The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an almost indispensable guide toward establishing an understood meditation practice. Why, how and what: that is, why meditation, how to meditation, and what is meditation, actually. No nonsense, no hoo-ha, no mystification: this is a book my son uses In PRISON to help prisoners discover how they can avoid despair, rage, bitterness, and actually find compassion for themselves and others. Note that an affectionate title many of his students use to refer to the Zenmaster Thich Nhat Hanh is "Thay," a Vietnamese term for teacher or respected teacher. Like calling someone "Maestro" or "Rabbi" or "Pastor."
Some people will say that "Thay" caters too much to Western middle-class desires for self-help and self-actualization and selfish personal happiness, but I say, okay, start there if that's where people are. And not only the middle-class craves help and personal development. It's just that the middle class generally has the time and the means to articulate it for themselves and "buy in" to retreats and books and DVDs and CDs. But youth at risk and people on the edge need it just as much if not more.
And many of Thay's books are at least accessible and straightforward. I myself have taken transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings and have formally "Taken Refuge" in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, from/with Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a poet, a scholar, a communicator,and the gentlest iron butterfly in the world.
This book is a great introduction to meditation and can pay off in almost instant if gradual changes.
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