A Zen Master's Method of Meditation, Concentration, and Relaxation

DV Weekend Pickup #48

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

This book serves as the perfect starting point for mindfulness beginners.  It is important to note that mindfulness is more than meditation.  Mindfulness is the ability to be acutely aware at all times, not just simply during practice.  TNH is a poet and Zen master who describes the epitome of mindfulness as...

"When walking, the practitioner must be conscious that he is walking."

...when washing dishes, wash dishes and when eating a tangerine, eat the tangerine.  If the idea seems simple, great, it's suppose to be.  The essential discipline of mindfulness is merely to be present in all that we do, every time we do it.

The book is a compilation of letters by TNH (from exile in Paris) to staff members at the School of Youth for Social Service in 1974 Vietnam.  The school he originally founded in 1960 to inspire engaged Buddhism in distraught Vietnam.  Imagine writing to your long lost friends and colleagues, this is how the book feels.

"Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality."

His stories share valuable anecdotes, practical exercises, and teachings to give you an introduction into mindfulness.  He goes on to describe the FIVE aggregates  - bodily formations, feelings, perceptions, mental functions, and consciousness - the latter (consciousness) serving as the basis of existence for the others.  The mental and physical health benefits of meditation are getting harder to ignore so it's an impactful read if you're looking to start your mindfulness journey.

Crush the day!