Beyond awareness in simple words
Author: Henepola Gunaratana
Twenty years after the publication of the Practice of awareness in simple words, dedicated to the path of awareness or insight (vipassana), Henepola Gunaratana outlines in this volume the parallel path of concentration or mental calm (shamatha). The two paths, which are actually intertwined and sustain each other, are not two separate systems, but a single set of tools that aim to free from suffering. The way of concentration allows the mind to observe itself, to examine its own functioning and to experience its joyful, bright and luminous nature through the jhanas. The worldly jhanas, divided into material and immaterial, and the supermundane jhanas are states of experience which lie beyond the ordinary cognitive and sensory world. Already in the first jhana there is a total break with ordinary thought and perception and the mind, no longer tied up by habitual reactions, is full of happiness, ecstasy, bliss, concentration. These progressive states of concentration, gradually more subtle, allow the meditator to overcome the impediments, chains and poisons that condition the mind and above all to penetrate clearly the 'three distinctive signs' of existence: anicca (impermanence), dukkha ( suffering) and anatta (selflessness), ultimately achieving liberation.