Beginning with a general description of similarities and differences between the Upanisadic-Yogic and early Buddhist viewpoints, the author goes on to analyze Gotama`s rejection-acceptance-modification of the Upanisadic-Yogic method of striving for moksa (salvation) in his search for Buddhahood (enlightenment), as related in the Pali Canon.
A second major section analyzes the meditational method of Buddhaghosa, showing the interaction between Upanisadic-Yogic jhanas (modes of concentration) and Buddhist vipassana (insight meditation). Attention is given to the highest attainable state, nirodha-samapatti (cessation of thought and perception), held by Theravada Buddhism to be an actual experience of Nibbana (world-escape) in this life.
The final chapter discusses the attraction of Theravada meditation in parts of the contemporary world, notably Burma, drawing upon materials little known in the West. In Burma and, to some degree, in Ceylon and Thailand, emphasis is on a simplified meditational method open to layman as well as monk, yet viewed as fully orthodox.
Preface, Yogic Factors in gotama Buddha's Enlightenment, Conditions, Preparations, and Lower Levels of Meditation, The Jhanic and Formless States, The Jhanic Related "Buddhist" Meditation, Vipassana Meditation, The Attainment of Cessation (Nirodha-Samapatti), Contemporary Theravada Meditation in Burma, Appendix "A Buddhist Pilgrim's Progress", Notes, Selected and Annotated Bibliography, Index.
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