Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Focused and Fearless" (book review)

Jhana is a powerful meditative technique that opens the way to unfettered joy, radiant calm, and abiding happiness. Focused and Fearless presents this ancient meditative tradition as interpreted through the practice of a contemporary American teacher (pictured at right). As such it represents a landmark shift in Theravadan Buddhism by bringing jhana into the reach of busy practitioners. The book speaks to both non-meditators and meditators from any tradition, helping those who simply want to understand how to attain extraordinary states with ease while offering a creative, contemporary slant on this ancient path of happiness and wisdom. An engaging mix of contemporary examples, practical exercises, and how-to instructions that anyone can try, Focused and Fearless is an accessible, friendly, and wise guide that is ideal for both novices and the more seasoned practitioner who wishes to explore advanced meditative states.
  • Focused and Fearless: A Meditator's Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity (now in paperback) Shaila Catherine (author)
"CONCENTRATION is a central feature of a contemplative life, cultivated through formal meditation practice and also through any of a variety of other daily activities..." More>>

Focused and Fearless is a reliable and pragmatic guide to the practices of absorption concentration, or jhana. It presents them within the broader context of the path of liberating the mind from suffering and dissatisfaction through non-clinging. The descriptions of these practices are clearly based in Shaila Catherine's own intensive and systematic exploration of them while also being solidly based in the Buddha's discourses and the commentarial tradition. Her writing is very clear and a joy to read. Whether you are simply curious about the jhanas or are interested in practicing with them, Focused and Fearless is a highly recommended practice guide.