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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 406 Seiten
  • Verlag: Aeon Books Ltd (1. Oktober 2008)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1904658407
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904658405
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 22,6 x 14,5 x 2,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 142.529 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Synopsis

This book presents priceless techniques necessary for enlightenment.The very idea that the teachings can be 'mastered' will arouse controversy within Buddhist circles. Even so, Ingram insists that enlightenment is an attainable goal, once our fanciful notions of it are stripped away, and we have learned to use meditation as a method for examining reality rather than an opportunity to wallow in 'self-absorbed mind-noise'.Ingram sets out concisely the difference between concentration-based and insight (vipassana) meditation; he provides example practices; and most importantly he presents detailed maps of the states of mind we are likely to encounter, and the stages we must negotiate as we move through clearly-defined cycles of insight. It's easy to feel overawed, at first, by Ingram's assurance and ease in the higher levels of consciousness, but consistently he writes as a down-to-earth and compassionate guide, and to the practitioner willing to commit themselves this is a glittering gift of a book.

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7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Julius416 am 17. Januar 2009
Format: Taschenbuch
This is the most honest spiritual guide I've read so far. The author suffered himself unnecessarily from a lack of information on spirituality, its good and bad sides, and what certain types of practice can and cannot do; so Ingram focuses on making the basics of spiritual practice very clear. The focus is on such essential things that you don't have to be a Buddhist to use the information for your own practice easily.

(To be honest, after reading this book, most spiritual books will feel like books for children. Not that that has to be bad, one can learn much from childrens' stories as well, but you just learn a lot more if the author treats you like an adult.)

Ingram is also doing an awesome job when he disenchants many of the common misconceptions of enlightenment. After reading the book, enlightenment might not look like before at all, but the author leaves you with a believable description of enlightenment as something natural and actually real, and tells you all the mistakes he and his friends have made on the path that are not commonly talked about. The bigger part of the book is about advanced practice, written by a high-level practitioner. I can't evaluate on that part from my point of development, but I would say it will be of great value for those who got started and now are not sure what to do to finish their spiritual quest.

If you want something authentic, non-refurbished, simmple, non-ambiguous, motivating and undogmatic information, if you want religions' cards put on the table, this book is for you, if you are an advanced practitioner or someone who is not yet convinced of the benefits of practice. Buy it. This is the first spiritual book I recommend to someone who wants to know, regardless of that person's tradition or level of practice.
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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von S. Stevenson am 14. Juli 2010
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a difficult book -- not the language or style, it's the content -- but enormously valuable for meditation practice even if you don't agree with the author.

First off, you should know that Ingram claims to be an arahat, that is, fully enlightened [note for non-Buddhist readers: the title "buddha" is reserved for people who discover enlightenment on their own; if you successfully follow the teachings of a buddha to Nirvana, you are an "arahat" (also "arhat" or "arahant"); "the Buddha" is reserved for Siddhattha Gotama 2,500 years ago]. There is no known way of proving this claim, of course. His book describes how to do what he said he's done, why would want to do it, and what can go wrong.

The strength of "Mastering" is that it is immensely practical. It describes in very concrete detail what stages and steps you go through, based on "maps" from the classical Buddhist texts and his own and other people's experience, offering advice on how to manage each one. These recommendations are concrete and clearly explained -- at one point, he compares a certain practice to "shooting down aliens" in a video game. They are based on the view that you proceed to reach enlightenment the way you do everything else, with hard work, a good teacher, and the right technique. Enlightenment is simply something the mind does when trained the right way, nothing mystic or metaphysical about it. Ingram backs this claim by pointing out that various different religions, including Christianity, describe the same maps and stages, though with different contexts. He freely points out where he (and others) went wrong, got sidetracked, ran into a dead-end, or generally messed up while following the path.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 39 Rezensionen
80 von 83 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
"The" book for serious meditators 11. Februar 2009
Von Jackson Wilshire - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Of the countless reasons that you should read this book, I offer the following three:

1.) Many books about meditation leave out important information about the sequential stages one will likely (dare I say "inevitably") encounter in their practice. The ups and downs in one's practice can be severe, which causes many people to get stuck, and maybe leave the practice all together. Daniel breaks down what one may experience on their journey, and gives very practical advice on how to navigate the territory.

2.) This book clears up a lot of confusion around the goals of meditation practice, particularly what it means to be enlightened (or "awakened", etc.). By supplying an extensive list of the various models of enlightenment that are used by various contemplative traditions, one may comparatively examine them and get a good idea of what is true and what is false in regards to the process and goal of awakening.

3.) Daniel is brutally honest. He is fully aware that calling himself an Arahat is likely ruffle many feathers. But, it is my impression that he wouldn't make the claim if he didn't believe with his entire being that it is beneficial to others to do so. By explicitly detailing his particular attainments and how he was able to gain mastery of very specific techniques, he provides hope to those who also believe that it can be done.

I can say with complete honesty that after reading and applying the basic practices in this book, my meditation practice deepend beyond what I knew was even possible (and still is). I can't even begin to express how grateful I am to have read it, and how hopeful I am that it will continue to benefit others.

If you want to learn meditation with the goal of attaining earth shattering insight in to the nature of your identity and the universal characteristics of the whole of reality, than this book is for you.
107 von 117 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Historian enjoy, practitioner beware 12. Oktober 2012
Von TC - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
There is so much right with this book, yet so much wrong. What is right is the unashamed attitude that the path is practiced to attain something, and that it is possible to do so. The discussions of the different models of awakening and of the "mushroom factor" in much of current Buddhism are also great. In Part I there are also extended and very good discussions of some of the important basic teachings of the Buddha: the three trainings, five spiritual faculties, seven factors of enlightenment, four noble truths and eightfold path.

What is wrong then?

Well, Parts II and II are largely not teachings of the Buddha, core or otherwise. The meditation practice that Ingram teaches ("noting") was developed in the twentieth century in Burma. It wasn't taught by the Buddha. The "Progress of Insight" that Ingram teaches comes from a document called the Visuddhimagga written in Sri Lanka in the fifth century AD, more than eight hundred years after the Buddha's death in Northern India. The Buddha didn't teach that either. So the title is misleading, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the practices are not helpful. Or does it?

The outcome of the practice recommended in the book is not the outcome of practicing the Buddha's teaching, which is nibbana ("unbinding"), the end of dukkha (usually translated as "suffering" or "stress"). The product of Ingram's practice as recommended in this book is a state of endless cycling through something which Ingram, borrowing from St John of the Cross, calls the Dark Night, some of whose stages are Fear, Misery, Disgust and Desire for Deliverance (as well as nicer sounding states like Equanimity). There is no end to be reached, just a state of endless repetition of these stages at four succeedingly higher levels which are called by the same names as the Buddha's four stages of awakening, although they are clearly not the same thing at all. Rather than being the end of dukkha which the Buddha taught, this is more "being OK with dukkha made worse by the practice". It seems difficult to understand why anybody would want to do this, unless it's to get the same kind of satisfaction that you get from ascending the levels in a computer game. Ingram even has the term "technical meditator" for someone who can call up these stages of the Dark Night at will, almost as a show of skill. It seems to have little to do with the end of suffering, which is supposed to be the whole point of meditative practice.

The fact that the expected practice outcome is cycling though dukkha is not made clear in the book. The reader is allowed to assume that the objective is the same as the Buddha's, nibbana. It only becomes apparent from Ingram's website. This website has attracted people who appreciated the open and pragmatic ethos of the book and is one of the most hospitable places on the internet for discussion of dhamma practice. The differences between the teaching in this book (usually called "MCTB") and those of the Buddha are openly acknowledged on the site, including the fact that "MCTB arahat" (Ingram's claim to attainment) is not the same as "sutta arahat" (as described in the Pali suttas, the record of the Buddha's teaching conversations during his life) and the fact that the MCTB map is not the same as the Buddha's "ten fetter model".

Ingram himself has recognised that he has further to go (which "sutta arahats" don't) and a couple of years ago started practices inspired by a teaching called Actual Freedom, coached by some of his former pupils. Part of this practice is attaining states called "Pure Consciousness Experiences" ("PCEs") and Ingram has written freely about his attainment of these states and the fact that the experience of "PCE Daniel" is far preferable to that of "cycling Daniel". More recently he has written about a "veil" being torn away that had existed unknown between him and the world.

It seems to be emerging that the "Space Invaders / shooting aliens" noting practice (you'll have to read the book!) that Ingram teaches is what produces the "attention wave", "phase problems" and the perceptual instabilities and vibrations that he calls the Three Characteristics (the Buddha actually never used this term, and meant something different by the term Three Perceptions which he used) and it's what pushes people into the Dark Night. The Buddha taught a very different whole-body awareness practice that did not separate samatha (calm and concentration) and vipassana (insight) and he described nothing remotely resembling the Dark Night. There are many discussions on the website involving people trying to locate themselves on the Progress of Insight map and more often than not it seems difficult or impossible to do. There have been discussions placing the same person right at the beginning and right at the end of the Progress based on the same practice report, so vague and confusing are the signs of each stage. People seem to end up scripting their experience to follow the maps as far as they can, or dropping the maps altogether and taking up other practices that they find more helpful.

Ingram is in the process of starting to prepare a second edition of the book and it will be interesting to see whether he still teaches the practice leading to the dark night (in contrast to the Buddha's practice leading to the end of suffering) or puts it aside in favour of his more recent and apparently more productive practice. If he retains the current content hopefully he will at least correct the title to something less misleading.

For a serious practitioner this is a "must read", not just for its historical interest as a stage of the development of the teaching of the dhamma in the West, but also for its analysis of many of the problems of modern Buddhism. We must be grateful to Ingram for opening up a discussion of dhamma practice based on the idea that you're doing it for a purpose and you can get results. However, the practices described in this book are not those of the Buddha and they do not lead where he went.
68 von 74 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Most Practical Dharma Book Ever... 8. Januar 2009
Von Vincent Horn - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I can say with extreme confidence that if you read this book, put its principles and techniques into practice and have a clear aim at making progress in your meditation practice, you will be amazed at how quickly you can make real and lasting progress. This book excels at the specifics regarding insight meditation practice (with enlightenment as its goal) and the states and stages related to concentration practice (with unusual and profound states of consciousness as its goal). It also excels at deconstructing the various confused models and misperceptions that spiritual practitioners often have regarding enlightenment.

So, if you're interested in down-to-earth, practical dharma, and want a clear guide on how to master the core teachings of the Buddha this is the book for you. If you're looking for coffee table dharma or feel good, new-age fluff, then I would suggest something a little less hardcore.
25 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Unique, in ways unparalleled... 9. Februar 2012
Von Craig Shoemake - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
This is not your daddy's Dharma book! (Your mommy's neither.)

The differences start with the cover, and no, I'm not talking about the flaming dude with a chakra wheel for his heart. I'm talking about the author's title: Arahat. Now, Ingram does have a regular title-he's a medical doctor (M.D.) specializing in emergency medicine-"Everything from hangnails to heart attacks" he told me in a phone conversation. As you may know, an arhat (there are variant spellings) is one who has completed the Buddhist path as laid out in the Pali Suttas. "Done is what had to be done and there is no more of this to come!" goes the standard refrain by those who have attained such. Clearly Ingram is, as the suttas say, ready to "roar his lion's roar" in the spiritual marketplace. He spells the differences out further in the "Forward and Warning," wherein he puts you on notice he does not intend to write a "nice and friendly dharma book"; you know you're in for it when an author tells you he hails from a lineage of "dharma cowboys, mavericks, rogues and outsiders" (16).

That said, the books proceeds normally enough through part one. Ingram begins his discussion of dharma in terms of the traditional "three trainings": morality (sila), concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (paññ'). I especially found his discussion of morality illuminating. Going considerably beyond the standard list of things we shouldn't do (the five precepts etc), he says

"Training in morality has as its domain all of the ordinary ways that we live in the world. When we are trying to live the good life in a conventional sense, we are working on training in morality. When we are trying to work on our emotional, psychological and physical health, we are working at the level of training morality... Whatever we do in the ordinary world that we think will be of some benefit to others or ourselves is an aspect of working on this first training" (24-5).

He goes on to point out that while absolute mastery of concentration and wisdom (insight) is possible, total mastery in the worldly sphere of ethics is not. And so he calls it, rightly, the "first and last training."

Chapter 4 (oddly, the chapters are not numbered, only the parts) lays significant emphasis on seeing the three characteristics (tilakkhana) of phenomena-impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and not-self (anatta); indeed, this is a fundamental tenet of Ingram's approach to meditation, derivable in part from his experiences in the Mahasi tradition which has a similar emphasis. His discussion of anatta is clarifying: it means, simply, that when phenomena are investigated closely (as in vipassana), no agent, controller, or subject can be discovered; the things of the world are, in effect, ownerless. This, too, is a significant part of Ingram's dharma discussion, and comes up repeatedly later in the book. Ingram also discusses the spiritual faculties, the factors of enlightenment, and the four truths.

Most of the above can be found in other dharma books. Where things really start to get interesting is in the section entitled "Practical Meditation Considerations." Here Ingram's wealth of experience in formal retreat centers comes to the fore and makes for extremely informative, even entertaining, reading. For example, he lists the things retreatants tend to get neurotic about, such as wake-up bells ("too quiet, too loud, someone forgets to ring it at all"), roommates ("those that snore, smell, are noisy or messy, etc."), as well as "issues of corruption, romances, cults of personality, affairs, crushes, miscommunications, vendettas, scandals, drug use, money issues, and all the other things that can sometimes show up anywhere there are people" (94)-meaning everything and anything!

This is a section that demands multiple readings. Not because it's in any way difficult, just because the nuts and bolts of doing a retreat, of daily practice, are often the very things that defeat us. I repeatedly found Ingram's advice to be forthright, informed, and practical. Many people, for example, get obsessed over posture, but Ingram says simply "we can meditate in just about any position we find ourselves" (96). He notes, for example, how "Many traditions make a big deal about exactly how you should sit, with some getting paricularly macho or picky about such things" (97)-making me recall my experience in a Zen monastery in Japan. He writes how the four postures of sitting, standing, walking, reclining each have plusses and minuses, the principle differences being in the energy level and effects on concentration. He further discusses issues such as meditation objects, the critical role of resolve, and offers some very illuminating remarks on teachers. One clearly gets the sense Ingram knows what he says from firsthand experience.

The fireworks start in Part II, "Light and Shadows." Little lightning bolts-the sign of something controversial ahead-adorn several chapters. This is where Ingram gets up on his soapbox. Usually, I would say that in a bad way, meaning someone was just spouting. But here, I think, what Ingram does, even if you want to call it spouting, is all to a very good point, and that is to draw attention to some of the unconstructive shadow sides of Buddhist spirituality in America. For example, in the section entitled "Buddhism vs. the Buddha," he criticizes the religious trappings the Buddha's teaching-in its original form an applied psychology-has been buried under, and how Americans have contributed to rendering the master's technology of awakening into dogma or comfort food.

However, Ingram's purpose here is not controversy. He speaks also about having a clear goal, and encourages asking oneself questions like "Why would I want to sit cross-legged for hours with my eyes closed, anyway?" It's important you know what you're seeking, after all, and Ingram hammers this point throughout the book. (It was also one of the first questions he asked me in our phone conversation!) This section also describes the critical difference between dealing with one's "stuff"-i.e. the content of your life-and seeing the true nature of the phenomena that constitute that stuff. For example, if you're depressed because your significant other dumped you, trying to figure out why he/she did that to you is reflection on your "stuff," but patiently observing the emotions of anger or depression as they arise and pass away-i.e. trying to see the fundamental characteristics of those experiences-is insight. The difference here, as Ingram makes clear, is night and day.

Part III, "Mastery," forms the heart of the book, and this is where Ingram's starkly non-dogmatic, critical, and pragmatic intellect shows its best. This is also the part most likely to offend and where it becomes clear that if you're after spiritual pabulum, you've come to the wrong man. Ingram is all about "states and stages," about achieving exactly what the old dead masters achieved. We each have our purposes in our spiritual lives-and he acknowledges this-but he is not looking to comfort or console anyone, or make things seem easier than they are. Ingram's vision of the Dhamma is, rather, very goal oriented and effort driven. It is a path of achievement, of distinct and discernible attainments. If your mentality does not incline toward this way of thinking and acting, now is the time to bail out!

This section reviews in great, perhaps unprecedented detail, three distinct subjects: the concentration jhanas (1-8), the progress of insight, and the multiplicity of models and definitions of enlightenment. There is plenty here to make for argument, but also to educate, warn, coax and cajole. In short, this is some of the most stimulating, revealing and educational dharma reading I've ever done. You could read a hundred dharma books and still not come up with this stuff. And while Ingram is not a particularly great (or even good) writer (more on this below), he is at times eminently quotable. I can't resist offering a few snippets here. These give you a good idea of what you're getting into with this book.

You may have heard, for example, about those teachers who say "there is nothing to attain, nowhere to go, no one to get enlightened, your seeking is the problem." Or, even more intriguingly, that "you are already enlightened." You find these teachings in some Buddhist schools, J. Krishnamurti, Adi Da, and others. Here's Ingram's take on this take on enlightenment:

"[It's] like saying: you are already a concert pianist, you just have to realize it, or you already are a nuclear physicist, you just have to realize it... [It's] like saying to a severe paranoid schizophrenic: you already are as sane as anyone and do not need to take your medicines and should just follow the voices that tell you to kill people, or to a person with heart disease: just keep smoking and eating fried pork skins and you will be healthy...or saying to a greedy, corrupt, corporate-raiding, white-collar criminal, Fascist, alcoholic wife-beater: hey, Dude, you are a like, beautiful perfect flower of the Now Moment, already enlightened (insert toke here), you are doing and not-doing just fine, like wow, so keep up the good work, Man" (360).

I read this while on the train to work and enjoyed an unrestrained guffaw-several times!

However...to double back to my criticism of Ingram's writing: he's badly in need of an editor, and the people at Aeon Books let him down. Ingram grossly overuses the word "that"-it's one of the most overused words in the language, so he is not alone in the bad habit of thatting this and thatting that-and after a while it started grating on my sensitive literary nerves. He also does not seem to know the difference between "phenomena" and "phenomenon," and, on a different note, sometimes comes off sounding rather immature. There were occasions, too, where he went on unnecessarily about whatever, and a little more self-control would have helped the text out a lot. Again...where were his editors?

But this is minor stuff, mere bitching on my part. Ingram is actually a pretty fun read, and the book is outstanding and unique in so many ways, I/we can and should forgive him. He has much wisdom to offer and we should be grateful for all the hard work he's done on and off the cushion. I leave you with one nugget of insight that stood out for me:

"When I think about what it would take to achieve freedom from all psychological stuff, the response that comes is this: life is about stuff. Stuff is part of being alive. There is no way out of this while you are still living. There will be confusion, pain, miscommunication, misinterpretation, maladaptive patterns of behavior, unhelpful emotional reactions, weird personality traits, neurosis and possibly much worse. There will be power plays, twisted psychological games, people with major personality disorders (which may include you), and craziness. The injuries continue right along with the healing and eventually the injuries win and we die. This is a fundamental teaching of the Buddha. I wish the whole Western Buddhist World would just get over this notion that these practices are all about getting to our Happy Place where nothing can ever hurt us or make us neurotic and move on to actually mastering real Buddhist practice rather than chasing some ideal that will never appear" (330).

You have your marching orders.
71 von 83 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good overview of the maps 12. Januar 2009
Von FreeThinker - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
What I found most helpful in this book was the clear overview & synthesis of the different maps of meditation into a fairly coherent view. The picture that emerges seems to be similar to maps outlined in Buddhaghosa's the Path of Purification, or at least other interpretations of them I have read.

A few comments/criticisms based on my reading an earlier version of this text online:

1. Daniel Ingram explicitly claims (on the first line on his website bio) that he is an Arahat. While I'm in no position to judge the merits of this claim, it does seem to be something unique among other teachers whom I've encountered, including those who have been around a lot longer. I wonder if the author may be attached to this idea of being an Arahat (especially given how definitions vary) but readers will need to judge for themselves how much this does/does not color Daniel's teachings. The book is helpful, but readers should be aware of this claim.

2. I don't feel a lot of compassion jumping off the pages. Maybe Daniel has explicitly chosen not to focus on this aspect of the path or perhaps in choosing to be "hardcore" compassion has been downplayed. However, Daniel's style can, at times, come off as critical to the point of aggression towards alternative viewpoints.

In summary, a good overview from an intelligent teacher who knows his stuff on the traditional Theravada paths. However, like any overview/teaching, this perspective on the path has clearly been colored by the author's own experience & personality.
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