YOU HOLD IN YOUR HANDS a truly helpful and sophisticated manual of meditation written by a monk with deep and wide-ranging experience. Ajahn Brahm is one of a new generation of Westerners who have studied, practiced, and mastered an important range of Buddhist teachings and now offer them to sincere practitioners across the modem world.
In Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond you will find a thorough set of teachings for developing and deepening meditation, aimed particularly at attaining absorption, or jhana samadhi, and opening to the insights that can follow from it. Ajahn Brahm offers a careful and subtle understanding of how to transform initial difficulties and how to incline the mind toward rapture, happiness, light, and the profound steadiness of jhana.
Then he turns this concentrated attention to illuminate the emptiness of self that brings liberating understanding. These are beautiful teachings.
“Most Buddhist writers are not often lighthearted or zesty, but the British-born Ajahn Brahm is a delightful exception. Even though meditators are taught not to expect anything, since that represents an attachment, meditation should bring you joy and bliss, according to Brahm. The bliss states of meditation (jhanas) are little-taught, so this book is an addition with value in a crowded niche. Trained in the Thai forest tradition by the Buddhist master Ajahn Chah. Brahm is a clear communicator of the ineffable. He is able to write about a variety of mental states and visualizations with precision and discrimination, drawing on his own experience. He is step-by-step systematic, which helps demystify what happens in meditation. Also useful is the specificity with which he describes the kinds of problems meditators encounter and what to do to resolve them. Meditation is difficult to teach on the page, but Brahm, who began his life as an academic at Cambridge, fulfills his calling as a teacher. He projects both energetic conviction and calm equanimity7. […] An excellent manual.”