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on January 27, 2006
"The Art of Living" is an excellent introduction to Vipassana meditation. Prepared by William Hart and based on the lectures and writings of S. N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin, it could easily be considered the textbook for Mr. Goenka's world-famous Vipassana courses.

Although Vipassana is primarily experiential, I consider the intellectual framework provided in this book as key to fully accepting the positive impact of the technique. As the saying goes, success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Here, in my opinion, are two key passages from the book:

"Every thought, every emotion, every mental action is accompanied by a corresponding sensation within the body. Therefore, by observing our physical sensations, we also observe our mind."

"We observe the sensation without reacting, neither liking it nor disliking it. It has no chance to develop into craving or aversion, into powerful emotion that can overwhelm us; it simply arises and passes away. The mind remains balanced and peaceful. We are happy now and we can anticipate happiness in the future, because we have not reacted."

You can access your mind through your body. By viewing and dissolving areas of blocked consciousness in our body we systematically de-condition our mind. The result is increased clarity, happiness, certainty and true self-expression. In a world not overly abundant in these qualities that's an excellent contribution to make. I have completed two 10-Day Vipassana courses as taught by Mr. Goenka and they were the most positive transforming experiences I've ever been a part of.

In The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle says that we can use our inner body as an anchor to the Now. I agree. The menu, however, is not the meal. If you really want to anchor yourself to the "now" I recommend "The Art of Living" and the 10-Day Vipassana course it points to.
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on January 24, 2016
I have read/listened to many books about Buddhism; however, I found this book to have the most straightforward and practical explanation of the theory, having a small amount of nonessential content. Although I had been practicing for years before finding this book, looking back now, this book marked a tipping point in my practice when theory shifted into direct-experience. The book has become one of my favorites, I have re-listened to it many times and gifted it to those curious about the practice. If you are interested in the Buddha's path, I sincerely encourage you to read or listen to this book and hope it helps you on your path to becoming a Buddha.
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on April 24, 2017
This is only for readers seriously interested in Vipassana. If you are, this ebook is like a present from Heaven.
It is non-sectarian. Though it is most likely that Buddhists will be intetested. The reading is easy to understand if you are already familiar with Buddhism and meditation. I am experiencing immediate relief of a lot of conflict and stress just from a couple if hours of study do far. If you are getting tired of sectarianism, comlicated formulas abd trying to believe things that make you feel sick (any religion) , you might want to check this out.
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on January 12, 2014
I utilize Vipassana as one of my primary spiritual practices, having sat and served a number of courses in Southern California. I do not do an hour in the morning and evening as recommended, but it has become very nicely integrated in my spiritual practice as well as my public life. I provide this level of detail to make it clear that I very much appreciate the Vipassana system as taught by SN Goenka, but I am far from one of the Vipassana sycophants who adhere to nothing but Vipassana.

While serving a course in December 2013, I came across this book in the library. It's shorter than most books in this category, and I have seldom gotten much of value reading about meditation, so I did not have very high expectations. The author does a very good job of composing a summary of Vipassana while staying very close to Goenka's method and style. I would not have been surprised if the book had been penned by Goenka himself, the author did that good of a job.

I would suspect this would be a great book for someone new to the Vipassana system. But the value for a regular practitioner is having a concise book that accurately describes a system that is somewhat mysterious to the outside world. Now we have something to hand to our bosses or our spouses or our best friends that can intelligently explain why we are drawn to this form of personal growth and discovery. Therefore, I would recommend this book to newbies and hard core sitters alike.
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on December 19, 2016
I am glad I selected this book, pure and simple. I got a great deal from the material, and I especially appreciated the questions and answers at the end of each section. The book explains the purpose of this form of meditation in a way that is simultaneously "no-nonsense" and deeply compassionate.
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on March 21, 2017
I bought the audio and have listened many times. Then I bought the book so I can highlight it. It has helped me understand why we should meditate, why we suffer and the cause of suffering. The lessons were easy to understand, very interesting and the reader has a good voice. Some audio books can become boring, my mind wanders and I never finish them. I highly recommended this book.
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on July 4, 2011
I actually read this book after taking the 10 day course. I was first introduced to this technique through the 10 day discourses on a CD that a monk gave to me; they are available to purchase online in mp3 format as well. The technique is incredibly practical, logical and showed immediate results in my daily life.

Where does this book come in? It explains a lot about the fundamentals of the technique, the reasons behind some of the peculiarities that make it different than many others, the difficulties one may encounter and what to do about them. I found the Q&A sections in the book to be wonderful; full of many questions I myself had, or that many people had asked me.

I found that this book made a strong case for logically explaining the reasoning behind this form of Vipassana and it's goal of destroying the negative habit patterns of the mind and ultimately reaching liberation from suffering (nirvana).

Nothing compares to taking a 10 Vipassana course at one of the hundreds of centers around the world and learning the technique first hand. I practiced on my own for hours daily for months before I took the course, but by taking the course I had progressed perhaps twice as much as those several months in just the first day of being there.

No amount of reading will ever give you the experiential knowledge required for eradicating the habit patterns of the mind which is what will really change one's life for the better. Reading is good for inspiration to practice, and hopefully this book will do that for one who hasn't taken the course, and if they have already taken a course, I know for myself, it can clear up several importation questions or confusions.

This book is not a 'How To' (which is what the course is [necessary] for), but rather an exposition of theory and explanations about the technique. It also goes over the core principles in Buddha's teachings, the Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eight Fold Path, Anapana-sati, Kayagata-sati, and Vipassana-Bhavana as well as some other key issues.
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on March 9, 2017
Okay book, interesting read I suppose (I like how it is broken down into the 10 days). But I'm not a fan of the method and his rambling. The short stories with each chapter are much more enjoyable than his teaching.

Would not give or recommend to a friend, many better books out there in my opinion.
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on March 13, 2013
I have practiced Vipassana since 1977-1978 when I was living with my first spiritual guru, Rajneesh, in Pune, India.....I took my first 10 day Vipassana course and because of my utter success in this first meditation attempt, Rajneesh sent me to Goenka-ji because 'Goenka is the best meditation teacher in the world', Rajneesh said......And I did seek out this Master, Goenka, and did study with him personally in meditation......I have now completed 26 ten-day silent Vipassana retreats, one 20 day silent retreat, and have applied for my first 30 day Vipassana retreat at North Fork, California ([...])....And this, THE ART OF LIVING, is the primer extraordinaire, text from Goenka himself....I read it over occasionally for additional insights (I always glean something new each time I read) and for beautiful inspiration to continue in Buddha's gift to all the world !!!! The gift of liberation through Vipassana meditation.....A truly inspirational volume, worth reading, re-reading, at any time.....Each read slightly course-corrects my meditation path, as well as inspires me to go deeper, quieter, saner: The stated purpose of Vipassana is to 'see things as they really are', and that it does, and this book, THE ART OF LIVING, will help you meditate to guide you there.........yogi, tucson desert, in early Spring 2913......
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on March 22, 2017
A great introduction to the practice of Vipassana Meditation, Dharma and living a liberated life. Good insights on how to live and evolve your meditation practice.
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