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The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation Paperback – December 30, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A balanced, intelligent, and indispensable guide to the range of Buddhist teachings on samadhi. Written by an accomplished meditator."—Gil Fronsdal, author and translator, The Dhammapada

"The Experience of Samadhi provides a wonderfully broad overview of the role of concentration in Buddhist meditation as well as in-depth exploration of meditative experience. This book is a valuable and inspiring resource."—Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma and A Heart Full of Peace

"This book will be strongly welcomed not only by all those who sit on the meditation cushion but also by many who want to know about the experiences of meditative concentration and unification of the mind. It will be a classic, a manual and resource book lasting for generations. This is a five-star book. Actually, six stars."—Christopher Titmuss, author of An Awakened Life

About the Author

Richard Shankman is a Buddhist meditation teacher with nearly four decades' experience in meditation practice and study. He is cofounder of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies as well as the Community Partnership for Mindfulness in Education. He teaches throughout the country at Dharma centers and retreats, including Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; First Edition edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590305213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590305218
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Gump on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
What is jhana? Are there conflicting definitions in the Buddhists texts? Do the original sources in the Pali canon agree with later commentaries? How is samadhi (concentration) taught in the West? Do modern Vipassana teachers and monastics agree on the fundamental definitions and methods? These are the key questions Richard Shankman addresses in this clearly written, superbly organized study of samadhi. The book begins with a detailed explanation of samadhi and jhana in the Pali canon, complete with references to key suttas, then moves to a thorough examination of jhana in the Visuddhimaga. Next it highlights the core controversies surrounding samadhi. In a wonderfully helpful section, Shankman presents the text of interviews he conducted with four monastics and four senior Vipassana dharma instructors to show the areas of agreement and disagreement on this subject. Shankman's style is direct, lucid, and impartial, giving all sides of the argument equal time. A must-read for practitioners who want a deeper understanding of the eighth principle of the Eight-Fold Path.
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I would recommend this book to anyone who meditates and has questions like "What is samadhi, what is jhana, who teaches in accordance with the discourses of the Buddha and who teaches more in line with the Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga)? It is a very helpful reference book. I first read a copy from the library and decided to buy a copy.
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One of the best books about Jhanas available. Mr. Shankman explains the difference between meditation as practised in the Sutras and as practiced in the various commentaries to the Sutras. There are several controversies going on here, and he sets them out lucidly. He includes many interviews with meditation instructors of various Buddhist persuasions. A useful and intelligent book. Required reading if you have any historical or personal interest in deep meditative experience.
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The interviews with the Buddhist teachers in the second half of the book really make this a must buy. It almost as if Richard Shankman just spent the first half proving that he knows what he's talking about and then uses his knowledge to interview skilled monks to bring out some true insight into religious experience.
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I have been attached to Buddhism for 15 years but am not a well trained Buddhist scholar. Though some of his points were above my level of understanding I am really happy I read this book. I came a way with a deeper understanding of Samadhi than I had before. His interviews at the end are worth the price of the book alone.
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Defining samadhi and jhana has been a massive struggle for me because of all the debate and the author of this book cleared it up mostly and then got the opinion of a slough of experts in the form of interviews as well.

This book put most of my questions to bed finally! I am so thankful someone did this!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Samatha is part of the Buddhist meditation despite differing opinions whether it's necessary to practice Samatha along with Vipassana (sometimes referred as 'gradual-step training') versus the promoters of only-Vipassana-matters (dry insight practice), As there are many traditions so there are many approaches to Samatha; yet it does not necessarily mean that this or that approach is the best method. I'd say, use this book as a road map, find a trustworthy teachter and sit to find out which technique works for you.
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By Goldenrule on September 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very in depth view of Samadhi. The author is extremely thorough and the book is anything, but a primer.
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