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Why Meditate: Working with Thoughts and Emotions Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this marvelous book, Matthieu Ricard articulates the Dharma in the very same way he embodies it in his life; that is, with profound clarity, goodwill, and humility. These qualities come through on every page and make the experience of reading and practicing with this elegant and deceptively simple primer on meditation tantamount to entering into and familiarizing oneself in an ever-deepening way with the landscape of one’s own truest self.”
 
— Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Coming to Our Senses


“This is the book on meditation that I’ve been waiting for. Reading it has helped me hone my personal practice, and finally I have come across the perfect book to recommend to all those interested in meditation—newcomers and experts. Why Meditate? is clear, accessible, deep, and practical.”
 
— Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier
 


An excellent introduction to a practice that has calmed the mind for thousands of years. Profound concepts and essential instructions are explained with the utmost clarity. I highly recommend it!”
 
— Judith S. Beck, Ph.D., director of Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research, clinical
associate professor of psychology in psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, past president, Academy of Cognitive Therapy


Why Meditate? is a clear and insightful guide to beginning a meditation practice, and to continuing one skillfully. Matthieu Ricard provides helpful and specific instruction along with an immense depth of understanding about happiness, suffering, and living a better life.”
 
— Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and The Kindness Handbook


“Writing as a true spiritual friend, Matthieu Ricard shares the wisdom he has gained from his four decades of spiritual training that clearly and succinctly presents what meditation is and how to practice it, step by step. This book is a treasure to be read with care and shared with those you love.”
 
— B. Alan Wallace, author of Mind in the Balance

About the Author

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who had a promising career in cellular genetics before leaving France to study Buddhism in the Himalayas 37 years ago. He is a best-selling author, translator, and photographer; and an active participant in current scientific research on the effects of meditation on the brain. He lives in Nepal and dedicates much of his time to humanitarian projects in the Himalayas. Find out more at: www.matthieuricard.org/en.
 
All of the author’s proceeds from the sale of this book go to Karuna-Shechen, a humanitarian organization that he founded to provide primary health care and education for the underserved populations of the Himalayan region.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; Pap/Com edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401926630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401926632
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who had a promising career in cellular genetics before leaving France to study Buddhism in the Himalayas 35 years ago. He is a bestselling author, translator and photographer, and an active participant in current scientific research on the effects of meditation on the brain. He lives and works on humanitarian projects in Tibet and Nepal.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By DR.H on September 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Matthieu Ricard's warmth and caring seems to drench each page. If you are looking for someone to push you a bit, to motivate you a bit, to inspire you to do the hard lifting that is meditation, you will find this book very rewarding.

There is a CD included which is voiced by Matthieu. The CD covers most of the topics in the book. It is a good thing to have in the car to remind you of why it is so important to stop driving so much and just sit in meditation for at least some time each day.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By G. A. BRAVO-CASAS on June 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Matthieu Ricard is a well-known Buddhist monk. Son of the famous French philosopher Jean-François Revel, Ricard was a dedicated student of biology when he became interested in Buddhism at age 21 during a sojourn in Darjeeling, India. Subsequent visits culminated in his conversion to Buddhism, but at the request of his mentor, Kangyur Rinpoche, he went back to Paris to finish his PhD in molecular biology in 1971 at the Institut Pasteur, under the guidance of the Nobel prize winner Jacques Monod. Because of his interest in science and Buddhism, he became an active participant in a series of gatherings called the Mind and Life Institute, a dialogue forum between the Dalai Lama and Western scientists. Ricard joined these dialogues in 2000 at their eighth meeting and had the opportunity to meet such prominent scientists as Daniel Goleman, Paul Ekman and Richard J. Davidson. Davidson was studying several emotional states such as joy, happiness, enthusiasm, and compassion from a neurological perspective. Davidson and his colleagues were the first to study meditation using modern scanning technologies (functional magnetic resonance imaging -fMRI and electroencephalograms -EEG) at the University of Wisconsin.

Ricard's book, Why Meditate? is a succinct but comprehensive introduction to the subject. "Meditation is a matter not of theory but of practice, just as it does not satisfy your hunger to read a restaurant menu if you are not going to eat something from it," he states. Ricard starts with the idea that meditation, like any other training requires to be practiced to see results. In support of this idea he reminds us that modern neuroscience talks about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and finds that meditation produces anatomical effects in the brain.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By drummershort on November 12, 2010
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Don't know if I was just ready to start meditating or this was the proverbial,"When the student is ready the Master will arrive." Bottom line; this book got me meditating, something no other self help book has done in over 30 years. The audio that comes with the book is excellent. The authors accent makes the CD a joy to listen to.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Harris on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is the heart of a man, Matthieu Ricard, so humble and humane in a dignified way.

In addition to giving instructions for quietism, readers are guided in creating an active knowing based on discursive meditation.

This book is an intimate instruction that provides any person who wants to meditate regularly the tools of calming, objects/methods they will need to get their mindfulness back, and the traditional development of discursive meditations of altruistic love, exchange, stopping identification with defiled emotion, and bringing daily life and practice together. A sublime interchange of ideas and inspiration.

Matthieu backs you up the whole way. This is the only reference one needs in their shed. Completely simple and easy to understand, and to put into action.

Astounding breadth of narrative in a friendly conversation manner. "Why Meditate" requires readers to just try it and see.

Whether you are Buddhist, Catholic, Agnostic, or Jew, I recommend you buy this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Deeee on February 13, 2013
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It's not too often that one can say a book changed one's life. 'Why Meditate?' is one such book. While, I'm still learning and still trying to apply what Matthieu teaches, it has radically changed how I view my life, my emotions, my relationships and my world. I've learnt to let go (more often) negative emotions and it's bringing me one baby step closer to achieving inner peace.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Armando Espinoza on October 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sought help when my depression was getting too much to bear and nothing else seemed to be working. After some research, I stumbled upon meditation again, and I say that since I used to "meditate" during Tae-Kwon-Do classes when I was a kid. I figured it'd at least get me back in touch with it, as I do remember it helping.

I was amazed by the sheer amount of instruction this book contains. Matthieu Ricard makes a complete effort that addresses basically any question a beginner may have with what meditation is and how it works. First, he describes the practical ways (backed by scientific studies) it helps. Then, he gets more into the spiritual side, how it's supposed to work, and what you're supposed to do and expect. He does an excellent job putting a complicated thing like meditation into layman's terms without having it lose any of its deep meaning. He even includes some figures and examples to keep you on the right path (even if you haven't done it before) and make sure that you understand what meditation is.

The interesting thing is that I've taken real meditation classes as of recent in well-known places such as Tibet House and I'm pleased to say that everything they teach in these classes are basically the same principles the book has. I never thought a book could teach something so well. If you don't have access to classes, this is almost as good (or even the same in my opinion). If you follow the book and practice, you can also get Tibet House quality instruction. Fear not, for this is the real deal, but the book makes it so easy a caveman can do it. The CD (that comes with the hard copy of the book) is a nice recap of the teaching of the book and functions like an audiobook, so you can take it anywhere you want to meditate.
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