❖ INTRODUCTION ❖
For the first time in the English language a comprehensive manual of Buddhist meditation known as Anapanasati (the development of mindfulness of breathing) is available.
Although this manual is primarily intended for the benefit of monks, it will greatly assist laymen, too, who wish to undertake a course of meditation but who do not have the guidance of a teacher.
Originally published in Thai, this manual is one of the major works of the Ven. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and delivered in 1959 in the form of a series of lectures to monks of Suanmokkha Monastery, Chaiya, Thailand.
Ven. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a major voice in the Buddhist world, is an accepted master of Buddhist meditation. In constructive positive language, the manual guides the meditator through the 16 steps of Anapanasati. Every difficulty that the meditator is liable to face as well as the benefits of practice is examined at length.
All that remains is for the aspirant to the noble path to get on with the job.
The late Mr. Sathian Bodhinanda, a noted lecturer in Buddhist studies at Mahamakut University, Bangkok, regarded the manual as the best of the hundreds of works of the Ven. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.
Innumerable difficulties were faced in the translation since the structure of the Thai language is based on feeling with an undercurrent of warm expression-something difficult to convey in the English language.
However the translated version has been examined for clarity on several occasions and the translator trusts that some difficult passages will not appear obscure.
The absolute newcomer to meditation may be a little baffled or overcome by the opening section of the manual. This should not deter him. He should endeavour to follow to the letter the system of practice as explained by Ven. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.