Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond Book Review
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.
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
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
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.
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!