By Giulietta M. Spudich (Windhorse Publications)
Mindfulness is a hot topic these days. From watching one’s breath in three-minute ‘breathing spaces’ amidst a busy day, to experiencing deep meditation and high levels of awareness on silent meditation retreats, there are many levels of practice. Mindfulness practices cover many applications, from stress reduction, a way of working with pain, a memory-enhancer and/or a path to insight and awakening.
Buddhist scholar and meditator Bhikkhu Anālayo begins his newest book, Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation: A Practice Guide, with this very topic.
‘Here, I think it is first of all important to acknowledge that there are various notions of mindfulness. Diverse understandings of this quality can be found not only among several Buddhist traditions, but also among those involved with its clinical employment. In what follows, I will present my own understanding of one of these constructs of mindfulness, namely the way sati is described and reflected in the early Buddhist discourses. Throughout this book, I use “mindfulness” and “awareness” as interchangeable translations for sati.’ – Anālayo in Chapter 1
Bhikkhu Anālayo is a monk and a faculty member at the Barre Centre for Buddhist studies in Massachusetts. His expertise is early Buddhist studies, and he has explored the Satipaṭṭhānasutta for over a decade. This sutta is an early Buddhist teaching that offers a clear foundation of mindfulness.
In the Foreword, Joseph Goldstein, author of Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, describes the book as a clear map towards insight:
‘An eminently pragmatic discussion of how to put these teachings into practice. Anālayo has developed a simple and straightforward map of practice instructions encompassing all four satipaṭṭhānas, which build upon one another in a coherent and comprehensive path leading to the final goal.’
Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation: A Practice Guide is aimed at existing meditators on a path towards insight rather than those looking for a quick three-minute ‘breathing space’. This book is now available from Windhorse Publications in paperback and eBook formats, and from other online retailers and bookstores worldwide.
For each of the seven contemplations covered in this book there are audio recordings by Anālayo with guided meditation instructions, freely available here.