Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond: a meditator’s handbook
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 meditation teaching. Never before has this material been approached in such an empowering way, by a teacher of such authority and popularity.
Full of surprises, delightfully goofy humor, and entertaining stories that inspire, instruct, and illuminate, Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond will encourage those new to meditation, and give a shot in the arm to more experienced practitioners as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ajahn Brahm grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in London. Scholarships got him to Cambridge University where he garnered a degree in Theoretical Physics. Eventually disillusioned with the world of academe, he trained as a monk in the jungles of Thailand under the highly esteeemed Buddhist master Ajahn Chah. A monk for over thirty years, Ajahn Brahm is a revered spiritual guide and the abbot of one of the largest monasteries in the southern hemisphere, regularly drawing multinational audiences of thousands.
"Riveting and real. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to read it."
—Glenn Wallis, translator of The Dhammapada: Verses on the Way
"From the first word (meditation) to the last (Parinibbana), Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond is riveting, rollicking, and uncompromisingly real. Ajahn Brahm's voice is utterly fresh. But watch out! In the greatest tradition of our beloved roshis and bhikkhus, it is also compelling and commanding. Readers seeking a sure guide to 'the bliss better than sex' will find it in this wonderful book."—Glenn Wallis, translator of The Dhammapada: Verses on the Way
"Most Buddhist writers are not often lighthearted or zesty, but the British-born Ajahn Brahm is a delightful exception. Even though meditators are taught not to expect anything, since that represents an attachment, meditation should bring you joy and bliss, according to Brahm. The bliss states of meditation (jhanas) are little-taught, so this book is an addition with value in a crowded niche. Trained in the Thai forest tradition by the Buddhist master Ajahn Chah, Brahm is a clear communicator of the ineffable. He is able to write about a variety of mental states and visualizations with precision and discrimination, drawing on his own experience. He is step-by-step systematic, which helps demystify what happens in meditation. Also useful is the specificity with which he describes the kinds of problems meditators encounter and what to do to resolve them. Meditation is difficult to teach on the page, but Brahm, who began his life as an academic at Cambridge, fulfills his calling as a teacher. He projects both energetic conviction and calm equanimity. The promise of bliss he describes in this excellent manual is elusive, but remains a compelling goal."
"Like a broom through cobwebs, Ajahn Brahm here sweeps away the mysteries surrounding the jhanas. Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond is salted with the illustrative, often witty life stories that Brahm is well known for, and he uses readily understandable language to explain what some teachers shy from. Finding this book is like finding an operator's manual for one's practice. Raising the bar for those serious about their practice, he scolds those who would 'dumb-down' nibbana and challenges us to reach for the ultimate happiness. Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond is a bold book, sure to be controversial."
—John Roberts, Buddhist Council of the Northwest
"Ajahn Brahm is the Seinfeld of Buddhism."
—Sumi Loundon, editor of Blue Jean Buddha and The Buddha's Apprentices
"Ajahn Brahm is originally from London, and his working-class humor and cockney turns of phrase can be charming. Readers will see why so many people are drawn to hear him."
"Ajahn Brahm has not only provided great leadership for the Buddhist community, but has dedicated much of his time to helping the wider community with a strong sense of compassion, understanding and humour."
—Vice-Chancellor Professor Lance Twomey, Curtin University
"One can never be bored by Ajahn Brahm. Newcomers to Buddhism are always fascinated by how he easily he is able to explain difficult concepts in ordinary language the mind can grasp."