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Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body Hardcover – January 1, 2008


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Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body + Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism (World of Tibetan Buddhism, Vol. 1) + Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet (World of Tibetan Buddhism, Vol. 2)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Sounds True; 1 edition (January 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591796180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591796183
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ray, a student of Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, has written several other books and very evidently knows a great deal about meditation and the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as passed down by his unconventional guru. This book about the ultimate nonconceptual wisdom—what we can know in our bodies —is, paradoxically, highly conceptual and very slow going. The prose is labored (a clear and accurate conceptual understanding of the subtle processes involved is necessary so we have the apparatus to receive, comprehend and give voice to our experience). Frequently, Buddhist teachers use concrete examples or real-life stories to illustrate difficult or subtle points. Ray shares one important anecdote from his own life, but more tales from his or his students' lives would help. The critique of Western overdependence on thinking is certainly familiar, so the author's starting point is not new. The visualization exercises he offers in the book's appendix are comparatively fresh. But these instructions are probably more effective heard than read, and Ray's publisher indeed offers an audio program of related meditation practices. This book could use hard editing and clearer, more concrete language and examples. (Jan.)
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About the Author

Reginald A. Ray, Ph.D. is one of the most innovative and experienced meditation teachers currently teaching in the West, drawing on thirty-eight years of study within the Tibetan tradition and many years of solitary and group retreat practice. He teaches within the dharma and meditation lineages of the great siddha Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. On the faculty of Naropa University since its beginning, he is the author of Indestructible Truth (Shambhala, 2002), Secret of the Vajra World (Shambhala, 2002), Buddhist Saints in India (Oxford University Press, 1999), In the Presence of Masters (Shambhala, 2004), and other books.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This is an easy to read book with a great layout.
Grey Wolf
I went to my book shelf and pulled down this book which had been sitting there for 8 months and began reading.
Kindle Customer
A must read, and must study for all serious meditators.
Alejandro Velasco S

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By B. Mathern on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Reginald Ray has written a beautiful book full of important thoughts on how our bodies are front and center to the spiritual path. I cannot recommend this book enough for the spiritual seeker. So much of our time is spent moving away from our bodies as a result of pain or some other trauma. But the running away is the last thing we need to do. Going deeper into the wisdom of our body is the call by Mr. Ray and one that I find important. Our bodies are the gate way to truth inside ourselves.
I think Ray's book is timely in that so many seekers are searching for a deepening into the presence they find in their meditation. Yet unfortunately the body is not involved for many teachers and practitioners. But that should be the beginning point not an add on.

In Ray's words:
"It is my belief that we modern people can arrive at the full embodiment that has always been a possibility for our species. The impact and the implications of such a recovery are nothing less than revolutionary. For to recover our original or primary body as our own involves experiencing the totality of oneself, without judgment; living with a directness that is not filtered or distorted by the thinking mind; rediscovering ourselves within the network of relations with others; coming to awareness again of the primordiality of the natural world as a subject; and, perhaps most surprising, beginning to sense and see what has been called the "unseen world," the "other world," the world of "others" who, while not flesh and blood, are nevertheless living presences around us and with us, to inspire, guide, and protect.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Teel VINE VOICE on August 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Reginald Ray's thoroughly researched book discusses the Buddha's teachings on attaining enlightenment through the body. This is an interesting angle and makes for a fascinating and useful book. The book has an academic tone, and feels very intellectual and analytical. The book resembles a dissertation that has been turned into a book (which isn't a bad thing, but does reflect on the overall tone of the book). Despite being a rigorous analysis of the body and enlightenment as it appears in Buddhist literature, the book contains many useful descriptions of hands on techniques. I suffer from chronic pain issues and found many of the techniques extremely helpful. I've often read about creating a shift in consciousness in relation to pain in the body - and I've never quite been able to grasp a "healthier" approach to physical pain. Touching Enlightenment is the first text to actually lead me to a different consciousness in regards to approaching physical pain. As a consequence, I feel a new level of relief and comfort in relation to my body and illness. Having these techniques, and the experience of practicing them, placed within the larger context of Buddhist theory was also helpful. Ray is strongest when discussing Buddhist literature, but is less successful when describing the emotional issues in his own life. That being said, this book is a welcome addition to the literature on Buddhist theory. People interested in yoga therapy and other healing modalities will also find Touching Enlightenment to be essential.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By P. Fabish on September 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I strongly echo the sentiments in Mr. Bucher's review. This is an important book. Mr. Ray appears to be a rare example of someone who is both a serious scholar and a deep practitioner. By the latter, I mean someone who is not just talking about the realization that is contemplated by Buddhist philosophy as an intellectual exercise, but who has experienced it personally through his practice. Anyone who has embarked on that path with any seriousness comes to realize that language and ideas, no matter how eloquent, can't change us in the ways described by the Buddha; only direct experience, unmediated by the conceptualization implied by language, can be transformative. The practices Mr. Ray discusses, derived from Tibbetan Yoga traditions, are a very direct path to this experiential wisdom. Ray seems also well positioned to speak to the particular needs of the modern person, including Westerners. His body-based approaches also, as eluded to by Mr. Bucher, seem especially appropriate for people who have experienced trauma. Although not discussed in the book, this is consistent with recent neuropsychological research, which is revealing the extent to which emotions and "unconscious" material are experienced and held throughout the nervous system, and hence, the body (see, e.g., the work of Allan Schore [[Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development; and Bessel Van Der Kolk Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society.Read more ›
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