Recommended Books

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness

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The Mind Illuminated is a comprehensive, accessible and – above all – effective book on meditation, providing a nuts-and-bolts stage-based system that helps all levels of meditators establish and deepen their practice. Providing step-by-step guidance for every stage of the meditation path, this uniquely comprehensive guide for a Western audience combines the wisdom from the teachings of the Buddha with the latest research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

 

 

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Realizing Awakened Consciousness: Interviews with Buddhist Teachers and a New Perspective on the Mind

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If, as Buddhism claims, the potential for awakening exists in all human beings, we should be able to map the phenomenon with the same science we apply to other forms of consciousness. A student of cognitive social science and a Zen practitioner for more than forty years, Richard P. Boyle brings his sophisticated perspective to bear on the development of a theoretical model for both ordinary and awakened consciousness.

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Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion

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For the millions who want spirituality without religion, Waking Up is a guide to meditation as a rational practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.
From multiple New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist, Sam Harris, Waking Up is for the millions who follow no religion, but who suspect that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history were not all epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds. Throughout the book, Harris argues that there are important truths to be found in the experiences of such contemplatives and that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow.
Waking Up is part seeker’s memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris―a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic―could write it.

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How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain: The New Science of Transformation

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In this original and groundbreaking book, Dr Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldmanturn their attention to the pinnacle of the human experience: enlightenment. Through his brain-scan studies on Brazilian psychic mediums, Sufi mystics, Buddhist meditators, Franciscan nuns, Pentecostals, and participants in secular spirituality rituals, Newberg has found the specific neurological mechanisms responsible for an enlightenment experience – and how we can activate those circuits in our own brains.

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Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment

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Framed by the historical journey and teachings of the Buddha, Siddhartha’s Brain shows how meditative and Buddhist practice anticipated the findings of modern neuroscience. Moving from the evolutionary history of the brain to the disorders and neuroses associated with our technology-driven world, James Kingsland explains why the ancient practice of mindfulness has been so beneficial and so important for human beings across time.

Far from a New Age fad, the principles of meditation have deep scientific support and have been proven to be effective in combating many contemporary psychiatric disorders. Siddhartha posited that “Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.” As we are increasingly driven to distraction by competing demands, our ability to focus and control our thoughts has never been more challenged—or more vital.

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Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

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In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age.

At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true—which is to say, a way out of our delusion—but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.

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The Neurotic’s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-brain Plays Unending Games of Self-improvement

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Neuroscience discovered that the left brain makes up elaborate stories and convincing explanations. It is the left brain that makes up the most elaborate and convincing story of all, the story of who you think you are. And the more we try to get out of this story, the deeper we find ourselves in it because it is the function of the left brain to work on the law of opposition.

Try not to be anxious and that’s exactly what happens. Try not to worry and you will be flooded with anxious thoughts. And the same is true for self-improvement.

The more we try to improve our story, the more the story needs to be improved. The left brain excels at these games even when it plays by pretending not to play. If I said that all attempts at self-improvement are futile, how would you respond? Would you reflexively think I’m wrong? Is there any way not to play these games of the left brain? Which part of your brain do you think is asking this question?

While this work is based on the teachings of Alan Watts and Eckhart Tolle it integrates the findings of modern neuroscience which surprisingly reveals a similar message. It is the desire for enlightenment that is the biggest block to happiness and peace, in fact, it is the only block. It is not until one gives up the quest to find oneself, improve oneself or be more spiritual, that one can ever find the peace they are looking for. And it is not your ego that gives up this quest, it is you.

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Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective

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Immersed in Buddhist psychology prior to studying Western psychiatry, Dr. Mark Epstein first viewed Western therapeutic approaches through the lens of the East. This posed something of a challenge. Although both systems promise liberation through self-awareness, the central tenet of Buddha’s wisdom is the notion of no-self, while the central focus of Western psychotherapy is the self. This book, which includes writings from the past twenty-five years, wrestles with the complex relationship between Buddhism and psychotherapy and offers nuanced reflections on therapy, meditation, and psychological and spiritual development.

A best-selling author and popular speaker, Epstein has long been at the forefront of the effort to introduce Buddhist psychology to the West.  His unique background enables him to serve as a bridge between the two traditions, which he has found to be more compatible than at first thought.  Engaging with the teachings of the Buddha as well as those of Freud and Winnicott, he offers a compelling look at desire, anger, and insight and helps reinterpret the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and central concepts such as egolessness and emptiness in the psychoanalytic language of our time.

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Get Out Of Your Mind And Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

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This book offers a five-step plan for coping with painful emotions such as anxiety and depression. It teaches you how to learn life-enhancing behavior strategies that work to further the goals you value most. You’ll learn to engage with and overcome painful thoughts and feelings with step-by-step acceptance and mindfulness-based techniques. You’ll find out how to let go of control, and develop compassion and flexibility.

The realization that painful feelings cannot be controlled will open you to the possibility of fully emotional living. Once present, engaged, and aware, you can begin to build new lives for yourself filled with significance and meaning. This book is not about overcoming pain or fighting emotions; it’s about embracing life and feeling everything it has to offer. In this way, it offers a way out of suffering by choosing to life a life based on what matters most.

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