Thursday, March 11, 2010
Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book
The very idea that the teachings of meditation can be mastered will arouse controversy within Buddhist circles. Even so, Ingram insists that enlightenment is an attainable goal, once our fanciful notions of it are stripped away, and we have learned to use meditation as a method for examining reality rather than an opportunity to wallow in “self-absorbed mindnoise”.
Ingram sets out concisely the difference between concentration-based and insight (vipassana) meditation; he provides example practices; and most importantly he presents detailed maps of the states of mind we are likely to encounter, and the stages we must negotiate as we move through clearly-defined cycles of insight. It’s easy to feel overawed, at first, by Ingram’s assurance and ease in the higher levels of consciousness, but consistently he writes as a down-to-earth and compassionate guide—to the practitioner willing to commit themselves this is a glittering gift of a book.