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Practicing the Jhanas: Traditional Concentration Meditation as Presented by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw Paperback – December 1, 2009
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“Finely constructed meditation manual.”—Buddhadharma
“Clear and in-depth. Practicing the Jhanas explains difficult concepts and ideas in an accessible format and enriches the reader’s understanding of meditation.”—Yoga Magazine (UK)
“Stephen Snyder and Tina Rasmussen know what they write about in this book through their own direct experience as dedicated yogis. This book serves as a bridge for Westerners, as a conduit to the traditional teachings of the Buddha.”—Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw <p style="line-height: 150%;">“This is a unique road map to the extraordinary and transforming states of mind known as the jhanas. As a psychologist and as a practicing Buddhist, I recommend this book wholeheartedly.”—Rick Hansen, PhD, co-author of Buddha’s Brain: The New Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
<p style="line-height: 150%;"> “Practicing the Jh?nas is a wonderful addition to our understanding of concentration practice. Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder draw on a wealth of personal experience to clearly elucidate and fine-tune this profound meditative path. Highly recommended.”—Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma <p style="line-height: 150%;"> “A fascinating look at the inner experience of jh?na meditation as taught by the Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw. Tina and Stephen are among a very few Western students of Sayadaw who can speak authoritatively about these profound levels of concentration. Their work is a most valuable addition to the contemporary literature of Theravadin Buddhism.”—Guy Armstrong, teacher, Spirit Rock Meditation Center <p style="line-height: 150%;"> “This book will be of interest to any dedicated meditator, regardless of their style of practice. It provides a valuable contribution to the growing understanding of jh?na and its important place in Buddhist meditation.”—Richard Shankman, author of The Experience of Samadhi
About the Author
Stephen Snyder began practicing Zen Buddhism in 1976 and has had a daily meditation practice from that time on. He has practiced for twenty years with Western Zen masters. Stephen attended a two-month retreat with Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw in 2005. He attained the eight jhanas (as well as other practices) in the span of the retreat, becoming the first American male to complete this attainment in the lineage of Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw.
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This very readable book begins with historical background information on the Jhanas and the Buddha’s practice of these mental states. The principles of Buddhism are listed with recommendations for further reading since those principles are not the focus of the book. Do not miss reading this book. An understanding of the higher mental states is fundamental to an experiential understanding of Buddhism.
The authors speak with confidence resulting from personal experience. The tone of the book is inviting and refreshing. Instead of feeling demoralized by the relative lack of progress in my personal meditation practice to date, I feel inspired by the authors to take up this practice systematically. They have shown what lies ahead and made it clear that with proper effort it is attainable. This book is such a gift!
Practicing the Jhanas takes the beginning meditator from the first sit all the way through to what I consider very advanced meditation. But the authors haven't stopped there. They provide a bridge to the teachings of Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw which will facilitate the meditator's continued progress beyond the scope of this book. I feel gratitude to the authors for sharing their knowledge and experience of this ancient yet vibrant path to liberation.