on 12 February 2002
This is an excellent introductory book for both meditation practice and Buddhism in general. Martine writes in a clear and very personal style, grounding all the Buddhist teachings and meditation instructions in her own personal experiences; recalling both her ten years spent as a Nun in the Korean Zen tradition, and as a layperson practicing in Devon. The main message of this book (which is suggested by the title) is that meditation is a practice open to all, irrespective of creed or life situation. Not only is the book beautiful to read, it is also beautiful to look at. This is thanks to Stephen Batchelor's (Martine's husband) exceptional skills as a photographer. The thoughtful photography helps to add a deeper sense of meaning to Martine's work. The book is a happy marriage of words and image that communicates well both the depth and breadth of the Dharma (Buddhist teachings). I am recommending this book to all my friends, colleagues and students.
on 9 August 2009
While this book contains excellent information about how to meditate - when, where and how - it's also about why meditation is such a good thing. Its background is clearly Buddhism, but it is just as relevant to people of other faiths and those of no formal faith tradition.
I have read this book cover to cover more than once, but I also dip in and out of it regularly. I always seem to find something - an anecdote, a practice, an observation - relevant to my current state of mind. It has also encouraged me to feel positive about my (sporadic) meditative practice - a very positive, generous-spirited book. The "guided meditation" pages are particularly useful.
The text is beautifully written and presented - it's a handsome book to look at as well as to read. The photographs - taken by Martine Batchelor's husband Stephen Batchelor - are a wonderful addition, subtly integrated with the text.
I suspect many people think of meditation as something rather dry and worthy, and in honesty a number of books on the subject do little to dispel this myth. "Meditation for Life" is different - it brings out the joys, pleasures and benefits and actually encourages the reader in a surprisingly dynamic way.
I've already bought a second copy as a present, and am sure this will not be the last I'll buy. Highly recommended.
on 12 February 2012
After finishing this book, I initially thought that it had been a bit too simple and had not offered me any new insights. However, as is often the case with such books, I found my mind dwelling on some of the simple sentences the author had written. These gave me pause for thought and helped me to clarify some issues I didn't know that I had. I also think it is helpful to have a westerner's perspective on Buddhist thought: those of us who are not easterners can play at wearing saffron robes and intoning strange words without actually gaining any insight into the fundamental significance of Buddhism. I suspect that a lot of us Europeans get confused by the exotic far eastern-rituals that we associate with Buddhism, and it is healthy to realise that Joe Public can be a good Buddhist without these unneccesary trappings. I was a bit unsure about the photographs in the book - they didn't seem to add anything for me.
on 28 April 2013
Martine Batchelor's writing is clear, honest and very relevant for those who are interested in the practice of meditation embedded in everyday life in the modern world. The photos by her husband, Stephen, are excellent, making it visually very attractive as well as informative. I would recommend it.
on 16 July 2009
I found this work refreshingly eclectic, and also very easy to relate to in the way that the author delivers the message.
If you are new to either practicing Buddhism, or if you merely have an intereset in meditation itself, then I thoroughly recommend this book. It is neither bogged down with jargon, nor influenced by too much outside of the practice of meditation itself.
A wonderful book to have around for those times when you might want to refresh or advance your approach to meditation, or just to reinvigorate your practice again.