• The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

  • By: Shinzen Young
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (380 ratings)

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The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

By: Shinzen Young
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
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Publisher's Summary

“Enlightenment” - is it a myth or is it real? In every spiritual tradition, inner explorers have discovered that the liberated state is in fact a natural experience, as real as the sensations you are having right now - and that through the investigation of your own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions you can awaken to clear insight and a happiness independent of conditions.  

For decades, one of the most engaging teachers of our time has illuminated the many dimensions of awakening - but solely at his live retreats and on audio recordings. Now, with The Science of Enlightenment, Shinzen Young brings to listeners an uncommonly lucid guide to mindfulness meditation for the first time: how it works and how to use it to enhance your cognitive capacities, your kindness and connection with the world, and the richness of all your experiences.  

As thousands of his students and listeners will confirm, Shinzen is like no other teacher you’ve ever encountered. He merges scientific clarity, a rare grasp of source-language teachings East and West, and a gift for sparking insight through unexpected analogies, illustrations, humor, and firsthand accounts that reveal the inner journey to be as wondrous as any geographical expedition. Join him here to explore:    

  • Universal insights spanning Buddhism, Christian and Jewish mysticism, shamanism, the yogas of India, and many other paths
  • How to begin and navigate your own meditation practice
  • Concentration, clarity, and equanimity - the core catalysts of awakening
  • Impermanence - its many aspects and how to work with them
  • Experiencing the “wave” and “particle” natures of self
  • Purification and clarification - how we digest mental blockages and habits through inner work
  • Emerging neuroscience research, the future of enlightenment, and much more 
©2016 Shinzen Young (P)2018 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.

What listeners say about The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works

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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book on meditation available

If you are new to meditation or a veteran, this is an ideal book and practice to start with. Shinzen Young is an excellent teacher. His skill and depth of experience are unparalleled. His knowledge of languages, science, technology, is the broadest I have experienced. Enjoy the book in print and audio.

7 people found this helpful

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Not A Scientist

This book fell far short of what I expected it to be. It is closer to a Biography than a scientific examination of meditation or enlightenment.

6 people found this helpful

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Best overview of enlightenment so far

I really enjoyed this book. So many "Wow!" moments.

If I were to sum up the single thing that really made the book stand out for me, it would be this:

So much of what is written about enlightenment feels to be about the "pre-conceptual" - taking away the contribution of conceptual thought towards our state / how we feel in any given moment. I get this - many of my most precious moments are remembered for the bliss of discovering the spirit in everything that you look at - tree, bird, sky, bush, work of art.... Getting to this point is often a switch that takes you into your appreciation of the thing just for how you sense it. For this reason, I've often assumed that full enlightenment would simply relate to being able to step fully into this "world without words". All of my encounters with the Magic of Everyday Life are consistent with this direction.

I've spent much of my life as a conceptual modeller (and sometimes quantitative modeller) of biological systems. So it's always seemed a little ironic that my pursuit of the spiritual feels like a complete negation of the way that I've invested the last forty professional years.

Shinzen's book has given me a jolt: I'm not just around the corner from living in a world of ongoing magic. I've only glimpsed that first step of the journey! His proposition is that the bliss of stepping towards / blissing out in the non-conceptual MUST be matched by equivalent effort in exploring one's inner world in a way that has analogy to developing a conceptual model of how it functions.

Before reading the book, I'd recommend going through the free course on the linked website: unifiedmindfulness.com.

But don't miss out on the book - it is a tour de force!

Absolutely five stars!

5 people found this helpful

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drugs enlighten you

very boring.. I suffered throughout this book.
you can't live in the past or future live in the now.

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Nothing new

I can't understand why it took you 10 years to write it. It is basically a resume of the classical Science of Enlightenment, and Shinzen's videos both in Shinzen's YT channel and in expandcontract, and interviews. Anyway, I enjoy remembering those subjects.

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A good first half, not so much from then on

This book starts out very good, but gets weird there after. Demons and Monsters, Power, mystical powers oh my.

3 people found this helpful

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Better for advanced meditators

This book has been unusual. I can safely say I didn't understand about 50% of it at least, and some chunks I found a bit lenghty and unnecessary. I think an advanced meditator would get a much better value out of it.
Yet, despite my not getting some ideas, this book does deliver many other ideas that are important and made me think.
Finally, it's very interesting and unusual to see a buddhist practitioner who claims that they are a materialist.

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Absolute must-read for any level Western meditator

IT'S FANTASTIC. All of Shinzen Young's scholarly rigor (PhD in Buddhist Studies) and deep source-language knowledge of sanskrit, ancient and modern 일본어, 한자, etc. are combined with his 40yr meditation teaching experience and recent forays into science to design meditation-neuroscience research collaborations to create an amazingly rich text in contextual breadth and specific exemplary stories from his teaching career. The story of Gino, the tough sea captain transcending past wrongdoing on through mindful attention to his dying process, was alone worth purchasing. The performance is a bit pretentious and melodramatic - so ridiculously departing from Shinzen's own style in tenor that the minor swoons and stank the reader puts on phrases are magnified to glaring noticeability. But still a 5 star review for the amazingly rich, practically helpful, and shockingly approachable insights offered in this text. I'll be recommending to all I know who have even a slight interest in meditation.

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brilliant but theoretical, pretentious narrator

super smart and interesting, but quite dry and abstract. narrator was agonizing for me. sounded like he's trying very hard to make his voice sound aristocratic

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Altered Traits has more science than this book

I should have taken the warning at the beginning seriously that this was no introductory book on meditation. I've been listening to several books on meditation prior to this. I've followed the advice of one reviewer and supplemented some Buddhist readings to prepare. But none of that prepared me to the word salad that spewed from my headphones. Unlike a lot of audiobooks where the narrator ruins the material, I thoroughly enjoyed this reader. He may be the reason why I stayed to near the end. But I simply couldn't wrap my head around some of the Chapters which ruined my enjoyment of the whole book. It reads like a quantum Physics textbook without the validity.

I think if the book was not titled "Science of Enlightenment" I would have received it better. I appreciate the application of physical science concepts to meditative concepts, but that does not excuse the lack of scientific rigor this book purports. Much of this book relies on the writers subjective experiences and a few stories from his students. Such a small sample size already spells trouble for drawing conclusions on enlightened thought. There is very little discussion on replicating these theories the author has on enlightenment which caused me to tune out. I dont care about the "90 degree turns into the realms of power". This book does not do enough to prove these theories as applicable to reality. If the book was called "Experiences of Enlightenment" I would be ok, but "science" I scoff at.


EDIT 1: Another reason why I doubt the validity of this book is the hypocrisy on precise language. The author invents a few terms that are similar but significantly different (to the author). YET one common comparison he messes up is the concentrated state of meditation is similar to the pump at the gym. Getting a pump at the gym is a physiological sensation hardly related to the mind. A pump is simply the feeling of tightness/swelling in the muscles as one exercises. While many lifters feel great euphoria when they feel a pump, the actual concentrated state a lifter may feel is more being "in the zone" or the actual flow state that the author misattributed. I understand the author may not be a lifter but for someone who emphasizes linguistic precision he did a poor job for some fields that aren't defined by himself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-11-19

If you are thinking of listening to this book - do

I'd never meditated in my life before I listened to this book (the fist time) and I'd never even heard of mindfulness. That is no longer the case. I'm now listening to it again. As a novice, for me, it was the perfect place to start... it gives you a deep and rounded understanding of the process and experience as you grow into it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Truth Seeker
  • 06-10-20

Excellent book! Highly insightful

The book is highly insightful and well presented, with clear, good narration.

The author deals with the subject of enlightment and meditation and helps the reader understand the various processes going on in human psyche as well as biochemistry that are responsible for the phenomenon of spirituality and enlightment.

It delves into the practice of meditation and mindfulness and explains its beneficial effects on our development as a species. It considers the option of making enlightment available through the use of modern day science and technology to everyone, which could change the world as we know it for the better.

The book is very interesting and presented from a unique perspective of science, demystifying the subject.

Highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to receive invaluable advice and guidence on their spiritual path to enlightment.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Andy lane
  • 05-24-21

A user manual for human consciousness.

This is an incredible book, could be life changing if applied. I wish this kind of knowledge and wisdom was taught in schools.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Davinderdev Grewal
  • 01-21-21

Great reference guide for deeper &ordered practice

Shinzen is a great teacher with a clear and concise way of describing difficult concepts (admittedly not meant for words) with examples to really help those contours build in our mind. A great book that helps provide an overview of se levels of advanced meditation and spiritual practices and bringing a sceintfic lense to this. Would recommend for those interested in how the mind works and also in developing their practice.

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  • Tom
  • 08-20-20

There's no science here.

I don't understand why the book is so highly rated as to be a 4.8 (as of 20/08). I've been searching for a while to try and find a book that explains the science behind meditation and hopefully spend a few chapters describing studies that have taken place and the results - eg: science.

Instead, the book starts off with what is essentially humble-bragging, followed by pseudo-science. There are a few gold nuggets in the book but overall I'm disappointed that the author has chosen to place "Science" in the title and then go on to say things like they've invented a "meditative experience periodic table", as if it can hold a candle to the real periodic table.

I would've rated a lot higher if the false advertisement of "science" wasn't given. Do not claim that your book is scientific and then proceed to talk about something which is experience-based rather than being measured through neuroscience or other methods -- it's deceiving.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-22

For those on the path…

This book is a special find for those on the path to enlightenment, I side stepped this book for a year or so, now I wish hadn’t.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Arthur
  • 06-18-22

My favourite book of all timr

Sublime on every aspect. Listening for the 7th time, no joke. Love it love it love it!

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  • Abdirahman Mahdi
  • 05-08-22

The Science of Enlightment

Eye Opening. The author clarified for me some of the reasons that may have kept me stuck and the many challenges “I” faced and misconceptions I had. Thank you
AM

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  • James B.
  • 11-18-20

Beyond excellent.

The most precise and elucidating explanation of the whole enlightenment shebang I've read to date. If you think you've heard it alllll before, do yourself a favour and let Shinzen's razor sharp insight tidy your perspective.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-17-20

This will bring you enlightenment

I cannot thank Shinzen enough for the change already brought to me. My chest beats pure again because of you. The reason as to why this book is not as popular as it should be is because you need a certain intelect and experience to know as to what is described. This book is by far the best book that can bring me enlightenment and I have already experienced deeper more meaningfull cleansing experiences than i have ever before. I cannot wait to pursue this books instructions further. please meditate when you listen to this book as jt will guide you through your sensations and experience of meditation to a better understanding. I want to thank this Man so much and the editor for their time and effort to bring out this work. A unifying clear guide on real purification and happiness inducing peaceful Equanimity

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  • joyful
  • 08-02-19

Excellent book

I'm a meditator of ten years and a meditation teacher the last three. I had plateaued with my personal practice and I came across shinzen’s book. His style of meditation is exactly what I needed to understand meditation at a deeper level and also on a more functional level. Great for a science-minded person like myself who struggles with the spiritual side of meditation.

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  • Robert
  • 04-23-22

Fantastic

Shinzen is one of the finest teachers I have discovered. I have found him extremely helpful in my own practice.