The Art of Living by William Hart
January 1, 2014
Some of you may have already read my blog about my experience at the Vipassana meditation retreat, if so, you know that it was an extremely positive experience for me and something I believe can be beneficial for anyone willing to give it a go. With that, I thought it made perfect sense to write the initial FIT YogaWoodlands Yoga Brain Newsletter on The Art of Living, by William Hart. A book based on the lectures and writings of S.N. Goenka and the practice of Vipassana. The book details how the practice can be used to solve problems, develop unused potential, and lead a more peaceful, productive life.
Some of the raw ‘facts’ from the book;
- Siddhattha Gotama, known as the Buddha, ‘the enlightened one’, lived 25 centuries ago in India and discovered the practice of Vipassana.
- Vipassana means insight, or one’s own experience of truth. The eightfold path is a way to eradicate suffering by eradicating its causes; ignorance, craving, and aversion. It can be divided into three stages:
Sila – moral practice, abstaining from unwholesome speech, actions (right speech, right action, right livelihood)
Samadhi – practice of concentration, meditation (right effort, right awareness – the awareness of here and now, right concentration)
Panna – wisdom (right thought, right understanding)
- Vipassana is a technique extraordinary in its simplicity, its lack of all dogma, and above all in the results it offers. It is a technique for observing reality from every angle. Instead of a carefully edited self-image, the meditator confronts the whole uncensored truth. Vipassana is taught through a ten day course of meditation, silence and observance. Its purpose is to liberate one from the constant suffering of craving and aversion.
- The art of living is the art of shattering the illusion of permanence, where the illusion of ‘I’ disappears, and suffering fades away. When we meditate and discover for ourselves the truth within, it becomes real and we can then begin to live by that wisdom. We are able to observe sensations within ourselves and by doing so we can be liberated from suffering.
My thoughts on the book … it is written in simple easy to read language and can at times be dry. It also has some very enlightening and humorous stories from Buddha. In my opinion one of the most important stories is on page 21, ‘To Walk on the Path’. The path is one we must each walk on our own. No one can carry us and we cannot carry another. “At most, with love and compassion one can say, ‘well, this is the path, and this is how I have walked on it. You also work, you also walk, and you will reach the final goal’.”
Something very important to know about Vipassana, it is a practice of self-observation and can (probably should) be practiced by any one. It is NOT a religion, cult, or sect. If you are Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, or any other religion, you can practice Vipassana.
Whatever your goal, I hope your path is one you enjoy.
Click on the links below for more resources:
Purchase ‘The Art of Living’ by William Hart
Purchase ‘The Dhamma Brothers’, a movie about how Vipassana helped prisoners in Alabama
Watch ‘Doing Time, Doing Vipasssana’ on YouTube
Watch MeiMei Fox on YouTube, talk about her Vipassana experience
Find out about upcoming Vipassana Meditation Retreats (local center in Kaufman, Texas)