Introducing Mindfulness: Buddhist Background and Practical Exercises
Buddhist meditator and scholar Bhikkhu Anālayo introduces the Buddhist background to mindfulness practice, from mindful eating to its formal cultivation as satipaṭṭhāna (the foundations of mindfulness). As well as providing an accessible guide, Anālayo gives a succinct historical survey of the development of mindfulness in Buddhism, and practical exercises on how to develop it.
The orally transmitted early teachings he examines provide a range of perspectives on mindfulness. Anālayo draws out a clear focus on the role of mindfulness in the path to ‘awakening; an understanding of reality as it is. He shows how mindfulness is a central tool for recognizing the influence of greed, anger and delusion, and how to emerge from these to progress on the path to liberation. Mindfulness fosters a gradual freeing of the mind from these influences and brings about a clear vision of reality, enabling us to be more fully in touch with what is taking place and remain in the present.
As well as being directed within, Anālayo demonstrates how mindfulness helps us discern how what we do impacts others. This naturally strengthens our compassion, helping us avoid harming others and ourselves. Mindfulness is something to be practised, and at the end of each chapter Anālayo provides instructions for developing mindfulness step by step, bringing it into our personal experience.