Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body

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What does it mean to "meditate with the body"? Until you answer this question, explains Reggie Ray, meditation may be no more than a mental gymnastic-something you can practice for years without fruitful results. In Touching Enlightenment, the esteemed author of six books on Buddhist history and practice guides you back to the original practice of the Buddha: a systematic process that results in a profound awareness in your body rather than in your head. Combining the scholarship that has earned him international renown with original insights from his many years practicing and teaching, Reggie Ray invites you to explore what it means "to be at one with who we are, in every respect, including our physical being, our emotions, and the totality of our karmic situation."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Ray, a student of Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, has written several other books and very evidently knows a great deal about meditation and the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as passed down by his unconventional guru. This book about the ultimate nonconceptual wisdom-what we can know in our bodies -is, paradoxically, highly conceptual and very slow going. The prose is labored ("a clear and accurate conceptual understanding of the subtle processes involved is necessary so we have the apparatus to receive, comprehend and give voice to our experience"). Frequently, Buddhist teachers use concrete examples or real-life stories to illustrate difficult or subtle points. Ray shares one important anecdote from his own life, but more tales from his or his students' lives would help. The critique of Western overdependence on thinking is certainly familiar, so the author's starting point is not new. The visualization exercises he offers in the book's appendix are comparatively fresh. But these instructions are probably more effective heard than read, and Ray's publisher indeed offers an audio program of related meditation practices. This book could use hard editing and clearer, more concrete language and examples. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591796183
  • Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,464,881
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Reginald A. Ray, PhD, brings us four decades of study and intensive practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as well as a special gift for applying ancient wisdom to the problems, inspirations, and spiritual imperatives of modern people. He is the co-founder and spiritual director of Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study, and preservation of the teachings of Reggie's teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and the practice lineage he embodied. See

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Preface     xv
Touching Enlightenment with the Body     3
What Has Become of the Buddha's Dharma?     6
The Call of the Forest     10
The Ultimate Challenge of Buddhism     13
Our Somatic Disembodiment
Modern Buddhism and Global Crisis     21
Our Physical Divestment     28
Our Emotional Disconnection     31
Some Historical Roots of Our Modern Disembodiment     35
Meditating without the Body     44
The Somatic Challenge of Tibetan Yoga     50
Engaging the Process: Meditating with the Body
The Call to Return     57
How Do We Proceed?     61
Entering the Gate     66
Discomfort in the Somatic Practice     73
The Background and Process of Discomfort     79
The Process of Letting Go     84
The Unfolding Journey     88
The Body's Own Agenda     91
Understanding the Process of Meditating with the Body
The Importance of Non-conceptual Understanding in the Body Work and Where Concepts Are Needed     99
What the Body Knows     105
What Happens to What Is Rejected?     109
An Example     116
Karma of Cause, Karma of Result     121
Our Unlived Life     126
The Body and Its Dimensions: The Full Extent of the Karma of Result     129
The Moment of Greatest Alienation     133
Beyond the Reactivity of Ego     140
Empowerment     145
Impersonal and Individual     151
The "Good News" of Chaos     157
The Body of the Buddha     166
Dynamics of the Path Principles, Practices, and Experiences
Developing Peace: Somatic Shamatha     177
Are We Willing to See? Somatic Vipashyana     182
Falling Apart     186
Tracking Our Emotions     191
Trusting Our Emotions     195
Imagination in the Body Work     200
A Tibetan Yoga Approach to Physical Pain     209
Some Fundamental Shifts     215
The Body and Becoming a Person
The Body Is the Buddha Nature     223
The Journey Is Our Unfolding Relation with the Buddha Nature     227
Ego, the Body, and the Journey     233
The First Stages of the Journey     239
Aspects of the Unfolding Process     247
A Tibetan View of the Major Stages of Unfolding     254
The Body as Guide on the Journey      261
Encountering the Shadow     264
The Personal Body     270
The Next Layer: The Interpersonal Body     278
Layers of the Interpersonal Body     285
How Other People Help Us Meet Our Shadow     289
Integrating Further Depths of the Shadow     297
The Cosmic Body I: Transcending the Scientific Worldview     301
The Cosmic Body II: The Earth as Our Body     306
The Cosmic Body III: The Initiatory Process     310
The Cosmic Body IV: Until the Very End of Being     317
Who Am I?     324
Becoming Who We Are     333
A Glimpse of the Body Work     341
Index     383
About the Author     395
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