As the other reviewers have noted, this book is clearly written, very practical, and very encouraging. It is a fine nuts-and-bolts manual for meditators, without the baggage of excessive references to Eastern teachings which sometimes bog down other texts. Have no doubt, it is profoundly Buddhist in its approach -- this becomes especially clear at the end. Without question, the best single book on meditation I've found.
Ever start reading a really cool looking meditation book only to find that the picture on the cover is the only thing that makes any sense?
Have you ever wondered why the author or translator never bothers to tell you what those weird words mean, "Samahadi...", "Vipassana...", "Dukka..."
Have you finished a meditation book and understood about half of what was talked about and figured that half is better than none? (a very 'enlightened' but often frustrating outcome especially when these books aren't cheap)
This little known book seems to have addressed and solved all those problems and more. It is a book written for people who have no clue how to start meditating and for those who have started, but don't know where to look for the answers to questions that come up during their practice. The best thing about this book is in its title,'plain English'.It seems to gently lead one by the hand through the mystery and confusion of meditation with a sense of humor and patience rarely given to the subject.
I have been meditating for nine years now and have built up a small library of books on the subject. When friends ask me about meditation I dig around in all the books with great covers and reach for "Mindfullness In Plain English" every time.
Was für ein Werk: Dem ceylonesischen Mönch und in den USA tätigen Dharma-Lehrer Bhante Gunaratana gelingt in Sätzen voller Kraft, Präzision und manchmal betörender Schönheit eine zwingende Darstellung der (Vipassana-) Meditation, die unter allen mir bekannten Meditationsbüchern ihresgleichen sucht. Die (siehe Titel) betont alltägliche und direkte Sprache - buddhistischer Jargon wird auf ein notwendiges Minimum beschränkt - macht diese Einführung für Menschen westlicher Herkunft außerordentlich leicht zugänglich und wertvoll. Dabei wird das WIE, also alle praktischen Fragen wie die richtige Körperhaltung, Fokus für Aufmerksamkeit und Konzentration und, vor allem, der Umgang mit zahlreichen, unweigerlich aufkommenden Schwierigkeiten in größter Ausführlichkeit behandelt, ebenso aber auch das WARUM: In der einleitenden Darstellung der menschlichen Misere, begründet in der ewigen Unzufriedenheit, die durch das Streben nach Besitz und sinnlichen Genüssen nicht gelindert, sondern bloß noch verschlimmert wird, muß sich jeder Leser zwangsläufig wiederfinden. Eine Abgrenzung der Achtsamkeitsmeditation zu anderen (buddhistischen und nichtbuddhistischen) Traditionen erfolgt ebenfalls, man erfährt also genau, womit man es hier zu tun hat. Und was der geduldig, ausdauernd Übende von seinen Anstrengungen erwarten darf, das wird in ungewöhnlich deutlicher Form ebenfalls beschrieben. Buddhismus bedeutet Eigenverantwortlichkeit, Disziplin und Arbeit an sich selbst: Wer schnellen Erfolg sucht, "Erleuchtung" also quasi mit der Brechstange erreichen will, kann nur scheitern. Das Zusatzkapitel (geschrieben anläßlich der neuen Ausgabe) schlägt einen anderen Ton an und mag aufgepfropft erscheinen; da es jedoch den Aspekt von Metta - der mitfühlenden Güte gegenüber allen Lebewesen - behandelt, ohne die eine vollständige Verwirklichung des buddhistischen Ziels nicht möglich wäre, ist es tatsächlich unverzichtbar. Hier läßt B.G. endlich auch einmal persönliche Erfahrungen einfließen, eine wohltuende Prise menschlicher Wärme nach der kühlen, messerscharfen Analyse des Haupttextes. -- Dies ist das Buch "that did the trick", das mein Interesse für Buddhismus und Meditation neu, und wie ich hoffe dauerhaft, entfacht hat. Seine Lektüre hat mich tief berührt - nun endlich soll die Praxis folgen. Ich weiß, es wird ein langer, langer Weg. Danke.
I love this book. It is straightforward, thorough, and easy to read. I don't know who Gunaratana is, but he does a great job with this book. Even the layout of the book is clean and simple and pleasant. If you are interested in vipassana or mindfulness meditation, or even zazen, this book is worth reading. It tells you how to do this kind of meditation, and what to do with the problems that come up. It is a practical handbook and it's also fun to read. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I can tell you with some authority that the techniques Gunaratana describes in this book work, and they are worth applying, even if you don't sit still. You can do your work with mindfulness. You can talk to your child with mindfulness. Anything can be a meditation. Mindfulness in Plain English will show you how. I recommend this book.
The only word in this book that is difficult to of prounce is the author's name. It is written as if the author were a native English speaker who hated long words. Somehow, Gunaratana has listened to my mind as I attempted to meditate and has assured me that I am normal. Crazy, yes, but normal. As a 64 year old physician, I am pleased that someone has finally given a clear description of the frantic, chaotic nature of the normal human mind and of a simple way to calm it down.
It is understandable that new meditators are enthusiastic about this book. However, I have been practicing for 30 years steady, and I found many useful insights into solving the problems in one's practice. If I had this book two years ago, I would not have been compelled to change traditions. This book explains meditation in a stunningly logical way, adding the benefits of the writer's experience in every place needed. I think this is the "best written" book on meditation technique that has ever been published, amazing in how well it addresses beginners and experienced meditators in the same breath.
There are so many wonderful reviews of this book by "regular people," it's hard to add anything new. This is a book you will read again and again, finding new insights each time. I, too, have a library of books on Buddhism, meditation, mindfulness, etc.; and this one truly is in plain (though beautifully articulate) English. What a stunning contribution to Westerners who are trying to practice this wonderful tradition/philosophy/path/way of life. I so appreciate this book and its author. Thank you.
I have a large library of meditative texts and scriptures and have meditated off and on for many years. This book is the first I have encountered that so thoroughly and simply explored it's subject that it truely is a beginner's manual, a 'How-To'. And yet it serves as a great review for more experienced practitioners. This book was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with the author, who is the most knowledgable yet warm and most approachable teacher I have ever met, in any tradition.
This is the greatest book written on do-it- yourself meditation ever written. And that is simply no exaggeration. It's better than reading 1,000 books. Buy it now! It is the trip to happiness. I've seen people follow this path and are so full of joy and happiness that you would simply not believe it! You will become concious. You will experience a bliss that you have never known. You will be indescribably happy. I know this to be true. I've know these people. But... This meditation (insight meditation) has been stripped of all non-necessities in order to get you to nirvana and home as soon as possible. I know. That sounds great. I paid $200 for The Insight Meditation Course and my assigned teacher recommended THIS book for me. And, lol, it's all you need. You don't need any other books. But this path, Theravada Buddhism, is "bare bones" and "no-nonsense". The only object is to enable you to fill great bliss and joy. Such a joy that you can't even imagine now. But it's "bare bones". There won't be any God. You can believe in God if you want. But it has nothing to do with this path. No prayer to a Higher Power. You can do that if you want. But this path doesn't advocate it. You simply sit on your butt and learn how to pay attention to the breath come in and leave your nostrils. Each chapter will tell you how to deal with distractions, pain, progress, thoughts, and emotions. Now I can't do this. I want a total path in which I can believe in God. So I am a Self-Realizationist. I just can't seem to last without a path so beautifully pragmatic but doesn't deal with afterlife or God. The other problem that you may find with this book was discovered back East by the meditation master, Jack Kornfield. Over 50% of meditators have trouble sitting steadily because of deep emotional problems. Now the author deals with these. But if you just can't sit for 20 minutes without exploding, what are you going to do? A Matthew Flickstein co-authored this book with the Venerable Henepola Gunaratana. And he has created a book for us "disturbed ones". Buy it if you simply can't sit. And give it a try. "Journey to the Center" by Matthew Flickstein. The introduction is by the author of "Mindfulness in Plain English". I started following it. I will give it my total dedication. One small other problem with this book, which is really quite minor. After about two-thirds down the path, you will need guidence from a teacher because the "mind states" that are keeping you from total happiness become very subtle. Don't sweat it! The internet is already providing instruction for people without a teacher! And one Thai teacher told me that you don't even need a teacher. It's best to check up with one, though. As this book states, you can actually get hooked out on "blissful states of mind". Before the real happiness or freedom is obtained. There. Put this book under your pillow and get rid of all your other books if you can sit, and don't demand a path that advocates a Higher Power.
Being a countryman of the author, this is the book I give my friends. Though perhaps not quite impartial, I would say: If you do not have a human teacher, for this 7th aspect of the Eightfold path, this book is one of the best substitutes.