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on 5 April 2016
James Austin clearly sets out the two aspects of meditation that are seen reflected in the many different styles found around the world. Whilst this is a book about zen in particular - the concepts he elucidates are relevant to any tradition, and provides the reader with practical details that will enrich your practice. He relies upon empirical evidence rather than an appeal to doctrinal authority, and conveys what could be a very dry subject in a way which is clear and concise.

This book is probably suited to all meditators, but would also be of interest to scientists who do not meditate but would like a comprehensive overview of the ways in which training focussed attention and receptive awareness transform our experience of life.
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on 30 April 2016
The most no nonsense book about how you actually do zen meditation I have read. The presentation of latest scientific evidence gives reader a clear understanding of how meditation brings about a subtle shift in subjective experience.
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on 26 March 2013
A nit heavy going to start with but soon becomes clearer. Requires more than one read (for me at least)
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on 28 December 2015
When will they learn? I can see why some Zen masters give their pupils a slap !! ( sorry).
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on 3 January 2012
This is an interesting work that to an extent builds on Austin's three previous works Zen and the Brain,Zen-Brain Reflections and Selfless Insight: Zen and the Meditative Transformations of Consciousness. It is a much smaller volume and has a far more practical orientation, being aimed at the practitioner with an interest in the underlying neural aspects of practice. The work provides useful advice based on the latest neurological understanding of how various systems in the brain work and how meditation effects this functioning.

It is perhaps useful to have read and own the previous works, as they are cross-referenced in this volume, however I don't believe it is strictly necessary and I am sure any interested meditator will find a lot of useful information in this work.

"This extraordinary book on meditation is a perfect jewel, shedding light for the reader on the intricate and profound craft of the practice of meditation and the neuroscience of meditation. It is a book like no other in the field and is due to become a classic. It is exceptionally useful, beautifully written, rich with anecdotes, and full of surprises."
-Roshi Joan Halifax, Founding Abbot, Upaya Zen Centre

"Here James Austin brings the fruit of his many decades engaging Buddhist meditation as a living practice, while at the same time examining what happens in the brain during meditation. This book is inviting and challenging at the same time and will prove valuable for both the novice and the long time meditator. I highly recommend it."
-James Ishmael Ford, author of Zen Master Who: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen
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