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

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,917 ratings  ·  163 reviews
A full-length study of the teaching of S. N. Goenka, prepared under his guidance and with his approval. Useful for meditators and non-meditators alike. This was the first book to appear in English that accurately describes the practice of Vipassana at length for the general reader. It includes stories by Goenkaji as well as answers to students’ questions that convey a vivi ...more
eBook Kindle, 178 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Pariyatti (first published 1987)
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 ·  1,917 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Greg Brooks-English
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
Apr 16, 2012 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lapis Lazuli
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carlton Davis
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sina Saberi
I recommend it to ANY living being ! it's a MUST!
Dec 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Phil Calandra
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Art of Living..." is the study of Vipassana Meditation which is the technique of exploring the subtle inner reality. The two primary exercises to this end is the focus on respiration and the observation of sensation. Both these exercises are designed to gain right awareness and to show the practitioner that there is no permanent "self" or "ego". The "self" is explained as a delusion that is formed by the combination of mental and physical processes that are in constant flux and movement. Th ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book is written by william hart who is very old student of vipassana learnt from s.n goenkaji.. so he added question-answer in between which is answered by goenka ji..i felt this question are those which will come in every vipassana student as he will practicing i felt very happy reading that main.. secondly the technique and with add on some good eg. of s.n goenka ji is well described in this book.still as said by goenkaji it is not something u can read and learn at first ...more
Eric Perreault
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid survey of fundamental Buddhist teachings in the context of Vipassana practice.

This book covers more ground regarding the theory and practical application of meditation proper than most primers on Buddhism. It covers proportionally less ground in top-down philosophy and metaphysics.

+ Sutra citations are in endnotes and translations are very clear, helping the text flow.
+ Sequence of ideas is logical for those without a background in dharma study.
+ Alternating philosophical prose with short
Teo 2050

Hart W (1987) (05:12) Art of Living, The - Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S. N. Goenka

Foreword by S. N. Goenka


– Story: Swimology

01. The Search
– Questions and Answers
– Story: To Walk on the Path

02. The Starting Point
– Matter
– Mind
– Questions and Answers
– Story: The Buddha and the Scientist

03. The Immediate Cause
– Kamma
– Three Types of Actions
– The Cause of Suffering
– Questions and Answers
– Story: Seed and Fruit

04. The Root of the Problem
– Suffering Defined
– Attachmen
Jimmy Longley
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed as part of my 100 books challenge:

Run-on Sentence Summary
A brief introduction to Vipassana meditation, and a guidebook for a popular 10 day retreat.

I’ve read a lot about meditation over the years, and practiced it daily off and on since college. At the beginning of my travels, I wasn’t able to join my friends Nate and Kyle in taking this famous 10 day course, and have been hoping to find a good opportunity ever since. When I found this litt
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
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super accessible explanation of vipassana as understood by Goenka/Sayagyi U Ba Khin, mostly in Goenkaji’s words. My only problems with this book are my same problems/questions/complications with this style of meditation overall, namely:

—> Anything outside heterosexual monogamy is classed as “sexual misconduct” under Precept 3
—> Under Precept 5 you’re supposed to abstain from all intoxicants...except those prescribed by a doctor. This doesn’t mesh well with my understanding of criminalizati
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ! :)
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book after I attended a 10-day silent retreat in India. I can strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand Vipassana better. William Hart goes through Goenkas 10-day course and provides indepth explanation of the technique so that one is left with a better understanding of vipassana afterwards.
I will probably reread this book again later this year just to keep everything afloat.
D.B. John
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece of concision, clarity, and profundity. Free of any mystical or esoteric claptrap.
Mel Rei
This material was organized for the benefit of people who are merely reading about meditation without necessarily having practiced it, in order to give an outline of the Vipassana method for those interested in practicing. It is not a do-it-yourself manual and I would not recommend it as literature, rather as a precursor to a 10-day course. The approach presented here is not for dabblers. Goenka's views are unyielding: "For years people may come to courses and have wonderful experiences in medit ...more
Mar 06, 2016 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
Sanford Chee
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Summary: We can obtain real happiness, have a peaceful and joyful life, remain serene, poised, calm and balanced at all time, achieve liberation from all sufferings by observing ourselves, which starts from observing the natural breath to prepare the faculty of calm and sharp mind, then observing the mind and matter from gross level to subtler level, observing sensation without reaction, then we can experience the truth of impermanence and stop the madness of attachment thus bring the end of suf ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book covers most of what's said during the evening discourses at Goenka-style 10-day meditation courses. If you haven't been through one of these courses, the book can serve as an introduction to the technique and to Buddhism in general. The writing is very direct and simple, while still getting to heart of the issues of Buddhism. The cost of the directness and simplicity, however, is that it skips over nuances of Buddhist theory and practice, and presents only one viewpoint as if it ...more
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
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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
“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.” 3 likes
“The only way to experience truth directly is to look within, to observe oneself. All our lives we have been accustomed to look outward. We have always been interested in what is happening outside, what others are doing. We have rarely, if ever, tried to examine ourselves, our own mental and physical structure, our own actions, our own reality. Therefore we remain unknown to ourselves. We do not realize how harmful this ignorance is, how much we remain the slaves of forces within ourselves of which we are unaware.” 1 likes
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