In this fun, accessible book, Wes Nisker takes his cue from Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, who says, 'Buddhism is an evolutionary sport'. Here Nisker ably and readably demonstrates the links between eastern meditation and western science. In his view, both are attempting to understand the nature of existence and he writes, 'Buddhist meditation itself could be understood as a form of scientific research... The Buddha was a great scientist of the self'.
The author aims to introduce his readers to the practice of meditation as a way of understanding our existence. To do this he guides us through a commentary on the Buddhist classic, the Mahasatipattana Sutta (Great Discourse on the Establishment of Mindfulness). The four foundations of mindfulness contained therein form the framework of the bulk of Nisker's book. Along the way he ofers a series of exercises to allow readers to experiment with meditation for themselves.
I found this a good introduction to insight meditation and would recommend it to anyone wanting to know about vipassana - though experienced meditators or experienced scientists should probably look elsewhere.
I have only two criticisms. First, I would like to read fewer sweeping statements along the lines of 'Western psychologists have been telling us for years that...'. Second, I would like to see more of what the Mahasatipattana Sutta actually says. However, these are small quibbles. In all this is a very interesting introduction to Buddhist meditation which shows most clearly its relevance to contemporary science.
I find nothing to criticize in the six previous reviews, but this book is not a "keeper" for practicing Buddhists. However, it fits the bill perfectly for those who are "thinking about" commited practice, without the least "dummying down". I am passing my copy on to my son, who has expressed interest.