Buddhist meditation is usually taught as a set of techniques. Focus all your awareness on your breath. Feel the sensations in your body. And yet one cannot help but wonder: why do we not find these instructions in the Pali Suttas?
Instead of doing what the teachers recommend, what if we were to ask the following question: What are the underlying assumptions that are required in order for these meditation instructions to be intelligible? With this question we enter the domain of phenomenology. Enquiring in this way, it becomes clear that the Buddha’s teachings have been ‘naturalized’, hijacked by and incorporated within the modern scientific worldview that today reigns supreme. Furthermore, it becomes apparent how dangerous these assumptions are, for they obscure the fact that the Dhamma is entirely concerned with our understanding of things.
By (1) providing a close analysis of the Pāli Suttas and (2) adopting a phenomenological attitude and articulating this as explicitly as possible, drawing on the writings of influential phenomenological thinkers such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, this collection of essays gives priority to these two conditions for the arising of right view. Only with the right understanding can there be anything that deserves to be called ‘Buddhist meditation’.
The author, Bhikkhu Akiñcano (Nick Dwyer), entered the bhikkhusaṅgha in 2014 in England, in the lineage of Venerable Ajahn Chah of the Thai Forest tradition. His upajjhāya is Venerable Chao Khun Phra Videsabuddhiguṇa (Ajahn Amaro). He now lives in Sri Lanka.
You can order the book at Path Press Publications.