Mindfulness in Plain English
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Mindfulness in Plain English

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  4,415 ratings  ·  293 reviews
With his distinctive clarity and wit, "Bhante G" takes us step by step through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness. We already have the foundation we need to live a more productive and peaceful life — Bhante simply points to each tool of meditation, tells us what it does, and how to make it work. This expanded edition includes t...more
Paperback, Revised, Expanded, 208 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Wisdom Publications (first published January 25th 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sean
I expected an exceptional guide to meditation and was surprised to find the book also contained strong, clearly articulated reasons for cultivating mindfulness. This is the best, most concise book on the subject I've read to date. The directness with which ideas are expressed may be startling for some, but the rationale for practice offered throughout is solid. I think it will appeal to any rational person, whether they subscribe to a particular religion or have no faith at all. This is an excel...more
Darryl Knudsen
Even those who don't plan to engage in Buddhist meditation will benefit from his descriptions of the many distractions (mental and physical) that we create for ourselves and which make it more difficult to lead aware lives full of compassion for those around us.

Excellent overview of Vipassana meditation and why it's worth your time. Also an excellent articulation of the need and benefits of cultivating "loving friendliness" toward yourself, those you love, strangers, and even eventually toward...more
David Katzman
Dec 31, 2010 David Katzman rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those with some experience meditating looking to explore further
I’m an armchair Buddhist. Meaning, I like to think about being Buddhist more than actually practicing. But I certainly have deep appreciation for much of Buddhist thought, and I occasionally meditate, and I want to do so more frequently. I almost joined a Zen Buddhist Temple about a mile away from where I live. Still thinking about doing so. Oddly enough, the Art Director who designed Death by Zamboni with me quit his job to become a monk there. I think I drove him crazy because I was so demandi...more
Marcus
No review, just quotes. Each of the following paragraphs are direct quotes, in the order they are found in the text. The book is freely available online.

We have taken a flowing vortex of thought, feeling and sensation and we have solidified that into a mental construct. Then we have stuck a label onto it, 'me'. And forever after, we treat it as if it were a static and enduring entity. We view it as a thing separate from all other things. We pinch ourselves off from the rest of that process of et...more
Jacopo
Forse il miglior manuale per chi vuole avvicinarsi alla pratica della meditazione, anche se alcuni concetti li si comprende solo con l'esperienza diretta. Il pericolo rimane sempre quello di crearsi uno schema mentale su come svolgere determinate attività, invece di limitarsi a svolgerle e toccare con mano la materia, ma è inevitabile quando si cerca di comunicare a parole un'esperienza.
Tiffany
This was a book club pick and I tried my best to approach it with an open mind. I have studied several Buddhist texts in the past and this one is one of the best I've seen at simplifying the idea of Buddhist transcendence or enlightenment for the layman. I can see how this book would be a great resource for people looking to learn the "secrets of meditation", the author himself states there are no secrets all that's required is a willingness to try and focus. In general people are searching for...more
Andrew Frueh
Probably one of the most practical, nuts-and-bolts guides to meditation practice I've read. The author is writing from the perspective of the vipassana tradition, but what is unique about this book is that it primarily stays away from the spiritual side of Buddhism. It's focus is almost entirely on the technique, problems, and solutions of mindfulness meditation. Of all the books I've read on Buddhism, this is the first I've come across like that. It is valuable information particularly to someo...more
Bart Everson
Mar 27, 2012 Bart Everson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in meditation
Hard to evaluate this book, because I've never read anything quite like it.

It is a basic meditation manual. It does not attempt to cover a broad range of approaches. Rather it's focused on one specific type, namely mindfulness meditation, also known as Vipassana or insight meditation. The author is coming from a Theravāda Buddhist tradition. However, as the title implies, the material is given a straightforward presentation with minimal metaphysical baggage.

That might sound dry. It's not. The w...more
Catherine Austen
I was feeling overwhelmed and not really present in my life so I thought I'd try this book. I took a mindfulness workshop ages ago, and I've read several other books since, but I've never incorporated the practice into my life for more than a few weeks at a time. I always let it slide, return to old habits, then run back to mindfulness in desperation when I'm overwhelmed. This book might change that pattern for me. I borrowed it from the library a couple of months ago. It's a very good introduct...more
Emily
I don't really want to review this, so this is really just a few brief notes I wanted to share. I liked this well enough and found it useful enough to buy a copy for my physical book library. When I first began reading it, and its description of meditation, I was beginning to think that this may be impossible for me, but reading it further, he shared an old metaphor of meditation as taming a wild elephant, with your mind being the wild elephant, stamping and trying to get away with all its might...more
Niki Bivona
I finished this book a week ago and have mediated every day since. Here is an excerpt from the book that perfectly describes how I'm feeling...

Somewhere in this process, you will come face-to-face with the sudden and shocking realization that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking, gibbering madhouse on wheels barreling pell-mell down the hill, utterly out of control and hopeless.

Seriously, there is SO much going on up there. Meditation seems hopeless. But the author goes on...

No pro
...more
Daniel Roy
Nov 11, 2012 Daniel Roy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Daniel by: /r/meditation
I'm not experienced at meditation, so I'm not particularly qualified to comment on the quality of the advice given in this book. What I can talk about is my impressions of the book, the clarity of its instructions, and its relevance to my own desire to start meditating.

With that in mind, I found this book excellent. It fully fulfills its promise of clear, straightforward advice on Vipassana meditation. There's no fluff here, no religious flights of fancy. This is a hands-on, practical book on me...more
Ren
Possibly one of the more retarded books I've read in some time. Despite what the title would have you believe, rather than simply explaining the Vipaâsyanåa meditation technique the author feels he has to go on and on about suffering, talk about how superior he is (in a humble way), and how much clearer everything will be once you achieve this intangible state of being.

Oh but wait, you can't want to achieve this state. Woops! I get the whole Buddhist thing but you can lay something out with out...more
Myla
I'm sure for those who want to learn exactly how to meditate this is probably a five star book. I can tell the author is a highly respected, well known expert on the subject and I must admit a bit of what I learned about meditating was interesting-ish, but he lost me quite quick with his talk about how horrible humans are and how you're supposed to think, but don't think, etc. I feel as if he was trying to reap the benefits of the Holy Ghost without actually praying to God and asking for that co...more
Jeremy Allan
Despite my reluctance to admit reading what might seem like "self-help" books to others, I am happy to have read this in public and to post my thoughts on it here. I chose it because I am interested in Buddhist meditation but have wanted to approach it on my own, from a secular perspective. This book provides a solid primer on the practice, both in technique and theory, without overdoing the religious element. There are moments when this book feels slightly redundant and where the organizational...more
Guilhem
Very down to earth, believable, simple, true to self and devoid of folkloric terms from the Buddhist culture which tend to put me off when it comes to that topic. (Unfortunately). But this book is full of humor, seducing and only downside (which may not be a downside in the long run) is the final part which went a bit overboard about compassion and loving kindness.
Overall, not only recommended but perhaps vital piece of reading in one's life, especially at times when everything seems to go haywi...more
Jose Hernandez
Most of us have preconceived notions of what meditation is. When we think of the word meditation we often think of Buddhist monks with shaved heads and flowing robes living in self-inflicted solitude in some far off temple in the middle of a desolate jungle mountain-top, or maybe of long-haired hippies attempting to evoke a transcendental intoxication of oneness with the universe. We may, also, possibly think that meditation is a relaxation technique, a trance like stupor, an escape from reality...more
Lise Baltzer
Lise Baltzer om: Mindfulness in Plain English.

Det her er mindfulness bogen, som jeg ville tage med på en øde ø (sammen med én eller to andre). Fuldstændig ren i snittet, klart formuleret - og behageligt fri snak om evidens og program-dit-og-program-dat og "Den eneste rigtige måde at gøre det på";-) Ja, ja, hver ting til sin tid, men hvor er det dog vidunderligt at bare at læse om den rene vare fra én, der har praktiseret hele sit liv, og som trods dét er forblevet udogmatisk. Ahhhhh ... Den fald...more
Kevan
Mindfulness has been a topic that has continually appeared in my periphery (Wisdom 2.0 conference, Whil app, Time magazine cover, various web articles) that I wanted to explore its actual meaning and practice, rather than relying on my own assumptions and inference.
So, this book was helpful, interesting, simple.

I've never read a book where the author spends such time defining the scope of what he will and will not cover. If you're wondering: Buddhist Vipassana meditation.

In the end, I don't bel...more
Andrea James
This book is proclaimed as one of the classic texts on meditation and mindfulness. Words like "classic" fill me with dread because it's usually euphemism for "this is a "should" rather than a "desired" read" and I half-expected it to be dry and hard going. The book's cover didn't inspire confidence that it would be an easy read either. Then again the "plain English" in its title was appealing.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the author had a dry sense of humour rather than a dry writ...more
Thomas
Aug 29, 2013 Thomas added it
An odd mix: kept switching back and forth between pragmatic-sounding approaches to meditation and kinda out-there metaphysical/philosphical tangents. Felt repetitive, but that could have just been the attempt to put this material in "plain English".

No rating until I actually have been putting this stuff into practice for a bit and see where it takes me.
Steve
Probably the best introductory Insight Meditation ( Vipassana ) book written for English speakers. An exceptionally clear, step-by-step, nondenominational guide with everyday examples that everyone can easily relate to.

You can read an older edition of it, online, for free at
http://tinyurl.com/d2ehme
Heather Walters
A fabulous friend of mine shared this title with me when I mentioned my interest in learning mindfulness. She has been meditating for 15 years and implemented a daily routine three years ago after reading this book herself. I am grateful for this book for all the same reasons she shared with me: a) This book answers the questions, What is Mindfulness & How Do I Begin? It's the closest thing to an instruction manual that you will find; b) Guaratana writes intelligently but clearly and thought...more
Steve
This book helped me get into a regular meditation routine several years ago. Most meditation books are all saying the same thing, so it's really just a matter of finding one that speaks to you. I like Thich Nhat Hanh's books a lot, too.
Kate
This is the how-to book for which I'd been looking. Simple and clear, it anticipates nearly every question that someone new to meditation could have. Other mindfulness literature is interesting, but this is singularly *useful.*
Miles
May 20, 2010 Miles is currently reading it
So far, I think it is an excelent step by step guide to watching how I think, with the short term goal of feeliong better about my thoughts and reactions to things...I'll keep you posted, if anyone is interested
Cristian F
Great guide for beginners.
It resonated with my experience.
There is some really helpful stuff in this book.
I recommend this to anyone who would like to add a bit of realness to their experience.
Miriam
The tone of this book is fantastic, as is the practical information it contains. I will be reading this again.
Dor
Would recommend to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/m...
Stephanie
Exceptional introduction to Insight Meditation. At times I found it somewhat repetitive, but if you haven't been exposed to these ideas in the past, rehearsals of the subject matter will surely be useful. The author deftly avoids entanglement in the particulars of the Buddhist religion and focuses on meditation. With the aid of this guide, you can experience non-judgemental moment-to-moment awareness, improved concentration and calm, clarity and richness to your everyday experience, greater appr...more
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Mindfulness books etc for free 3 15 Oct 28, 2012 03:03AM  
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  • The Experience of Insight: A Simple & Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
  • What the Buddha Taught with Texts from Suttas & Dhammapada
  • Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation
  • Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
  • Breathe! You Are Alive: Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing
  • Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara
  • Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
  • A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
  • Buddhism Plain and Simple
  • The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya
  • Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah
  • Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering
  • Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living
Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English: An Introductory guide to Deeper States of Meditation The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English Journey to Mindfulness: The Autobiography of Bhante G. The Path Of Serenity And Insight (An Explanation Of Buddhist Jhanas)

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“Deeply buried in the mind, there lies a mechanism that accepts what the mind experiences as beautiful and pleasant and rejects those experiences that are perceived as ugly and painful. This mechanism gives rise to those states of mind that we are training ourselves to avoid-- things like greed, lust, hatred, aversion, and jealousy.” 7 likes
“The irony of it is that real peace comes only when you stop chasing it—another Catch-22.” 2 likes
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