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The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation: As Taught by S. N. Goenka

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  900 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
The Ancient Meditation Technique that Brings Real Peace of MindVipassand-bhavand, "the development of insight," embodies the essence of the teaching of the Buddha. As taught by S. N. Goenka, this path to self-awareness is extraordinary in its simplicity, its lack of dogma and, above all, its results. The Vipassana technique can be successfully applied by anyone.

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Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by HarperOne (first published 1987)
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Greg Brooks-English
Dec 28, 2008 Greg Brooks-English rated it it was amazing
This book is a review of the practice and theory that underpins the foundations of SN Goenka's famous 10-day meditation retreats. A former Hindu industrialist suffering from chronic migraine headaches sought treatment from all the world's best medical doctors and found no treatment. It was only after he did a Vipassana retreat that his headaches cleared up. This pure Buddhist teaching was preserved and kept in Mayanmar (Burma) and reintroduced to India and the world where it is one of the fastes ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Brendan rated it it was amazing
read this book, take a vipassana meditation course. it is honestly one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have on the planet that doesn't involve something illegal.
Apr 16, 2012 Tara is currently reading it
I attended the ten-day course in Onalaska, WA in May 2012.

We began "noble silence" on day zero, and left on day twelve.
For the ten days in-between, we observed the noble silence: no talking or looking at any other student. This is to help the student feel as thought they are in isolation, and to minimize distractions.
The meditation retreat was the best gift I ever gave myself.

The study of Vipassana meditation is non-religious, and can be applied by anyone regardless of religion. To be clear, it
Carlton Davis
Mar 18, 2014 Carlton Davis rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for a book to explain Vipassana Meditation and the core principles of Buddhism, this is the book to read. It is very clear and precise. Wonderful short stories are attached to the end of each chapter on the various aspects of the practice. My favorite is the story of the two rings: one set with a diamond and the other a simple silver ring inscribed "This will also change."
Lapis Lazuli
Oct 01, 2007 Lapis Lazuli rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book. I would recommend this book to anyone if...
- you're interested in developing inner peace and wisdom
- you're interested in meditation
- you're interested in the mind-body phenomena
Mar 31, 2016 Nishad rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent introduction to the wonderful technique of 'Vipassana' which is most secular, logical and scientific method of meditation I have ever came across.

Most of the texts, concepts and theories in the book are basically compilation of the 'Dhamma' discourses given at actual 10-day-retreat. However the writing style is simple, clear and concise enough to be understood by general readers. Accompanied with short stories and Q&A at the end of each chapters, it makes reading m
Sina Saberi
I recommend it to ANY living being ! it's a MUST!
Bharath Ramakrishnan
Apr 04, 2015 Bharath Ramakrishnan rated it really liked it
This is an honest book written in simple language explaining vipassana meditation techniques and key teachings of the Buddha. It is a good companion to have which can be read prior to attending a course and referring to the concepts at a later date. Though it does not discuss any meditation techniques for which the course has to be attended, it does cover background, concepts and benefits. It has a good Q&A with SN Goenka and simple stories to make the point.
Dec 22, 2008 William rated it it was amazing
I just finished a 10 day silent retreat with S.N.Goenka. It was absolutely amazing and I learned so much. This book is essentially that training. Don't know how much a person could get just by reading it. Afterwards, though, it is a great resource.
Jul 23, 2012 Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
This book is an excellent resource for those who have taken, or for those who are considering taking, a Vipassana course as taught by S. N. Goenka. Writing and reading are not permitted when you “sit” the meditation courses and so having some of the teachings, techniques and stories written down is beneficial. The author, William Hart, is obviously a masterful practitioner of this Vipassana practice and his writings follow closely what is presented during the courses.

If you are not a student an
About 2 years ago i attended a 10 day retreat (if u can call it that) 2 learn the technique. I'm pretty hyperactive so if i "survived" 10 days than anyone could do it.
I can't really describe what it was like. It was amazing but extremely hard. u can't speak 2 anyone, eat meat,cell phones, books, etc.
U r completely disconnected from the outside world but that the greatest advantage. once u give this a shot it gives u a lot. it's not a religion or a cult, hardly.
it's a way of life& i highly r
Alexander Rudnev
Jul 14, 2014 Alexander Rudnev rated it really liked it
Книга не описывает в полной мере техники випассаны, но достаточно полно излагает теорию на основе лекций Гоенки. Полезнее прочесть перед курсом, а не после.
Mar 06, 2016 Lav rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have heard a lot about Vipassana mediation which created a great interest in me to know more about it & luckily I stumbled upon this book at a friend 19s place. All my doubts about Vipassana are cleared & I am looking forward to join the course. This book is a must read for people who have heard a lot about Vipassana but are under great doubts like, if they should go for it & will they be able to do it. It also gives a very clear picture of this form of mediation to the readers. Yo ...more
Oct 20, 2010 Deb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
I can't get enough of this book! However, I'm reading it slowly because I end up reading, going back and re-reading and analyzing and then applying it to my own meditation practice. I'm finding it a wonderful gateway to traditional Buddhist Vipassana meditation. Highly recommend if you're curious about, or want to start, a meditation practice.
Sanford Chee
Jan 25, 2016 Sanford Chee rated it really liked it
This book is a good compilation of the dharma talks given by S.N. Goenka in his 10-day Vipassana course. Best to read this only after one has completed the Vipassana course rather than pre-empting it.

More important than reading about meditation is actually practicing it. Here's some links for information on Vipassana:

S.N. Goenka's lectures are also available on YouTube

Key message = a
Nov 28, 2013 Sebouh rated it really liked it
Read this book before I sit a 10 day vipassana course. It really helped me to have an idea of what I'm going to do and understand the philosophy I will be taught.. I recommend it to anyone who's interested in doing a Vipassana course or of course anyone who has done a course before!
Nov 27, 2011 Sparji rated it it was amazing
It comes closest to the best book that I have read till date on meditation and what it can do for you. I understand that perhaps one cannot get the technique right till one goes for the 10 day conclave but at least one knows the reasoning behind it and what it can lead to.
Apr 04, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it
i just finished this book. i recently finished the 10 day silent vipassana retreat in north fork, california, and it had a profound affect on me. i want to maintain the awareness i felt there.
Jul 01, 2014 Maxime rated it really liked it
Was doubtful about Vipassana but after reading and enjoying this book I feel now more in touch with it and definitely motivated to do a 10days courses as soon as I can ! :)
What intrigued me: This book was written from the teachings from S.N. Goenka who was referenced in Never Eat Alone, and seemed like a worthwhile starting point.

What I liked: The structure of the book worked for me, lesson - Q&A - story.

The Immediate Cause was my favorite chapter and very inspiring. It talked about a bunch of cliches that never made sense to me that all of a sudden clicked for me. The "real kamma" is mental action and I have been vary wary of sowing neem seeds since readin
Feb 12, 2016 Himanshu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For Understanding Vipassana, this is the most comprehensive work. Although written with the western audience in mind, it covers many parts of the stories told in a 10 day 10 discourse of Vipassana and follow it up with many Q n A that every Saadhak ( the students) has it at different point of time during the course. A must Read book and i would say one should re-read it to get more insights. I will advise to do a 10 days discourse of Vipassana before starting this book to get a much better under ...more
Miguel Ángel
Oct 22, 2013 Miguel Ángel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un exposición breve y muy bien estructurada del armazón teórico que explica la concepción budista de la realidad y del camino que propone hacia la liberación personal.

Cada capítulo consta de tres bloques:
(1) Una argumentación sobre el asunto a tratar en términos sencillos y accesibles.
(2) La transcripción de una conversación del autor con el maestro birmano S.N. Goenka que versa sobre aspectos prácticos del tema.
(3) Y un breve cuento cuya moraleja asienta la idea central de la enseñanza.

El li
Oct 01, 2013 Juergen rated it really liked it
Though nominally written by William Hart, the text is pure Goenka. This book is a great primer on the particular practice of Vipassana as passed on by Goenkaji (and through is teacher Sayagyi U Bha Khin). There's many references to the Buddha's teachings via quotes from a number of different suttas, and they get to the heart of some essential topics (e.g. the three characteristics, four noble truths, five khandas, Satipatthana sutta). If you've practiced and studied Buddhist teachings a little, ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-wellness
Read this book in preparation of the 10-day course at Shelburne Falls, MA. The book is very well written, and highly accessible for both beginners to advanced meditation practitioners. It mirrors the actual 10-day course with 10 chapters inclusive of the curriculum covered at the actual retreat. The book starts with the origin and ultimate goal of meditation (true happiness, liberation), to the actual technique and mindset of proper meditation practice. The author does a good job of building con ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Edy rated it liked it
My son is a yoga instructor. He had to read this book as part of his certification. My life is pretty hectic, to say the least. Because I'd heard that yoga is a way to de-stress, I decided to read it. I believe that if I put into practice those things that the book teaches, my life would be more manageable; however, I need more than just reading the book in order to do i.
Jul 06, 2014 Catfat rated it it was amazing
Pour moi pour qui l'idée de s'asseoir 3mn les yeux fermés sans rien faire est une torture psychologique très puissante, je dois avouer que ce livre m'a donné envie de m'y mettre. Je repousse la mise en pratique à "demain" mais quand même. Convaincant dirons-nous ! En mode "pari de Pascal", pas grand chose à perdre à essayer avec à la clef le bénéfice possible de l'Illumination, pas mal.
Mar 19, 2015 Silvia rated it it was amazing
A fundamental book on Vipassana meditation. Contains a combination of theory, practical application and Q&A. It is a great reference book especially for those who already took Vipassana. A great introduction for those who have not taken a course but would be much better appreciated after taking a course.
Sarah Volkening
Jan 09, 2016 Sarah Volkening rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent, well rounded book suitable for those who have already attended the 10 day course or those simply curious about vipassana meditation. The writing style is well composed and easy to follow with clear definitions of terms, concepts, and an overall emphasis n on the main points of vipassana. Highlights and stories from Goenka's lectures are also nicely placed between chapters.
Connie Poon
Mar 02, 2015 Connie Poon rated it it was amazing
This book offers a clear account of the roots of people's suffering from Buddhist perspective, along with how Vipasanna Meditation can lead to inner peace. The little stories in between chapters are inspiring and nicely illustrate some important points.
Andres Pratscher
Great introduction to Buddhism and meditation

It's easy to understand and graphs the idea of meditation and Buddhism.
I would recommend it to any beginner in meditation and Buddhism.
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William Hart is an editor, translator, writer and teacher. He studied English literature at McGill University, Montreal, and translation (French to English) at the University of Ottawa. Since 1990 he has worked in Ottawa as an independent editor-translator for various departments of the Canadian government.
One of the first assistant teachers appointed by S.N. Goenka, Mr. Hart continues to conduct
More about William Hart...

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“Whatever necessities you require, work to get them. If you fail to get something, then smile and try again in a different way. If you succeed, then enjoy what you get, but without attachment.” 1 likes
“Someone who remains satisfied with the superficial pleasures of life is ignorant of the agitation deep within the mind. He is under the illusion that he is a happy person, but his pleasures are not lasting, and the tensions generated in the unconscious keep increasing, to appear sooner or later at the conscious level of the mind. When they do, this so-called happy person becomes miserable. So why not start working here and now to avert that situation?” 0 likes
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