The Art Of Living Book Summary By William Hart

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The Art of Living is a 1987 book written by the famed Burmese-Indian teacher S.N.

Goenka that details the principles set out by Vipassanā meditation.

This book is an in-depth exploration into the deeper philosophy of Buddhism and covers the techniques of Vipassanā meditation.

It takes readers on a journey through the basics and gradually builds to more complex teachings, expanding their knowledge and understanding of this ancient practice.

Additionally, it discusses how to apply these principles to life and offers insight into leading a more mindful, peaceful existence.

As such, The Art of Living provides an invaluable source of guidance for anyone interested in learning more about meditation and its associated philosophies.

The Art Of Living Book

Book Name: The Art of Living (Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S. N. Goenka)

Author(s): William Hart

Rating: 4.7/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

The Art of Living was written by William Hart, who was one of the first assistant teachers appointed by S.


Goenka to teach Vipassanā meditation.

His book has been widely regarded as the definitive work on Vipassanā meditation and philosophy, and already it has been translated into 25 different languages!

William is passionate about spreading the wisdom and teachings of Vipassanā throughout the world, and his book provides a detailed explanation to help people understand these core principles more deeply.

He believes that anyone can benefit from understanding and applying these ancient teachings in their everyday lives, in order to live a life full of peace and contentment.

Uncovering The Profound Wisdom Of Buddhist Meditation

Buddhist Meditation

The Art of Living is an eye-opening book that delves into the core principles of Buddhism, where meditation—or bhāvanā—is used to focus and purify the mind, leading one to a state of freedom from suffering and full of insight.

This comprehensive book covers how the practices of Vipassanā-bhāvanā apply today; readers will learn practical techniques for achieving peace and tranquility through Buddhist thought and meditation.

Additional topics include understanding the philosophy behind the art and learning about how the Buddha’s teachings are relevant centuries later.

Anyone seeking inner tranquility is encouraged to explore The Art of Living, which provides valuable insight into detaching from attachments, recognizing that there is no “I”, and understanding why attachment can cause so much suffering.

The Practical Application Of Buddhism Is Essential For Lasting Change

The Art of Living Book Summary emphasizes the necessity for practical application when it comes to Buddhism.

Learning about Buddhism is great, but if you don’t apply it to your everyday life and actions, then you won’t benefit from it.

You can recite Buddhist texts from memory- but unless you act upon them, as proposed by the Buddha and put an effort into freeing yourself from suffering and finding harmony with yourself, you won’t gain anything.

Applying Buddhism means living in the present and taking action – not just leaving things up to mere intellectual speculation.

To truly reap its rewards, one needs to become proactive in using the Buddha’s teachings as an instrument or tool in everyday life.

That doesn’t mean just focusing on oneself- such changes also have a positive impact on those around us as well.

The Buddha’S Insight: We Are Fluid Beings In Constant Change

The Buddha’s most enduring theory is that individuals aren’t stable entities – instead, they’re constantly changing from moment to moment.

To arrive at this conclusion, he looked deeply into his own mind and body and sought out his enlightenment.

He uncovered that, contrary to what many people may believe, the entire material universe is composed of particles called kalāpas – these particles don’t actually have any solidity; rather, they appear and then disappear within a fraction of a second.

When the Buddha turned his focus on the mind, he realized it was composed of four processes: consciousness, perception, sensation, and reaction.

These all occur rapidly and continuously which is why there can never be an “I”, or expression of permanent identity; we’re like a river in constant flux.

Understanding this is key to achieving freedom from suffering as The Art of Living explores in depth further on!

The Root Of Suffering: Why Our Attachments End Up Causing Us Pain

Root Of Suffering

The Art of Living, by the Buddha and modern scientists alike, is clear that the best way to reduce suffering in life is to become detached from yourself and the world around you.

This isn’t an easy task, as our bodies and minds are naturally attracted to things and ideas that make us feel good.

We become attached to our image of ourselves, people who are close to us, possessions we’ve acquired, and even beliefs we hold that help prop up our idea of what it means to be us.

We form these attachments from how we view the world: through consciousness, perception, sensation, and reaction.

When something pleases us or supports our views, we cling to it – but sadly, this habit can lead to an immense amount of suffering when those things inevitably disappear from our lives.

So if you want to reduce your own suffering in life, strive for emotional detachment.

Let go of labels and definitions that restrict your identity; break away from clinging to friends and family or objects; release yourself from dogmatic views on issues.

In doing so, you’ll learn to push beyond your comfort zone in order better appreciate the present moment – which will ultimately have a positive effect on your overall well-being.

The Key To Eliminating Suffering: Practice Sīla For Self-Protection And The Benefit Of Others

The Art of Living teaches us that practicing sīla is the key to eliminating suffering.

Sīla means refraining from words, deeds, and actions that may cause harm to others.

By abstaining from such behavior, we are not only protecting other people but also ourselves.

This is because doing bad things can cause a great amount of internal agitation, leading to deep unhappiness.

Practicing sīla has three components: Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.

With Right Speech, we should avoid lies, gossip, backstabbing and using harsh words.

We should also practice nonviolence and seek goodness in all living beings through our actions.

Finally, with Right Livelihood, we should find employment that does not bring harm to others or encourage harmful behavior.

All these practices help us cultivate a peaceful mental state – an essential requisite for true insight into our self – and they are easy enough to understand and adhere to in modern societies today.

By practicing sīla correctly, we can reach a state of perfect peace and happiness known as nirvana which transcends the cycle of birth, suffering and death known as samsara.

For those looking for inner joy and contentment away from the constant bombardment of emotional suffering; look no further than The Art of Living’s teachings on practicing sīla to eliminate suffering!

How To Practice Bhāvanā For A State Of Equanimity: Right Effort, Awareness And Concentration

Meditation, or bhāvanā, is an essential part of The Art of Living.

It helps us to transcend suffering by connecting deeply with ourselves and our environment.

By achieving equanimity in the mind, we can stop the spread of misery and bring balance to our lives.

Practicing bhāvanā correctly does require a certain amount of discipline; this means trading effort, awareness and concentration into the practice.

First and foremost, you’ll be asked to train your mind to focus solely on breathing.

This won’t be easy – as soon as your consciousness drifts towards any other thoughts, gently redirect it back to your breath.

Associated with this is right awareness; breathe deeply and slowly for a few moments with intent focus and you will begin to notice how your mental state influences the rhythm of your breath – if anxiousness arises then it will affect your breathing in a certain way – catch yourself at these moments and reset focus onto your inhale/exhale cycle.

Finally there is right concentration which involves centering one’s attention around one single focal point – namely that being on each breath – free from desires or any accompanying anxieties/fears etc…

By practicing meditation correctly we can achieve a state of equanimity in our minds, allowing us to live more fully in the present moment free from worries of future or past..

Cultivating Wisdom Through Right Thought And Insight Meditation For True Peace Of Mind

Cultivating Wisdom

The key to attaining a peaceful state of mind is cultivating paññā, or wisdom.

According to the Buddha, wisdom can be cultivated through right thought and right understanding.

However, this is not just intellectualizing knowledge from books and teachings – true wisdom comes from personal experience.

For this reason, Vipassanā-bhāvanā – also known as insight meditation – is recommended for developing experiential wisdom.

In this practice, you focus on sensations without passing judgment and observe how they arise and disappear.

This allows you to understand that nothing in life is permanent or “yours” and that suffering can be avoided by letting go of the ego and everything it clings to.

In short, paññā is the way to peace – free yourself from attachment and gain freedom from suffering!

Wrap Up

The Art of Living is all about finding peace and tranquility in life through Buddhism.

This book offers a powerful lesson to never attach oneself to the idea of permanence or stability as it’s an illusion, and that true peace can only be found when you accept impermanence and flux.

Vipassanā meditation is a key tool to achieving the realization of this truth.

What’s more is that The Art of Living also provides valuable, actionable advice on how to meditate correctly, such as learning to accept any aches during a meditative pose with calmness.

In sum, anyone looking for tips on how to live virtuously will find something useful in this book by learning to recognize the truth of our physical world—impermanence and flux—that leads us towards true peace.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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