Mindfulness in Plain English: Revised and Expanded Edition Paperback – Sep 1 2002
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About the Author
Bhante Gunaratana was ordained at the age of twelve as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, earned his PhD in philosophy from The American University, and has led meditation retreats, taught Buddhism, and lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the president of the Bhavana Society in High View, West Virginia, where he lives. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
But it leaves out much advice that would have made it much better. 90% of those starting a meditation class drop out - meditation teachers such as Gunaratana rarely seek to find out why and so the small things that get in the way of even the most determined intentions. A good meditation book must tackle them - and Gunaratana like every writer does so only partially.
Here is a list of a few of things that could be added.
A beginner requires equipment to handle the 20, 30 or 40 minute duration of their meditation -- for example, a timer used in cooking (under something to dim its unpleasant alarm sound), or a CD burnt with silent tracks that end with one of bells. After a few months, time can be estimated by looking at a watch but in the initial days such checking just adds an additional and an unnecessary burden.
Ear plugs (motor cyclist shops and internet sites are a good source), or ear muffs (internet sites again check for Bilsom or Peltor brands) might be an idea. Again after a few months, distracting sounds of kids, power tools, TVs in other rooms etc are not a problem, and can even add to the practice, but in the initial stages they add that extra difficulty.Read more ›
The first chapter, "Meditation: Why Bother?" establishes the tone that meditation is an effective means to profoundly change the way one approaches life. I happen to follow a faith other than Buddhism, and the principles put forth in this book have a universal appeal that should alienate no one. Additionally, the writing has a contemporary style and the subject is presented as a practice that anyone can cultivate and apply to their daily lives. This is impressive when one considers the author was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1939 at the age of twelve.
Chapters two and three describe what meditation is and what it isn't, giving beginners a clear idea of what they can expect from the rest of the book (and from insight meditation in general). The remainder of the text lays out the specifics of the practice such as how to sit, how to focus on the breath and how to deal with problems and distractions. The final sixty-or-so pages discuss the concept of mindfulness and its application in everyday life, both as a means of self-regard and for the development of relations with others.
I highly recommend this book with its clear, engaging instruction and straightforward presentation of mindfulness meditation. It would be a worthy addition to the collection of anyone interested in this topic.
1. Mindfulness sees the true nature of all phenomena.
2. It is mindfulness that notices the change.
3. Mindfulness is non-superficial awareness. It sees things deeply down below the level of concepts and opinions.
4. Mindfulness is not trying to achieve anything. It is just looking. Mindfulness simply accepts whatever is there.
In plain English we clarify the subject and predicate. How can mindfulness see, notice or accept anything? Surely the meditator is the one doing the seeing, noticing, and accepting. I would prefer it if the author had written:
1. When we are mindful we see the true nature of all phenomena.
2. When mindful, we notice the changes.
3. Mindfulness is non-superficial awareness. It helps us see things deeply down below the level of concepts and opinions.
4. We are not trying to achieve anything. We are just looking. When practising mindfulness we simply accept whatever is there.
Personification is definitely not plain English as it obscures the actor--in this case the individual practicing mindfulness.
Another problem I had was with the affirmations Mr. Gunaratana asks the reader to repeat at the beginning of each meditation session. For example: "May I be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to me. May no DIFFICULTIES come to me. May no PROBLEMS come to me. May I always meet with success. May I also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable DIFFICULTIES, PROBLEMS and failures of life."
Is the author pulling his punches here? May no difficulties come to me AND may I be able to meet and overcome the difficulties of life?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great book, but it came in large print. This was not obvious on the website. Still amazon.ca made me pay for shipping it back. So beware of large print editions.Published on Jan. 10 2012 by AnBrHi
This book is absolutly brilliant. It's written so clearly and concisely. The author speaks to his audience (you) as if you're in his living room having a cup of tea! Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2011 by J
Excellent for staying in the Now! Also use it in a yoga class. The class is called Mindful Meditation and we practice Buddha type meditation. LovelyPublished on April 29 2011 by Frances
This is the clearest, most useful explanination of how and why to meditate I have ever read. Read this book, put it into practice, and improve your life beyond your wildest... Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2010 by janet
Well written, easy to read and practical. Provided volumes of helpful tools to assist with anyone's practice. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2009 by Doug and Linda
If you are looking for a specific step-by-step first guide on how to learn the Vipassana meditation technique, then look no further. This guide is absolutely the best! Read morePublished on April 7 2009 by Amy VG
Simple Way Great Result
The Power of Mindfulness remains hidden force behind Theravada buddhism practices. Read more
This book is fabulous! It's written in a non-condisending way, very much "plain english". A fabulous step on the path to enlightenment!Published on March 16 2004 by Christine Robbins
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