The book is a translation of a series of talks given by the late Buddhasa Bhikkhu, a renowned Thai meditation master and scholar of Buddhist teaching. Famous for his individual, and sometimes radical approach, when he died in 1993 he was acknowledged as among the most significant spiritual figures in the 20th century Buddhist world. His funeral reflected his life, no ceremony, no emphasis on him as a personality, but always pointing to the Dhamma, in other words, the ultimate reality of nature, or truth
The talks translated here are informal in tone, but extremely precise in giving instructions for the development of the 16 stages the Buddha proclaimed for breathing mindfulness meditation. This development covers both Samatha (calm) and Vipassana (insight) aspects of the breathing mindfulness practice. The 16 stages of breathing mindfulness culminate in the very highest attainment - enlightment - so even experienced meditators will gain much from careful and repeated readings of this text. Putting the stages into practice, by patient daily practice is the best way for lone meditators to establish mindfulness and eventually clear comprehension - but it is important to return to the text, as by our very nature we are more often than not asleep and miss or mis-interpret subtle but significant elements of the instructions for the practice. The emphasis is on direct experience, but also on following fully and completely the instructions given, if results are to be achieved. The reason for this is simple: the instructions provide a method for establishing the necessary conditions to experience the fruits of the practice. If the conditions are not in place, the results will not arise - cause is not present, so effect will not follow. Those who can should always seek a trusted and experienced meditation teacher if possible, as well as use the valuable material in this manual.