Book Review
Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook by Ajahn Brahm. Wisdom Publications, Somerville, MA, 2006; 320 pages, ISBN:0-86171-275-7, paper $16.95.

 A companion volume to the popular Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? this is a very different and more advanced treatment of Buddhist meditation techniques. In this fast-moving and stressful world there is an increasing interest in meditation. Besides, Ajahn Brahm indicates 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 Brahm’s famous good humor and colorful turn of phrase, but basically it is a serious guidebook to the fascinating journeys that await the dedicated meditator from a self-confessed meditation junkie. The author summarizes the importance of meditation as a technique of spiritual learning in his own unique way: “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. Then into the centre of the nimitta to enter the first jhana. Then into the centre of the first jhana, which is the second jhana, and so on. This is yoniso manisikara, '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). – Andrew Rooke (Theosophy Downunder, December 2008)

Book Reviews