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Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,166 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The mind contains the seeds of its own awakening--seeds that we can cultivate to bring forth the fruits of a life lived consciously. With Mindfulness, Joseph Goldstein shares the wisdom of his four decades of teaching and practice in a book that will serve as a lifelong companion for anyone committed to mindful living and the realization of inner freedom.Goldstein's source ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published November 1st 2013 by Sounds True
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Clive F No, I wouldn't recommend this for beginners. It does show you pretty much everything, but it doesn't show the simple stuff simply. Once you've been tr…moreNo, I wouldn't recommend this for beginners. It does show you pretty much everything, but it doesn't show the simple stuff simply. Once you've been trying meditation for a while, it will deepen your practice, but there are other books out there more suitable for beginners (e.g. "Mindfulness in Plain English", a great beginners book, or "Mindfulness in eight weeks", which also mixes some cognitive behavioural therapy in there to help with anxiety and stress).(less)
Martin Pozor I am also an atheist and in this regard it was not pushing much irrationality. The only thing which is notable is brief mention of reincarnation few t…moreI am also an atheist and in this regard it was not pushing much irrationality. The only thing which is notable is brief mention of reincarnation few times but with explicitly said the reader is not expected to believe it.

There are some beliefs in Buddhism which are irrational, but vast majority of the philosophy (and the book) is perfectly acceptable to atheists.(less)

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Karan Bajaj
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't believe this book when I first came across it. Buddhism and meditation has become so populist and simplistic in the West with mantras and chanting and "just let go" instructions that I was blown away to find this rare gem of the book which doesn't flinch away from the hardcore intellectual components of Buddhist philosophy. One of the few books that has greatly deepened my meditation practice. Something switched on in me after reading the book and I evolved from a concentration based ...more
Dan Harris
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A treasury of practical advice and insights.
May 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Five word review: Failed to keep me awake.
Kevan Dale
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having read any number of books about mindfulness and Buddhism over the years (most predating my Goodreads era, btw), I think that Joseph Goldstein's book is certainly one of the very best, if not the best.

Now, that said - I'm not sure that it would be the ideal place to start if you were coming to the topic cold.

Of course, why not dive right in?

For me, I felt that I was responding most to the aspects of the teachings and explanations that were covering things that my own practice had revealed
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent supplement for serious mindfulness meditators. This can take your practice to the next level.

Reading this book will be more useful if have already been practicing mindfulness meditation for sometime and have some familiarity with its literature.
May Ling
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Summary: This is a pretty deep book that will take more than 1 reading unless you are already far into your journey. I did not realize what precisely mindfulness was in relationship to meditation. If you are interested in meditation, you likely should read this as well.

This was suggested to me by someone who has practicing meditation for quite a long while. It was to answer the question of whether or not I'm doing it correctly. Although some of it is addressed, not all of my questions are answer
Flynn Heiss
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a serious tome. He dives (400 pages) deep into a discourse by the Buddha, the Satipatthana Sutta. I would recommend this to people who have been meditating for a bit and know some of the basic concepts behind Buddhism, and have some interest in learning more about the philosophy to strengthen and guide their practice. I don't think I'd recommend it to a beginner to meditation or Buddhist thought.

This could easily be used as a weekly study guide. I borrowed from the library so didn't
Jon Bash
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperback, owned
Wow. An excellent primer on Buddhist thought derived primarily from a single sutta by the Buddha, but also with Goldstein's years of knowledge and experience to supplement the seemingly archaic text, providing context and additional insights, or simply additional perspectives on the same material.

And the content itself is kind of mind blowing. He rarely mentioned anything metaphysical, and when he does he gives fair warning. But largely everything suggested can be directly practiced and experien
Roger Whitson
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a life-changing book. I hesitate to recommend it to people just beginning on their meditation journey, because some of its wisdom would have been difficult for me to hear when I was not more comfortable with the spiritual aspects of meditation. Yet Goldstein's book is simultaneously so practical and so transforming that I will no doubt return to it sometime in the future.
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Meh. The long silences are good for guided meditation, but it's a pretty empty book. The same sentences over and over as if repetition would help. I had enough of the droning of "look directly at your own mind"...
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Phew, a deep dive into the Satipatthana Sutta. This is not for beginning meditators nor should it be the first introduction to this Sutta. It is quite dense and reads almost like a textbook for the most part - and this is coming from someone who has sat a number of long retreats with Joseph and has already heard most of the ancedotes in the book at his talks (which BTW, if you ever have a chance to, is an experience not to be missed!!). I could not (or maybe did not want to?) read more than a fe ...more
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This not only deepened my meditation practice, it also guided my understanding of the ‘big picture’ of the mindfulness practice as a way of training the mind to experience the world in a certain way - and encouraged me to seek out the lessons offered by the book through deepening my awareness of experiences.

The practice of being mindful is not isolated to sitting time meditating, but is available to me at any time when I am awake and mindful.

This book is a solid reference point to a prac
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a detailed exploration of the Satipatthana Sutta - one of the core suttas for Insight Meditation practice in the Vipassanna tradition of Buddhism. I found this very valuable and helpful. But you really have to be ready for it, I think. This is NOT for beginning meditators. If you are new to meditation and mindfulness, this will most likely confuse you more than help you. If you have been meditating for a while, though, and want to explore in detail some of the deeper concepts and practic ...more
Larissa Vidal
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A clear and meaningful exploration of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Goldstein frames the dharma in contemporary settings without watering it down. I read the book in five page increments to give myself time to absorb. I may start right over again from page one.
Ben Payne
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Maybe a little long but a pretty good read.
Bobby Jett
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Easily the best book I have ever read on mindfulness, meditation and the teachings of Buddha. Very accessible. I will go back to this book for reference, motivation and guidance again and again.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This wasn’t an easy read (at least for me) as it’s a very nuanced look at mindfulness practice and Buddhist philosophy. His writing at times is abstract so you need to be somewhat familiar with the literature on this subject. I would highly recommend watching lectures and listening to guided meditations by Goldstein (i.e. via YouTube) as your reading so that you absorb the content easier. Also, Goldstein seems to idolize the Buddha which is always a red flag for me so I couldn't help but feel th ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the word “mindfulness” increasingly comes to be featured in the titles of books, blogs, apps, websites, online courses, corporate seminars, and meditation retreats, one might wonder whether there is room in the marketplace of ideas for even one more such entry bearing this remarkably overused, and perhaps somewhat misused, word. Renowned meditation teacher and Buddhist scholar Joseph Goldstein’s latest book, simply but confidently entitled “Mindfulness”, answers this query with a resounding “ ...more
Mark Monroe
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
most of what I've learned about Mindfulness meditation has been through a western-psychology lense. I often would prioritize scientific insights into how the human mind works over the effects Mindfulness and it's home culture of Buddhism have significant ethical and psychological effects on people.

this book has really challenged my worldview, and might have given me something I didn't know I was looking for. Atheist is a passive claim about ones worldview and doesn't produce much enthusiasm, or
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bringing mindfulness back to its Buddhist origins, Goldstein opens up the Satipatthana Sutta in a comprehensive, interesting and practical manner that informs and inspires. Sharing insights and many helpful hints that have helped shape his own practice, this will help others make mindfulness a life practice. Deserves to be read more than once and will be referred to again and again.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, will read again.
Frank Jude
Joseph Goldstein read the amazingly good and extremely detailed Satipattana: The Direct Path to Realization by the monk, Analayo and was inspired to offer a long series of talks and discussions based upon it that became the basis of Goldstein's book under review. I have assigned Analayo's book to students of mine who are involved in dharma training to become a dharma teacher and it is brilliant. However, it is also very academic/scholarly and not an easy read, especially for anyone not already f ...more
Clive F
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the longest-running programmes on radio in the UK is a thing called Desert Island Discs, where the guest picks eight records (remember them?) that would be the eight they'd be happy to be stuck on a desert island with. In addition to the vinyl, you get to pick a book to be stuck on the island with for years - The Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare are already there, to save you the bother (perhaps left by a previous inhabitant?).

Well, now I know. This is my Desert Island Book. I
Rif A. Saurous
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first modern big book about Buddhism in particular, rather than meditation in particular. It's not really about meditation at all --- I mean, it assumes you're meditating but isn't really giving meditation instructions. The book follows the structure of Satipatthana Sutta, which seems to be (I remain inexpert) a good summary of the Buddha's teaching. The book provides in-depth discussion of the five hindrances, the aggregates, the four noble truths, the noble eightfold paths, and many ...more
Mike Harper
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I chose this on the advice of a Buddhist intellectual. My purpose was to find out about Buddhists' religious beliefs and practices, and I wanted an authoritative source.
As nearly as I can tell, that's not what this book is about. It's about Buddhist techniques and goals of meditation. As it happens, the subject matter, while not what I was looking for, is fascinating and potentially useful. The author returns often to teachings of the Buddha, and often also to teachings of various Buddhist autho
Heather Sinclair
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm not exactly an advanced practitioner of mindfulness, but what I appreciated most from this book was a look at what the future could hold for me.

The first part was easy to relate to, and fairly practical for "laypeople" as it were.

The middle got super complicated, and the aggregates, concentrations, purifications, etc. got to be a bit much. And a bit much to wrap my head around, as I'm nowhere near there in my practice.

But, I persevered. And the last third of the book was gratifying as it
Lucie Paris
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing read!

To be honest, I have taken a lot of time to enjoy this book. Not because it was not a good one, as I was really into it, more for being able to reflect and digest on the ideas. 

I've like the stories, the examples and the way it was making me feel when I was reading it. Meaning I was questioning myself, my beliefs and trying to comprehend how I could add it in my life.

It's a book I've kept with me. Reading it everyday, then taking a break to breath and digest the way it was resonnati
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful reading of the Sattipathana Sutta, based on years of experience and careful study. What I appreciate about Goldstein's approach is a kind of "non-pretentious intellectualism", if that phrase makes any sense to people who live outside of my head. :-)
Two things are worth mentioning, though: (1) if you want a secular mindfulness manual, keep looking, this isn't the book for you; (2) if you are looking for a step-by-step manual on how to establish mindfulness practice, again -
Mark Legan
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I did not so much read this book as live with it for several months. I was also working through Goldstein’s mindfulness series in Audible form as I was reading it. I have been through it three times now from beginning to end and continue to be amazed by the new insights and the deepening of understanding of the Dharma which come from this work. This is an invaluable resource for anyone seriously interested in learning the practical aspects of establishing a meditation and mindfulness practice.
Lasse Nielsen
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
In many ways I really liked this book, and I won't refute that it has many insights, however these are presented in very repetitive ways with a lot of direct Buddhist writings which makes it too religious for my taste. No need to make a rather direct and simple structured philosophy appear so thick. that being said I can see myself rereading it again only to remind to keep attention of my consciousness.
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Joseph Goldstein (born 1944) is one of the first American vipassana teachers (Fronsdal, 1998), co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism (see publications below), resident guiding teacher at IMS, and leader of retreats worldwide on insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation.


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