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

4.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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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

About the Author

Joseph Goldstein is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the resident guiding teachers. He is the author of "The Experience of Insight" and "Insight Meditation" and has coauthored books with both Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield. He has studied and practiced meditation since 1967 under the guidance of eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. He lectures and leads retreats around the world.
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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 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not only does this book do justice to a comprehensive biography of Munindra, it is also a high-quality scholarly endeavor packed with text: excellently researched, composed, and edited. It is a pleasure to read, and maintains a neutral voice (rather than the disciple-sounding narrative that can often be found in spiritual teacher biographies...). Incoporating numerous quotes from Munindra's western students, the reader is introduced to Munindra's character and presence in a way that gives meaning and nuance to the facts of the man.

Anagarika Munindra was a good friend of SN Goenka (Munindra spearheaded the constuction of Dhamma Giri, and it was his favorite place to meditate), and was Dipa Ma's main teacher(and thus a pivotal supporter of the feminine-buddha that flowed through her to shed light on the unconscious sexism/paternalism of the Theravada). Munindra, unlike many of the eastern yogis whose natural presence was/is one of super-projection and formidable presence (esp to western psyches), was a master of self-effacement and subtlety. Slight of build, and sweet-humored, his organizing compass was compassion and service, even though he was a master of the extremely fierce adhittana sitting practice and long solitary retreats, and thoroughly understood siddhis (he guided Dipa Ma's journey through them and onto much more).

Mirka Knaster's recently published book on this vipassana master is a solid contribution. This text is clearly a masterpiece on the part of Ms. Knaster, and we are fortunate to have it inform the roots of vipassana in the West so that it may flourish in wisdom.
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