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The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English Paperback – August 14, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bhante G's calming tone will put even the newest dharma practitioner at ease." (Tricycle)

"The Four Foundations of Mindfulness are themselves foundational. The Buddha referred to this teaching as "the direct path for the purification of beings... and for the realization of liberation." In Bhante Gunaratana's experienced hands, all its facets really do come to life in plain English, for the potential benefit of those who drink it in. My advice: Drink long, drink deeply." (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness for Beginners)

"Those of us who have come to treasure this author's other classic works will not be disappointed, and those new to this author's writing will also find this a delightful read." (SweepingZen.com)

"Bhante Gunaratana's works stand out for their depth of wisdom, clarity of expression, and warm-hearted accessibility. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English continues this tradition of exceptionally helpful dharma teachings." (Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace)

"How wonderful--the latest installment of Bhante's series of invaluable guides to the Buddha's teaching: The Satipatthana Sutta. This text is the source of all mindfulness meditation and is presented in the simple, crystal clear way that marks all of Bhante's previous books. Simple, Clear and practical, without losing any of the profound depth that is inherent to these teachings. Highly recommended for all new and experienced meditators interested in the mindfulness approach to wisdom and compassion." (Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath)

"A joyous gift from this beloved teacher. As ever, Bhante Gunaratana's style is plain and simple but its clarity and depth is profound. A most welcome addition." (Mu Soeng, author Heart of the Universe and The Diamond Sutra)

"Bhante Gunaratana makes one of the most profound and transformative sutras of the Buddha accessible to the modern mind. With great care and precision he moves the reader to a mindful investigation of his or her experience, opening wide the doorway of liberation. This is a wonderful addition to the Plain English series." (Matthew Flickstein, author of The Meditator's Workbook and The Meditator's Atlas)

"A new book from Bhante Gunaratana is always cause for celebration. His new work, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English, is essential for deepening our understanding of mindfulness practice. It's a comprehensive mindfulness manual!" (Toni Bernhard, author of How to Be Sick)

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781614290384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1614290384
  • ASIN: 1614290385
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By null on January 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
there are many books on the satipatthana sutta. however most are very much a focused interpretation of the sutta in light of a single teachers ideas about it. they may for example only focus on breathing or another of the practices and only vaguely touch on everything else in the sutta. some of these are wonderful books that surely can lead one to nibbana. but i have been searching for one that details the whole sutta as there's a lot more to it than just a couple of practices.

bhante covers everything from start to finish. it is still colored with his own interpretation of the sutta but it's not even possible to write a commentary on a sutta without personal interpretation and he sticks to fairly traditional explanations, keeping it largely impersonal. my only critiques are:

1. that he could have included the sutta itself but at least it's a widely available sutta. just web search "satipatthana" and you'll have no problem finding it. and

2. that he doesn't give a definitive answer too the question of how many of the exercises you are supposed too practice and when to do them. there are a ton of exercises in the sutta and i have yet to see an author explain this problem (although i imagine analayo covers it in "satipatthana")! the wikipedia page on the satipatthana sutta gives these options:

"Single-focused, successive and simultaneous practices:

There are a variety of ways that one could use the methods described in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta including:

1.Focus on a single method. The method most written about in the English language is that of mindfulness of breath.
2.Practice the various methods individually in succession.
3.
Read more ›
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Claudine N. Grange on August 14, 2012
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Bhante G, as the author is fondly called, has written another beautiful book. It is so concise and profound. His words are clear so everyone can understand. The Four Foundations are what Buddhism is built upon. Bhante G never takes liberty with Buddha's teachings; he quotes The Buddha throughout. Read this book and relish in the 2500 year old foundations of mindfulness in "Plain English". Bhante G is the leading Theraveda Buddhist Monk in the Western World. He is a world renown author, translated into many, many languages. When you are done reading this read the Autobiography of Bhante G and you will be inspired to live a noble life as he does. He continues to write the most eloquent books on Buddhism I think. After studying Buddhism for 37 years I can say this with conviction.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By dharmadrum on December 24, 2012
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Clearly written by a master and highly evolved teacher. One of the essential guidance books for the practitioner and for those who wish to practice.

Highly and warmly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. DSOUZA on November 11, 2013
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I am new to mindfulness. A recent trip to Myanmar and the death of my parent made me think deeper about life, about purpose and about myself. I wasn't really seeking mindfulness or buddhism perse. Its more like I went on a trip and did some tourist activities and then realized I really liked what I saw and heard. So I came back to the States and wanted to read more. Basically, I was looking at a beginner-intermediate book (not so beginner that its like those "mindfulness for dummies" books but something that was deeper and would take you through a journey of learning)

He explains everything well, which is exactly what I needed. I do wish there was a bit of history in it. I would like to know more about the life of Buddha (maybe one chapter?). The book goes right into mindfulness.
In terms of mindfulness itself: it really is written in plain-English. I like how it tells you EXACTLY what sitting, walking and sleeping meditation is and what actions/behaviors you have to focus on when you are doing it.

I read through it really slowly and practice it everyday now because he writes in a very encouraging way. For example, he mentions how folks who try lotus position may find it very difficult the first time around and he talks about how you should persevere. It took him a while too even though he was meditating (in another position) for decades!

This was a great starting place for getting into mindfulness. As you progress and become more intermediate, it serves as a great reminder (through re-reading) of your foundation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jim in NC on March 16, 2013
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Whether you approach Buddhism as a religion, a path for meditation, or a philosophy, you will find something of value in this book. I am a list-maker, and there were plenty of lists here - e.g. the 8 steps of Buddha's Path, the 4 noble truths, and the 7 factors of enlightenment. Basic help gained from the book included more understanding of meditation on the breath, staying in the present moment, and the importance of the concept of impermanence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RhysMan on February 21, 2013
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This is an excellent overview of the Satipatthana Sutta. All of the "Plain English" books are highly recommended. Bhante G has the ability to communicate in ways that all can understand. If you would like a more in-depth treatment of this sutta I recommend "Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization" by Analayo. To get a basic understanding start with Bhante G and then go to Analayo for a more scholarly treatment. Both are excellent.
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