Minding Closely: the four applications of mindfulness
The ability to sustain close mindfulness is a learned skill that offers profound benefits in all situations. This book explains the theory and applications of the practice the Buddha called the direct path to enlightenment. These simple but powerful techniques to cultivate mindfulness will allow anyone, regardless of tradition, beliefs, or lack thereof, to achieve genuine happiness and freedom from suffering. By closely minding the body and breath, we relax, grounding ourselves in physical presence. Coming face to face with our feelings, we stabilize our awareness against habitual reactions. Examining mental phenomena nakedly, we sharpen our perceptions without becoming attached. Ultimately, we see all phenomena just as they are, and we approach the ground of enlightenment.
Bringing in his experience as a monk, scientist, and contemplative, Alan Wallace offers a rich synthesis of Eastern and Western traditions, along with a comprehensive range of meditation practices interwoven throughout the text. The meditations are systematically presented, beginning with very basic steps, and then gradually built upon to encourage the reader to consider, investigate, contemplate, and meditate on some of the most challenging questions imaginable. Wallace stresses that the process of discovering the answers experientially is essential. The goal of these practices is the radical healing that results when mental obstacles are overcome and the fundamental nature of experience is witnessed. This insight catalyzes an irreversible transformation.
"Alan Wallace is one of the great Western Buddhist thinkers of our day."—Howard Cutler, co-author with H.H. the Dalai Lama of The Art of Happiness
"A comprehensive and rich teaching that combines skillful instruction and scholarly knowledge. Minding Closely draws on wisdom from both Theravada and Vajrayana traditions to offer a systematic and practical approach to liberation through mindfulness."—Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
B. Alan Wallace has taught Buddhist meditation and philosophy worldwide since 1976 and has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including the Dalai Lama. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, where he studied physics and the philosophy of science, and earned his Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University. Wallace is the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than thirty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and religion.