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Breath by Breath

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  494 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Freedom from suffering is not only possible, but the means for achieving it are completely within our grasp—literally as near to us as our own breath. This is the 2,500-year-old good news contained in the Anapanasati Sutra, the Buddha's own teaching on cultivating both tranquility and deep insight through the full awareness of breathing. In this book, Larry Rosenberg brin ...more
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published March 17th 1998 by Shambhala (first published 1998)
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Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far, the most helpful idea of this witty meditation book is his description of the mind.... it's like a dog chasing a plastic bone over and over. Our minds keep going after the same worries or different worries with the same, non-nutritive, repetitive result. Mediation is a way to quiet the wayward puppies of our mind for just a moment, and watch those fleeting worries pass by, unchased, with the same result.

Thankfully, he says it a lot better. It is a very enjoyable book.
This is mostly an analysis of the Anapanasati Sutra by a local teacher from the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. It's clear, readable and interesting. He does pepper it a bit with personal stories - I had to laugh at the one about a 3 month meditation retreat in Thailand that culminated in a week without sleeping. It made me think that some people will turn just about anything into an extreme sport. His chapter on daily practice for laypeople was more useful and I did like the book. (April 2 ...more
Mark Robison
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply the best book I’ve come across on breath meditation. It really gets into the nitty-gritty questions that Westerners have with “just” sitting there. He sprinkles in anecdotes from his experiences that keep the narrative moving; these are generally enlightening and often funny, as when he’s bitten by a mosquito during a meditation session where the participants aren’t allowed to move lest a monk beat them with the “stick of compassion.” And then there’s a chapter about how to incorporate ev ...more
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not too many new ideas here. I was hoping for more exercises, instead this is filled mostly with advice on how to approach meditating that is repeated in most Buddhist books.
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely adored this book and will be reading everything I can get my hands on by Larry Rosenberg. I enjoyed that he comes from a background like mine (highly intellectual, academic, secular); I felt that helped him speak about Buddhist practices in language that felt more natural to me than many other books, even ones I've liked.

Breath by Breath is a commentary on the Anapanasati sutra: the sutra I studies with my meditation group on breathing. Rosenberg helped my understanding of Vipassana
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in conjunction with The Meditative Path and these two books really complimented each other. This book follows the Anapanasati Sutra. The author has wonderful quotes scattered throughout. For example, "Most of the time that people get discouraged with practice, they do it to themselves. They've heard time and time again that the practice is being nobody and going nowhere, then they sit down and try to be somebody getting somewhere." The author does a good job of explaining the origin of ...more
David  Krancher
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you are lucky enough to attend one of Larry's talks on Insight meditation or not, this is a fine book. He translates the deepest concepts of meditation and Buddhism into today's language and brings dharma practice into the 21st Century. I've heard many of his talks yet still learned a lot from this book. If you have any difficulty understanding the concepts of Buddhism, Larry can make them clear. I reccommend this book.
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the first books that I read on meditation and it really extra-super helped me out. It's not so much of a technique book, but it does give a framework for understanding the kinds of experiences that this sort of meditation provides -- a what-to-look-for sort of situation/dealie/thing.

I definitely recommend it if you're looking to surf the Vipassana wave.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most impactful books I've read on my Buddhist path, Rosenberg brings personal stories to the ancient text and makes it relevant to modern life. I return to it again and again. I have it in both paper and digital versions so I have ready access to it wherever I am.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
oh so great! i recommend this book to any and everyone. it will make you so aware of self... well as much as a book can... that you'll be ready to do a vipassana retreat right then. which i haven't done, by the way.
Sirpa Grierson
"One trains oneself. . . " For anyone who really is attempting to learn mindfulness, this is a must read. Its one that I will return to time and time again as my meditation practice becomes an increasingly practical art.
Chris Bush
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a clear, straightforward guide to meditation to develop insight and to work towards enlightenment. Rosenberg stress a path aht is practical and grounded in living everyday life.
Mary Mcrobbie
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
Recommend this book to practitioners who desire to learn the benefits of living in the present moment. It is a wonderful guide to following the breath and finding inner peace.

The books speaks to me in different ways each time I read it. I will re-read this book forever.
Tanya Hakala
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another one that I wish there was a 10 star rating system (or half stars). I give it 4.5 starts with the caveat that it takes a lot to get me to give 5 stars.

This book is a great companion as you start exploring the Anapanasati Sutta.
If you read only one book on mindfulness meditation, read this one. I can't recommend it too highly.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good beginners guide to listening to your body and finding inner-peace.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Clearly and gently guides one to how to practice Buddhist meditation, with principles behind the practice.
Nov 12, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

Until I get my breathing issues solved, I can't bring myself to pick up this book, as much as I was enjoying it.
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable introduction to insight meditation
Sidney Luckett
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent down-to-earth wisdom from the buddhist tradition
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
read this book within a sangha and it was exceptional to break it down and put it into practice - I come back to it time and again in all it's highlighted and dog eared glory!
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first book on Buddhism/meditation and turned out to be the best one by far. I wasn't into Thich Nhat Hanh or any of the other eastern authors. This guy's American.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've probably read this at least 2x before, but suddenly this sutra seemed to unlock all kinds of mysteries for me - it's all about the breath....
rated it it was amazing
Aug 11, 2016
Travis Mann
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Oct 15, 2017
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Ruth Monterola
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Apr 03, 2015
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Lawrence Stadulis
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Nov 21, 2014
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“The cultivation of mindfulness is ultimately a matter of life and death, not in a scary way, but in the sense that we are always at risk, in every moment, for missing what is deepest and richest in our lives, the texture of the tapestry itself. We might say (every pun intended) that the richness lies right beneath our noses in any and every moment.” 1 likes
“No two breaths are the same; no two moments are the same. Each one is our life. Each one is infinitely deep and complete in itself. The challenge here is to embody and live this awareness, to work with the automatic habits of mind that would turn us into automatons and betray our genius, to walk our own path, as Larry is continually encouraging the reader to do, to find our own way, breath by breath, to taste silence and discover liberation within each and any breath.” 1 likes
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