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The miracle of mindfulness : a manual on meditation (1975)

by Thich Nhat Hanh

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I bought this as a Kindle Daily Deal. It is a short book that is more about the philosophy of mindfulness than the actual practice. Thich Nhat Hanh shares a few techniques that may be helpful for those new to meditation or mindfulness, but the power of this book really comes from its arguments for practicing mindfulness. It is a brief treatise from one of the world's experts on mindfulness. ( )
  porch_reader | Mar 1, 2014 |
how did i get so far from this stuff? this book fell into my hands when i really needed it, as books tend to do. but, that said, while some of it really resonates, a lot of it just didn't. i tried to read this book as slowly as possible (or it would be about an hour's read), and i partially succeeded in that, and even did some of the exercises. others i'll refer back to later. it'll sound funny (or pretentious or unenlightened or like i'm a jerk) to say this, but i wish this had a little more depth, or maybe he wouldn't have lost me the few times he did.
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
A short book, but don't think that dilutes the strength of the message. This is a great book for those seeking to learn more about mindfulness and points you straight in the right direction without waffle or distraction. ( )
  floriferous | Apr 1, 2013 |
The subtitle is "an introduction to the practice of meditation." That's a bit misleading. This is a lot more than a value-free manual. The introduction tells us this the main text was originally a long letter from Thich Nhat Hanh to a fellow Buddhist monk in Vietnam in the midst of the war in 1975. Hanh, exiled from Vietnam, worked against the war and was nominated by Martin Luther King for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Translated into English under his supervision by a friend, you can't sever this from its Buddhist context. There's a lot about Buddhist philosophy here--even a discussion about such issues at the "naive" depiction of the faith in Hesse's Siddharta. The last chapter consists of a "Selection of Buddhist Sutras" (which I found impenetrable). The writing is lucid, but even though written in deceptively simple language, a lot of the concepts are pretty sophisticated and I think take repeated reading to really understand. Mind you, this isn't an introduction to Buddhism per se. This isn't the place to find an overview of the religion and the focus is on meditation and "mindfulness."

Hanh's concept of meditation and mindfulness doesn't necessarily mean what you do in a lotus position while going "ohm." He means by it living in the moment and fully alert even as you drink tea or wash dishes. "Mindfulness frees us of forgetfulness and dispersion and makes it possible to live fully each minute of life." Not that he doesn't see a place for more formal meditation, and he provides several practical exercises, particularly focusing on the breath. "Our breath is the bridge from out body to our mind... it alone is the tool which can bring them both together."

My introduction to meditation actually was in the mandatory Religion class in my Catholic high school. I remember feeling silly as we were directed to go "ohm." Later I'd be reintroduced to the practice when I took Yoga classes. I remember feeling frustrated as I was told to clear my mind of all thought--which I thought impossible. So it was interesting and useful that it's not what Hanh directs. He says rather when you have thoughts during meditation, you acknowledge the thought--or feeling. "The essential thing is not to let any feeling or thought arise without recognizing it in mindfulness, like a palace guard who is aware of every face that passes in the front corridor."

It's an interesting and useful book if you're curious about meditation and Buddhism, written clearly and succinctly--the main text of the book is only about a hundred pages. Although to get much out of it means reading with mindfulness--repeatedly, slowly, taking notes--and practicing the exercises. And in that regard, I think it does help to do it with others rather than just try to work through the book by yourself. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Jan 18, 2012 |
One of my favorite books ever. I have purchased numerous copies over the last 3 decades and have given them all away. Read and give. Repeat as necessary. ( )
  mtnmdjd | Dec 25, 2011 |
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Yesterday Allen came over to visit with his son Joey.
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Joy and peace are the joy and peace possible in this very hour of sitting. If you cannot find it here, you won't find it anywhere.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0807012394, Paperback)

Miracle of Mindfulness is a sly commentary on the Anapanasati Sutra, the Sutra on Breath to Maintain Mindfulness. "Sly" because it doesn't read like a dry commentary at all. One of Thich Nhat Hanh's most popular books, Miracle of Mindfulness is about how to take hold of your consciousness and keep it alive to the present reality, whether eating a tangerine, playing with your children, or washing the dishes. A world-renowned Zen master, Nhat Hanh weaves practical instruction with anecdotes and other stories to show how the meditative mind can be achieved at all times and how it can help us all "reveal and heal." Nhat Hanh is a master at helping us find a calm refuge within ourselves and teaching us how to reach out from there to the rest of the world. --Brian Bruya

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:04 -0400)

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Exercises in active and passive Zen meditation accompany a discussion of their relevance in contemporary living.

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Beacon Press

Two editions of this book were published by Beacon Press.

Editions: 0807012394, 0807012327

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