Knowing that most people do not stop their lives to engage in spiritual practice, Buddhist teacher Andrew Weiss has always taught the direct application of practice to daily life. While also teaching sitting and walking meditation, he emphasizes mindfulness — the practice of seeing every action as an opportunity to awaken meditative inquiry. Over the years, Andrew has honed his teachings into an effective ten-week course with progressive steps and home-play assignments.
Beginning Mindfulness is intended for anyone practicing in daily life without the luxury of long meditation retreats. Weiss skillfully blends the traditions of his teachers into an easy and humorous program of learning the Buddhist art of mindfulness.
Weiss, longtime Buddhist meditation student and teacher, offers an excellent 10-week course on meditation, its meanings and its applications. With clarity, kindness and care he forges a cohesive whole from many "handouts" he has created over the years to teach sitting meditation and walking, meditation. Emphasizing the need to take mindful awareness into everyday life, Weiss, who is an ordained brother in Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing, highlights many mindfulness opportunities for modern people: facing cancer, washing dishes, walking to and flushing the toilet, exercising and waiting at red lights. While true to Buddhist principles, the book is gloriously free of the jargon that can alienate the average person. Weiss begins at the beginning, with posture and, most importantly, breath. Over the sequenced 10-week program, practitioners gain meditation and awareness basics and also explore mindfulness in their own bodies, feelings and mental processes. Weeks nine and 10 look at loving kindness (metta) and healing breathing to address the suffering of others (tonglin). Each chapter has formal and informal "Home Play" activities that extend the lessons into daily life, while a final section on "how to continue" and an annotated reading list increase the volume's usefulness. Weiss's voice is authentic, yet flavored with the sensibilities of Thich Nhat Hanh, known for his accessible, gentle, concentrated abilities to communicate the essence of mindfulness, especially to beginners.