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Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The Buddhist jhanas—successive states of deep focus or meditative absorbtion--demystified. A very practical guidebook for meditators for navigating their way through these states of bliss and concentration.

One of the elements of the Eightfold Path the Buddha taught is Right Concentration: the one-pointedness of mind that, together with ethics, livelihood, meditation, and s
Paperback, 237 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Shambhala
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Jack Elliott Reading it right now - finding it really useful and straight to the point about additional techniques to access the Jhanas, that (as far as I can reme…moreReading it right now - finding it really useful and straight to the point about additional techniques to access the Jhanas, that (as far as I can remember) don't feature on TMI. It's a very clear and well-written book, I'd highly recommend if you're looking for ways to access more Jhana states more reliably. (less)

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Ulf Wolf
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
To my mind, there is little if any doubt that what the Buddha meant by “Right Concentration” (as the Eighth, final, and crucial step of his Noble Eightfold Path) was the Jhanas.

I’ve read most of the Pali Canon by now, and it seems like every second or third Sutra mentions this fact: Jhana is Right Concentration.

In my late teens I experienced, quite spontaneously, what most likely was the second Jhana. Unfortunately, the state did not last and I could never get back to it. I’m not sure I have to
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent.” –Wittgenstein

The term Jhana is most often meant to mean ‘concentration state’. And each of these, so it seems, is as close as it comes to a discernible milestone within that final frontier of the abstract. As both one of the rare books to tackle this subject and one penned by someone with an obvious wealth of specialized meditation experience, this is among the maps such a venturer ought to carry. In a nutshell, a what, why and how-to
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-twice
Ridiculously clear writing given the topic. I have not experienced any of the jhanas but this book makes it feel possible. I also appreciated the authors skepticism around psychic powers.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good book to encourage people who want to start/try samatha practice. I learn samatha Visuddhimagga style (Pa-Auk Sayadaw method), the books that try to describe this method may sound daunting to someone who wants to try to embark on concentration meditation. However, it is also doable, I saw many people, both monastics and lay people, that attain jhanas following Pa-auk Sayadaw instruction. In my personal practice I don't worry about total absorption in the first jhana, if it happens, usually ...more
Jon Bash
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome overview of these fascinating altered states called the "jhanas" that come from deep concentration. Contains both practical instruction and scholarly analysis of historical accounts of the states. He brings a healthy dose of skepticism and pragmatism that acknowledges the great benefits of cultivating these states, but also addresses their limitations (they're almost basically ways of getting high, though without any negative side-effects or drawbacks). I look forward to being able to ev ...more
George Bremner
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not for beginners, but any meditator with a year or so under their belt who is interested in deepening their concentration would benefit greatly from this book. Leigh presents an unorthodox, practical approach to jhanas in two parts. The first part is his breakdown of the jhanas and the second part is the sutta explication. One could just read part one and the appendices and get on with the training. His approach is well cited to back up his unconventional claims. He also provides a few appendic ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clear, concise and well structured. I can't imagine a better book on the subject. ...more
M Spiering
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been practising daily meditation for roughly 2 years now, mainly using the Goenka method and more recently "The Mind Illuminated" by John Yates (Culadasa). Having reached the stage where concentration became strong enough that I sometimes spontaneously "dropped" into jhana, I looked for some instructions that could help me more reliably achieve that to cultivate mindfulness and develop insight.

"Right Concentration" contains exactly these instructions, which have enabled me to enter the firs
Aki Ranin
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Having recently stumbled into an altered state of consciousness during meditation, I’ve been seeking answers. Here I find them!

Three things I learned:
1. These states of consciousness were not invented but discovered centuries before the Buddha.
2. Any serious meditator will eventually discover their existence, yet likely not understand them.
3. Accidentally stumbling into them is no guarantee of repeating. Many factors determine sufficient concentration.

Who should read it:
People who either are alr
A decent introduction to the very important and last of the eight-fold path, what is translated as right concentration sammasamadhi. Samadhi is not really what we would call concentration because we usually mean is prolonged thinking on a problem. What Samadhi means is more like what we associate with deep transcendental meditation.
The author walks us through the sign post of each of the jhanas, and gives helpful hints as to how to experience them. He is not without critics however. Some Buddhis
Navneet Nair
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book but at the same time I'm concerned. Firstly the descriptions here are to states that the author himself calls jhana light. They are useful but don't need as much effort as it is mentioned in the vissudhimagga. Secondly, the author himself mentions that the jhanas are useless without insight. This book however does not get into insight and goes all the way up to the eighth jhana which is not just useless but even detrimental. The concentration of the first jhana is useful enough ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
A sufficiently well written book on how to attain the jhanas (a progressive series of meditative states.) The value of this sort of book depends almost entirely on it's practical application so until I've put it's suggestions to work for some time there's not really much I can say. The first half is "how to" and the 2nd half basically justifies its presentation and interpretation of these brain states in light of various sutras. Brasington writes engagingly and doesn't take himself too seriously ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism, meditation
The author shares the benefit of his extensive experience with and research into the jhanas--apparently natural mental states of concentration that were described and used by the Buddhas, but which have been largely ignored or forgotten since his time. I knew almost nothing about them when I started this book; now I know enough to be eager to explore this supercharged meditative technique. I'm grateful to Leigh Brasington for providing this guide. ...more
Yong Li
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, meditation
A very practical and useful book for people who're serious about buddhist meditation. ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dev
скользкая тема. есть только один вариант проверить на собственном опыте. благо инструкции в данной книге вполне просты и понятны. как и описания состояний для проверки. дело за малым...)
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
clear and well-argued
Chester Tan
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good introductions to the Jhanas, helped me access a deeper level of concentration.
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
excellent, clear, no nonsense intro to jhanas. this stuff works provided one goes on retreat, practices diligently and follows instructions. its well worth it! thanks Leigh!
Linden A.
Aug 20, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: beliefs
rec by ODC member
Jose Martin
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good introduction to meditation with the jhanas
Wayne Kenny
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clear instructions to enter and develop the jhanas.
Brian Fang
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
accessible and intellectual. author is very good at drawing analogies to explain concepts.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very accessible introduction to the style of jhana practice taught by the author. It both summarizes and expands upon essays and dhamma talks he has given over the years he has been teaching the jhanas.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clearest book on the Jhanas that have read. Really helped push my practice forward compared to other books on the subject I read prior. Most books don't really describe them well or with clarity. ...more
Anna Wiatrowska
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Jun 05, 2018
Joe K
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31 likes · 7 comments
“These four preliminary practices of keeping the precepts, guarding the senses, maintaining mindfulness, and being content with little are “off-the-cushion” practices that you need to make the four cornerstones of your basic way of life. Without the support of these practices, meditation “on the cushion” usually proceeds in fits and starts, if it proceeds at all. For learning jhānas, it really is necessary to have a quality daily on-the-cushion meditation practice worthy of the word daily, hopefully of at least forty-five minutes and preferably an hour or more. These four practices go a long way to making that possible.” 1 likes
“We can now construct the following table: abandoning the hindrances—access concentration gladness (pāmojja)—focusing on the pleasant sensation rapture (pīti)—first and second jhānas bodily tranquility (passaddhakāya)—second and third jhānas happiness (sukha)—third jhāna (the pīti is gone since passaddhakāya precedes this; therefore, third jhāna only) concentration (samādhi)—fourth jhāna” 0 likes
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