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Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body [Hardcover]

Reginald A. Ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £24.00
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Book Description

24 May 2008
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 practise 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 practising 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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Sounds True Inc.,U.S. (24 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591796180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591796183
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 478,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Embodied awareness coming home 4 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Awesome book bringing home embodied awareness to awakening and particularly buddhist teachings which are often so desperately short of embodiment practices.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is well written. It is a pleasure to read. I really has improved my understanding of meditation and what I am ultimately aiming for.
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4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sketching a way to a true and exciting life 24 Jan 2010
What is life about? How feeling and sensing it in a buddhistic sight help especially us on our personal way to enlightenment. Living Samsara and/or full awareness? How the richness embedded in our body can get a jewel in develloping the art of our light, not against us but with us. Being and getting whole, integrating the treasures enfolded deep in us and in those we encounter there, where we live, with all that what we have to give...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful integration of Meditaiton and body 18 Mar 2008
By B. Mathern - Published on
Reginald Ray has written a beautiful book full of important thoughts on how our bodies are front and center to the spiritual path. I cannot recommend this book enough for the spiritual seeker. So much of our time is spent moving away from our bodies as a result of pain or some other trauma. But the running away is the last thing we need to do. Going deeper into the wisdom of our body is the call by Mr. Ray and one that I find important. Our bodies are the gate way to truth inside ourselves.
I think Ray's book is timely in that so many seekers are searching for a deepening into the presence they find in their meditation. Yet unfortunately the body is not involved for many teachers and practitioners. But that should be the beginning point not an add on.

In Ray's words:
"It is my belief that we modern people can arrive at the full embodiment that has always been a possibility for our species. The impact and the implications of such a recovery are nothing less than revolutionary. For to recover our original or primary body as our own involves experiencing the totality of oneself, without judgment; living with a directness that is not filtered or distorted by the thinking mind; rediscovering ourselves within the network of relations with others; coming to awareness again of the primordiality of the natural world as a subject; and, perhaps most surprising, beginning to sense and see what has been called the "unseen world," the "other world," the world of "others" who, while not flesh and blood, are nevertheless living presences around us and with us, to inspire, guide, and protect. Recovering our basic, inborn body has, then, profound implications for healing the self, mending our broken relationships, restoring a healthy relationship to our world, seen and unseen, and healing the planet. All that we need is a method to enable us to reclaim our original body, the body that is our most basic being at this moment, but that we cannot clearly feel or see. That method is offered to us in the body work introduced in this book, the somatic practices of Buddhist meditation."

It is time to use our bodies for more than survival but as the real entryway for our experience.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analyis of Buddhism in relation to the body 21 Aug 2008
By Jessica Teel - Published on
Reginald Ray's thoroughly researched book discusses the Buddha's teachings on attaining enlightenment through the body. This is an interesting angle and makes for a fascinating and useful book. The book has an academic tone, and feels very intellectual and analytical. The book resembles a dissertation that has been turned into a book (which isn't a bad thing, but does reflect on the overall tone of the book). Despite being a rigorous analysis of the body and enlightenment as it appears in Buddhist literature, the book contains many useful descriptions of hands on techniques. I suffer from chronic pain issues and found many of the techniques extremely helpful. I've often read about creating a shift in consciousness in relation to pain in the body - and I've never quite been able to grasp a "healthier" approach to physical pain. Touching Enlightenment is the first text to actually lead me to a different consciousness in regards to approaching physical pain. As a consequence, I feel a new level of relief and comfort in relation to my body and illness. Having these techniques, and the experience of practicing them, placed within the larger context of Buddhist theory was also helpful. Ray is strongest when discussing Buddhist literature, but is less successful when describing the emotional issues in his own life. That being said, this book is a welcome addition to the literature on Buddhist theory. People interested in yoga therapy and other healing modalities will also find Touching Enlightenment to be essential.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please ignore the Publisher's Weekly review 22 Sep 2008
By P. Fabish - Published on
I strongly echo the sentiments in Mr. Bucher's review. This is an important book. Mr. Ray appears to be a rare example of someone who is both a serious scholar and a deep practitioner. By the latter, I mean someone who is not just talking about the realization that is contemplated by Buddhist philosophy as an intellectual exercise, but who has experienced it personally through his practice. Anyone who has embarked on that path with any seriousness comes to realize that language and ideas, no matter how eloquent, can't change us in the ways described by the Buddha; only direct experience, unmediated by the conceptualization implied by language, can be transformative. The practices Mr. Ray discusses, derived from Tibbetan Yoga traditions, are a very direct path to this experiential wisdom. Ray seems also well positioned to speak to the particular needs of the modern person, including Westerners. His body-based approaches also, as eluded to by Mr. Bucher, seem especially appropriate for people who have experienced trauma. Although not discussed in the book, this is consistent with recent neuropsychological research, which is revealing the extent to which emotions and "unconscious" material are experienced and held throughout the nervous system, and hence, the body (see, e.g., the work of Allan Schore [[Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development; and Bessel Van Der Kolk Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society.

I'm not sure how objectively I can evaluate the "tone" of the book--which two reviewers describe as a bit intellectual--having seen Mr. Ray at several talks prior to reading it. In person, he is warm, engaging, humorous, and most essentially, human. In fact, he emphasizes that the purpose of these practices is not to transcend our humanity, but to become fully human for the first time. I personally experienced the tone of the book in the same way I experienced Mr. Ray in person, but it's possible one may have colored the other.

I found this book, and most especially the practices Ray describes and teaches, to be extremely beneficial to my personal practice and growth. I'm not sure where the Publisher's Weekly reviewer is coming from, but my best suggestion is to ignore that review and read this book.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing it all back home 16 Dec 2008
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche back in the 1980's. He was, and remains a brilliant and very difficult teacher. Ray has been a senior student of Trungpa since the Tibetan came to the USA in the early 1970s. I wandered for many years in the spiritual wasteland until I saw an interview with Dr. Ray on a website called the Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. What Ray said in that interview rang me like a clapper in a bell. I went to my book shelf and pulled down this book which had been sitting there for 8 months and began reading. If you are interested in meditation and Buddhism, and particular if you are a little stale in your practice, please read this book. It could change your life.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and immensly helpful 5 Oct 2008
By Michael Pantaleoni - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't give many reviews unless I consider what I've just read as great or awful. This book is great. If you wish to develop a meditation practice that will retain your enthusiasm for what many consider a boring exercise, this book could very well be for you. It first provides the basis for this particular practice then, at the end, provides a few sample meditations. I have been practicing zen for a year; the instruction given by Reginald A. Ray is compatible with my zen practice. It is based on the basic teachings of the Buddha which incorporate the mind with the body which is the first step toward developing mindfulness in one's life with, gradually, the reduction of mental and physical pain. I have found it so helpful that I will be going to one of Dr. Ray's teaching retreats when he comes to NYC.
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