. Buddha was searching for the source of human suffering and
a way to find relief from it. Glickman tells us what answers Buddha found and how
Vipassana Meditation can have a relieving effect on our own sufferings today.
"Beyond the Breath" is one of those books you regret having to put down.
I think you will very much enjoy reading it, and through it meeting a very erudite
and likable author.
Now that I have read his book, I have no excuse for not committing to practicing
the technique, though it may even take a little Zen clubbing to get me going.
From my reading, Marshall Glickman is very understanding about such very human
problems and his book includes lots of helpful advice about getting started.

Ted Kavanau
Founding President, CNN Headline News
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bruce on March 26, 2005
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"Beyond the Breath" is written by a fellow baby-boomer in a style and vernacular completely understandable to me. As such, Marshall Glickman fills a modern Buddhism explanation niche.

For example, the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, "LIFE IS SUFFERING" probably sounds completely dismal and off-putting to the average Westerner--a real hindrance to investigating Buddhism further. Most people would probably respond with, "Well, isn't life basically good? Isn't life what you make it?" The author, however, puts a subtle spin on the First Noble Truth which, in my opinion, makes Buddhism a lot more appealing. The author suggests that, "Something is always a bit off," or "Things are never just right."

He explains it this way. Pleasure and pain are nature's binary operating system which works in a nonverbal sensation-based way. Unfortunately, we confuse pleasure with happiness. Pleasure is addictive and we can easily get entranced by it making it our goal. The biochemistry of pleasure is the same as addiction. When pleasure dissipates it leaves us agitated and hungry for more. Unfortunately, trying to hold onto pleasure and keep pain at bay causes unhappiness because even the best of pleasures can't give us total satisfaction.

Marshall supports traditional Buddhist notions on materialism by citing a study that found that the pleasure we get from owning things hinges on one-upmanship, hardly a source of lastly fulfillment or happiness. There is also an interesting section on the psychological experiences of organ transplant recipients that dramatically demonstrates the body-mind connection.
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