The Blooming of a Lotus

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Vietnamese Zen monk, poet, and meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, has published many books on Buddhist meditation and social action in recent years, and he has become one of the most respected Buddhist teachers in the world. His book THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULNESS has become a modern classic, and it has been used by many teachers to introduce students to the practice of meditation and the cultivation of mindfulness in daily life.

THE BLOOMING OF A LOTUS is designed to serve as a guidebook for those who wish to practice meditation in the Buddhist tradition. Its thirty-four guided meditations, which can be practiced by one person or a group of people, are suitable for meditators of all levels. Although the meditations are designed to be simple enough for a beginner to practice, they are unquestionably powerful. These practices were not created for this book; they are techniques that have been used by Thich Nhat Hanh and his students for many years.

All of the meditations contained in THE BLOOMING OF A LOTUS are solidly rooted in the Buddhist tradition, and they all involve using images in connection with the meditator’s breathing. As the author says, “the in-breath is always accompanied by an image, and the out-breath often has another image, based on the preceding one.” Each meditation has a specific purpose: some are intended to cultivate joy, some are designed to promote a sense of impermanence, and others are meant to be used when one is upset or is experiencing strong emotions such as anger or despair. In each case, the images that accompany the in-breaths and out-breaths are given first; the images are always followed by an explanation of the purpose of the meditation.

It should be emphasized that this book is designed only for those who wish to practice Buddhist meditation. It is not suitable for readers who wish to study Buddhism. It should also be noted that, as Thich Nhat Hanh reminds his readers, it is always better to study meditation with a competent teacher than to begin one’s practice alone, even if one is using a book as good as THE BLOOMING OF A LOTUS.