Recent Reviews for Raji Lukkoor
Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me (Book) - 11/21/2011 9:00:24 AM|
Vipassana means ‘insight’ in the ancient Pali language.
Somewhere on day five, half-way through the ten-day meditation retreat that Raji Lukkoor attends and records engagingly in the course of this book, she quotes William Hart (from ‘The Art of Living’ – a book on vipassana): “All our lives … we have rarely tried to examine ourselves, our own mental and physical structure, our own actions, our own reality. Therefore, we remain unknown to ourselves. We do not realise how harmful this ignorance is, how much we remain the slaves of forces within ourselves – of which we are unaware.”
That insight unfolds for Raji in so dramatic a way that she immediately feels impelled to put down her experiences – documenting every single one of the ten days – in her own stream-of-awareness style.
So what we have is a gripping – often humorous – and very personal account of how she learns to examine her ‘own reality’ – guided by the voice of S N Goenka (the founder of the ten-day programme), the instructors, and the processes of vipassana meditation.
What begins with a simple series of grievances (“Oh no, the AC will dry out my nasal passages”) and the typical mental niggles of an urban housewife adjusting to new physical surroundings and changing habits in the middle of a group of meditating strangers gradually gives way to deeper levels of discomfort – emotional and physical disturbances – that she wrestles with, overcomes bravely, and honestly shares.
Raji writes about her experiences with a keen sense of observation that is both amusing and instructive. To anyone reading her story, it is like a taking a co-journey into what happens during the vipassana meditation retreat.
T. A. Basubramanian
Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me (Book) - 11/20/2011 9:37:51 AM
I have often watched documentaries on retreats with the secret yearning of wanting to attend one of these myself one day. They show you the difficulties people have to overcome and the unbelievable transformations of peoples lives that can take place, it is simply amazing.
What you don't actually think about is what it is really like to participate on such a retreat for the whole period, spending every minute there, on the personal journey you have to travel to get to your destination. For anyone thinking of going on a similar retreat this is a great book to read, giving you an insight of what it genuinely feels like to the there, day by day, through the authors writings.
When I first saw this book, for some reason I was immediately pulled towards it and couldn't wait for its arrival. On opening the book two words struck out to me straight away 'inner war'. The description was so clear and so close to home that the book grabbed my attention as soon as it had began.
As well as explaining, in fantastic realistic detail, how living through the whole course felt - through the emotions, the ever so true worries the author felt, the pain and yet the enlightenment she felt, it also explains basic Buddha and meditation methods learnt. These are the parts where you may have to re-read certain pages to fully understand.
For me the main message in the Buddha teaching is that everything in life is impermanent and by not accepting this we create our own problems. "Why agonize over that which is I, me and mine? The body and the mind are mere wavelets of vibration and energy. Egoism is futile because if brings unhappiness, disappointment, frustrations, sorrow, anxieties, and worries. Happiness is to be sought not in the outside world where society judges you, but within the person, where eternal peace, compassion, equanimity, wisdom, joy and moral integrity flourish."
A fascinating read and I have so much respect for the author, travelling through her own journey.