Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond (Ajahn Brahm)

Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Andrew Rooke (Theosophy Downunder);
Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook (Wisdom Pubs, Somerville, MA)
Ajahn Brahm handbook (
A companion volume to the popular Ajahn Brahm (a British Buddhist monk in Australia who trained and attained in Thailand) book of inspiring and funny stories, Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?, this handbook is a very different and more advanced treatment of Buddhist meditation techniques. 
In our fast-moving and stressful world, there is an increasing interest in meditation. Moreover, Ajahn Brahm makes clear that knowledge of meditation is fundamental for serious students of the Buddhist tradition.
This book takes the student from basic meditation techniques through the vast array of experience that awaits serious meditators through to heightened states of awareness and blissful visions to full enlightenment itself! 

The book has flashes of Ajahn Brahm’s famous good humor and colorful turn of phrases, but basically it is a serious guidebook to the fascinating journeys that await the dedicated meditator from a self-professed meditation junkie. 
The author summarizes the importance of meditation as a technique of spiritual learning in his own unique way: 
"The Buddhist Seinfeld" (
“Meditation can well be summarized as going to the centre of things. One goes first to the centre of time, called the “now.” Then into the centre of the now that is free of all thought. Then into the centre of the body with one’s breath. Then into the centre of the breath, which is the beautiful breath. Then into the centre of the beautiful breath, where one experiences the nimitta [counterpart sign]. Then into the centre of the nimitta to enter the first jhana [meditative absorption]. Then into the centre of the first jhana, which is the second jhana, and so on. This is yoniso manisikara [wise reflection], 'work of the mind that goes to the source.’ As one goes deeper into the source of body and mind, one comes to the source of will, the seat of the doer, the citadel in which the potential doing abides. And one sees it all empty of a self.” (p. 199).
AJAHN BRAHM grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in London, England. Scholarships got him to Cambridge University where he graduated with a degree in theoretical physics. Eventually disillusioned with the world of academics, he trained as a Theravada Buddhist monk in the jungles of northeast Thailand under the highly esteemed master Ajahn Chah. A monk for over 30 years, Ajahn Brahm (Ven. Brahmavamso Mahathera) is a revered spiritual guide, a prominent advocate of female ordination, and the abbot of one of the largest monasteries and nunneries in the southern hemisphere, regularly drawing multinational audiences of thousands.

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