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Publisher's Summary

Demystify mysticism and learn techniques to move yourself beyond emotional and intellectual blocks into a realm of clear insight and inner peace. In this complete curriculum for self-investigation Shinzen Young - one of America's foremost meditation teachers - covers traditional teachings, scientific insights, and practical instruction to show you exactly how enlightenment works, and how to begin your own journey to inner liberation. Topics include concentration, awareness, and merging techniques to explore the self and the world around you, how spiritual practices work in Buddhism, Christianity, Jewish mysticism, Sufism, Hinduism, shamanism, and many other mystical traditions, as well as 6 complete guided meditation sessions and a host of insights on how to choose and establish your own meditation practice.
(P)16 9; 199 7

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  • Emese
  • Wahiawa, HI, USA
  • 09-30-03

Great Book

This book is packed full with valuable information on every aspects of spiritual liberation. For me, the "Science of Enlightenment" painted a clear picture about spirituality and reaching liberation. This book is basically a series of recorded lectures given by Shinzen Young, which made it as if the author were talking just to me, making up the answers to my personal questions. His style is very down to earth, funny, straight, and to the point. Listening to this book, I realized how much I did not know about what the concepts and terminology in the field of spirituality and enlightenment really meant (even after reading many books on the subject, as well as meditating, and practicing yoga for a number of years.)In "The Science of Enlightenment" Shinzen Young talks candidly about theroretical and practical aspects of meditation, different schools of thought and many apporoaches to traveling the path, as well as recommendations for personal practice to fit any lifestyle. The book also contains some guided mindfulness meditations, and guidance to everyone interested in enlightenment, regardless of their levels of experience. Even though the book is very long, it is well worth listening to (even repeatedly) because it is deep, useful, and relevant to all of our experiences. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

85 of 86 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • 09-03-06

Found in translation

For a long time I had been interested in learning more about meditation - but from my limited experience considered it too difficult. I had no understanding of how or why something like meditation could work. The one book I had tried wasn't very practical and the mystical presentation always put me off. The I got this audible on a whim because it was on discount at the time. After finally listening to it on a long car ride, I have been meditating ever since and it has become an important component of my life. Furthermore, I have told others and most everyone that has gone on to listen to it has come back with glowing reviews - this includes a retired psychoanalyst who has read/listened to tons of meditation/spiritual books who told me that this was the clearest presentation of the subject matter that he had heard. The interest has to come from inside though - a few people didn't have the patience to get through it.

What makes Shinzen's approach so helpful to me was that he described vipassana meditation as a form of "internal science". That is, he explains the process of meditation in a structure that a western scientific thinker can understand. In essence, he demystified the mysticism and enabled me to place meditation practice within my already existing framework of knowledge about the operation of the human brain. I could now see what a meditation session might do in terms of effecting actual neurophysiological changes and how that might lead to the overall benefits that are attributed to meditation.

It also offers 6 or so meditations - all about 40 minutes long. 40 minutes is long for a beginner, but I found that he explained everything sufficiently to allow me to go from someone who couldn't meditate more than 2 minutes to someone who lasted all 40.

So, if you are like me, wanting to get into meditation but need to know the how and why, the Science of Enlightenment is a very good place to start.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Esen
  • houston, TX, USA
  • 01-03-08

my experience

I found layers and layers of insights in these recordings. I took what I could, and let the rest open to me = make sense to me as I went through life.
I also found "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert to complement this material.
The two together gave me guidelines on how to observe the formation and movement of my thoughts and feelings, moment by moment. I listened to these two in late 2006. Today, 01/08, I find that I am more humble, more clear headed and more focused. The majority of my interactions with people are pleasant, but of course, even Jesus did not please everybody =O.
These are not the results of listening to these books. These are the enduring results of maintaining the attitude (of vigilant observation and self-achieved submission to the impersonal, dymamic nature of existence=life=holy spirit=the source=allah=...) by applying the recommended techniques in everyday life. I find that I have more control over my actions, perform better under duress, and I am less desperate at trying circumstances. This recording was the beginning of a spiritual backpacking trip for me.
I want to say, not everything has been perfect. But perfection is hardly the point (See Karen Armstrong - The Great Transformation).

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I hesitated to get this at first. Mainly because I'd never heard of the author, Shinzen Young. But I was sufficiently intrigued by the title; the attainment of enlightenment being a lifelong quest, or at least interest, of mine. Several months ago, after listening to the audible sample, I decided to buy it. I'm so glad I did! Science of Enlightenment is an extraordinary, and life altering work.

I listened to Science of Enlightenment twice. Both times, I was delighted by the uplifted feeling I received while listening to it. I've come to understand through this audio book, that seasoned meditators are always in a state of meditation to varying degrees. It seems that the crystalline clarity and sheer power of Science of Enlightenment stems from the fact that the author is in a state of lucid meditation while speaking. Perhaps accounting for the inspired, positive energy I get from listening to it.

From searching on the internet, I discovered that Science of Enlightenment, and many other lectures by Shinzen Young, have never been put into a book form. In fact, the only book I was able to find is a new one on overcoming pain. So the probability of Shinzen Young doing aggressive, national book signing tours, at this point at least, seems unlikely. This non commercial approach makes his work all the more appealing and real.

I've read many books on the topic of meditation and enlightenment, and even practiced at a couple of Zendos in New York. Although these experiences were excellent, I still hadn't been able to get on a regular meditation schedule. Listening to Science of Enlightenment, gave me a deep understanding of meditation, enlightenment, religion and related topics. As a result, I've finally been meditating, which has profoundly impacted my life. I look forward to the extraordinary long term effects, which Young describes, after a few years of meditating.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tulio
  • BrasiliaBrazil
  • 09-03-07


I have listened twice this book and plan to hear it again. That's the first time it happens with me after a few years as an Audible subscriber. The book is so profound and intriguing to our western mentality that it worth the effort. Event if you are not prepared to initiate the path of enlightenment (I am not sure I am...), at least you will have a better and clear understanding of what it represents. I have a very critical mind but loved the way Shinzen addresses the topics, although so difficult they are to be understood. Very insightful as well is the chapters "On the broad picture", in the second part of the audio. My first reaction to the title was skeptical, because it refers to "Science", which I have never related to spirituality. But Shinzen addresses the path of enlightenment in a so objective and straight forward way, without mixing it with religion, that now I understand the title and find it appropriate. This is the kind of book that will open your mind, and therefore don't expect it to be an easy book. Give it a try with patience and equanimity. This may change your life.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Kerri
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
  • 02-01-06


This is hands down the best reference for meditation. It gives Eastern concepts in clear Western conceptual ways along with the science behind it that Americans will find necessary. Not only is this a "how to" guide to meditation, but he has answered in advance almost any and all questions that you will have along the path including, "why are we doing this?", "where are we going?", "what will happen along the way?", "what pitfalls can I expect and what do I do about them?". He even explains Zen in an understandable way.
WAY better than my expectations. If you get only ONE guide to meditation- get this one. He DOES speak slowly, but if this bothers you, then download it to your IPod and you can speed it up. I USUALLY do that with my audiobooks, but this one is so packed with great information that I didn't want to miss anything that was said.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A Bit Dry..

I really wanted to love this book, and the first couple of hours went well - but ultimately I found it too esotheric for me and I put it aside - perhaps I'm just not ready for it yet. If like me, you're just beginning to look into the Buddhist path, I'd recommend you start with something more user friendly - something by Jack Kornfield or Thich Naht Hanh.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great for the intellect

This is a great guide for someone who wants to know the scientific background of awakening. Lots of details and well-thought out explanations. It's get ready! The guided meditations are helpful, but his voice can be slightly annoying (only for the meditations part...the teachings are great).

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Shelley
  • new york, NY, USA
  • 08-01-04

True teacher brings great knowledge to his readers

I would like to thank Shinzen Young for shedding so much light on the great science of enlightenment. He has dedicated his life to monastic living in the East and channels great wisdom with precision and clarity; he is a great sage. The value of this abundant audio book is 1000 times what I paid for it, at least. I listened once and will gladly listen several times more. Crystal clarity comes through the sweet sound of his voice, in addition to the expansive knowledge he expertly shares.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Incredible overview of enlightenment!

I've listened to hundreds of audio books, and read many thousands of printed books in my life. Many of these books have been spiritual in nature. This book provides one of the most coherent, moving overviews of meditation and enlightenment that I've come across. Whether you're just beginning on a spiritual path or have been living in a cave for 10 years, meditating for hours a day; you will find something useful and inspiring in this book. Well worth every penny!

25 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • 04-19-06

Science and spirituality merge in this book

I would like to congratulate the author of this fascinating book on spirituality, and how he blends this with science. This has to be a read for anyone interested in getting a deeper insight into the nature of matter, consciousness and the source of all things. The book explains complex terms such as impermanence in a simple yet profound way. This is without doubt a book with the potential to transform the way we perceive our selves and the world we live in.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Adisha
  • 06-09-12

Awesome blend of Buddhism and Science!

Shinzen Young presents a comprehensive survey of the different flavours of Buddhism and blends his knowledge of scientific matters in a very persuasive and pallatable way. His analogies are very good and help understand a potentially complex subject. I particularly liked his space and time descritpions using the analogy of microscope and oscilloscope, something every scienctist and student of science can relate to on a practical level. A very high quality and rewarding audio book indeed. What's more, it's never been done before with such expertise and unlikely to be matched.

Note to general listener: there are many blank segments as part of the meditation exercises - these are intentional!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • dordje
  • 12-01-16

Just the best thing since forever

I could not stop listening to this. Highly intellectual but at the same time Shinzen puts enough of his own person into the telling that makes this very interesting and highly challenging. Certainly worth a second listen in due course!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara
  • 04-08-13

A really beautiful introduction to mindfulness

I really enjoyed this book, the only problem being it ended. I enjoyed the timber of the voice, the joy and humour of the speaker as difficult concepts were explored in simple terms. Thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mic
  • 11-02-17


Mystical wisdom for westerners without the new age cul-de-sac's. Although somewhat Pythagorean by its speculative end. A unique resource.

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  • M. N. Toner
  • 09-13-13

Awesome book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, absolutely

What did you like best about this story?

Shinzen uses lots of 'stories' to illustrate the teaching - but it's not a work of fiction

What about Shinzen Young’s performance did you like?

Liked his style

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not at 8 hours plus!

Any additional comments?

Great audiobook. I don't claim to understand it but found myself listening again and again.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony John
  • 01-17-17

captivating, motivating

Shenzhen is a wonderful teacher, story teller and visionary leader in contemporary spirituality, absolutely loved it

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-16-18

I highly recommend this!

Shinzen Young is a pragmatic and engaging speaker who is able to articulate complex experiences in a comprehensive and relaxed way.

Shinzen is extremely experienced in both Western Science and Eastern Practice (meditation), and integrates the two extraordinarily.

Shinzen holds a very open dialogue and will never say a particular method is the only way, or tell the listener what to think. Instead he validates and discusses nearly all paths, uncovering potentially deeper meanings.

I found this book extremely enlightening and insightful.