Book reviews


“A systematic, hands-on manual, The Mind Illuminated will be a great help to anyone who wants to completely fathom the process of meditative development in all its stages. Culadasa gives us the full conceptual framework together with complete instructions for putting it into play. In largely western language, with help from wonderful images and diagrams, this book brings the path of meditation to life.”

—Sharon Salzberg, New York Times bestselling author of Real Happiness and meditation teacher

“This comprehensive book takes me on a journey each time I pick it up… Culadasa reminds me of the art of meditation as the art of living consciously. He takes me through the science of the practice straight to the adventure of sitting, and offers context through sustainable, practical applications and tools. This book is full of wisdom, story, and creativity, and I’ll be glad to have it as a reference for many years to come.”

—Elena Brower, author of Art of Attention; yoga and meditation teacher

“This book is a rare and valuable treasure, providing a detailed, step-by-step account of how meditation practice progresses. Culadasa is the real deal, a living adept with decades of experience.”

—Shinzen Young, author of Break Through Pain and meditation teacher

“Culadasa has given us a clear, detailed, contemporary map of meditation, beautifully attuned to our householder lives. Through his mastery of both the science and art of conscious living, Culadasa imparts the practices and confidence we need to walk the path of liberation through all the stages to Awakening. I love his friendly, encouraging teaching!”

—Trudy Goodman, Ph.D., guiding teacher at InsightLA

“In a time where meditation and its twin sister, mindfulness, have become the fads du jour, Culadasa gives us the real deal in this encyclopedic handbook. If you ’re serious about meditation, The Mind Illuminated should be on your bookshelf.”

—Lama Marut, author of A Spiritual Renegade’s Guide to the Good Life and Be Nobody

“Essential reading for anyone interested in meditative development from any tradition. At once comprehensive and also very easy to read and follow in practice, this is the most thorough, straightforward, clear, and practical guide to training the mind that I have ever found. A remarkable achievement.”

—Daniel Ingram, M.D., author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha

“The Mind Illuminated is an extraordinary accomplishment. Culadasa has distilled his many years of meditative practice and teaching, his deep background in Theravada and Vajrayana traditions, and his extensive knowledge of cognitive science and neuroscience, to provide a unique and highly practical guidebook to meditation practice. The granular detail that Culadasa provides regarding various experiences along the path, and his practically grounded advice for dealing with obstacles and developing specific skills, are unique in the published literature on meditation. Regardless of the particular tradition in which one practices, or the amount of one’s practice experience, there is a cornucopia of wisdom and detailed guidance here that merits careful study and practice. This is a true jewel of a book that belongs on the desk or night table of every meditation practitioner.”

Sensei Al Genkai Kaszniak, Ph.D., guiding teacher at Upaya Zen Sangha of Tucson; Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Arizona

“With wisdom, clarity and grace, Culadasa has written an invaluable manual for awakening. I believe this book will become one of the “Top 10 Must Reads” for anyone on the spiritual path for years to come. Helpful for beginning meditators, and valuable for advanced meditators who are already committed to meditation but have not yet experienced the fruits of consistent practice”.

—Stephanie Nash, mindfulness coach and integrative counselor

“Writing with warmth and clarity, Culadasa brings a lifetime of investigation into Buddhism and neuroscience to his descriptions of the tasks and nuances of meditation. Though it is often encouraged, a meditation practice is not often explained. The Mind Illuminated provides comprehensive, step-by-step guidance about how to actually do it, how to handle the many hindrances that might stop us from practicing, and how the mind benefits when we do meditate regularly. A masterful and inspiring guide, Culadasa encourages us to savor the process that leads to becoming fully conscious.”

—Susan Suntree, author of Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California and editor of Wisdom of the East: Stories of Compassion Inspiration, and Love

“This book does an outstanding job of both constructing a cognitive theory of how the mind works and presenting a detailed handbook for learning and mastering meditation. The result is a beautiful integration of theory and practice, whose parallel strands lead to experientially, and account for conceptually, the radical shift in consciousness we call awakening.”

—Richard P. Boyle, author of Realizing Awakened Consciousness

“The Mind Illuminated provides among the greatest syntheses I’ve ever seen of concepts from across the spectrum of psychological research and theory. The book integrates knowledge from areas as diverse as cognition and neural systems, psychoanalytic notions of unconscious processes and catharsis, theories of William James, and third-wave strategies for emotion regulation. It also provides a valuable step-by-step instruction manual for mental training to focus attention, while developing self-insight and deep psychological healing. The secular nature of the instructions allows for bringing meditation into the therapy relationship with- out dogma and without the risk of either supporting or contradicting clients’ religious views.”

—Tucker Peck, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and recipient of the Varela Award from the Mind and Life Institute