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Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation (Shambhala Classics)

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Freedomfrom suffering is not only possible, but the means for achieving it areimmediately within our grasp—literally as close to us as our own breath. Thisis the 2,500-year-old good news contained in the AnapanasatiSutra,the Buddha's teaching on cultivating both tranquility and deep insight throughfull awareness of breathing. In this book, Larry Rosenberg brings this timel Freedomfrom suffering is not only possible, but the means for achieving it areimmediately within our grasp—literally as close to us as our own breath. Thisis the 2,500-year-old good news contained in the AnapanasatiSutra,the Buddha's teaching on cultivating both tranquility and deep insight throughfull awareness of breathing. In this book, Larry Rosenberg brings this timelessmeditation method to life. Using the insights gained from his many years ofpractice and teaching, he makes insight meditation practice accessible tomodern practitioners.


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Freedomfrom suffering is not only possible, but the means for achieving it areimmediately within our grasp—literally as close to us as our own breath. Thisis the 2,500-year-old good news contained in the AnapanasatiSutra,the Buddha's teaching on cultivating both tranquility and deep insight throughfull awareness of breathing. In this book, Larry Rosenberg brings this timel Freedomfrom suffering is not only possible, but the means for achieving it areimmediately within our grasp—literally as close to us as our own breath. Thisis the 2,500-year-old good news contained in the AnapanasatiSutra,the Buddha's teaching on cultivating both tranquility and deep insight throughfull awareness of breathing. In this book, Larry Rosenberg brings this timelessmeditation method to life. Using the insights gained from his many years ofpractice and teaching, he makes insight meditation practice accessible tomodern practitioners.

30 review for Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation (Shambhala Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    So far, the most helpful idea of this witty meditation book is his description of the mind.... it's like a dog chasing a plastic bone over and over. Our minds keep going after the same worries or different worries with the same, non-nutritive, repetitive result. Mediation is a way to quiet the wayward puppies of our mind for just a moment, and watch those fleeting worries pass by, unchased, with the same result. Thankfully, he says it a lot better. It is a very enjoyable book. So far, the most helpful idea of this witty meditation book is his description of the mind.... it's like a dog chasing a plastic bone over and over. Our minds keep going after the same worries or different worries with the same, non-nutritive, repetitive result. Mediation is a way to quiet the wayward puppies of our mind for just a moment, and watch those fleeting worries pass by, unchased, with the same result. Thankfully, he says it a lot better. It is a very enjoyable book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark Robison

    Simply the best book I’ve come across on breath meditation. It really gets into the nitty-gritty questions that Westerners have with “just” sitting there. He sprinkles in anecdotes from his experiences that keep the narrative moving; these are generally enlightening and often funny, as when he’s bitten by a mosquito during a meditation session where the participants aren’t allowed to move lest a monk beat them with the “stick of compassion.” And then there’s a chapter about how to incorporate ev Simply the best book I’ve come across on breath meditation. It really gets into the nitty-gritty questions that Westerners have with “just” sitting there. He sprinkles in anecdotes from his experiences that keep the narrative moving; these are generally enlightening and often funny, as when he’s bitten by a mosquito during a meditation session where the participants aren’t allowed to move lest a monk beat them with the “stick of compassion.” And then there’s a chapter about how to incorporate everything you’ve just learned into a typically hectic life. Grade: A

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cindywho

    This is mostly an analysis of the Anapanasati Sutra by a local teacher from the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. It's clear, readable and interesting. He does pepper it a bit with personal stories - I had to laugh at the one about a 3 month meditation retreat in Thailand that culminated in a week without sleeping. It made me think that some people will turn just about anything into an extreme sport. His chapter on daily practice for laypeople was more useful and I did like the book. (April 2 This is mostly an analysis of the Anapanasati Sutra by a local teacher from the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. It's clear, readable and interesting. He does pepper it a bit with personal stories - I had to laugh at the one about a 3 month meditation retreat in Thailand that culminated in a week without sleeping. It made me think that some people will turn just about anything into an extreme sport. His chapter on daily practice for laypeople was more useful and I did like the book. (April 29, 2007)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Recommend this book to practitioners who desire to learn the benefits of living in the present moment. It is a wonderful guide to following the breath and finding inner peace. The books speaks to me in different ways each time I read it. I will re-read this book forever.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Books about meditation and Buddhism are always hard to review. How many words can you spend on insights that are beyond language? This is always the challenge of writing about insights and awakening. Nevertheless Rosenberg has a clear and concrete guide to insight meditation. For those familiar with this practice, there may not be a lot that is new, but it is a comprehensive and clear guide to the practice. It is firmly rooted in its Buddhist origins, so while it is not at all necessary to be a p Books about meditation and Buddhism are always hard to review. How many words can you spend on insights that are beyond language? This is always the challenge of writing about insights and awakening. Nevertheless Rosenberg has a clear and concrete guide to insight meditation. For those familiar with this practice, there may not be a lot that is new, but it is a comprehensive and clear guide to the practice. It is firmly rooted in its Buddhist origins, so while it is not at all necessary to be a practicing Buddhist to practice insight meditation, Rosenberg uses reference points from Buddhist teachings. Therefore, it is a book for all practitioners, but those without a fundamental knowledge of Buddhist history may find themselves initially lost. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to deepen their connection with their practice and themselves.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I've read, perhaps, 60-70 books related to "meditation" and watched many more youtube videos. I'm practicing samatha/vipassana myself and have been meditating for about four years now - every single day. In "Breath by Breath," Larry suggests that we - as he does - follow and use the Anapanasati Sutta contemplations as a framework for our practice and that by doing so, we can "launch the process of liberation," without having to be too concerned with a lot of other Buddhist teachings (i.e. the Fo I've read, perhaps, 60-70 books related to "meditation" and watched many more youtube videos. I'm practicing samatha/vipassana myself and have been meditating for about four years now - every single day. In "Breath by Breath," Larry suggests that we - as he does - follow and use the Anapanasati Sutta contemplations as a framework for our practice and that by doing so, we can "launch the process of liberation," without having to be too concerned with a lot of other Buddhist teachings (i.e. the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, The Seven Factors of Awakening, all the fetters and hindrances, etc.). In other words, we can check off a lot of "boxes" by being guided by the Anapanasati Sutta because these contemplations encompass so much of Buddha's teachings. Larry's descriptive, personal experiences and insight have provided very valuable guideposts for my own practice. I highly recommend this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I absolutely adored this book and will be reading everything I can get my hands on by Larry Rosenberg. I enjoyed that he comes from a background like mine (highly intellectual, academic, secular); I felt that helped him speak about Buddhist practices in language that felt more natural to me than many other books, even ones I've liked. Breath by Breath is a commentary on the Anapanasati sutra: the sutra I studies with my meditation group on breathing. Rosenberg helped my understanding of Vipassana I absolutely adored this book and will be reading everything I can get my hands on by Larry Rosenberg. I enjoyed that he comes from a background like mine (highly intellectual, academic, secular); I felt that helped him speak about Buddhist practices in language that felt more natural to me than many other books, even ones I've liked. Breath by Breath is a commentary on the Anapanasati sutra: the sutra I studies with my meditation group on breathing. Rosenberg helped my understanding of Vipassana meditation more than any other author we read, especially how to do open awareness meditation. I really learned a lot from this book about what breathing meditation can do for me and how it supports wisdom meditation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    Read this in conjunction with The Meditative Path and these two books really complimented each other. This book follows the Anapanasati Sutra. The author has wonderful quotes scattered throughout. For example, "Most of the time that people get discouraged with practice, they do it to themselves. They've heard time and time again that the practice is being nobody and going nowhere, then they sit down and try to be somebody getting somewhere." The author does a good job of explaining the origin of Read this in conjunction with The Meditative Path and these two books really complimented each other. This book follows the Anapanasati Sutra. The author has wonderful quotes scattered throughout. For example, "Most of the time that people get discouraged with practice, they do it to themselves. They've heard time and time again that the practice is being nobody and going nowhere, then they sit down and try to be somebody getting somewhere." The author does a good job of explaining the origin of the Pali words and scatters personal anecdotes throughout as well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Robinson

    Breath by Breath is a very clear, insightful commentary on the Buddha's sutra on breathing and meditation. In my opinion its more of a reference book and one to be read over and over to reaffirm the integrity of your meditation practice. This is a classic and will bring insight for all those that pick it up n Breath by Breath is a very clear, insightful commentary on the Buddha's sutra on breathing and meditation. In my opinion its more of a reference book and one to be read over and over to reaffirm the integrity of your meditation practice. This is a classic and will bring insight for all those that pick it up n

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chazzy

    oh so great! i recommend this book to any and everyone. it will make you so aware of self... well as much as a book can... that you'll be ready to do a vipassana retreat right then. which i haven't done, by the way. oh so great! i recommend this book to any and everyone. it will make you so aware of self... well as much as a book can... that you'll be ready to do a vipassana retreat right then. which i haven't done, by the way.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sirpa Grierson

    "One trains oneself. . . " For anyone who really is attempting to learn mindfulness, this is a must read. Its one that I will return to time and time again as my meditation practice becomes an increasingly practical art. "One trains oneself. . . " For anyone who really is attempting to learn mindfulness, this is a must read. Its one that I will return to time and time again as my meditation practice becomes an increasingly practical art.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Bush

    I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a clear, straightforward guide to meditation to develop insight and to work towards enlightenment. Rosenberg stress a path aht is practical and grounded in living everyday life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Hakala

    This is another one that I wish there was a 10 star rating system (or half stars). I give it 4.5 starts with the caveat that it takes a lot to get me to give 5 stars. This book is a great companion as you start exploring the Anapanasati Sutta.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mjbick

    One of the most impactful books I've read on my Buddhist path, Rosenberg brings personal stories to the ancient text and makes it relevant to modern life. I return to it again and again. I have it in both paper and digital versions so I have ready access to it wherever I am. One of the most impactful books I've read on my Buddhist path, Rosenberg brings personal stories to the ancient text and makes it relevant to modern life. I return to it again and again. I have it in both paper and digital versions so I have ready access to it wherever I am.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Very readable introduction to insight meditation

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hollis Fishelson-holstine

    I've probably read this at least 2x before, but suddenly this sutra seemed to unlock all kinds of mysteries for me - it's all about the breath.... I've probably read this at least 2x before, but suddenly this sutra seemed to unlock all kinds of mysteries for me - it's all about the breath....

  17. 5 out of 5

    J.

    If you read only one book on mindfulness meditation, read this one. I can't recommend it too highly. If you read only one book on mindfulness meditation, read this one. I can't recommend it too highly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Not too many new ideas here. I was hoping for more exercises, instead this is filled mostly with advice on how to approach meditating that is repeated in most Buddhist books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Phil Calandra

    "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation" is the discussion of the teachings contained in the Anapanasati Sutra, an ancient Buddhist Text, which outlines the basic tenets of Buddhism that the "self" is a delusion, is at the heart of suffering and that one's breathing is an escape to that suffering leading to one's insight and liberation. I would highly recommend this book. "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation" is the discussion of the teachings contained in the Anapanasati Sutra, an ancient Buddhist Text, which outlines the basic tenets of Buddhism that the "self" is a delusion, is at the heart of suffering and that one's breathing is an escape to that suffering leading to one's insight and liberation. I would highly recommend this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jake Novick

    One of my favorite meditation books in a while, this brought me back to a beginner's mindset (I am still quite a beginner, in fact) and focusing on the simple breath and how it serves as a gateway. This is more a reference piece that I expect to be reading agian. One of my favorite meditation books in a while, this brought me back to a beginner's mindset (I am still quite a beginner, in fact) and focusing on the simple breath and how it serves as a gateway. This is more a reference piece that I expect to be reading agian.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Holly Socolow

    Based on the Buddha’s sutra on four ways of establishing mindfulness via the breath. Explicit directions from a master and refreshingly loaded with good humor.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Surabhi Bhardwaj

    The best explanation of Buddhist meditation techniques that I have seen so far. Highly recommended for anapana and Vipassana practitioners.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maria Spalding

    Really would recommend this book to anyone looking to delve deeper into finding silence. Certainly will be re-reading.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Enkey

    Practical, approachable, and optimistic.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    Breathe in, breathe out

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy Mills

    This is very much from the Buddhist perspective, so bear that in mind, but it also gives the most comprehensive guide to the experience of meditation that I have ever come across. A lot of it is experiential: the sorts of things meditators are likely to experience at various stages of their practice. Rosenberg correlates these to Buddhist thought, with the idea that as people experience these, they are likely to come to the same realizations about them as are given in the Buddhist tradition (and This is very much from the Buddhist perspective, so bear that in mind, but it also gives the most comprehensive guide to the experience of meditation that I have ever come across. A lot of it is experiential: the sorts of things meditators are likely to experience at various stages of their practice. Rosenberg correlates these to Buddhist thought, with the idea that as people experience these, they are likely to come to the same realizations about them as are given in the Buddhist tradition (and with no expectation that people should accept those ideas without such experiences and realizations, which is refreshing after 'Zeal for Zen'). What I found the most interesting is how many of the 'higher' level experiences I had come across in my taiji practice. Not all, certainly, but enough to make me realize anew how valuable my taiji practice is to me. Taiji is a different meditative path from the one presented here, but seems to get to many (if not all) of the same mental states. I've only recently started a proper 'sitting' meditation, in addition to my taiji practice, through the game Playne (disclaimer: yes, it would be better if I didn't need an external motivator, like a game; no, I'm not there yet; also, it's a very well-constructed game with lovely symbolism), and found it a very valuable addition to my practice. This book gave it a bit of a boost by making me aware of mental habits that were probably unhelpful (keeping track of and counting through the breaths, rather than just breathing, for instance). At the end, Rosenberg talks about what he calls 'Silence': "Silence in action is the doerless doing that we’ve spoken of before, in which you just wash the dishes, just vacuum the floor. The ego is not present. Typically, whatever we do, we bring an “I” to it, attach to it as me or mine." I have one kind of experience that seems to fit with this, and his other descriptions, of Silence. It's from taiji push-hands, where your body moves in response to the other player with no conscious thought on your part, and it fits very well with the 'doerless doing' that Rosenberg describes. Another experience that I first thought to group with 'Silence' may fit better with 'Serenity': "The ancients described rapture as the feeling that a parched man has when he discovers water in the desert. Serenity is the feeling of satisfaction he has after he has drunk the water." There are times when I have a sense of 'homecoming', which seems to have very little to do with my physical abode and very much to do with my mental state. It happens most consistently when I go through the taiji form (especially after a dry period of not doing much taiji), but I remember it happening when I was canoeing at Stanley Lake as well, and it occurred when I was driving up to meet friends for taiji practice after more than a year apart due to COVID (we're all vaccinated now). Recommended for anyone with a meditation practice, or with an interest in Buddhist thought.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Fisher

    This beautiful exploration of the Anapana Suttra has been such a supportive,, down to earth text! I highly recommend this for anyone interested in mindfulness practice. Drawing on ancient teaching from the Buddha, and his own expertise as an experienced meditator and founder of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, Larry Rosenberg offers insight, humor and instruction that will direct both mindfulness practitioners that are beginning their journey or seasoned meditators wanting find a fresh p This beautiful exploration of the Anapana Suttra has been such a supportive,, down to earth text! I highly recommend this for anyone interested in mindfulness practice. Drawing on ancient teaching from the Buddha, and his own expertise as an experienced meditator and founder of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, Larry Rosenberg offers insight, humor and instruction that will direct both mindfulness practitioners that are beginning their journey or seasoned meditators wanting find a fresh perspective or just validation for our practice. This is an amazing resource to read again and again!

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Krancher

    Whether you are lucky enough to attend one of Larry's talks on Insight meditation or not, this is a fine book. He translates the deepest concepts of meditation and Buddhism into today's language and brings dharma practice into the 21st Century. I've heard many of his talks yet still learned a lot from this book. If you have any difficulty understanding the concepts of Buddhism, Larry can make them clear. I reccommend this book. Whether you are lucky enough to attend one of Larry's talks on Insight meditation or not, this is a fine book. He translates the deepest concepts of meditation and Buddhism into today's language and brings dharma practice into the 21st Century. I've heard many of his talks yet still learned a lot from this book. If you have any difficulty understanding the concepts of Buddhism, Larry can make them clear. I reccommend this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Clearly and gently guides one to how to practice Buddhist meditation, with principles behind the practice.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sidney Luckett

    Excellent down-to-earth wisdom from the buddhist tradition

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