An eagerly anticipated biography of S. N. Goenka--one of the most influential meditation masters of the twentieth century.
DANIEL STUART is a scholar of South Asian religions, literary cultures, and meditation traditions specializing in the texts and practices of the Buddhist tradition. Over the years, he has worked extensively on sutra and narrative literature, sastric texts, and Buddhist manuscripts in various Asian languages and scripts. Stuart is interested in the interrelationships between Buddhist practice traditions, theories of mind, and scriptural production in both premodern South Asia and modern India. His work engages how contemplative practitioners historically interfaced with their textual, philosophical, and material environments, fashioning dynamic meditative approaches to morphing and historically layered epistemological frames of reference.
"Stuart's thoughtful and nuanced biography enriches and complicates the received narrative of one of the architects of modern meditation. It provides a more complex view into Goenka's various layered identities and situates him in his historical contexts. This is a valuable contribution to the conversations on modern Buddhism and meditative practices."--David L. McMahan, author of The Making of Buddhist Modernism "By taking the story S. N. Goenka tells in his own writings and considering it alongside the accounts of others, this book presents a number of different perspectives on key events in Goenka's life. Stuart's commentary highlights various details and tensions in Goenka's story that shed light on his relationship with his teacher, U Ba Khin; his particular approach to insight meditation; and his eventual break with others in the U Ba Khin tradition. The whole adds up to a fascinating narrative that should be read by all who wish to gain a better understanding of the development of insight meditation in Europe and the U.S., as well as the emergence of modern secular mindfulness."--Rupert Gethin, author of The Foundations of Buddhism and The Buddhist Path to Awakening