- Hardcover: 395 pages
- Publisher: Sounds True; 1 edition (January 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591796180
- ISBN-13: 978-1591796183
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body Hardcover – January 1, 2008
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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.
Top customer reviews
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His basic premise at the beginning of the book is very important: that many long time practitioners reach an impasse in the meditation. That is, after decades of meditation, many practitioners have not attained full realization. Ray shows us why in a stunning discovery that when we find "our very own body is nothing other than the trikaya, or three bodies of enlightenment, the three bodies of the Buddha", realization becomes entirely possible.
Ray says upfront that you can't really write about spirituality, as it tempts one into the very substitution of thinking for life itself that he is writing about. Nevertheless, his writing can clarify the mind and inspire the spirit to move in daily practice toward embodied awareness. And he describes for us the path of dethroning the ego including the "good news" of chaos and the necessity of falling apart - because ultimately the ego is "like a suit of armor that is way too small." He shows us the possibility of experiencing the vitality of life flowing through us in such a powerful way that we can feel we have found our true life beyond any preconception or idea.
I highly recommend this book and the author's website with its dozens of free talks and guided meditations.