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Mindfulness in Plain English Paperback – Special Edition, September 6, 2011
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If you'd like to read about meditation and then go back to your regular life, don't get this book. Henepola Gunaratana, a monk from Sri Lanka and venerated teacher of Buddhism, warns us that vipassana meditation is "meant to revolutionize the whole of your life experience." In one of the best nuts-and-bolts meditation manuals, he lays out the fundamentals of basic Buddhist meditation, the how, what, where, when, and why, including common problems and how to deal with them. His 52 years as a Buddhist monk make Mindfulness in Plain English an authority on a living tradition, and his years of teaching in America and elsewhere give it the clarity and straightforwardness that has made it so popular. If you'd like to learn the practice of meditation, you can't do better. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A masterpiece." (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
"A classic--one of the very best English sources for authoritative explanations of mindfulness." (Daniel Goleman)
"Of great value to newcomers... especially people without access to a teacher." (Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath)
"This book is the bible of mindfulness." (Barry Boyce, editor of Mindful magazine and The Mindfulness Revolution)
"Wonderfully clear and straightforward." (Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace)
"Pithy and practical." (Shambhala Sun)
"Jargon-free." (USA Today)
"Among the very best." (Tricycle)
"A classic." (Inquiring Mind)
"Profound...a classic interpretation of Vipassana meditation practice." (The Middle Way)
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Top Customer Reviews
Bhante Gunaratana writes with a very engaging and relaxed style, which makes the book easy to follow and even humorous at times. He speaks with candor and right from the beginning he emphasizes that, “Meditation is not easy. It takes time and energy. It also takes grit, determination and discipline.” But, then he goes on to emphasize that meditation should be rejuvenating and liberating, and in fact, that most seasoned practitioners have a good sense of humor, because the practice creates a calmness and relaxed perspective about life. The author’s explanations about key concepts is stated in a fresh manner, for instance explaining that the word “suffering” in Buddhism needs to be thoroughly understood to realize that in the original Pali language it does not just mean agony of the body, but that it also means a sense of dissatisfaction that is typical of what all people deal with on a daily basis. He also emphasizes that Vipassana, unlike some other Buddhist traditions, ranks mindfulness and awareness right up beside concentration as a means to liberation. Thus a great part of the focus of meditation is a combination of concentration and mindfulness.
The author takes the time to explain differences in approach between Vipassana Buddhism and other forms, such as classic Mahayana sects like Zen Buddhism and Tibetan traditions. The other key element to this book is the great detail he goes into to explain precisely how to meditate, breaking it down regarding not using any mental recitations at all to help your focus, (which is something some other forms suggest you do). He explains multiple ways to help you focus through counting your breaths in different manners, emphasizing that different ways work for different people. And always, he emphasizes to be gentle with yourself and stay calm and patient as you experiment and practice. This last point is something he emphasizes again and again, making sure we understand that if our practice is causing suffering then we are clearly not practicing correctly. He addresses how to plan your practices and how to deal with common things such as your legs falling asleep, boredom, distractions, discouragement, drowsiness and inability to concentrate.
However, I just relaxed and started to read and absorb the subject. Within reading a few pages, it was so enlightening and just what my mind needed. I'm in sales with over 100 accounts with lots of multi-tasting required to be sucessful. It's teaching me to think clearer. But more important,
teaching me to enjoy life more.
Further, your understanding of how to structure your meditation practice will improve throughout as he discusses things to do before, how to deal with restlessness, and numerous other issues certain to come up. I tried to start meditating before I read all of the book and felt awkward and uncertain. Having finished the book, I feel more prepared and know what I can expect from my practice. Even the added epilogue contains some extremely valuable wisdom for practicing mindfulness and loving friendliness in your daily life, not just "on the cushion".
If you want to see the positive changes in your life that mindfulness can afford but aren't sure where to begin, start here.
NOTE: I used the Kindle version and found this edition to be excellent on the iPad, as you can quickly flip to different chapters as you may need them for your meditation practice. I highly recommend it for the lower price and extra utility.
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