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Art of Reflection: a guide to thinking, contemplation and insight on the Buddhist path
It is all too easy either to think obsessively, or to not think enough. But how do we think usefully? How do we reflect? Like any art, reflection can be learnt and developed, leading to a deeper understanding of life and to the fullness of wisdom.
Drawing on his own experience and on Buddhist teachings, Western philosophy, psychology and literature, Ratnaguna provides a practical guide to reflection in its many forms.
This is a book about reflection as spiritual practice, about its importance, about “what we think and how we think about it”. It is a book about contemplation and insight, and reflection as a way to discover the truth.
“Beautifully written and accessible…this is a gem of a book that can be savoured and will enlighten.”
—Prof Paul Gilbert, author of The Compassionate Mind
“Reflection is an important element in the spiritual life, and Ratnaguna explains what it is and how it is to be cultivated. He also shows how reflection connects with other aspects of the spiritual life, especially meditation. The book is based on personal experience, and Ratnaguna writes from the heart, though the book is also the product of a keen and searching mind. The six chapters are enlivened with a variety of apt quotations, both scriptural and literary. No one who takes seriously the study and practise of the Dharma should fail to read this ground-breaking book.” —Urgyen Sangharakshita
“Ratnaguna has the knack of approaching complex or difficult issues and making apparently simple but not so obvious points that elucidate matters. In doing so he discusses spiritually vital practices that might just not occur to people. Thus he emphasises the important art of doing nothing as a basis for reflection. He discusses ‘talking to oneself’ in a manner that is actually a rigorous and honest debate that deliberately challenges one’s own assumptions. He looks at owning up to one’s own foolishness, and other difficult aspects of self-reflection. Such practices can be crucial in the cultivation of ethics, psychological integration and wisdom. The fact that Ratnaguna explicitly discusses them, and recommends them, is likely to be of much benefit to people. The Art of Reflection is likely to be very helpful for many people in establishing and maintaining an effective reflection practice. It is also a delight to read. It is written with clarity and love, and is grounded in Ratnaguna’s own practice and experience.” —Advayacitta
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ratnaguna (Gary Hennessey) is an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Community. He has been a teacher of mindfulness and meditation for over 30 years.
1. A Reflective Life
2. Learning from Experience
3.Dwelling on a Topic
5. Imagining the Buddha
Notes and References
Glossary of Buddhist Terms