Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond Book Review

Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond Book Review

mindfulness, bliss, and beyond

Book Title:  Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook
Author:  Ajahn Brahm
Publisher:  Wisdom Publications
Year Published: 2006
Pages: 240
Paperback Price:$14.95
Kindle Price: $13.99

This book was written by Buddhist monk and author Ajahn Brahm.  He is a Theravadin Buddhist monk of the Thai Forest tradition.  He was once a teacher at Cambridge University, who now utilizes his experiences in order to teach Buddhism.

Originally British-born, he is now the Abbot of Bodhinaya Monastery and is one of the many disciples of the late Ajahn Chah.  His writing successfully illustrates and clarifies the teachings (dharma) of the Buddha.

Book Summary

In order to get a good overview of the topics contained in this book, I’m sharing the table of contents here with you.

This book concentrates on the Jhanas (the bliss states of meditation) which are a core part of the Buddha’s teachings and meditation practices.  He goes into great detail about the dos and don’ts of meditation, and he clearly instructs the reader on how to attain the Four Jhanas.  His metaphors and stories help to clarify the Buddha’s instructions in accordance with the Buddhist scriptures called suttas (or sutras in Sanskrit).

Part I: The Happiness of Meditation

mindfulness, bliss, and beyond

Author and Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm

Chapter 1: The Basic Method of Meditation I
Chapter 2: The Basic Method of Meditation II
Chapter 3: The Hindrances to Meditation I
Chapter 4: The Hindrances to Meditation II
Chapter 5: The Quality of Mindfulness
Chapter 6: Using Variety to Freshen Up Our Meditation
Chapter 7: The Beautiful Breath
Chapter 8: The Four Focuses of Mindfulness

Part II: To Bliss and Beyond

Chapter 9: The Jhanas I: Bliss
Chapter 10: The Jhanas II: Bliss upon bliss
Chapter 11: The Jhanas III: Bliss upon Bliss upon Bliss
Chapter 12: The Nature of Deep Insight
Chapter 13: The Deep Insight That Liberates
Chapter 14: Enlightenment: Entering the Stream
Chapter 15: Onward to Full Enlightenment
Conclusion: Letting Go to the End

My Critique

This was a brilliant book that definitely increased my understanding of what happens during the meditation process.  He uses clear language in order to communicate ineffable states that are hard to describe with human language.

What I really liked is that he demystifies meditation in a way that you can apply the advice contained in this book.  He also covers the various challenges that you might experience during your meditation practice and what you can do in order to correct those mistakes.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a great book for beginners on the Buddhist path, or for those who are interested in learning more about Buddhism.  If you practice meditation or are interested in taking up meditation practice, then you need to get this book.   It truly is a “Meditator’s Handbook” as per the title.

Buy your own copy of Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook today!

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4 Responses to Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond Book Review

  1. Mallory says:

    Bless you for including the Kindle price – I will do almost anything to save a penny or a dollar for that matter!
    This book sounds pretty interesting, I have some family members who swear by meditation and this sounds like a great resource to learn more about it.
    After reading it, did you feel like it taught you how to achieve “blissful” meditation? Or do you simply understand better how it relaxes the body and mind?
    You mentioned that it is a handbook which makes me think it would be very useful to have around!
    Great review!

    • Ian H says:

      Hi Mallory,
      Yes, it does put me in the right frame of mind for deep meditation. If you put the author’s teachings into practice, you will have a better meditation sessions.

  2. Justin says:

    Thank you for the great write up! I have always been intrigued by meditation and how it can effect ones life. I have been searching for ways to decrease my stress and increase my mental focus through exercise and discipline rather than medication and other non-beneficial enhancers.

    After you read it completely did you feel that you were able to put into practice his teachings? If so how effective were they in your life?

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