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Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English: An Introductory guide to Deeper States of Meditation [Kindle Edition]

Henepola Gunaratana , John Peddicord
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $11.99
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Book Description

Countless people worldlwide have made Mindfulness in Plain English a beloved and bestselling classic in almost a dozen languages. Now after nearly two decades, Bhante helps meditators of every stripe take their mindfulness practice to the next level - helping them go, in a word, beyond mindfulness. In the same warm, clear, and friendly voice, Bhante introduces the reader to what have been known for centuries as the "jhanas" - deeply calm, joyous, and powerful states of meditation that, when explored with the clearly presented tools in this book, can lead to a life of insight and unshakeable peace.

Editorial Reviews


"A straightforward and pragmatic guide to deepening levels of concentration and insight. This book is a joy to read and a great gift to us all." (Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace)

"Bhante Gunaratana has done it again! There is practical logic and an almost startling common sense to the explainations that lead the reader smoothly through the various stages of meditative concentration." (Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery)

"Elegant and profound." (Matthew Flickstein, author of The Meditator's Atlas and The Meditator's Workbook)

"Thoroughly grounded in the core teachings of the Buddhist path, this is a simple and clear introduction that will make these tools an accessible element in every meditator's practice. A welcome addition!" (Shaila Catherine, author of Focused and Fearless)

"Straight-forward and valuable." (Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith)

"Excellent and highly recommended." (Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx)

"Bhante Gunaratana writes with such clarity that we are drawn in to taste stillness and joy even as we read. An inspiring book!" (Guy Armstrong, senior teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center)

"It's been nearly two decades since the bestselling Mindfulness in Plain English was published, and this new book is a classic in the making. It shows us that having faith in the Buddha, and applying a healthy striving with sincerity and energy, will guide us towards wisdom. This does seem so achievable, as the author gives us the theory, piece by piece and voila! Mindfulness in perfect balance. Of course we have to get rid of some hindrances along the way but the goal is worth it." (Mandala)

"Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English is written in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand style that clearly seems based on the author's personal experience. Bhante Gunaratana offers a clear sense of the experience of moving from ordinary distracted mind to a strong state of concentration leading to the stages of awakening." (Inquiring Mind)

About the Author

Bhante Gunaratana was ordained at the age of twelve as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, earned his PhD in philosophy from The American University, and has led meditation retreats, taught Buddhism, and lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the president of the Bhavana Society in High View, West Virginia, where he lives.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is truly helpful and the meditation states it describes (the eight jhana states) really are as good as they sound. I have ADHD so my attention span is normally very poor, but by following the instructions in this book I'm able to enjoy meditation and benefit from it.

It took a lot of persistence before the jhana states began to work for me. The honest answer: two and a half years of off-and-on practice. If you add up only the months that I actually practiced meditation regularly, it was around a year's worth of steady practice. All that persistence, the slow-but-steady work of talking myself into meditating instead of procrastinating, staying on the cushion for the whole time period instead of leaving once I got bored, all the times I began my practice anew after I'd let it slip away... it was all so worth it.

How was all that hard work worth it to me? I'll let the numbers explain it: Since I've been meditating regularly, I've been able to cut my dose of ADHD medication in half. In other words, this jhana meditation helps me focus more easily during the day while taking LESS focus medicine! And, crucial to this review, the Beyond Mindfulness book (together with one other book, Who Is My Self by Ayya Khema) has made it possible for me to get to jhana. "Mindfulness Bliss and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm simply didn't work for me. At all. "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" by Daniel Ingram explained what the jhanas were, but it didn't help me DO them. And Catherine Shaila's "Focused and Fearless" book was a great pleasure to read, full of interesting exercises, but those exercises didn't bring me any closer to jhana. Why buy a book about jhana if you're just going to read about them, without experiencing them?
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
By A.N.
This book is clearly aimed at people who have progressed well beyond the beginner level meditation. Therefore, if the reader is not so experienced or not curious enough, he or she may find this "boring " or Useless" otherwise this is a truly accurate and rare book.

For me this is an unimaginably 100% exact book I wanted. I began meditation without seriously reading any books. But I knew I got to watch my breath and eventually to be locked in to it in order to experience something. I tried very hard but I could not do that. Later I discovered that Metta meditation helps to concentrate, and I tried that and then continued in mindfulness meditation.

One day it happened to me, suddenly felt that I just immersed into something I never experienced before, but continued some days without knowing what exactly it is (I had relatively lesser knowledge in Jhnas and deeper experiences)

Then, I watched this video series: [...] and discovered that I have experienced a Jhana. I was really happy and I kept doing this regularly and I felt that I was becoming more aware and progressing on this.

Then this book came across me, and I started to read it I could not believe my eyes, every word and every step it explained is exactly as I have experienced. I felt so grateful to this monk for writing this book. With this I discovered that I have almost gone beyond 2nd Jhana.

This book has explained all accurately up to where I am now, therefore I can safely assume that rest of it accurate too. If you go beyond basics, this is a wonderful companion. I think this book assumes that you already know about mindfulness meditation and have some knowledge in Buddhism.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Way to Peace. October 16, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book, the most recently published of Bhante G's is so clear, so comprehensive regarding Jhanas; the states of meditation through practice. There are so many books out there that are just gimmicks to the real thing. Bhante Gunaratana is so REAL that reading his words penetrate to carry you further on the path of insight; a critical key to our liberation along with practice of 8 Fold Path.

People in our culture are suffering due to their lack of focus. This book can help anyone who is feeling scattered and needs a practice to calm their body and mind. There are so many benefits to concentration. Bhante G shows the way to practice best. He claims no superpowers. Although, in fact, he is the leading Theraveda monk in the western world. Walk on with him; you are likely to find peace. He has paved the way with loving friendliness and diligent effort to make Buddhas teachings accessible to us all. He wrote his dissertation for his PHD on Jhanas and has come full circle with this publication. A Beautiful work.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start November 14, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've got to tell you that I was thrilled that Gunaratana had written a follow-up to his wonderful "Mindfulness in Plain English." And I was very pleased at the opening few chapters of this book: they are clearly written and very instructive.

I have to admit, though, that I have recently put the book down. When the author starts talking about the Jhanas in great detail, he gets a little more vague and frankly, boring. Still I think this is a worthwhile endeavor and worth taking a look at. Perhaps others may be more intrigued than I was.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too advanced for me... March 20, 2011
By Yuriy
This is the last book in Bhante Gunaratana's trilogy on Theravada buddhism. The first two books helped me get on the right path, which I read at least twice each. But then when I began reading this book I realized that I need another five years of practice before I can fully comprehend it. This is a very advanced book ladies and gentlemen that focuses on the deepest states of meditation called "jhanas". It was too advanced for me and I would only recommend it to very experienced practitioners. For everyone else, just continue meditating and studying the eightfold path in your daily life until you naturally start to experience deep states of meditation, then you can pick this book up as a guide to navigate them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless addition to my must have books
Bhante changed everything for me and the way I teach Mindfulness at the college level. A timeless addition to my must have books... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Rosh
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book for anyone looking to get past any mental ...
This is a great book for anyone looking to get past any mental barriers that may be limiting your meditation practice.
Published 2 months ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditation from One who Truly Knows
Bhante G. explains the FULL meditation process from the Buddhist perspective, from breathing in and out to Buddhahhod. A most amazing account.
Published 3 months ago by Gordon MacMahon
2.0 out of 5 stars What good is knowing these states?
It might be in plain English, but I found it plain boring.

The author enumerates states upon states and sub-states without any real explanation about how to achieve... Read more
Published 6 months ago by A Simple Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Read this Bhante book third after "Mindfulness in Plain English" and "Meditation on Perception"
Published 9 months ago by J. T. OMALLEY
4.0 out of 5 stars Good practical guide
This is the book I read after mindfulness in plain English. I thought it was good practical guide and it spoke clearly about access concentration and the Jhanas. Read more
Published 11 months ago by M Al-Shaer
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book on Vipassana
Extremely well written.

Very clearly explained step by step.
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Published 12 months ago by ishwar garg
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English
Clear easily read and understood. Obtuse analytical metaphysical conceptualising not required. Can go right
to work. Read more
Published 14 months ago by james pollock
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and fantastic
Love this author. Have given the book to many friends just embarking on meditation and concentration practice. You won't regret buying it.
Published 15 months ago by Donna
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Mindfulness work in the midst of so many.
Very thorough and detailed, but does explain his position from this branch of Buddhism. Enjoyed the book and its many applications.
Published 17 months ago by Old Order
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