Buddhist meditation, while attracting less popular attention than some other meditative disciplines, has given rise to a particularly rich literature in recent years. Despite differences in style and terminology, these modern writings on Buddhist meditation serve much the same purposes as did the manuals and commentaries of the classical masters: to explicate and interpret the Buddha's teachings on meditation, to clarify the nature and value of the various meditative techniques and attainments, and/or to offer advice on the actual practice of meditation.
Meditators are increasingly inclined to compare and evaluate critically what the different contemporary meditation masters have to say, to weigh up the results of relevant scientific studies, or to consult translations of the primary texts in search of the Buddha's 'original' teachings on meditation. Writers on meditation are also increasingly adopting an appropriately critical approach, particularly as regards the reliability of textual accounts. Relatively few still commit the old error of assuming that the Pali canon is a complete and faithful record of what the Buddha said on the subject, or that the classical commentators were infallible authorities.
The present collection of twenty-eight readings is designed to give meditators, researchers, and general readers ready access to representative samples of those writings, and to the principal relevant texts.