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Mindfulness in Plain English: 20th Anniversary Edition Paperback – Sep 6 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; 20th Anniversary ed. edition (Sept. 6 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861719069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861719068
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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 the Audio CD edition.

Review

"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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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a beautiful book. The language is simple, but rich and uplifting. I feel peaceful and inspired reading through any of the sections. It is filled with practical advice and covers all possible questions and pitfalls. I plan to read it multiple times to absorb the information. I'm a complete newb to meditation, Buddhism and mindfulness and it's easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated, unless sitting down and reading this book. I highly highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. It is in plain English. It provides step by step, detailed instruction in how to practice insight meditation and mindfulness. This is the type of meditation that the Buddha describes in his writings.
But, in addition to providing the detailed nuts and bolts the author also explains why you should meditate and what you can get out of it.
The specificity of the instruction is what sets this book apart. Yes, his is not the only way to do it. But, if you are starting out new this is exactly the type of book that will provide a road map for you. As you read more, attend classes, or a sitting group you can modify your practice. But even with such this book provides much helpful and specific advice of how to do it and what to do when problems arise. Which they will.
In addition, the author's explanations of the whys of meditation have a surprising depth on re-read. Surprising because of their straight forward presentation. I've found revisiting the book most helpful.
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes when I pick up titles on meditation, yoga, or other practices associated with Eastern philosophy, mysticism or relgion, I am overcome with the author's inability to say what they mean in language that is useful to the rest of us. My relief was enormous, therefore, when a friend gave me this book by Venerable Henepola Gunaratana! This book is exactly what the title implies...easy to read and understand because it is not written in mystic hokum, rather it is written in plain english. The result is a manual for the beginning student of meditation that is sufficient to get you well on your way to benefitting from the practice of Insight Meditation.
In "Mindfulness" you will gain an understanding of what mindfullness is, how to cultivate it both during sitting practice and the rest of the time, tips on how to sit and how to overcome some of the most common distractions (including your feet going to sleep and your back hurting), and what to look for and what to avoid. I have not been practicing meditation for long, and this book was of enormous value in helping me identify the things I was doing that served as barriers to effective insight meditation, as well as giving me ideas on how to enhance the effectiveness of my meditation.
This is an extremely practical book for the western practitioner. It draws heavily upon the Buddhist paradigm, but the techniques for effective meditation cross all sect boundaries, and the beginning practitioner of any faith will find this book of enormous benefit. I would strongly encourage the reader to suppliment this book with "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thich Nhat Hahn. The two together are a delightfully easy to read but complete and well rounded introduction to the practices of Insight Meditation. If you want to know how but don't want to hire a Yogi to translate, this book is the place to start.
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Format: Paperback
Venerable Henepola Gunaratana has written a book that is free of all the mumbo jumbo that I have found in many books on meditation. This book is straight forward and written in PLAIN ENGLISH. A good book for beginners or advance meditators. Since reading this book I have bought Bhant G's other books and they are all, without exception excellent and easy to read. The Theravada tradition of meditation is fantastic as it follows the tradition handed down to us by the Enlightened One 2500 years ago.
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By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 23 2013
Format: Paperback
This book exposed some of my most basic and stupid mistakes, like confusing stupification with depth, or treating concentration as an end in itself. Then it goes on to deal with questions concerning every level of mindfulness, with sentences that naturally covey mindfulness. It's quite a joy to read, even if the explanations can get complex. The time that Gunaratana saved me probably can't be counted.
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Format: Paperback
Whether you are a complete novice thinking about starting to meditate, or someone who has meditated for decades, you will find much of value in this book. It is written in a delightfully straightforward way without a hint of any sort of sectarian dogma or new age goofiness. An exceptionally well written book that covers all the major topics in a crisp, concise, understandable way.
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Format: Paperback
Somehow I feel that a long review would be unfaithful to the spirit of this great book. Not since I discovered Alan Watts some ten years ago have I read such clear words in the context of buddhism. You will find great introductions to meditation in your local bookstore, from which I recommend the books of Chogyam Trungpa, his student Pema Chödrön, the American Surya Das, and last but not least Sogyal Rinpoche (all from the Tibetan tradition). But "Mindfulness in Plain English" (from the Theravada tradition) stands on a class of its own. If you are a rookie practitioner like me and you do not have the good fortune of having a qualified teacher around, I believe this little manual alone, and discipline, can take you a long way. And you will not exhaust it in one reading. The language is deceptively simple and the book contains some very nuanced discussions (e.g. the distinction between "mindfulness" and "concentration" should be required reading to philosophers of the mind; by the way, when will the Searles and the Dennetts ever discover the buddhist insights about consciousness?) This review is long enough: read the book and meditate everyday. You will be better and so will the world.
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