Meditating Selflessly

Meditating Selflessly

Practical Neural Zen

By James H. Austin

A guide to Zen meditative practice informed by the latest findings in brain research.





A guide to Zen meditative practice informed by the latest findings in brain research.

This is not the usual kind of self-help book. Indeed, its major premise heeds a Zen master's advice to be less self-centered. Yes, it is "one more book of words about Zen," as the author concedes, yet this book explains meditative practices from the perspective of a "neural Zen." The latest findings in brain research inform its suggestions. In Meditating Selflessly, James Austin—Zen practitioner, neurologist, and author of three acclaimed books on Zen and neuroscience—guides readers toward that open awareness already awaiting them on the cushion and in the natural world.

Austin offers concrete advice—often in a simplified question-and-answer format—about different ways to meditate. He clarifies both the concentrative and receptive styles of meditation. Drawing widely from the exciting new field of contemplative neuroscience, Austin helps resolve an ancient paradox: why both insight wisdom and selflessness arise simultaneously during enlightened states of consciousness.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262015875 280 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in 1 color illus., 8 black & white illus.


$22.95 T ISBN: 9780262525190 280 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in 1 color illus., 8 black & white illus.


  • This extraordinary book on meditation is a perfect jewel, shedding light for the reader on the intricate and profound craft of the practice of meditation and the neuroscience of meditation. It is a book like no other in the field and is due to become a classic. It is exceptionally useful, beautifully written, rich with anecdotes, and full of surprises.

    Roshi Joan Halifax

    Founding Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

  • We are often presented with stimuli but remain unaware. Zen, which means meditation, allows humans to become mindful-attentively aware of reality. In his newest book, Meditating Selflessly: Practical Neural Zen, Dr. James Austin, one of the world's outstanding neurologists, explains how the brain mediates these meditation activities and how these activities alter the brain. Using language that can be understood by all, Austin teaches the fortunate readers of this book about the biological basis of the important changes brought about by this ancient but still current process of enlightenment.

    Kenneth M. Heilman, M.D.

    James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine

  • Here James Austin brings the fruit of his many decades engaging Buddhist meditation as a living practice, while at the same time examining what happens in the brain during meditation. This book is inviting and challenging at the same time and will prove valuable for both the novice and the long time meditator. I highly recommend it.

    James Ishmael Ford

    author of Zen Master Who: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen; lead editor of The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan