The Mind Illuminated

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain

by Digitalknowledge in on February 21, 2022

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The Mind Illuminated is a groundbreaking, science-based approach to meditation from a neuroscientist turned meditation master. It is an accessible, step-by-step toolkit for anyone interested in beginning—or improving—their daily meditation practice.

The Mind Illuminated is the first how-to meditation guide written by a neuroscientist who is also an acclaimed meditation master. According to bestselling meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg, the book “brings the path of meditation to life.” This ground-breaking book presents a ten-step program that is rooted in ancient spiritual teachings about mindfulness and holistic health but also incorporates cutting-edge brain science to provide a roadmap for anyone interested in achieving the benefits of mindfulness. Dr. John Yates presents a novel and fascinating model of how the mind works, complete with techniques for overcoming mind wandering and dullness, extending your attention span while meditating, and subduing subtle distractions.

This ground-breaking manual includes illustrations and charts to guide you through each stage of the process, as well as tools applicable to all forms of meditation. The Mind Illuminated is a must-read for anyone seeking to establish a practice or for seasoned practitioners seeking to master the deepest state of peace and mindfulness.


The meditation landscape in the West is a vibrant but confusing place.

Tibetan practices emphasize elaborate visualizations or sophisticated analytical meditations, whereas Zen strips meditation down to the bare bones, giving you minimal instructions like “just sit.” Some Theravada teachers emphasize rigorously cultivating mindfulness to the exclusion of stable, focused attention, while others insist that intense concentration leading to deep meditative absorption7 is best. Rather than argue for any specific technique, this book will help you make sense of all these different approaches without having to reject any of them. But to do this, I first need to clarify an important set of terms commonly found in meditation literature, showing how they relate to each other and to the
goal of Awakening8. These terms are: śamatha9 (tranquility or calm
abiding), vipassanā10 (Insight), samādhi (concentration or stable
attention), and sati (mindfulness).

Awakening from our habitual way of perceiving things requires a
profound shift in our intuitive understanding of the nature of reality.

Awakening is a cognitive event, the culminating Insight in a series of very special Insights called vipassana. This climax of the progress of Insight only occurs when the mind is in a unique mental state called śamatha.11

Śamatha and vipassana are both generated using stable attention
(samādhi) and mindfulness (sati). Although it’s possible to cultivate
either śamatha or vipassanā independently of one another, both are
necessary for Awakening


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  • Released

    February 21, 2022

  • Last Updated

    February 21, 2022

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