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Swallowing the River Ganges : A Practice Guide to the Path of Purification Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861711785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861711789
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Trauma can be a catalyst for change. The Buddha saw the trauma of dissatisfaction everywhere and so put together the most powerful recipe for life transformation ever. This is according to Matthew Flickstein, who should know: once a successful Ph.D. psychotherapist, he is now a Buddhist monk and meditation teacher. Accustomed to creating personal development workshops, Flickstein created a book that is like a workshop manual. Swallowing the River Ganges is a plan for living the Buddhist way. Combining the teachings of two Buddhist classics, Flickstein reveals a step-by-step path that culminates in living the enlightened life. First come the moral precepts that help you take up a right livelihood, including a smart approach to the material things. Then, of course, comes meditation, with all the training basics. Formal meditation leads to mindfulness in daily life. And after that come higher levels of mindfulness, knowledge, and insight. Flickstein's years of experience are obvious in the way he beaks down intricate levels of practice into clear descriptions, never leaving out possible downsides or roadblocks. Honest, succinct, and practical, Swallowing the River Ganges is a perfect how-to book for transforming life along the Buddhist path. --Brian Bruya

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Customer Reviews

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So don't make the mistake I made and buy both books!
On the Path
Clear insightful and pragmatic a Dharma treasure, an important reference for Buddhist practice that should be in any practitioners library.
Cliff Wallshein
This book offers the reader gentle and illuminating guidance to the Path of Purification.
marion russo-lleras

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
When someone has lived something it shows. There is a simplicity and a clarity that comes through in the most ordinary and yet remarkable way. In his Latest work, Swallowing the River Ganges: A Practice Guide to the Path of Purification, Matthew Flickstein has brought into clear and approachable focus the Seven Stages of Purification delineated some nine centuries after the time of the Buddha by that wonderful tome, the Visuddhimagga. Years ago, a meditation teacher suggested that I read this dense and difficult book. I ordered it and literally waited months for its arrival--it was sent on a slow boat from Sri Lanka. When it came, I enthusiastically settled down to read with an ardor that was soon cooled by the difficulty of unearthing the practice truths that I sensed lay at the bottom of this dense volume of lists and dire comparisons like some buried treasure waiting to be uncovered. My mind simply did not have the archeological patience and discernment to pare through the soil of this text and uncover the gems that awaited me there. One of the most profound truths of spiritual practice lies in the living of it--to wear it day by day and soften it into a comfortable fit. When someone has done that an intense and yet unassuming clarity begins to flow from them. It doesn't call a lot of attention to itself and yet is present as a beacon of light for others to follow. There is also a quality of generosity that requires that all truth, all light, all understanding be immediately and completely given away to all who seek it. That is the quality of mind and heart that has gone into this quiet and simple and yet profound practice guide to the Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purification.Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Path of Purification is the most comprehensive meditation guide of the Theravada tradition. It is, however, quite complex, and it can be difficult to find the information you need to devlop a meditation practice. While everyone who is interested in this meditation tradition should eventually get around to reading the original, this book can help you start a meditation practice immediately. The author has done a wonderful job of separating out the material that pertains to modern meditators. This book may be even more meaningful to people who already have some experience with meditation and Buddhism. It is interesting to find how appropriate a 1700 year old plan for meditation can be :)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gregory V. Richardson on January 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book which condenses and puts into clear English the complex and ancient textbook of Buddhism known as the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) which was written in the 5th century common era. Swallowing the River Ganges provides an explanation of beginning practices all the way up to the work of those nearing enlightment. In particular this is a clear rendering of the sort of knowledges needed for progress on the spiritual path from a Buddhist perspective. There is no other book quite like this.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sean Hoade VINE VOICE on May 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Confused or adrift in your practice? Maybe reading a lot and putting off actually getting on that cushion you ordered? Well, read this book (and Ayya Khema's *Visible Here and Now*) and you will be confused, lost, or procrastinating no more. Brilliant insight shined right where you need it. GET THIS BOOK!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Swing King on February 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a cloudless and exceedingly matter-of-fact atlas for anybody who involves themselves with meditation practice. This book is truly a practice guide, as the title suggests. Although I would without hesitation recommend this book to beginner's, it's honestly more for those of us more familiar with meditative practices.
The author, Matthew Flickenstein, takes aim at what most of us commonly call vipassana (insight) meditation. He gives a pretty surprising investigation into both it's benefits, and what sometimes can lead to actual drawbacks. The purpose of insight meditation, he points out, is to simply see things as they really are. Reality as it is. In order for that to happen, we need to not discriminate what we are aware of, we must be truly be aware of all that arises, without grasping or even resisting any of our experiences. But whenever we move our concentration in a specific direction, such as the breath, we are subtly forming a purpose and we are no longer communicating "no preference" in our awareness of what we are experiencing.
This book goes into much more specific detail about the benefits and drawbacks of certain styles of practice, something I could never summarize in the confines of such a review. Matthew Flickenstein presents us with a most intriguing body of work here, a priceless companion on our road of discovery and introspection. So what are you waiting for? Buy it!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Finally, a Dharma text that avoids the unnecessary mystical, vague, and ambiguous writing notorious in much of Buddhist literature without devaluating the inherent mystical, vague, and ambiguous nature of Buddhism. Bravo, Mr. Flickstein!
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