‘Mindfulness in Plain English’ by Henepola Gunaratana

Mindfulness in Plain English — written by Henepola “Bhante G” Gunaratana, a Theravada Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka — is exactly what the book title suggests: A straightfoward, practical guide to meditation and mindfulness for those wanting to take up such habits.

When I say “practical”, I mean it. Not only does Gunaratana guide readers through the basics of meditation and why it can be an important practice in today’s manic world (whether you’re Buddhist or not), he even addresses common issues people face during meditation, such as sudden boredom or irritation, and even legs that fall asleep.

Here are a couple excerpts taken from separate parts of the book, yet together sum it up nicely:

You can’t make radical changes in the pattern of your life until you begin to see yourself exactly as you are now. As soon as you do that, changes will flow naturally. You don’t have to force anything, struggle, or obey rules dictated to you by some authority. It is automatic; you just change. But arriving at that initial insight is quite a task. […]

Through the process of mindfulness, we slowly become aware of what we really are, down below the ego image. We wake up to what life really is. It is not just a parade of ups and downs, lollipops and smacks on the wrist. That is an illusion. Life has a much deeper texture than that if we bother to look, and if we look in the right way.

It’s available in two formats: paperback ($9) and Kindle ($13).