Bart Everson's Reviews > Mindfulness in Plain English

Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana
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's review
Mar 27, 12

Recommended for: anyone interested in meditation
Read from December 07, 2011 to March 12, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

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 writing is direct and passionate, though that passion is subtle rather than breathless. There is a lot of wisdom here.

My favorite quote:

We are learning here to escape into reality, rather than from it.

Personally, I sought this book out because I needed it. I had jumped into mindfulness meditation after reading one brief article in Psychology Today. After a few months, I felt the need to deepen my understanding of what I was doing.

This book fit that bill. I now have a much clearer idea about what mindfulness is, and various formal practices that can cultivate it.

I have only two reservations. Firstly, I have little with which to compare this book. Secondly, though the baggage may be minimal, there is still a little bit of preachiness here and there. But with these caveats in mind, I'd still recommend the book to almost anyone with an interest in the subject.

It should be mentioned that this book was published under a free license, and multiple free and pay electronic versions seem to be floating around.
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