April 15, 2009

Book Review: The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation (Richard Shankman)

As the title indicates, The Experience of Samadhi is a discussion of samadhi (concentration) and its role in Buddhist meditation, particularly when it comes to its development in comparison to nurturing insight through meditation.  Shankman devotes quite a lot of time to what can often be seen as a necessary discussion around meditative practices, and even devotes a section the book to some of the more argumentative points around the concept. 

The book also contains interviews with a rather broad range of meditation practitioners/instructors, including Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Ajahn Brahmavamso and others, successfully demonstrating that this conversation is one that encompasses all of the traditions within Buddhism.  Regardless of sect or personal belief in the importance of concentration over insight, this is a book that should be read (and re-read) by every serious practitioner of Buddhist Meditation.  From Shambhala Publications and available at your local, independent bookstore.  (Tell ’em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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