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Publisher's Summary

Stages of Meditation is a commentary by the Dalai Lama on a rare text by ninth-century Indian Buddhist scholar Kamalashila. It is a favorite of the Dalai Lama's and he often teaches from this text because "on the basis of this knowledge you will be able to understand other treatises without great difficulty. This text can be like a key that opens the door to all other major Buddhist scriptures."

Throughout the program, the Dalai Lama emphasizes the importance of the logical analysis of scriptures, even those in the Buddha's own words. Some teachings, he stresses, "should not be taken literally, but need interpretation." And interpretation is what the Dalai Lama presents in this clear and enjoyable commentary. Included are such familiar Buddhist themes as training the mind, compassion, the nature of suffering, and the practice of calm abiding. Those who practice meditation, whether Buddhist or not, will find this a thoughtful and practical guide, written with the Dalai Lama's characteristic warmth and gentleness.

©2001 His Holiness the Dalai Lama (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

Critic Reviews

"Those who practice meditation, whether Buddhist or not, will find this a thoughtful and practical guide." (Amazon.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Bryan
  • Arlington, TX, USA
  • 03-27-03

Good material but poor editing

In the course of my study of Tibetan Buddhism, I have read and listened to many books by the Dalai Lama. Most of them are very good but this one is average. The commentary is helpful and interesting, and the subject is intellectually challenging but the editing is poor. Several times during the recording, the reader repeats words or sentences seemingly by accident. I do not expect that this repetition was in the original text, it simply would not make sense. I also found the reader's delivery to be a bit too monotonous. Granted, many audio books on Buddhism are read this way but this reader was an extreme example. Overall, I thought the book was helpful in my practice but it is not exemplary.

As a side note, I would definitely not recommend this book to a beginner. The subject is somewhat advanced and would not benefit a reader that lacks a decent understanding of Tibetan Buddhism.

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent.

Where does Stages of Meditation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top three.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator, his tone and voice were very easy to understand.

Have you listened to any of Ken McLeod’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, this book made me search.

Any additional comments?

I'd like to share this quote from the book, "...there is no identity separate from the mind that perceives it."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott
  • Santa Clara, CA, United States
  • 10-11-12

Wonderful. Very insightful, and very well read.

I have listened to this book four times, and will undoubtedly re-visit it again. A truly valuable and wonderful guide.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stages of Meditation

The best technical descriptions available about how to grasp realitys' clarity and emptiness. Thank You Very Much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

precious practical buddhist advice

I loved this audio book as it gives practical guidance to realising enlightenment. It builds upon the Dalai Lama's book 'Becoming Enlightened' and is clearly, if at times monotonously, narrated. To be fair the narration was only at times monotonous by comparison to the previous audibook by the Dalai Lama that I listened to which was excellently narrated by Martin Sheen. I highly recommended this audiobook for deepening one's Buddhist practice; it is not for the beginner.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Raj
  • Torrance, CA, USA
  • 11-08-04

Learn to Meditate.

If you don't know anything about meditation, then this book will get you started. There are some contradictions in this book depending on your thinking process but it's really easy to follow.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Svein Olav Nyberg
  • 09-02-18

What I learned

This was a concise summary of important teachings.

The first thing I noticed, was that it suffices to have one core practice (and if I got the gist right, you should stick to just one core, the rest are means), and that the best core of your practice is COMPASSION. Let that be your sole focus, and all the rest will spring from it.

The second thing I noticed through-out, was the insistence on a balance between "open abiding" or one-pointedness meditation AND "skilful means" / wisdom / "special insight" on the other. The Dalai Lama gave an example of a very skilled meditation master who nevertheless had problems with anger because his practice was one-sided: he had excellent concentration skills, but had not worked through his (emotional) hindrances, and so the truth was obscured to him and he could not see. But the other imbalance would not take you all the way, either. You would see, but your inner eye would be unfocused.

The insights are gained through observation and inference, and (a bit surprising to me) the non-self is found more through this inferential analysis than through meditation itself. A fact to be filed for later analysis again.

The Dalai Lama insisted at the beginning on proper study technique, on taking notes. The best notes, in my experience, are the short summaries. So these are my study notes.