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

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  2,081 ratings  ·  176 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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Jul 30, 2011 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.
Greg Brooks-English
Dec 28, 2008 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 ...more
Apr 16, 2012 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
Lapis Lazuli
Oct 01, 2007 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
Carlton Davis
Mar 18, 2014 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."
Mar 10, 2016 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
Mar 28, 2015 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.
Sina Saberi
I recommend it to ANY living being ! it's a MUST!
Dec 22, 2008 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.
Phil Calandra
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"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. ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jimmy Longley
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 03, 2013 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
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2012 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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 28, 2013 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 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.
D.B. John
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece of concision, clarity, and profundity. Free of any mystical or esoteric claptrap.
Jul 01, 2014 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 ! :)
Mar 13, 2008 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.
David Aiken
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
He spoke only a few words, but those words contained the entire teaching: "In your seeing, there should be only seeing; in your hearing nothing but hearing; in your smelling, tasting, touching nothing but smelling, tasting, touching; in you cognizing, nothing but cognizing." When contact occurs through any of the six bases of sensory experience, there should be no valuation, no conditioned perception. Once perception starts evaluating any experience as good or bad, one sees the world in a ...more
Rafi  Shah
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly simple but powerful book which sounds true.
Loved it!
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is like the theoretical workbook behind The Matrix but without the digital stuff: Do as prescribed and you have taken the red pill - for your mind.
Mel Rei
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
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 ...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. ...more
Sanford Chee
Jan 18, 2016 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

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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
“And what causes these reactions? Observing at the deepest level of reality, he understood that reaction occurs because of ignorance. We are unaware of the fact that we react, and unaware of the real nature of what we react to. We are ignorant of the im-permanent, impersonal nature of our existence and ignorant that attachment to it brings nothing but suffering. Not knowing our real nature, we react blindly. Not even knowing that we have reacted, we persist in our blind reactions and allow them to intensify. Thus we become imprisoned in the habit of reacting, because of ignorance. This is how the Wheel of Suffering starts turning: If ignorance arises, reaction occurs; if reaction arises, consciousness occurs; if consciousness arises, mind-and-matter occur; if mind-and-matter arise, the six senses occur; if the six senses arise, contact occurs; if contact arises, sensation occurs; if sensation arises, craving and aversion occur; if craving and aversion arise, attachment occurs; if attachment arises, the process of becoming occurs; if the process of becoming arises, birth occurs; if birth arises, decay and death occur, together with sorrow, lamentation, physical and mental suffering, and tribulations. Thus arises this entire mass of suffering.” 1 likes
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