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A Beginner's Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers (Shambhala Sun Books) [Kindle Edition]

Rod Meade Sperry , Editors of the Shambhala Sun , Pema Chodron , Nhat Hanh Thich , Sakyong Mipham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £14.99
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Book Description

As countless meditators have learned firsthand, meditation practice can positively transform the way we see and experience our lives. This practical, accessible guide to the fundamentals of Buddhist meditation introduces you to the practice, explains how it is approached in the main schools of Buddhism, and offers advice and inspiration from Buddhism’s most renowned and effective meditation teachers, including Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Sharon Salzberg, Norman Fischer, Ajahn Chah, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Sylvia Boorstein, Noah Levine, Judy Lief, and many others.


Topics include how to build excitement and energy to start a meditation routine and keep it going, setting up a meditation space, working with and through boredom, what to look for when seeking others to meditate with, how to know when it’s time to try doing a formal meditation retreat, how to bring the practice “off the cushion” with walking meditation and other practices, and much more.


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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 365 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611800579
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications (11 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ISAN12I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #456,284 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a must have book 21 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anybody interested in meditation or who do meditation hold get this book, it dispels a lot of the nonsense you sometimes get about meditation, The book is set out in chapters covering all aspects of meditation, teachings by the leading teachers in meditation east and west, very accessible to all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 8 April 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful collection of practical gems of advice from a wide range of people. Good to read through or just pick up and read the odd item.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Should be called Philosophy of Meditation . . . 29 April 2014
By feemeister - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I probably shouldn't have gotten this. I don't really know anything about buddhism; it's been years since I really read anything about it, other than I just admire the Tibetan monks and what they accomplish. The title of this book is Beginner's Guide to Meditation, and I am a beginner, and I want to learn to do it. But this book didn't have very much at all that I consider the practicalities of learning how to meditate. It was more about philosophies, and what teachers said (that didn't really seem to have much practical application to me, since I'm not a monk nor a full-time meditator). There were several things in there that were mildly interesting, but not that really give me any help.

If you are into Buddhist meditation already and know about it, this book might be really good. But I don't see it having much to offer a beginner. To someone who understands a lot of this stuff, this book may have been a 5. But since it didn't really help me as far as beginning meditation, I gave it a 3.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what I was expecting 23 April 2014
By Jim Tenuto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO MEDITATION, edited by Rod Meade Sperry, was not what I had anticipated. The book was long on philosophy and spiritual undertones and short on practical “how to”. Yes, there were a few offerings on how to set up your location to practice meditation, and even some advice on walking meditation, but you had to wade through page upon page of terms such as “sati”, “sampajanna”, “metta”, and “loja”. These were amply defined but tended to derail any attempt at actually beginning a meditation practice.

Just breathe.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Serious Beginner's Guide to Meditation 15 May 2014
By O. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
*****
I have read many books on meditation, with this one by far the most comprehensive. It is comprised of 37 essays of varying lengths, each by a prominent author on the subject, including Pema Chodron, The Fourteenth Dali Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and others. The collection is edited by Rod Meade Sperry and other editors of the magazine Shambala Sun. The content varies from helpful ways to get started and to think about your practice, to working with koans, breathing, developing insight, cultivating calm, walking meditation, compassion and loving-kindness meditation, Zen, mind training, keeping your practice going, working with boredom and self-deception, and so much more.

There is a helpful glossary included but most words are defined inline, and the entire collection is accessible for someone unfamiliar with Buddhist concepts. I would say that it is "not too Buddhist", but enough to explain concepts well. It is definitely not, though, a meditation-for-dummies type book in that if one was not serious about mediation, it would be overwhelming in its depth. One way to decide if this is for you is that if you read the Shambala Sun or like the style of the magazine, you're a good candidate for this book.
I also think that advanced meditators would enjoy this collection, and it is not too esoteric for beginners (one year of practice with a teacher) like myself.

The only negative is that the book, sadly, does not include an index. This is not sad enough to remove a star, however, because the book as a whole is just wonderful.

Highly recommended.
*****
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit overwhelming for the true beginner 13 May 2014
By The Good Life - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been casually reading Buddhist books the past few years and have found the Buddhist philosophy to really fit well with many ideas I already had about how I wanted to live my life. My perspective on many things has changed for the positive, thanks to Buddhism, and I want to study and embrace it more actively.

When this Beginner's Guide to Meditation became available, I jumped at the chance to explore it. I've never really tried to meditate before; I am one of those people who is an active thinker and easily distracted multi-tasker. I've always thought it impossible to clear my head and have kind of always liked that I am a deep thinker. But I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try, and I began reading this book.

Immediately, I could see that it ISN'T a practical guide for absolute beginners. It is instead an anthology of philosophies on meditation by leading Buddhist monks and scholars. Each one offers his or her own perspective, and rather than feeling guided along, I felt like I didn't know at all where to start. Which approach should I try first? What's the easiest way for a newbie to get started? And I haven't been studying Buddhism long enough to know many of the terms and had to keep flipping to the back to review the glossary.

I think this book would be a useful guide for someone who's already started to meditate and wants guidance on how to get the most out of it. It's very interesting, but a bit overwhelming for this newbie. Perhaps it seems incongruous with the entire meditation thing, but I wanted something more concrete, more step-by-step, to help me get started. I feel like I would be better served by going to a local Buddhist center to explore meditation with someone who can guide me, and then using this book to explore different avenues for finding what works for me.

I did appreciate an early essay which warned us not to become "professionals" at meditation but to make it a hobby. We shouldn't take it so seriously that we miss the point. I will keep sage advice like this in mind when I do try meditating, but at the moment, I feel less excited to try it than before I picked up this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would be my first recommendation to a beginner 2 April 2014
By Jim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was an instructor for Buddhist inspired meditation courses at sister hospitals in a large city through the nineties, and there were a handful of books on the subject that I would always recommend to course participants. Today I would only have to recommend this book, because it has all the essentials and includes writings by those Buddhist authors and teachers who I hold in the highest regard. One book I always recommended was Mindfulness in Plain English, first published in 1991 (I still have my 1991 copy), and one chapter in that book that I've always considered essential reading for beginners is the one titled, "What Meditation Isn't." That chapter appears early in A Beginner's Guide to Meditation.

There are 37 short chapters in A Beginner's Guide and I think one can easily skip around and dip in wherever one is drawn. There is of course a sense in which all meditators are always beginners (e.g., see Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, who is represented in A Beginner's Guide with a chapter from that book; I was first introduced to meditation when in high school in the late sixties and I'm still a beginner in the sense in which Suzuki uses the term), but there are also beginners in the conventional sense of the term, meaning people who are new to meditation and specifically to Buddhist approaches to meditation. Genuinely interested beginners need some basic information that is as free of baggage as possible (meaning dogma, speculative metaphysics, personality cultism, sectarianism, a "this is the one true way" attitude, etc.), and A Beginner's Guide provides it.

There were a few times when I'd bring a huge stack of books to the last class so participants could look at the books I recommended. Most of the authors of those books are represented in A Beginner's Guide (Jon Kabat-Zinn may be the only one who isn't) and as I say above, today this would be the only book I'd feel a need to recommend to someone new to a Buddhist approach to meditation practice.

There are books similar in form to A Beginner's Guide in the marketplace, meaning compilations of writings on Buddhist approaches to meditation, but this is the best-edited of the ones I've seen, in the sense that every selection is just right by itself and in relationship to all the others, sequentially and in the way the parts form a whole that hangs together. And as editor Ron Sperry says in his introduction, his goal was to offer readers a sampling of different teachings rather than teachings that focus on a particular school, approach, or technique. There are, writes Sperry in the introduction, "so many different practices under the rubric of Buddhist meditation because there are so many different kinds of people. What might work best for one person might not work well for another." His hope is that the sampling of teachings in A Beginner's Guide to Meditation will help each reader find an approach that is right for them. I imagine that hope will be fulfilled many many times over.
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