A Book Review of Tarchin Hearn’s recently updated “Foundations of Mindfulness” by Andy McIntosh
In these modern times of mass information, and the availability of pretty much anything, we often seem to search for the latest in everything. Often overlooked, or sometimes completely dismissed, are the foundations from which all experience has arisen, including Dharma. They are skipped over in the pursuit of something seemingly more advanced or complex. I know myself, in earlier days, I initially skimmed over the Buddha’s teachings on The Satipattana, only to come back to it when I realised the necessity for a solid foundation in view, practice and action, and the depth of exploration possible. For me this study continues to be vital to skillfully explore Mahayana and Vajrayana practices. The Satipattana Sutta, the exploration on ‘The Four Foundations of Mindfulness’, is one of the most valuable foundations of Dharma practice originally and clearly presented by the Buddha.
This book is an invitation to those with knowledge of Buddhism, and also those with no experience of Buddhism at all, to delve into the Buddha’s original wise words. Tarchin’s guidance skillfully encourages us to take our understandings into an exploration of our own experiences, in every moment, in our body, in the world and life we are living. This brings us closer to a deeper embodiment, peace, engagement and awe of the universe around and through us that is ultimately beyond any single religion or philosophy. It leads us into aspects of our human experience, that when probed deeply, can lead us to awakening, love and clear seeing.
The chapters walk us through sections on Kayanuppasana (Body), Vedananupassana (Feelings), Cittanupassana (Mind) and Dhammanupassana (Phenomena). Tarchin’s commentary follows each one of these stages, opened up to make the language and Pali words clearly understandable, relevant and easily digested by our modern western ways of thinking. Each stage is then explored further with Tarchin’s skillful reflections and writings.
This book is more than just a Satipattana commentary. It brings together Tarchin’s more than 50 years of dharma contemplation, study and teaching into a presentation of question, insight and story. In addition to the main presentation, there are six expanding themes in the Appendixes.
I continue to actively explore the themes of ‘Foundations of Mindfulness in ongoing study, coming back to it fresh again and again over time. No matter how long we have been practising, I feel this is a very valuable book. I am very grateful Tarchin has taken the time to write this expanded edition as it continues to help to deepen my interest, engagement and understanding. I think it will be of great benefit to many friends on the path and those engaged in sharing the dharma and meditation study with others.
“Foundations of Mindfulness” is the completion of an essential trilogy by Tarchin Hearn of mindfulness teaching, along with “Breathing: The Natural Way to Meditate”, and “Walking in Wisdom”
Andy McIntosh, first heard Tarchin’s teaching in Tasmania in 1996. Over the last 15 years Andy has a steady study and practice of Dharma under the guidance of Tarchin Hearn. Andy currently lives in The Bay Plenty, New Zealand and regularly shares Dharma teaching.
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