Tiffany's Reviews > Mindfulness in Plain English

Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana
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it was ok
bookshelves: book-club

This was a book club pick and I tried my best to approach it with an open mind. I have studied several Buddhist texts in the past and this one is one of the best I've seen at simplifying the idea of Buddhist transcendence or enlightenment for the layman. I can see how this book would be a great resource for people looking to learn the "secrets of meditation", the author himself states there are no secrets all that's required is a willingness to try and focus. In general people are searching for something to soothe their souls and this can certainly be a simple first step.

However, a key point to remember here is that Buddhism is a religion and, like most religions, teaches that following it's practices will bring happiness. If you're not happy, you obviously haven't achieved enlightenment yet. A person who already subscribes to a particular faith and finds themselves grounded within that faith will not find any use for this brand of meditation or mindfulness. In my opinion, all faiths have their own form of introspection be it meditation, devotional, prayer, etc. I truly believe that introspection can ground a person and help them find inner peace and happiness but that introspection does not necessarily demand one follow the Buddhist method.
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Reading Progress

April 17, 2014 – Shelved
April 17, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
April 17, 2014 – Shelved as: book-club
May 8, 2014 – Started Reading
May 15, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Myla (new) - rated it 1 star

Myla Very well said! Next book club tell me to zip it so you can share your insights!


James Sounds like you disagree with the premise of the book, religion itself. Like a vegetarian reviewing a meat lovers' pizza, there's no way you could review this on its own merits when they contradict your values.


Heather Walters Schudiske People implement mindfulness for reasons outside of religion. The purpose is to bring you inner-peace or calm, to find your center. It works wonders for those who are easily stressed or overwhelmed. The practice of breathing is so nourishing and can help find your calm through any stressful situation, no matter which religion you practice.

Personally, I am a devout Christian who implements 10 minutes of mindfulness every morning, following my morning devotional and prayer. It's a fantastic start to my day. :-)


Paul Barker I see Buddhism as a philosophy rather than a religion. Nevertheless this is a great addition to anyone who is interested in learning more about Mindfulness and Meditation.


Gaedheal You gave the book 2 stars because you don't agree in general with religions. That's not reviewing the book and so it's unfair.


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