Buddhist meditator and scholar Bhikkhu Analayo introduces the Buddhist backgrounds to mindfulness, ranging from mindful eating to its formal cultivation as satipatthana (the foundations of mindfulness). He also offers a historical survey of the development of mindfulness in different Buddhist traditions. Providing an accessible guide, he offers practical exercises on how to develop mindfulness.
The orally transmitted early teachings examined here provide a range of perspectives on mindfulness, with a clear overarching focus on the role of mindfulness in the path to `awakening', to an understanding of reality as it is. Analayo shows how mindfulness is a central tool for recognizing the influence of greed, anger and delusion, and how to emerge from these to progress on the path of practice to liberation. He shows how mindfulness brings about a clear vision of reality, fostering a gradual freeing of the mind from these influences, and enabling us to be more fully in touch with what is taking place and remain in the present; we learn to slow down and come to our senses.
As well as being directed within, Analayo demonstrates how mindfulness helps us discern how what we do impacts others, and thus naturally strengthens our compassion, helping us avoid harming others and ourselves.
Mindfulness is something to be practised, and at the end of each chapter Analayo provides instructions for developing mindfulness step by step, bringing it into our personal experience.