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Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  31 reviews
How is it that a person can meditate for five, ten, twenty years or more--and hardly change? Because they've reduced it to "a mental gymnastic," explains Reggie Ray. In Touching Enlightenment, the esteemed author of five books on Buddhist history and practice guides readers back to the original approach of the Buddha: a systematic process that results in a profound awarene ...more
Kindle Edition, 417 pages
Published January 1st 2008 (first published December 31st 2007)
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Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dharma
"People have increasingly succeeded in creating an alternate reality: we spend our time in buildings--homes and workplaces--that shield and separate us from contact with the elements; we reside in cities, often at great remove from the natural world, that embody our collective human ideas and projectsl we often have little direct relation to our food sources; and mesmerized by the prospect of complete control over our lives, we regard even our bodies, as mentioned, as an object to be managed in ...more
David Guy
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been looking at this book for years but not buying it because I didn't see how there could be much to say on the subject. In the school of Zen in which I practice, we focus almost solely on the body. I'm really not interested in techniques, for this or any other kind of meditation. But Touching Enlightenment is not really about techniques (except in the last chapter) or about anything narrow at all; it's really vision of Buddhism in general, or spiritual practice in general. He says a numbe ...more
Signe Liisa
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I loved this book. Sometimes our culture treats meditation as an exercise in transcendence, which is really just a spiritual form of 'ignoring' and leads to further disembodiment and un-groundedness. This attitude gets nipped pretty quickly in this book which teaches us the benefits of deeply re-discovering 'being' our bodies instead of just 'having' them.
Sheila Evans
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally amazing to understand how disembodied we have become in our time. I loved reading the beginning chapters where Reggie outlines how this shift came about and the eventual affect it had on our psyche and emotional ways. Re-reading now and remembering the beauty and vastness of what dwells just below the surface moment by moment in all of us waiting to be acknowledged and joined from an open heart.

Thank you! again...Thank you, thank you Reggie!
Janne Asmala
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was very impressed by this book. The author speaks with a unique voice of body-based meditation using thoroughly modern and vocabulary based on apparent first-hand experience, while still having strong roots in tradition.
Rif A. Saurous
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Buddhist(ish?) book that starts from the to-me highly defensible premise that in our current culture, most of us are not well enough connected to our physical bodies and that this causes lots of problem. The book argues that even many frequent meditators (of which I guess I am one now) meditate in a "disembodied" way, and suggests various "somatic meditation" practices (in an appendix, the book is not mostly about the practice so much as why you should practice this way) to remedy this ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly nice. Scholarly, yet garnered with the writing ease of someone who has genuine practice abilities. Buddhism becomes negligible if it is just another head tool - it's power is only manifest in the eyes and arms of a practitioner. Ray is a Tibetan school teacher so I am more partial. But I would recommend it to any and all meditators.Rate it.
Sparrow Knight
Jul 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dharma
Altho' this is an interesting perspective on meditation practice & embodiment, the book is repetitive & boring. Even if it had been edited to half its length, I think it would still have been repetitive & boring. Ray just says the same thing over & over, chapter after chapter: sense into your body, become intimate with its way of knowing, value that. ...more
Stephanie Keil
Reginald, A. Ray, PhD
Touching Enlightenment
Three stars
This book held so much promise for me. The topic interested me, that you could find enlightenment through the body. The book begins as a secular Buddhist practice but then mention "energy" a few times. It is not clear, really, what the author means by "energy." Does he mean "energy" in the context of more New Age and religious Buddhist teachings of "energy" and rebirth? Or, and I hope, is he talking about the physics and reality of the en
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean-Paul Eberle
A fantastic resource on the salience of meditating with the body as the center of the process of personal evolution and unfurling. A must read, not only for the first time but over and over again. Reginald Ray is eloquent in his capacity to clearly depict how the modern world has become so disembodied and the devastating impact that has on the self, relationship with others and the natural world.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ray says some really interesting new things in a new way--clearly coming from his insight and practice. Yet I also felt him reinventing the Wheel of Dharma. Many of the same knowledges, understandings, and insights are available in a variety of other contexts. I wish Ray had acknowledged his debt of gratitude or there had been more of a sense of humility somehow. He is tremendously learned and insightful. Yet I've experienced these body practices within the Theravada context, my sister says she' ...more
teri Ciacchi
Oct 08, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite new resource by Reginald Ray. I already listen to his CD's to improve my understanding of Tibetan Tantra/Buddhism. I had the chance to see him at East West Books in AUgust. I am going on an embodiment retreat with him in Portland as part of my surgery recovery plan in Nov. I highly recommend him.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reggie is the spiritual teacher of Dharma Ocean, my sangha. He included body work to expand the practices taught by his teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and it was this somatic approach to Buddhist meditation that attracted me to work with him. This book explores and explains the somatic approach to meditation.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meditation, bodywork
Fascinating subject, my favourite topic, so I wanted very much to like it but too much theory and not enough practice. It might have been better if the practices chapter had been at the beginning, so you could try it out as you went through the rest.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It is unusual in the sense that it takes the Buddhist mind game straight to the body and changes how we see our ego...a much more realistic view and experience. Enjoy!
Boulder Book Store
Tuesday, February 19, 2008, at 7:30pm at the Boulder Book Store.
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dharma
Everything going on with me lately seems to pivot around what Reggie Ray is saying in this book.
Todd Mayville
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book; my full review is here:
May 07, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindfulness
reading this for our newly forming "book club" w/ my husband. hopefully we can connect over some great books while the kids are otherwise occupied.
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit gabby but some interesting nuggets ...
Mark Gelula
Jul 12, 2011 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
As a Buddhist and a reiki practitioner, I find this book and its focus on Tibetan yoga and somatic issues associated with meditation, fascinating.
Scott Rennie
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece, with the clearest explanations of Buddhist foundations from an embodied viewpoint that I have seen. A must read for any meditators!
Teri Pool
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book on spirituality, Buddhist teachings from a Western prospective, and somatic meditation.
Carolyn Young
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow...we actually have a body that is instrumental to our spiritual journey. I really liked the way he moves us out of the head.
Lindsay Campbell
birthday gift from paul.
Tattered Cover Book Store
signing at the store 9-4-08
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really a great perspective on reconnecting with your body.
3.5. Contains true wisdom but very very repetitive and meandering. Didn't do the exercises described at the end, but I intend to -- they seem worthwhile.
Kelly Anderson
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
360 pages of explanation detailing the validity of somatic meditation with me nodding in agreement and 24 pages of actual details explaining how to practice somatic meditation. This book is some sort of non-fiction mystery where we find out who-done-it [or how-to-do-it] right at the end.
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