I’ve just finished reading Buddha’s Brain, an absolutely fantastic book by Rick Hanson. It comprehensively explores the profound relationships between modern neuroscience and meditation practice. Among other things, he links the three functions of the brain – Regulation, Learning and Selection – with the three fundamental Buddhist principles – Virtue, Mindfulness and Wisdom. Brilliant!
One of the main things I enjoyed about Buddha’s Brain is that the author backs his claims with facts and scientific results. Being a fairly skeptical guy, I can have trouble accepting the far-reaching and astonishing claims made by some “spiritual teachings”, especially when presented without any proof whatsoever. This book is an absolute must for anyone willing to align their intellectual mind with more abstract practices like meditation. Personally, it helped me strengthen my motivation and expand my knowledge of the mind and the brain.
The book focuses upon our unique opportunity, as human beings, to influence and literally “reshape” our brains by taking advantage of neuroplasticity – the capacity of our brain to learn and change itself. This book will give you faith in your ability to change and develop yourself!
The Mind Illuminated
The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa is phenomenal. I’ve never encountered such a clear, practical and comprehensive meditation manual ; and I’ve read hundreds of meditation books.
Much like Daniel Ingram’s Mastering the Core Teaching of the Buddha, The Mind Illuminated is practice-oriented. It presents a 10 stages road-map of meditative practice, each stage with its specific goal, challenge and insight. Every stage is flawlessly described to help you tackle obstacles with the appropriate techniques as you walk on the path.
With tons of helpful illustrations and diagrams, The Mind Illuminated is accessible and yet retains the depth you’d find in traditional books like the Visuddhimagga. The Mind Illuminated offers step-by-step guidance – from the very first sit all the way to mastery of the deepest states of peace and insight.
Culadasa succeeds at teaching complex and abstract topics like the Jhanas and other high levels of attainments with refreshing clarity. And as if that wasn’t enough, the author also is a former professor of neuroscience.
Here’s what Culadasa has to say about The Mind Illuminated:
This book is appropriate for anyone with a strong interest in meditation, from a complete beginner to someone who has practiced for decades. It will be particularly useful for those who already have a practice and feel ready to go further on the contemplative path. It’s also for people who are dissatisfied with their progress despite years of meditation. This includes practitioners who feel they’ve actually benefited from meditation, but who have started to believe the more profound states of consciousness meditation offers are beyond their reach. Rest assured, the full rewards of meditation are closer than you think.
Mastering The Core Teachings of the Buddha
Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha is a book I came across a while back but didn’t take the time to read until recently. I started reading it a few days ago and was instantly hooked; I read it all within a day!
Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha is a thorough, straight-to-the-point and no-bullshit guide to meditative practice. It is practical and provides a detailed road-map of the “spiritual path” along with the stages and experiences typical in the practice of meditation, It also answers some commonly asked questions and has really helped me understand some parts of the practice I previously had trouble with. This has been very valuable to me. Other teachings are often presented in an ambiguous way. Sometimes, it seems like some teachers want to keep some information hidden and secret. Well, not in this book!
Daniel M. Ingram, the author, is very pragmatic. He’s very clear and open about his achievements and experiences. This may shock some.
I strongly recommend Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha to anyone serious about meditation. This book clearly aims to bring people all the way to enlightenment. If that’s your goal, I think you’ll get a lot out of this book.
A New Earth
A New Earth, written by Eckhart Tolle, is an absolutely fantastic read about the functioning of the mind, life and spirituality. This book left me quite astonished by the level of insight it provides, especially regarding how the mind works in our daily lives, why it is problematic and how it can be solved. Moreover, it is written in a very precise, yet easy to understand way, something highly impressive considering the abstract nature of the subject.
In my opinion, the greatest thing about A New Earth is that every piece of advice given is simple (yet most definitely not easy) and straightforward. Unlike the vast majority of other so-called “spiritual teachings”, you can actually test the techniques right away and quickly see for yourself the results they yield. This is clearly something everyone should look forward to in these types of books, especially considering the very high amount of dogmatic junk that can be found in this field. If you’re at least somewhat serious about the subject, relying on blind faith and passive acceptance is definitely not the way to go.
I’m confident that merely reading this book will induce strong change in your level of consciousness and the way you see the world. I highly suggest it to anyone. Buy it, read it and start building A New Earth now! 🙂
The Way of the Superior Man
The Way of the Superior Man, by David Deida, will blow your mind! This book brings together relationships, sexuality and life-purpose, incorporating into a profound philosophy. This is life changing material!
I often questioned the role that sexuality and relationships should have in my life. On the one hand, consumerism tells us that happiness is a byproduct of sense pleasures while on the other, many spiritual teachings say that bodily pleasures prevent us from reaching full happiness.
I’ve never liked either of those paths. They both lead to dissatisfaction by repressing our nature. I found the new-age model of the starry-eyed “enlightened man” wimpy, self-repressed and boring. Yet, I thought even less of the consumerist ideal of the “successful man” thriving in material possessions and busyness ; I found it senseless and insensitive. I couldn’t find balance between normal life and my deeper calling for growth. Luckily that’s exactly when The Way of the Superior Man came in.
The Way of the Superior Man tells us is that being a strong and masculine guy is compatible with being a conscious and purpose-driven human being : a Superior Man. Reading The Way of The Superior Man, I discovered mind-blowing facts about the inner differences between men and women and learned to navigate through social situations with ease. Here are two quotes to give you a glimpse of what’s waiting for you in The Way of the Superior Man:
“Without a conscious life purpose a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events. Without knowing his life-purpose a man lives a weakened, impotent existence, perhaps eventually becoming even sexually impotent, or prone to mechanical and disinterested sex.”
“The feminine’s moods and opinions are like weather patterns. They are constantly changing, severe and gentle, and they have no single source. No analysis will work. There is no linear chain of cause and effect that can lead to the kernel of the “problem”. There is no problem, only a storm, a breeze, a sudden change in weather.”