A clear, simple meditation method on practicing mindfulness for insight, which takes us to our goal of liberation, the end of all suffering.
Discarding any striving or ambition to attain something, the refined guidance that Mahasi Sayadaw provides in this book will lead practitioners to systematically and gradually purify their minds of attachment, aversion, and delusion and to realize the successive stages of enlightenment, culminating in the attainment of enlightenment (nibbana).
Mindfulness and Insight is an excerpt of two key chapters from the comprehensive, authoritative Manual of Insight, which expounds the doctrinal and practical aspects of mindfulness (satipatthana) and the development of insight knowledge (vipassana) up to and including nibbana. In Manual of Insight, Mahasi Sayadaw acknowledged that these two chapters alone offer suitable guidance on our own journey of awakening by realizing path knowledge, fruition knowledge, and nibbana, particularly for those with little or no knowledge of the Pali scriptures.
Part 1, “The Development of Mindfulness,” offers comprehensive instructions for developing mindfulness based on the Buddha’s teachings on the four foundations of mindfulness, as outlined in the highly regarded Discourse on Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta).
Part 2, “Practical Instructions,” provides guidance in both the practices preliminary to undertaking insight meditation and in developing insight knowledge, ranging from initial practices to advanced levels of practice.
About the Author
The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (1904–82), U Sobhana Mahathera, was one of the most eminent meditation masters of modern times and a leader in the contemporary resurgence of vipassana meditation. He is the author of numerous works on both meditation and the Buddhist scriptures in his native Burmese, and held Burma’s highest scholastic honor, the Agga Mahapandita (awarded 1952).
Thousands of people have been trained at his Thathana Yeiktha Meditation Centre in Yangon and many more have benefited from his clear-cut approach to meditation practice available through his voluminous writings and through the teachings abroad of his disciples, including Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Rodney Smith, and many others. More than a hundred branch centers of the Thathana Yeiktha Centre have been established in Burma and his method has spread widely to other countries, East and West.
“A wonderful and clear exposition of Mahasi-style practice—direct, liberating instructions from one of our greatest masters.” — —Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology
“This book, drawn from the core chapters of Mahasi Sayadaw's magisterial Manual of Insight, offers us the clearest, most direct, most practical instructions in English for the development of insight. Simple but profound, clear but not superficial, the instructions laid down here serve as a trustworthy roadmap for any serious practitioner who aspires for the goal of the Buddha's teaching.”
— —Bhikkhu Bodhi, Translator and Scholar
"Many mindfulness practitioners never encounter the classical renderings of the Buddhist teachings or the precise instructions that make insight meditation a path of liberation. This book on the Mahasi method of practice is a wonderfully clear and deep guide to what the Buddha called 'the sure heart's release.'"
— —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“In this book, the great meditation teacher Mahasi Sayadaw provides inspiring and brilliantly detailed instruction and guidance for practicing insight meditation. The Mahasi method is the invaluable foundation of my own mindfulness practice; I am confident this book will be useful for anyone dedicated to the path of insight.”
— —Gil Fronsdal, Insight Teacher at Insight Meditation Center
“In this valuable extract from the Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw, one of the great Burmese masters of the twentieth century, Sayadaw describes in detail both the theoretical development of mindfulness and the eminently practical, step-by-step instructions for its practice. Mindfulness and Insight is a treasure house of Dhamma.
— —Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
“This book is both a map and method for liberation. Mahasi Sayadaw exposes the depths of experiential reality, exploding perceived limitations on a meditator’s ability to observe mind and body. Clear and coherent, often poetic, this could be the most important book you’ll ever read.”
— —Kate Lila Wheeler, meditation teacher, coordinator of teacher training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center
“For those teaching introductory mindfulness meditation and feeling they've lost touch with the depth of insight meditation, this book is a valuable reminder of the power, promise, and potential of the Dhamma to liberate us from suffering. A sheer pleasure to read.”
— —Rev. Sumi Loundon Kim, Yale University, author of the Sitting Together Curriculum
“In 1976 I was in Rangoon receiving meditation instructions from the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. One of my great discoveries was that if you practiced vipassana the way the Sayadaw taught it, wisdom would naturally unfold. From his point of view, enlightenment was a possibility for everyone. To practice meditation with Mahasi Sayadaw’s faith was a profound experience.”
— —Jack Engler, PhD, has researched and written of the Mahasi method as an ethnopsychiatric tradition of therapeutic-developmental change
“Mahasi Sayadaw’s teachings are a treasure. They are presented here with authenticity and clarity from one of the greatest meditation masters of all time. When I look to the underpinnings of the current mindfulness movement in the United States and elsewhere, I see Mahasi Sayadaw’s influence. Mahasi Sayadaw taught a path to insight and freedom that was simple, clear, doable, and direct. I am so delighted these teachings, which so transformed my life, are now available to us all.”
— —Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and author of Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness and The Little Book of Being