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Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English: An Introductory guide to Deeper States of Meditation
Countless people worldlwide have made Mindfulness in Plain English a beloved and bestselling classic in almost a dozen languages. Now after nearly two decades, Bhante helps meditators of every stripe take their mindfulness practice to the next level - helping them go, in a word, beyond mindfulness. In the same warm, clear, and friendly voice, Bhante introduces the reader t ...more
ebook, 200 pages
Published August 10th 2009 by Wisdom Publications
(first published 2009)
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Apr 19, 2015 Steve rated it really liked it · review of another edition
The jhanas are states of deep relaxation and presence of mind with a detachment from external stimuli. Many people are familiar with Insight Meditation (Vipassana) of Theravada Buddhism, the oldest surviving form ( not the oldest form absolutely ) of Buddhism. However, until recently almost nothing has been written about the Jhanas in English and what was written has been mistaken, as well as confusing. "Beyond Mindfulness In Plain English" is one of about 4 new books about the Jhanas meant to c ...more
The first half of this book is about the basics of Buddhism and meditation. It outlines the hindrances and fetters and provides some helpful hints to stay focused during meditation. The suggestions are clear, easily applicable, and helped me to isolate and de-escalate my anger in several situations. The second half of the book describes the four stages of jhana--what I understand to be deep meditation. Even though I have never experienced deeper states of meditation, the explanations of jhana pr ...more
This was more challenging to get through than Mindfulness in Plain English for a few reasons. The first is that the concepts here are far more abstract and advanced. Gunaratana uses the same words over and over again to describe different states and progression, some states that have no basis in the physical world and cannot be fairly represented with words, so it starts to feel like a jumble. Another challenge is that this book spans the divide between hobbyist/novice and professional/advanced ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Marshall rated it liked it · review of another edition
The follow-up to Mindfulness in Plain English, this book explores deeper states of consciousness, called "jhanas." It assumes the reader has read the first book. It lays the foundation with a lengthy discussion of removing "fetters" and "hinderances," a strong "metta" practice (lovingkindness meditation), and a strict discipline of mindfulness and concentration. Then it devotes most of the book to explanations of the jhanas: the four material jhanas, the immaterial jahanas, and the supramundane ...more
Nov 10, 2013 Shinta rated it really liked it · review of another edition
This book is not meant to replace a samatha meditation teacher or long term retreats (or bootcamps if you prefer to use that term). It encourages me however that samatha meditation, and thus jhana, is a meditationtechnique that properly practiced under proper guidance, will lead to good results. I, too, used to consider samatha meditation as a technique not appropriate for lay people, but only for the olympic athletes among the meditators, as Bhante G put it, until I met a meditation teacher who ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Patrick J. rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Recommends it for: intermediate level meditators
I really liked this book. This is a great intermediate level book about mindfulness meditation. It gave me a good idea of where I should be going next with my meditation. Every other book I have read about mindfulness really just rehashes what I had already learned, but Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English: An Introductory Guide to the Jhanas assumes that you know what mindfulness is and are familiar with the basic techniques. The only downside to this book was that I got it from the library and ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Chrystal rated it it was ok · review of another edition
I'm realizing that for me - New Age meditation has an underlying message to look to the self for answers and peace. My faith and answers and peace are in Christ and I want to keep it that way. Being 'freed' from this thought process isn't something I'm looking to accomplish. Learning to be more present is definitely something I aim to do and something this book did add insights to; but that's about all I found useful.
I think this guy is a super champ and really knows something about some of the more developed states of the mind, particularly the "jhanas" or concentration states. A little bit grounding after reading Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha; helped me realize I still have a long way to go. (sigh)
A primer on samadhi, specifically on jhanas, the concentrated states arrived through dedicated concentration meditation. Fair warning that this book can appear dry and perhaps a bit confusing if one hasn't put in the requisite time. Therefore, I would encourage anyone who is interested in meditation to do the hard work and use books like these as guideposts on the path.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the founding abbot of the Bhavana Society. Born in rural Sri Lanka, he has been a monk since age 12 and took full ordination at age 20 in 1947. He came to the United States in 1968. “Bhante G” (as he is fondly called by his students) has written a number of books, including the now-classic meditation manual Mindfulness In Plain English and its companion Eight Mindful ...moreMore about Henepola Gunaratana...
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“As you practice jhana-oriented meditation, you move over time through a series of mental states that become more and more subtle as you proceed through them. You start where you are now and you go far, far beyond. You move beyond the range of concepts and sensory perceptions.”
“Building concentration is primarily a matter of removing certain mental factors that hinder its application.”More quotes…