I stumbled upon this book while searching for supplemental material for studying The Ten Paramis. I highly recommend this beautifully-written, and well-researched book for anyone studying The Ten Paramis (life off the cushion) and/or Vipassana Meditation (life on the cushion). Munindra was a Bengali Buddhist master and scholar who dedicated his life to teaching the dharma to anyone who was interested in the topic, including laypersons, regardless of religion. Admired for his gentleness, wisdom and insatiable curiosity, he had a deep knowledge of the Pali canon, which made him accessible to Westerners. He chose to lead the nomadic life, without attachment to anything (other than his books), in order to focus on the dharma, and be accessible to anyone who needed his help. Many of the most well-respected teachers in the West, such as Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, studied with him in the late 60's-70's. This is now one of my favorite books, as the author has carefully compiled...
Not only does this book do justice to a comprehensive biography of Munindra, it is also a high-quality scholarly endeavor packed with text: excellently researched, composed, and edited. It is a pleasure to read, and maintains a neutral voice (rather than the disciple-sounding narrative that can often be found in spiritual teacher biographies...). Incoporating numerous quotes from Munindra's western students, the reader is introduced to Munindra's character and presence in a way that gives meaning and nuance to the facts of the man.
Anagarika Munindra was a good friend of SN Goenka (Munindra spearheaded the constuction of Dhamma Giri, and it was his favorite place to meditate), and was Dipa Ma's main teacher(and thus a pivotal supporter of the feminine-buddha that flowed through her to shed light on the unconscious sexism/paternalism of the Theravada). Munindra, unlike many of the eastern yogis whose natural presence was/is one of super-projection and formidable presence...
Dr. Knaster treats us to a readable review of the life of Munindra, a Buddhist teacher who has lived and taught the Buddhist darmha. She has traced the teacher's life using her distillation of the principles of the Buddha's teachings into 16 topics. She devotes a chapter to each of these: Mindfulness, One-pointedness of mind; Conviction; Generosity; Virtuous Conduct; Truthfulness, Integrity; Determination, Resolve; Energy, Vigo; Patience, Forbearance; Loving-Kindness; Compassion; Relinquishment, Renunciation; Delight; Investigation, Curiosity; Wisdom, Discernment; and Equinimity.
Knaster writes masterfully of the teacher's life, and so she tells us in depth of who he was and why he was so loved. Moreover, she gives us a clear overview of the sixteen qualities of Buddhist life. These provide a useful introduction to Buddhist values, for us who are only marginally familiar with them.
I recommend this book highly to those on a spiritual journey who wish to...
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