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

Via Todd Mayville
on Apr 15, 2009
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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!)


About Todd Mayville

Todd is a single dad of four diverse and lively kids, and is an English teacher and climbing team coach at a local public high school. A rock climber, cyclist and avid reader, Todd also practices yoga and meditation as often as he possibly can, which helps him stay at least a little centered and sane.


4 Responses to “Book Review: The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation (Richard Shankman)”

  1. sj* says:

    is this really what Buddhists think of Samadhi? that it's concentration? wow. it's soo the lack of concentration. has no one really experienced it?

  2. It's translated different ways, SJ. In my Buddhist community, it's more absorption…being able to rest in a state of openness with stability in the face of klesha, upheaval, neuroses, he said/she said…

  3. […] need to escape from the fast-paced world that brings stress and illness. No epiphanies needed, no Samadhi, transcendence or floating (but if that’s your style, no one is holding you back). It’s that […]