The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science

Language: English

Pages: 504

ISBN: 0990847705

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Providing step-by-step guidance for every stage of the meditation path, this uniquely comprehensive guide for a Western audience combines the wisdom from the teachings of the Buddha with the latest research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Clear and friendly, this in-depth practice manual builds on the nine-stage model of meditation originally articulated by the ancient Indian sage Asanga, crystallizing the entire meditative journey into 10 clearly-defined stages. The book also introduces a new and fascinating model of how the mind works, and uses illustrations and charts to help the reader work through each stage. This manual is an essential read for the beginner to the seasoned veteran of meditation and can be read from front to back, or used as a reference guide, choosing chapters as needed based on the current state of the reader’s practice.

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for letting go of discursive thoughts, and will train your mind to enter a state of meditative absorption. We’ll introduce other absorption practices in later Stages. We’re all familiar with what it’s like to be absorbed in some activity. With the right conditions, this everyday kind of absorption can transform into the unique state called flow. In the words of noted psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,8 flow is: …a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in

vicara) is absent from the 2nd through 4th pleasure jhānas. This practice differs from the whole-body jhānas in this regard, and is more like the deeper luminous jhānas. Thinking and investigation are completely abandoned after the 1st jhāna, although you may occasionally experience the rare thought passing through peripheral awareness. These thoughts are usually associated with a previously set intention, such as the intention to leave the jhāna or move on to the next one. The 3rd Pleasure

equanimity that make it so much easier to confront the disturbing and fearful experiences of Insight into impermanence, emptiness, and suffering. The mind of a meditator who cultivates śamatha before achieving Insight is suffused with these qualities, and is much less likely to experience a long and stressful “dark night of the soul” (the Knowledges of Suffering, or dukkha ñana).In dry Insight practices, the full development of śamatha is postponed until after Insight arises. However, once a

experience rather than the tradition based on Buddhaghosa. 18. As with our juxtaposition of aversion and sukha above, we once again run counter to the tradition going back to Buddhaghosa in the 5th century CE by stating that agitation due to worry and remorse is in conflict with meditative joy (pīti). However, if we rearrange Buddhaghosa’s list of hindrances and their opposing meditation factors in the order the hindrances are overcome in meditation, and also switch the positions of joy and

outstanding job of both constructing a cognitive theory of how the mind works and presenting a detailed handbook for learning and mastering meditation. The result is a beautiful integration of theory and practice, whose parallel strands lead to experientially, and account for conceptually, the radical shift in consciousness we call awakening. —Richard P. Boyle, author of Realizing Awakened Consciousness The Mind Illuminated provides among the greatest syntheses I’ve ever seen of concepts from

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