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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2008
I do not have much too add not already said by other reviewers, but would like to point out that the whole book can be found online so you can preview it before you order the book. Just search for the title.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2010
This book changed my whole life. Seriously. I was experiencing a lot of serious problems in my life, and was at probably the lowest point of my life. I came across Theravada Buddhism on the net, read about Bhante G and this book, and well the rest is history!

Bhante G is the real deal. A buddhist monk who truly understands buddhism, and how it can help us in the west.

He concisely explains why meditation is often overlooked and misunderstood, what meditation is and isn't, provides a detailed easy to read guide for meditating, and for dealing with problems with meditating.

It can be difficult to meditate and practice mindfullness on a regular basis, but the overall philosophy of this book really opened my eyes to reality and ultimately how to genuinely be happy.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone. Whether you are just interested in meditation in general or are suffering from various problems.

Thanks a lot Bhante G!

P.S His other books are both equally as good. His autobiography was a really interesting insight into the life of a Buddhist monk, also highly recommended!!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2008
I have been interested in Buddhism and meditation for many years and have been waiting all that time for a book that is a true 'nuts and bolts' manual of how to meditate. This is the first book I have found that I can totally recommend. It covers the subject with honesty, humour and an amazing level of clarity. For a beginner or experienced meditator, there is no better book that I have seen.

Also, the author has integrity and comes from the traditional Theravada school of Buddhism - beware that there are quite a few dodgy modern 'schools' that use the name of Buddhism in vain. If you are new to Buddhism, I strongly recommend the Theravada school (e.g. Amaravati monastery in the UK).

A minor point and it doesn't detract at all from the book, but I feel that maybe the title is a bit misleading as it isn't very clear that it is a 'manual' of meditation - perhaps 'Meditation demystified' or 'How to meditate' would be clearer.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
The theme of the book is Mindfulness: actually seeing what is there in front of us.

Bhante's premise (which is difficult to ague with ) is that we see life through a screen of thoughts and concepts. As he puts it, we get so caught up in this endless thought-stream that reality flows by unnoticed.

Meditation can sometimes seem daunting and mystical but its goal is to simply free us from not being aware of our lives as they unfold.

Bhante's gift, which shines through every page of this book, is to break down some of the myths and make them real and practical.

What is left is a remarkably lucid, accessible and sensible account of how mindfulness meditation (in the Vipassana tradition - though that detail isn't important) can literally chance your life: your reactions, your perception, your ability to life for the moment.

There is no hint of high-mindedness in his tone, which is grounded, realistic, and thoroughly human.

Consider this, from page one: "There you are, and you suddenly realise that you are spending your whole life just barely getting by. You keep up a good front. You manage to make ends meet somehow and look okay from the outside.

"But those periods of desperation, those times when you feel everything caving in on you - you keep those to yourself. You are a mess, and you know it.

"Meanwhile, way down under all of that, you just know that there has to be some other way to live, a better way to look at the world, a way to touch life more fully.... life is an emotional roller coaster, and you spend a lot of your time down at the bottom of the ramp, yearning for heights."

So what's wrong with you, Bhante asks? You are simply human, battling with all the usual human hallmarks of jealousy, suffering, discontent and stress.

Meditation isn't a quick-fix solution to the human condition, he says. In this age of instant gratification, this can be a hard pill to swallow.

"But what it does do is teach you to watch the functioning of your own mind in a calm and detached manner so you can gain insight into your own behaviour. The goal is awareness."

With a good deal of patience and commitment, meditation can simply teach you to stand aside from your own thought processes and not get involved.

Step by step, it will become clear that agitation is actually a superficial mental stage. It comes and goes, he says, and has no real grip on you at all.

There are so many pearls of hope and wisdom in this bok, but I particularly like this one, for its searing truth and humanity. Bhante writes:

"Somewhere in this process, you will come face to face with the sudden and shocking realisation that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking, gibbering madhouse, utterly out of control and helpless.

"No problem. You are not crazier than you were yesterday. It has always been this way, and you just never noticed. You are no crazier than everybody else around you.

The only real difference is that you have confronted the situation and they have not."

This review is taken from a blog from [...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Quite simply, this book is Extremely well written and to the point. It is an obviously well thought out, objective work. The motive behind the book is one of a drive to help others follow the path set out by The Buddha, a selfless work.. as only a text on buddhism by a buddhist monk could be. So if you are serious about finding happines through Buddhism (Theravadin) this book will get you there(If you practice it's method)
If this is the path you would choose, then this book is a great help in clarifying any questions you might have.

P.S The clue is in the title. - Sincerely Evan Parkinson
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2009
This is a good how-to book on how to meditate. A clear explanation on what to do is given; how to sit; how to deal with problems and the like.

Unfortunately, I found the explanation of what mindfulness is a bit mystifying. I didn't quite understand what it is and what's so good about it.

I am now reading The Mindful Way through Depression, and I'm finding it a lot more clear in this respect.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2010
I have been reading about Buddhism for some time now, and was delighted to find this little masterpeice. It is written in clear language, and explains the practice and benefits of Mindfulness and Vipassana Meditation in such clear way as encourage the reader to try it.

The problem I have encountered in previous meditation books is that the writer assumes previous knowledge, and omits the detail of how to DO the practice.

This writer of this book assumes nothing. The chapters are clearly titled:- 'Meditation- Why Bother'?, 'What to do with your body', 'What to Do with Your Mind', and so on, and the subject of each chapter is explained in such a clear way that this reader felt confident that I understood what was required, and how to do it.

The book is written in such a calm and loving way, that even if your aim is not ultimately to convert to Buddhism, it will surely lead you to a more peaceful, insightful way of living.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2006
Well written, comprehensible, logical and practical. A lovely book that got me into meditating on a regular basis and has considerably improved my life.. You do not have to be a buddhist to accept the wisdom on offer here - although I guess once you buy into mindfulness meditation, loving kindness etc maybe you are becoming a buddhist of a sort!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2012
I'm about 2/3 of the way through, and already I've been able to take on board some practical advice.

The language used is indeed 'Plain English' but it's never patronising or over simplified. The different chapters flow logically and smoothly and it's very easy to ease yourself into. The way it's written appears well thought out, and the author very knowledgeable.
I really like the friendly, relaxed tone that's used, it allows you to easily relate to and apply the techniques.
I've been studying Buddhism for a few years now and most of the books I've read focus too much on concept. This book however, veers away from this angle, detailing practical, unpretentious and concise information. The Buddhist connotations are in no way restricting and I feel the messages appeal to the very base of our human nature- an excellent place to begin on the path of self discovery.

Practising meditation has become a much less daunting prospect for me. The help on overcoming difficulties is very reassuring, and many of my questions have been answered.

Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2009
This is a really great meditation guide. Simple to follow and very inspirational. This book concentrates on the Vippassana/insight way of meditation and really goes into a lot depth and would be a good starting place for anyone embarking on the path of meditation.
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