Three new and interesting books for experienced meditators

I’m currently working my way – slowly! – through three new books that may be of interest to experienced meditators: 

Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising
Rob Burbea 10 October 2014 Hermes Amara

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas
Leigh Brasington 13 October 2015 Shambala

Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation
Bhikkhu Analayo 3 November 2015 Windhorse

Each of the authors has been practising meditation for several decades, and all three of them are also meditation teachers.  What they share in common is a depth of practice understanding and clear, direct writing that helps make even the most profound teaching more accessible.  I’ve compiled a little more information on each of them, below, and hope you enjoy their books as much as I have!

(For books better suited to beginners, see my suggested reading list page here: )

Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising
Rob Burbea October 2014

From the foreword by Joseph Goldstein:
“Rob Burbea, in this remarkable book, proves to be a wonderfully skilled guide in exploring the understanding of emptiness as the key insight in transforming our lives… It is rare to find a book that explores so deeply the philosophical underpinnings of awakening at the same time as offering the practical means to realize it.”


From the book:
“A core insight repeatedly insisted on in this book is that fundamentally what gets us into trouble are the ways we typically view things, and our blind clinging to these ways of seeing. At the roots of our suffering – primary in engendering, perpetuating, and exacerbating it – are our habitual conceptions and the ways of looking they spawn. It is therefore precisely these that need to be addressed and replaced.”
(Kindle Locations 180-181)

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas
Leigh Brasington October 2015

From the foreword:
“One of the elements of the Eightfold Path the Buddha taught is Right Concentration: the one-pointedness of mind that, together with ethics, livelihood, meditation, and so forth, leads to the ultimate freedom from suffering. The Jhanas are the method the Buddha himself taught for achieving Right Concentration. They are a series of eight successive states, beginning with bliss and moving on toward radically non-conceptual states. The fact that they can usually be achieved only during prolonged meditation retreat tends to keep them shrouded in mystery. Leigh Brasington is here to unshroud them. He takes away the mystique and gives instructions for them in plain, accessible language, noting the various pitfalls to avoid along the way, and then providing a wealth of material on the theory of jhana practice – all geared toward the practitioner rather than the scholar.”

I had the good fortune to read an early draft of this book last year and enjoyed Leigh’s direct and accessible writing style.  Now I’m waiting – not so patiently – for the finished book to come out in an e-version!

Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation
Bhikkhu Analayo November 2015

From the foreword by Sharon Salzberg:
“Arising from the author’s long-term, dedicated practice and study, this book provides a window into the depth and beauty of the Buddha’s liberating teachings. Serious meditation students will benefit tremendously from the clarity of understanding that Venerable Analayo’s efforts have achieved.”

From the book:
” … an essential component of compassion is the concern for others to be relieved from suffering and affliction. Although this is hardly surprising, a subtle but important point to be noted here is that [this] does not qualify the act of seeing the actual suffering as compassion. Rather, compassion is concerned with the other being free from affliction. … In this way, the mind takes the vision of freedom from affliction as its object. … This is vital in so far as the meditative cultivation of compassion can only lead to deeper concentration if it is undertaken with a positive or even joyful mind.”
(Kindle Locations 200-209)

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