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Meditation Now: Inner Peace through Inner Wisdom Paperback – Sep 1 2003
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Review“S. N. Goenka is another rising star in North America . . . [this book] is a good Goenka primer.” —Shambhala Sun
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Meditation Now by S.N. Goenka is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man. Many people write books on religion or meditation. Many write good books, deep books, important books; but few have that authoritative voice that comes of deep and authentic experience and complete confidence in their mission.
These "truth-bearers" may differ in their messages or viewpoints or outlooks, but one feels that what they are saying comes from an authentic inner revelation. So it is with Goenka in this and other books that I have read where one can hear his own voice, simple. direct and pragmatic.
Goenka's vision is based on the teachings of Siddharta Gotama, the Buddha, but despite Goenka's deep background in Buddhism, he doesn't speak to us as a Buddhist. In fact, he dislikes all sectarianism and tells us that he is a Dharma teacher, a teacher of Budda's way -- not a teacher of Buddhism. He says that the technique he wishes to introduce people to can be learned without becoming a Buddhist or renouncing any belief or religious affiliation they may already have. This technique is Vipassana meditation, which he identifies as the historical Buddha's original -- and most essential -- teaching.
Nevertheless, this book is not a guide to learning meditation at home from a book -- because Goenka feels that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to learn Vipassana in this way. It is, though, a collection of talks he has given (and a long interview as well) on meditation. If, however, you want to learn about the details of the technique he teaches, you would do well to read The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka by William Hart, his disciple (Harper & Row). Also The Discourse Summaries (Vipassana Research Publications) will tell you a lot in the respect, though it's not the best beginner's guide.
Goenka feels that only his totally free 10-day meditation course given in one of his many meditation centers around the world by assistant teachers that he has trained himself can really do the job. (There is no charge for the course itself or for the accommodations or meals provided, but a contribution is accepted, and perhaps encouraged, after by those who feel they have profited from the course.) I have not taken the course (though I would like to) so I will not comment on it. But I will quote from Hart: "This book [The Art of Living] is not a do-it-yourself manual for the practice of Vipassana meditation, and people who use it in this way proceed entirely at their own risk. The technique should be learned only in a course where there is a proper environment to support the meditator and a properly trained guide." The same can apply to a lesser extent to Meditation Now. But it seems to me -- no authority on the matter, but a dedicated meditator for many years -- that the three books I have mentioned here, including Meditation Now, can be of practical help and great inspiration to anyone who is following the meditation path.
This book will help keep you refreshed of what he teaches in the course, but you won't learn anything new.
This is the best book for everyone. Who has suffering in his or her life. And we all do- right. S. N. Goenka brought great help to my door. I in return share his and his teachers and their teachers wisdom with anyone who will listen. His book has been a great service to me.
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