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THE PATH OF SERENITY AND INSIGHT
THE PATH OF SERENITY AND INSIGHT
Description
About the Book:

In the oldest scriptures of Theravada Buddhism much attention is given to the Jhanas, high levels of meditative attainment distinguished by powerful concentration and purity of mind. Ven. Dr. Gunaratana examines these jhanas within the context of Buddhist teaching as a whole and particularly within the meditation disciplines taught by the Buddha. Beginning with the ethical foundation for meditation, the role of the teacher, the classical subjects of meditation, and the appropriateness of these subjects to individual practitioners, the author traces the practice of meditation to the higher reaches of realization. The eight stages of jhana are individually analyzed and explained in terms of their relation to one another and to the ultimate goal of the teaching.

The author makes the critical distinction between the mundane jhanas and supermundane jhanas, pointing out that the lower four, while leading to various mental powers and psychic attainments, are not necessary to full enlightenment and may be developed or bypassed as the meditator wishes. The author goes on to explain the place of the Jhanas among the accomplishments of the arahat and to elucidate their usefulness for the dedicated meditator.

About the Author:

VENERABLE HENEPOLA GUNARATANA served as Hon. General Secretary of the Buddhist Vihara Society of Washington, DC. and later became President of the Society. He has taught courses in Buddhism, conducted meditation retreats, and lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada and pursued his scholarly interests as well. His books and articles have been published in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka and the U.S.A.

In 1973 Venerable Gunaratana occupied the position of Buddhist Chaplain at the American University. His basic aim was to diffuse Buddhist teachings throughout North America.

Experts from Reviews:

... This is a work which combine sound scholarship with considerable practical experience.

... The author's approach successfully combines a time-honoured methodology with a clear and businesslike form of exposition well adapted to the present times. The interested modern reader finds here a systematic, thorough introduction to the whole field of Buddhist mental culture and the progress of insight structured in the traditional way to take account of the three main divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path - morality, concentration and wisdom.
Buddhist Studies Review
5.1 (1988)

Amadeo Sole-Leris

... The quality of the author's exposition is doubled as he consults the Burmese Buddha Sasana Samiti editions and Sinhalese and Devanagari editions of the commentaries and sub-commentaries besides, without solely relying on the PTS edition.
Vol. 7 Nos. 7-9.
September 1987

Review Projector (India)

... For a long time in my experience new-comers to Buddhism have been confused about the position of the jhanas (absorptions) in Buddhist meditation practice. This is the first book... which deals clearly and exhaustively with the subject.
Middle Way

Philip M. Eden

... (The) book will help to elucidate the nature of the experience to a large number of earnest people who are endeavouring to find lasting peace of mind through the use of Buddhist meditation practice. The path of Serenity and Insight is one through which a meditator may attain the various levels of Jhanas.

... (It) is highly recommended to those who are interested in proper meditation techniques for their mental development, tranquillity and purity.
Vol. 22, No. 2, December 1985.

Voice of Buddhism

CONTENTS

PREFACE
Chapter

  1. INTRODUCTION
      The Doctrinal Context of Jhana
      The Importance of Jhana
      Etymology of Jhana
      Jhana and Samadhi
      Jhana and the Constituents of Enlightenment

  2. THE PRELIMINARIES TO PRACTICE
      The Moral Foundation for Jhana Cutting off Impediments Approaching the Good Friend The Subjects of Serenity-meditation Choosing a Suitable Dwelling

  3. THE CONQUEST OF THE HINDRANCES
      The Five Hindrances
      Seclusion from the Hindrances Kinds of Seclusion
      The Causal Arising of the Hindrances
      The Elimination of the Hindrances
      The Way of the Gradual Training
      The Way of Mindfulness
      The Eradication of the Hindrances
      The Benefits of Abandoning the Hindrances

  4. THE FIRST JHANA AND ITS FACTORS
      Vitakka
      Unwholesome Applied Thought
      Wholesome Applied Thought
      Ordinary Wholesome Thought
      Wholesome Applied Thought in Jhana
      Wholesome Applied Thought in the Noble Path
      Vicara
      Piti
      Sukha
      Ekaggata
      An Overview of the First Jhana
      The Jhana Thought-Process
      Perfecting the First Jhana

  5. THE HIGHER JHANAS
      The Second Jhana
        The Attainment of the Second Jhana
        Internal Confidence
        Unification of Mind
        Concentration
        Rapture and Happiness
        General Remarks on the Second Jhana
      The Third Jhana
        The Attainment of the Third Jhana
        Equanimity
        Mindfulness and Discernment
        Happiness
        One-pointedness
      The Fourth Jhana
        The Attainment of the Jhana
        The Four Conditions
          [1] Pleasure
          [2] Pain
          [3] Joy
          [4] Grief
        New Elements in the Jhana
      The Fivefold Scheme of the Jhana
      Concluding Remarks

  6. BEYOND THE FOUR JHANAS
      The Four Immateial Jhanas
      The First Aruppa: The Base of Boundless Space
        With the Complete Surmounting of Perceptions of Matter
        With the Disappearance of Perceptions of Resistance
        With Non-attention to Perceptions of Variety
        Unbounded Space
      The Second Aruppa: The Base of Boundless Consciousness
      The Third Aruppa: The Base of Nothingness
      The Fourth Aruppa: The Base of Neither Perception Nor Non-Perception
      General Remarks on the Aruppas
      The Modes of Direct Knowledge
      The Prerequisites for Direct Knowledge
      The Six Abinnas
        Knowledge of the modes of super-normal power
      The Three Wonders
      The Second Abhinna: the divine ear-element
      The Third Abhinna: the knowledge of others minds
      The Fourth Abhinna: the knowledge of recollecting previous lives
      The Fifth Abhinna: the divine eye - the Knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings
      The Sixth Abhinna: the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers
        Other kinds of Supernormal knowledge
      The Jhana and Rebirth.

  7. THE WAY OF WISDOM
      The Nature of Wisdom
      The Two Vehicles
      The Functions of Jhana
      The Seven Purifications
        Purification of Morality
        Purification of Mind
        Purification of View
        Purification of Overcoming Doubt
        Purification of Knowledge and Vision into the Right and Wrong Paths
        Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way
          Knowledge of contemplation of rise and fall
          Knowledge of contemplation of dissolution
          Knowledge of appearance as terror
          Knowledge of contemplation of danger
          Knowledge of contemplation of dispassion
          Knowledge of desire for deliverance
          Knowledge of contemplation of reflection
          Knowledge of equanimity about formations
          Conformity knowledge
          Purification by Knowledge and Vision
          Change-of-lineage
          The first path and fruit
          The second Path and fruit
          The third path and fruit
          The fourth path and fruit

  8. JHANA AND THE NOBLE ATTAINMENTS
      Supramundane Jhana
      The Jhanic Level of the Path and Fruit
      Two Attainments of the Noble Ones
        The Attainment of Fruition
        The Attainment of Cessation
      The Seven Types of Noble Persons
      Jhana and the Arahat

CONCLUSION
APPENDIX
  1. The Thirty Seven Constituents of Enlightenment
  2. Forty Subjects of Meditation
  3. The Eight Attainments
  4. Kamma and Rebirth
GLOSSARY
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX:

  1. English
  2. Pali

THE PATH OF SERENITY AND INSIGHT

Item Code:
IDC261
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2002
Publisher:
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd
ISBN:
81-208-0871-1
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 X 5.5"
Pages:
277
Price:
$24.00
Discounted:
$19.20   Shipping Free
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About the Book:

In the oldest scriptures of Theravada Buddhism much attention is given to the Jhanas, high levels of meditative attainment distinguished by powerful concentration and purity of mind. Ven. Dr. Gunaratana examines these jhanas within the context of Buddhist teaching as a whole and particularly within the meditation disciplines taught by the Buddha. Beginning with the ethical foundation for meditation, the role of the teacher, the classical subjects of meditation, and the appropriateness of these subjects to individual practitioners, the author traces the practice of meditation to the higher reaches of realization. The eight stages of jhana are individually analyzed and explained in terms of their relation to one another and to the ultimate goal of the teaching.

The author makes the critical distinction between the mundane jhanas and supermundane jhanas, pointing out that the lower four, while leading to various mental powers and psychic attainments, are not necessary to full enlightenment and may be developed or bypassed as the meditator wishes. The author goes on to explain the place of the Jhanas among the accomplishments of the arahat and to elucidate their usefulness for the dedicated meditator.

About the Author:

VENERABLE HENEPOLA GUNARATANA served as Hon. General Secretary of the Buddhist Vihara Society of Washington, DC. and later became President of the Society. He has taught courses in Buddhism, conducted meditation retreats, and lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada and pursued his scholarly interests as well. His books and articles have been published in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka and the U.S.A.

In 1973 Venerable Gunaratana occupied the position of Buddhist Chaplain at the American University. His basic aim was to diffuse Buddhist teachings throughout North America.

Experts from Reviews:

... This is a work which combine sound scholarship with considerable practical experience.

... The author's approach successfully combines a time-honoured methodology with a clear and businesslike form of exposition well adapted to the present times. The interested modern reader finds here a systematic, thorough introduction to the whole field of Buddhist mental culture and the progress of insight structured in the traditional way to take account of the three main divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path - morality, concentration and wisdom.
Buddhist Studies Review
5.1 (1988)

Amadeo Sole-Leris

... The quality of the author's exposition is doubled as he consults the Burmese Buddha Sasana Samiti editions and Sinhalese and Devanagari editions of the commentaries and sub-commentaries besides, without solely relying on the PTS edition.
Vol. 7 Nos. 7-9.
September 1987

Review Projector (India)

... For a long time in my experience new-comers to Buddhism have been confused about the position of the jhanas (absorptions) in Buddhist meditation practice. This is the first book... which deals clearly and exhaustively with the subject.
Middle Way

Philip M. Eden

... (The) book will help to elucidate the nature of the experience to a large number of earnest people who are endeavouring to find lasting peace of mind through the use of Buddhist meditation practice. The path of Serenity and Insight is one through which a meditator may attain the various levels of Jhanas.

... (It) is highly recommended to those who are interested in proper meditation techniques for their mental development, tranquillity and purity.
Vol. 22, No. 2, December 1985.

Voice of Buddhism

CONTENTS

PREFACE
Chapter

  1. INTRODUCTION
      The Doctrinal Context of Jhana
      The Importance of Jhana
      Etymology of Jhana
      Jhana and Samadhi
      Jhana and the Constituents of Enlightenment

  2. THE PRELIMINARIES TO PRACTICE
      The Moral Foundation for Jhana Cutting off Impediments Approaching the Good Friend The Subjects of Serenity-meditation Choosing a Suitable Dwelling

  3. THE CONQUEST OF THE HINDRANCES
      The Five Hindrances
      Seclusion from the Hindrances Kinds of Seclusion
      The Causal Arising of the Hindrances
      The Elimination of the Hindrances
      The Way of the Gradual Training
      The Way of Mindfulness
      The Eradication of the Hindrances
      The Benefits of Abandoning the Hindrances

  4. THE FIRST JHANA AND ITS FACTORS
      Vitakka
      Unwholesome Applied Thought
      Wholesome Applied Thought
      Ordinary Wholesome Thought
      Wholesome Applied Thought in Jhana
      Wholesome Applied Thought in the Noble Path
      Vicara
      Piti
      Sukha
      Ekaggata
      An Overview of the First Jhana
      The Jhana Thought-Process
      Perfecting the First Jhana

  5. THE HIGHER JHANAS
      The Second Jhana
        The Attainment of the Second Jhana
        Internal Confidence
        Unification of Mind
        Concentration
        Rapture and Happiness
        General Remarks on the Second Jhana
      The Third Jhana
        The Attainment of the Third Jhana
        Equanimity
        Mindfulness and Discernment
        Happiness
        One-pointedness
      The Fourth Jhana
        The Attainment of the Jhana
        The Four Conditions
          [1] Pleasure
          [2] Pain
          [3] Joy
          [4] Grief
        New Elements in the Jhana
      The Fivefold Scheme of the Jhana
      Concluding Remarks

  6. BEYOND THE FOUR JHANAS
      The Four Immateial Jhanas
      The First Aruppa: The Base of Boundless Space
        With the Complete Surmounting of Perceptions of Matter
        With the Disappearance of Perceptions of Resistance
        With Non-attention to Perceptions of Variety
        Unbounded Space
      The Second Aruppa: The Base of Boundless Consciousness
      The Third Aruppa: The Base of Nothingness
      The Fourth Aruppa: The Base of Neither Perception Nor Non-Perception
      General Remarks on the Aruppas
      The Modes of Direct Knowledge
      The Prerequisites for Direct Knowledge
      The Six Abinnas
        Knowledge of the modes of super-normal power
      The Three Wonders
      The Second Abhinna: the divine ear-element
      The Third Abhinna: the knowledge of others minds
      The Fourth Abhinna: the knowledge of recollecting previous lives
      The Fifth Abhinna: the divine eye - the Knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings
      The Sixth Abhinna: the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers
        Other kinds of Supernormal knowledge
      The Jhana and Rebirth.

  7. THE WAY OF WISDOM
      The Nature of Wisdom
      The Two Vehicles
      The Functions of Jhana
      The Seven Purifications
        Purification of Morality
        Purification of Mind
        Purification of View
        Purification of Overcoming Doubt
        Purification of Knowledge and Vision into the Right and Wrong Paths
        Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way
          Knowledge of contemplation of rise and fall
          Knowledge of contemplation of dissolution
          Knowledge of appearance as terror
          Knowledge of contemplation of danger
          Knowledge of contemplation of dispassion
          Knowledge of desire for deliverance
          Knowledge of contemplation of reflection
          Knowledge of equanimity about formations
          Conformity knowledge
          Purification by Knowledge and Vision
          Change-of-lineage
          The first path and fruit
          The second Path and fruit
          The third path and fruit
          The fourth path and fruit

  8. JHANA AND THE NOBLE ATTAINMENTS
      Supramundane Jhana
      The Jhanic Level of the Path and Fruit
      Two Attainments of the Noble Ones
        The Attainment of Fruition
        The Attainment of Cessation
      The Seven Types of Noble Persons
      Jhana and the Arahat

CONCLUSION
APPENDIX
  1. The Thirty Seven Constituents of Enlightenment
  2. Forty Subjects of Meditation
  3. The Eight Attainments
  4. Kamma and Rebirth
GLOSSARY
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX:

  1. English
  2. Pali
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