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Stages of Meditation

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  874 ratings  ·  42 reviews
The Dalai Lama explains the principles of meditation in a practice-oriented format especially suited to Westerners. Based upon the middle section of the Bhavanakrama by Kamalashila, a translation of which is included, this is the most extensive commentary given by the Dalai Lama on this concise but important meditation handbook. It is a favorite text of the Dalai Lama, and ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published July 28th 2003 by Snow Lion (first published 2001)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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Samuel Snoek-Brown
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
I need to reread this--I read it quickly during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's week-long teachings from it--and perhaps I appreciate this text more for the explanations His Holiness offered during those teachings, but this book is, so far, one of the two most profound and instructive guides to formal meditation I've read yet. It's not for beginners, because I feel some background in Buddhist philosophy and/or meditation practices will be useful, but it's not for experts, either--I'm certainly no ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Definitely needs a re-read. Heavy material.
Gabrielle Jarrett
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I would not begin to critique any book written by the Dalai Lama and can only claim a rudimentary knowledge of Buddhism. Very rudimentary. While I have been reading Buddhism for many years as well as meditating several decades, Stages of Meditation is difficult, for me, to grasp. Clearly my stage, and not the writers! Quotes I liked:

"Generally, in the Buddhist tradition, philosophical view do not have to be proves by scriptures alone. Individuals must rely primarily on logic and reasoning to
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ok, so this one is definitely not for beginners. Or even intermediates, I'm note even sure I was ready to read this. STAGE OF MEDITATION is a dense and thorough examination of a Buddhist scripture that focuses on the proper meditation in the Middle School way of teaching.

This scripture and its analysis goes through the steps of achieving enlightenment and a state of Buddhahood, why these processes work, and how to realize them for yourself. As with all Buddhist teachings, the concepts they
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for those who have already become comfortable with the process of meditation. For many years, I did not know how to take my meditation to the next level and this book has valuable lessons to get the most out of meditation practice. According to this text, this book is the middle teaching of a three-part teaching. I am not sure if there are english translations of the other two teachings. If anyone knows how to find it, please contact me!
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was too analytical. I wasn't ready to read it but someone gave it to me.
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
** Spoilers***
stages of meditation is an excellent book by His Highness Dalai Lama. It is old buddhist commentary on meditation passed on to Dalai Lama. I found this book in one of bookstore in Dharmashala & I was eager to read it. I must confess this book has a very detailed analysis of meditation which is sometimes hard to understand. May be my level is very beginner.
I was looking for steps for meditation for beginner. Author mentioned 2 ways which are complementary to each other. One is
Terry Kim
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read but a little too difficult for me and my current knowledge of Meditation / Tibetan Buddhism. Rating is based on what I got out of the book rather than the book itself, as I'm sure the more experience and background knowledge I have, the more I would've absorbed from this book.

As for a casual reader, this is a quite an intense book with various references to Tibetan Buddhism. The book describes various Stages of Meditation, or Buddhahood rather. It explains how to achieve it and
Juan Rivera
What would you think if I recommended you to read a book called "Step by step meditation" from the Dalai Lama?

I recommended it to my friend Maggie Sotelo and she told me that it was very complicated ... so I read it and ... I understood almost nothing.

In short, it is an advanced book for those Buddhists who have much theoretical and practical knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism.

The main teaching is that meditation should help us in two things: to really calm the mind and take us to the true wisdom of
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good explanation of Kamalashila's Stages of Meditation by the Dalai Lama. However, this is not a book to just read and put on a shelf. This is not an easy manual. Every paragraph has to be reflected upon and internalized. It may be 158 pages long, but reading this takes a lot of thinking, so make sure you are patient with yourself and give yourself plenty of time to read and learn it. Properly read, this text should be a lifetime go-to and not a book that you start and finish. ...more
Teo 2050
Contents (of the unabridged ebook)

Dalai Lama XIV (2001) Stages of Meditation - Training the Mind for Wisdom


01. What Is the Mind?
02. Training the Mind
03. Compassion
04. Developing Equanimity, the Root of Loving-Kindness
05. Identifying the Nature of Suffering
06. Wisdom
07. Common Prerequisites for Meditating on Calm Abiding and Special Insight
08. The Practice of Calm Abiding
09. Actualizing Special Insight
10. Unifying Method and Wisdom

Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just what I was looking for, a more in-depth explanation of meditation; it's benefits and methods. This is from a Buddhist perspective but it can be read by anyone.
The book also gives insight into Buddhism and it's teachings, which I found very valuable.
It's both a heavy and an easy read. The subject is heavy in the sense that it's a lot to take in and grasp, but it's easy to read and follow as The Dalai Lama's writing style is very eloquent and comprehensible.
Ray O.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extremely simple and deep at the same time, like the very teachings of the Buddha. A light in the intricate path of discovering and disciplining our minds. Kalamashila's root text is full of Truth and virtue, but it is the hand and insight of H. H. Dalai Lama XIV that gives contemporaries a fighting chance of actually attaining its wisdom.
Thevuni Kotigala
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The content of the book is heavy; it takes time to absorb, comprehend and analyze. But the essence of the content is so simple and applicable to day-to-day life.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(In Spanish below)

"Stages of meditation" is His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama oral commentary on Kamalashila's (the 8th Century Indian master who first helped establish Buddhism in Tibet along with Shantarakshita) Middle Stages of Meditation, a text on the development of relative bodhichitta (equanimity, great loving-kindness and great compassion, the enlightenment thought) and absolute bodhichitta (mental quiescence and special insight).

Both the original text and His Holiness explanation of it
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains the XIV Dalai Lama's translation of, and commentary on, the intermediate stages of meditation outlined by Kamalashita. Kamalishita was a 9th-century Indian scholar, "the first to compose a significant text in Tibet with the intention of dispelling the misunderstandings then prevailing there." The book is a translation of the teaching that the Dalai Lama gave in 1989 at Manali, a small town that has a long relationship with Tibetans and the people of the Indo-Tibetan border ...more
Carlton Brown
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great book and well worth your investment of money, time & mind. A great orientation to meditation and some important Buddhist spiritual insights to help orient your meditation, life and help you understand some important factors impacting meditations outcome (calm abiding) and its consequences (compassion, mindfulness). At the time i read this my experience with meditation was nascent and the snippets and gems picked up helped me progress my meditation immensely. I think this is a great ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book captures the Dalai Lama in his classical role, explaining an ancient Buddhist text to monks in Northern India. The exposition is simply translated from Tibetan, and it shows us the subtlety of an advanced class for committed practitioners. Where our sound-bite world commonly simplifies religion to some "main point", the Dalai Lama's careful reflections always maintain a balancing act. The terse root text by Kamalashila is expanded on, the way a seasoned mountain guide explains a map ...more
Richard Riddle
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very enlightening book, I enjoyed both the presentation and explanations. Though there are part or thoughts that I do not agree, my purpose for picking up this book was to better understand how to clear my mind and learn to meditate. The Dalai Lama helped me understand the difficulties I have been experiencing. Reading Stages of Meditation has help me improve. I often find my mind reaching that "calm abiding," during my early morning walks and also during other times of the day.

Heidi The Reader
I'm certain that this text has a huge amount of wisdom in it, but I wasn't able to understand most of it at this time. I wouldn't consider this the Dalai Lama's most accessible work. Though it is a very complete interpretation and analysis of Kamalashila's Stages of Meditation, I feel that this requires an extensive background in Buddhist texts to comprehend. If you are looking for a book by the Dalai Lama that is more approachable for Westerners or beginning Buddhist scholars, I'd recommend the ...more
Steven Walker
May 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Although I love the Dalai Lama, his books for me tend to miss the mark and become too steeped in Buddhist traditions. My meditation practice is perhaps too novice for this book as I did not find it very helpful. There definitely are many wonderful insights throughout the book, but overall I found it difficult and slow to read.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
boy, talk about fatty. I learned absolute patience from this book.
My advice for this one, is ; Take a paragraph, and think about it for a couple hours, then read it again.
Im still trying to understand parts of this book. Think it'll be the next to be picked up again, after the Dark Tower Series
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone that considers themselves well-grounded in Buddhist teachings and meditation practice.
This translation of an old Tibetan text by the Dalai Lama is very insightful, but I think it could be confusing if you are new at Buddhist teachings. The translation of some of his phrases are not oriented toward Americans. An understanding of some of these translation phrases needs some thought and consideration.
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've read several books on religion/beliefs (Buddhism in particular). This is by far the best one I've read. I don't know if reading the previous books made this one so clear. The teachings start from small building blocks of being ready. Then meditating correctly. And finally leaving meditation with peace and clarity to be the help the world needs.
Serena Long ﺕ
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Another great book by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
Too analytical! A great book for those who have already become comfortable with the process of meditation.
This text can be like a key that opens the door to all other major Buddhist scriptures.
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
While there were good ideas in the book, it was too obscured by technical terms and such. I hoped it would have been a bit more practical and sometimes I wondered if the straining of concentration needed to read the book were the stages of meditation...
Lakpa Tashi Bhutia
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: indian, philosophy
If you like buddhist philosophy and you are on meditation. Then the book is for you. Otherwise it is not for general people who do meditation. The book describe pre-requisite and different stages of meditation from the perspective of Buddhism.
Tommy Burke
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
A practical approach to the art of meditation. His holiness gives a very practical guide in the techniques of the Tibetan tradition. While somewhat repetitive at times it merely underlines the simplicity of the approach.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
This book is a succinct and informative discourse on basic elements of Tibetan Buddhist meditation. It's too abstract to act as a beginner's handbook, but it can help deepen your practice or provide some understanding of the Mahayana path within Buddhism.
Whether you find yourself in heaven or hell, your purpose is to help other sentient beings. It does not matter how long it takes. You should determine that the altruistic intention to achieve Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings will be your only practice, whether you live or die.
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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the
“For a teacher to be productive and effective in the process of teaching, compassion, or a kind heart, is explained here as the most crucial quality. There are other defects in teaching, for example being tired of explaining to the students. So being tolerant and patient in the face of such difficulties is also important.” 1 likes
“Special insight arises from its cause, correct view, which in turn arises from listening and contemplation.” 1 likes
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