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Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra Paperback – October 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306741
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Munindra’s view of the Buddhist path, his scholarship, and his insight all helped me go beyond my fears and self-doubt to pursue meditation practice wholeheartedly.”—Sharon Salzberg

“A kaleidoscopic view of one of the most influential figures in the spread of Buddhism in the West. Anagarika Munindra was one of a kind — wise, delightful, intriguing — and a fully human being.”—Daniel Goleman 

“Munindra was one of the most important teachers for Westerners in the establishment of Vipassana and mindfulness meditation. He was a warm, openhearted, scholar of immense learning, a pragmatic and truly compassionate teacher.”—Jack Kornfield

“Knaster skillfully weaves teachings and personal stories. This is a wonderful introduction to a teacher whose students are now household names: Sharon Salzberg, Daniel Goleman, Jack Kornfield.  This deeply felt, loving portrait of a modern Buddhist master will also inspire those on their own journeys.”—Tricycle

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
90%
4 star
7%
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See all 30 customer reviews
The book is impeccably researched, well written, heart-felt and wise.
Sharon Brain
I enjoyed this book so much I caught myself more than one time looking to see how many pages were in the book because I wanted it to never end.
matthew
Mirka Knaster does an excellent job of sharing the life and teachings of Munindra in a very accessible way.
Harmony

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Cathy Edgett on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was browsing the Four-Eyed Frog bookstore in Gualala, when I picked up "Living This Life Fully".

I was not familiar with Munindra, but intrigued, I purchased the book, and began reading immediately and then I could not stop.

The book is organized for ease, acceptance, cultivation and integration. The reader is softly changed as though in the presence of Munindra. I was reminded of the teachings of my long time teacher of Sensory Awareness, Charlotte Selver, when I read his words: "Whatever you are doing should be done mindfully, dynamically, with totality and completeness. Then it becomes meditation. It is not thinking, but experiencing from moment to moment, living from moment to moment, without clinging, without condemning, without judging."

This book is an experience of that. We meet Munindra, who is an example of what he says. I think of him now when I start to feel angry, when I sit in traffic, when I am sad. I ask myself, "What would Munindra do?" That brings me to peace, acceptance, joy.

The title is just right, "Living This Life Fully." We are given the experience and the tools.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mary Howard on November 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
What a gift this book is. Like the life of the beloved Vipassana (Insight) meditation teacher Anagarika Munindra, "Living This Life Fully" combines scholarship with meditation practice. Its unique format focuses each of the sixteen chapters on a different quality of the awakened mind and heart, and tells the story of how Munindra taught and embodied these qualities through the words of his students. In the process we learn about how to understand and practice these qualities ourselves: mindfulness, generosity, determination, compassion, wisdom, etc.

David Wong is quoted as saying of Munindra, "He made himself transparent. He pointed to the moon and I saw the moon; I did not see the finger." In the same way, author Mirka Knaster's prose is transparent, and Munindra shines through. A brief biography of Munindra by Robert Pryor presents the outline of his life in a spare but informative way, and each chapter fleshes out the depth, dedication, and lightness of this remarkable teacher. Munindra greatly influenced the spread of the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) in the West but is less known than many of his students because he did not publish books or start a Dharma center of his own. Now, by writing "Living This Life Fully," Mirka Knaster has answered the question that appeared in her mind while meditating in May 2004, shortly after his death: "Who is honoring Munindra-ji's life and legacy in the Dhamma?"
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Henry Coffey on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For everyone practicing in the Insight tradtion in the US, Mirka Knaster book about the life and teaching of Munindra is the first and only chance to read about one of the key root teachers that taught so many of the senior teachers that have introduced and shapped Buddhism in the US. Where did they learn all this? Mirka Knaster's book is a chance to read about one of the key root teachers that brought Buddhism to life for so many.

"Living This Life Fully" is the only written work on the life and teachings of this remarkable teacher.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Toinette Lippe on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
How sad that I never had the chance to meet Munindra in person. Reading Mirka Knaster's poignant and detailed portrait of his life and work, through the eyes and ears of so many of his students, I felt the same way as I did when I read about Dipa Ma, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and Urgyen Tulku Rinpoche. All four of these Buddhist teachers were living examples of what they taught.

I read the book as slowly as I could because it has so much to teach me. Here was a man who believed that if it was possible for the Buddha to become enlightened, it was possible for any of us. And he spent every moment in that endeavor--and succeeded. What an inspiration!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Brain on February 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the only book I took with me on a recent trip to Myanmar (Burma). It was a perfect choice. To be in that country and have Munindra as my companion throughout the journey was a constant delight. I left my well-read copy there for a Burmese friend who said he had long wanted to know more about this man. I'm certain the book will go through many hands and open many hearts there.
The book is impeccably researched, well written, heart-felt and wise. The many annecdotes bring the both Dhamma and this beloved teacher to life. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Seth Zuihō Segall on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mirka Knaster has done the Buddhist world a great service with her inspiring spiritual portrait of An'g'rika Munindra (1915-2003), the endearing, indefatigable Bengali Buddhist teacher who (along with Ajahn Chah, S.N. Goenka, Mah'si Say'daw, and Sayagi U Ba Khin) was key to the transmission of vipassan' to the West. Munindra had a profound influence on the first and second generation of American-born Buddhist teachers including Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Larry Rosenberg, Marcia Rose, Sharda Rogell, Kamala Masters, Ruth Denison, Sylvia Boorstein, Michael Liebenson Grady, Christopher Titmuss, James Baraz and Lama Surya Das, as well as on psychologists like Jack Engler and Daniel Goleman.

Ms. Knaster divides her book into chapters which examine how Munindra personified sixteen positive Buddhist mental factors (e.g., mindfulness, generosity, loving-kindness, compassion, determination, joy, equanimity) in the way he conducted his life and in his relationships with others. Ms. Knaster contacted close to two hundred sources who knew Munindra, and visited his family and the places where he had lived in order to gather the material for this volume. The result is a book that can stand alongside David Chadwick's Crooked Cucumber (a biography of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi) in both illuminating American Buddhist history and demonstrating what it means to live a life fully in accordance with the Dharma. Munindra, like Suzuki, never wrote his teachings down; they live on through the loving efforts of their students. The impetus for the book arose while Ms. Knaster was in the midst of meditating at the Forest Refuge in Barre, Massachusetts, and the question "Who is honoring Munindra-ji's life and legacy in the Dhamma?" arose spontaneously in her mind.
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