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“Munindra’s message is that we can go the distance,” writes Mirka Knaster in Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra (Shambhala, 2010, $21.95 paper, 274 pp.), the first book about the highly revered and influential Bengali Vipassana teacher. It’s a testament to Anagarika Munindra’s character that this message comes across so effortlessly on the written page. Though the book includes previously unpublished material from his formal teachings, it’s the stories and memories shared by his devoted students that fully bring Munindra and his dharma to life. Knaster, a scholar, writer, and Vipassana practitioner, skillfully weaves these teachings and personal stories into 16 chapters, each assigned a specific quality of an enlightened being—from mindfulness to equanimity—that Munindra embodied. For Western Vipassana practitioners unfamiliar with Munindra, Living This Life Fully will serve as a wonderful introduction to a teacher whose students are now household names, for example: Sharon Salzberg, Daniel Goleman, Jack Kornfield, and Joseph Goldstein, who wrote the book’s foreword. This deeply felt, loving portrait of a modern Buddhist master will also inspire those on their own journeys toward actualizing abstract ideals. You can go the distance.
Beginning next week, on Tuesday March 1, the Tricycle Book Club will be discussing Mirka Knaster's Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra. Knaster will provide guidelines for reading the book as well as participating in the discussion by posing questions and responding to comments. Hopefully some of Munindra's other students will be dropping by as well.
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Taken from the Winter 2010 issue of Tricycle's "Books in Brief."