Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond - Praise

A Meditator’s Handbook

“From the first word (meditation) to the last (Parinibbana), Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond is riveting, rollicking, and uncompromisingly real. Ajahn Brahm’s voice is utterly fresh. But watch out! In the greatest tradition of our beloved roshis and bhikkhus, it is also compelling and commanding. Readers seeking a sure guide to ‘the bliss better than sex’ will find it in this wonderful book.”—Glenn Wallis, translator of The Dhammapada: Verses on the Way

“This clear and accessible book describes meditative absorption states (jhana) and how to attain them. An excellent road map to the the development of jhana, which, as the title suggests, is beyond bliss.”—Inquiring Mind

“Ajahn Brahm’s first American book, Who Ordered this Truckload of Dung? introduced us to a Bristish-born Theravada monk who teaches by telling entertaining life stories with a moral punchline. If that was the appetizer, this is the main course. Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond demonstrates that Ajahn Brahm is that rare meditator who has actually had—and can describe—the profound meditation experiences outlined in the early Buddhist teachings. The good humor is still present, but this outing is more serious, taking us systematically through the classic stages of meditation training from the most mundane (meditation for happiness) to the most exalted (meditation for enlightenment). Along the way, he gives a thorough description of the [advanced] jhana states, a place that many Western Buddhist teachers have feared to tread. Ajahn Brahm then brings the whole thing back to the kitchen-sink level with some practical suggestions for everyday life.”—Shambhala Sun

“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 equanimity. The promise of bliss he describes in this excellent manual is elusive, but remains a compelling goal.”—Publishers Weekly

“Like a broom through cobwebs, Ajahn Brahm here sweeps away the mysteries surrounding the jhanas. Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond is salted with the illustrative, often witty life stories that Brahm is well known for, and he uses readily understandable language to explain what some teachers shy from. Finding this book is like finding an operator’s manual for one’s practice. Raising the bar for those serious about their practice, he scolds those who would ‘dumb-down’ nibbana and challenges us to reach for the ultimate happiness. Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond is a bold book, sure to be controversial.”—John Roberts, Buddhist Council of the Northwest

“Ajahn Brahm is the Seinfeld of Buddhism.”—Sumi Loundon, editor of Blue Jean Buddha and The Buddha’s Apprentices

“Ajahn Brahm is originally from London, and his working-class humor and cockney turns of phrase can be charming. Readers will see why so many people are drawn to hear him.”—Shambhala Sun

“Ajahn Brahm has not only provided great leadership for the Buddhist community, but has dedicated much of his time to helping the wider community with a strong sense of compassion, understanding and humour.”—Vice-Chancellor Professor Lance Twomey, Curtin University

“Ajahn Brahm’s systematic guide to understanding the theory and practice of meditation. In typical Ajahn Brahm style, this book is filled with his unique brand of humor and entertaining stories that inspire, instruct, and illuminate. This excellent book addresses not just the needs of seasoned meditators but the questions about the benefits of meditation that every beginner would ask.”—Eastern Horizon