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Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  619 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Meditation: it's not just a way to relax, or to deal with life's problems. Done correctly, it can be a way to radically encounter bliss and to begin - and sustain - real transformation in ourselves.

In Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, self-described meditation junkie Ajahn Brahm shares his knowledge and experience of the jhanas - a core part of the Buddha's original meditati
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 11th 2006 by Wisdom Publications (first published August 10th 2006)
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4.23  · 
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 ·  619 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Ulf Wolf
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the years as a practicing Buddhist I have read my share of books and manuals on meditation, especially those dealing with or touching upon Ānāpānasati and Jhāna. Initially I read these many books to learn from experienced meditators what to do and then, after I had accumulated quite a store of them, I re-read them to reconcile their different and sometimes conflicting messages.

Is Jhāna attainable these days, in this noisy, me-me-me world of ours? Some books hold that this is no longer possi
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this book, Ajahn Brahm reveals a blissful path to Nibaana through the development of the jhanas. The jhanas are seldom taught nowadays, and even more seldom taught is the progression from jhana to the "attainment of extinction" (nirodha-samāpatti) or "cessation of apperception and feeling" (saññāvedayitanirodha) which is Nibaana. Using language and instructions that are down-to-earth. accessible and even fun, Ajahn Brahm teaches how we can progressively develop the 4 fine-material jhanas and ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think many would disagree with Brahm's position that accessing jhana is the only path to liberation (the allowance of Kornfield's caveat in the introduction though seem to perhaps indicate that Brahm is willing to make some kind of concession on this point) - but regardless, this book contains some of the most detailed - and yet accessible - text/chapters concerning meditative states preceding first jhana - including - simply put - how to effectively deal with nimittas when they start to arise ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is a trip. It argues that jhana is the ONLY path to nibbana--a provocative thesis to say the least. The other fun part about this book is the use of Western science to legitimate/"prove" Buddhist cosmology (i.e., karma, rebirth, deva realms, etc.), which is uber-juicy considering that Brahmavamso was a theoretical physicist before he ordained.

From a less academic standpoint, this book is a great introduction to the path set out in Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga--which can be, to say the l
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A 'lion of the dhamma', Ajahn Brahm stands at the vanguard of authentic Buddhist practitioners, and is spreading the truth of meditation (as taught by the Buddha) and the place of samadhi (jhana) in the noble eightfold path.

With so many lay-practitioners writing books about the subject when they themselves are amateurs at best, it is a true boon to the serious buddhist to have an 'instruction manual' on meditation written by a meditation master.

In a time rife with so much false dhamma and obfusc
John Wright
Jan 15, 2011 is currently reading it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to start meditation in the Terevada tradition
An instruction book. It is suggested that one not move to the next section until one is able to meditate at the level described in the section you are reading. Three years, and less than a quarter through. Maybe will not get to the end in this lifetime.....
Kathy Ridges
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a masterpiece of Buddhist meditation guidelines. It cannot be improved. He takes you through all the stages and gives helpful examples, too.

'When mindfulness rests comfortably on the breath without any interruption, and the sensation of breath becomes calmer and calmer, then happiness and joy with always arise.' (p88) This book is a must for any serious mediator.
Michael Hołda (Holda)
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Four types of Bliss to enlightenment.
To do no evil; To cultivate good; To purify one's mind: This is the teaching of the Buddhas.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very articulate user's manual for understanding aspect of concentration (samadhi) in Buddhism.
A must read.
Pamodha Wasala
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The content of this book was what made me spend more time with meditation. The main subject of the book is how basic mindfulness of breathing meditation can be used to reach deep states in meditation such as the various Jhanas/Dhyanas. Even though I was raised as a Buddhist, only after coming across the content via excerpts of this text which made me do daily meditation practice. Because how much you are willing to spend time with depends on how well you value it and Ajahn Brahm has elucidated h ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
10/5 stars. 100/5 stars. I cannot rate this book highly enough.

If you read just one book on meditation, let this be the one. In my experience, I don't need another guide; this one is perfect for me. Of the books I have read, Dhamma talks listened to online and in person, with Ajahn Brahm I believe what he says, and I believe what he teaches comes from a place of experience and true wisdom. I am very grateful to have learned, and will continue to learn, from him.
Carson Lybbert
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction to the purpose behind mindfulness meditation, "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook" is very well written. I loved this book so much! I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who would like to learn more about meditation and how it can improve your well being!
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dharma
There are a couple of useful insights in meditation to be found here. But only in the context of a pretty dogmatic and traditional expose full of religious buddhist technicalities about 'jhana', with all its fixed steps, stages and obstructions. Not a book for the non-believer.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesomeness!!! A must for every Meditator on this Planet!

Piece by piece taking you by your hand Ajahn Brahm leads us into Jhanas and Insight which takes us towards powerful mindstates and Happiness is the end result! Bliss upon Bliss upon Bliss!!!
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best pratical guide on Theravada Buddhism, it has all the necessary instructions on meditation!
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful sentiments from a beautiful human being. He’s not the best writer in the world however!
Shane Vontelin Van Breda
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By far the best book I’ve read on meditation.
Ulf Wolf
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Over the years as a practicing Buddhist I have read my share of books and manuals on meditation, especially those dealing with or touching upon Ānāpānasati and Jhāna. Initially I read these many books to learn from experienced meditators what to do and then, after I had accumulated quite a store of them, I re-read them to reconcile their different and sometimes conflicting messages.

Is Jhāna attainable these days, in this noisy, me-me-me world of ours? Some books hold that this is no longer possi
Peter S.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
An amazingly detailed guide to the entry and experience of Jhanas and definitely recommended for those who want to experience something "special" in meditation. A ton of quotables, wide coverage of meditative techniques from anapanasati to Metta (loving kindness) which are both followed up with insightful commentary. -1 Star as there is quite a bit of dogma in the book in terms of Ajahn Brahm's insistence that Jhanas are the only and true way for a practitioner to attain enlightenment, which wou ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is such a delight to read since I can find explanations which are hard to be found elsewhere. The progress from anapana sati, getting nimitta and to enter jhana. Though there are some discordancies with the book of Bhante Gunaratana - Beyond Mindfulness - concerning the jhana states. While B. Gunaratana says that total loss of bodily sensation starts in the 4th jhana, Ajahn Brahm writes that complete absorption starts in the 1st jhana.

Ajahn does have some strong opinions concerning sa
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Find out what the cause is. Once you know the cause, then you can remember the solution and apply it. If it's sensory desire, just take the attention away from the five senses little by little and apply it to the breath or the mind, If it's ill will, do some loving-kindness. For sloth and torpor, remember "give value to awareness." If it's restlessness and remorse, remember "contentment, contentment, contentment" or practice forgiveness. And if it's doubt, be confident and be inspired by the tea
Dec 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was well written book that went through the basics of meditation to the later stages in meditation from the Buddhist perspective. The author, a monk, had a lot of insight and great stories that I have not read in any book on the topic as of yet. I will have to come back to this book as my meditation practice gets deeper and I advance to the later stages in meditation. The bad reviews may be due to the fact that it does dive into deep meditation stages that the average reader may have not ex ...more
Ana Julia
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ajahn Brahm transmits his enthusiasm for meditation. Most writers purposefuly elude creating expectations or promises for the practice of meditation. Not Brahm; he encourages the reader to go for it. Plus, he is very didactic, makes the reading light, even if treating hard-to-grasp buddhist concepts... I will come back often to this book, as I further my meditation practice.

Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Satipatthana, if done correctly, leads to the acquisition of Jhana, and by the practice of Jhana Satipatthana will be completed. But as the beginning of Satipatthana Sutta said, it is the most direct way, but not the only way. Find a good teacher and try if it suits you. If not, you may want to try the Sunlun method or the ascetic way practiced by the forrest monks in Thai, or maybe some psychosynthesis.
Çiğdem İpek Kantarcı
Sep 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nevermind
I am very disappointed about this book. I even could not finish it, actually I abandoned after 100 pages. In my opinion, it is a huge repetition of very shallow and unclear methods and emotions about meditation. I passed through the pages and realised that it does not offer anything significant, also it does not give any joy of reading to me.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Decent manual for shamatha/concentration practice meditation. The only danger lies in the fact that concentration practice isn't an end in itself, which the author seems to give the impression. There is also the danger that those reading this will 'strive' for a result, and thus sabotage their own practice. Taken as a supplement though, this could be useful.
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
A manual, a guide that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. It is worth to read it at least once until the end, to see clearly the path that we are aiming for, the path of letting go.
Raechelle Thomas
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I will be referring back to this one for many years...
hope can learn something new
Raushan Kumar
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good book on Meditation path. It's mainly about Buddhist technique and what to expect in the path. Only for those who practices meditation seriously.
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Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera (lovingly known to most as Ajahn Brahm) was born Peter Betts in London, United Kingdom in August 7, 1951. He came from a working-class background, and won a scholarship to study Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University in the late 1960s. After graduating from Cambridge he taught in high school for one year before travelling to Thailand to become a monk and train with ...more
“Silence is so much more productive of wisdom and clarity than thinking.” 8 likes
“Careful patience is the fastest way!” 4 likes
More quotes…