Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas by Leigh Brasington

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas by Leigh Brasington is a practical guidebook for meditators interested in achieving the states of bliss and deep focus associated with the Buddhist jhānas. The word jhāna literally means ‘meditation.’

So how does one achieve Right Concentration?

According to the Buddha, the jhānas are a series of eight progressive altered states of consciousness. Previously, the jhānas have been shrouded in mystery because they were considered only possible, through prolonged meditation retreat.
 
Now though, as Brasington writes in Right Concentration, the mystique is reduced with plain, simple, accessible instructions. For example, the Pali terms, Sīla, samādhi, and pañña are offered in the vernacular:

clean up your act
concentrate your mind, and,
use your concentrated mind to investigate reality

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas by Leigh Brasington
Practice and theory

Additionally, Brasington provides a wealth of material on the theory of jhāna practice. Together with the practical steps, the practitioner is geared toward these states of bliss and concentration, attainable by anyone who devotes the time and effort. He also notes the various pitfalls to avoid along the way.

A view or position is a charged interpretation of experiences which intensely shapes and affects thought, sensation, and action. Having the proper mental attitude toward views is therefore considered an integral part of the Buddhist path. Views are produced by and in turn produce mental conditioning. They are symptoms of conditioning, rather than neutral alternatives individuals can dispassionately choose.

The unconditioned mind

Attaining the state of the unconditioned mind occurs when we free ourselves from everything binding us to the world, including philosophical and religious doctrines–a detached form of cognition. There is no correct view. The preferred state is to be free of views as there is no one truth of anything–the world is a jungle of views!

One positive attribute, amongst many, in this book, is Brasington’s use of one/one’s and they/their instead of he or she. He admits to the centuries of misogynistic patriarchy in Buddhism and in modifying this, he removes the gender specific terms for singular gender-neutral pronouns.

Right concentration on the Eightfold Path

One of the elements of the Eightfold Path is Right Concentration: the one-pointedness of mind that, together with ethics, livelihood, meditation, and more, leads to the ultimate freedom from suffering.

Smile when you meditate, because once you reach access concentration,
you only have to shift your attention one inch to find a pleasant sensation.

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas
by Leigh Brasington
for meditators, deep focus and the jhānas.


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