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I am looking for books that go beyond the usual introduction on how to do various form of Buddhist meditation practice but rather, in addition to describing the practices themselves, discuss various difficulties that may arise during various stages of meditation practice and what can be actively done to address these difficulties.

  • Welcome to the site. I edited the title slightly, to more closely match the question which you're asking. – ChrisW May 26 '15 at 13:17
  • Hello Devindra and welcome to Buddhism.SE! We've put together some tips to help you get started here. Also, if you specify a particular type or tradition of meditation it may help you to get an answer more suitable for your practice. Be well. – Robin111 May 26 '15 at 14:29
  • ... and thanks @Robin111 - good to be here! – Devindra May 27 '15 at 6:58
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The Five Hindrances disturb one's path in meditation and practice. The canonical description can be found in the Nivarana Sutta.

Here are some useful resources:

Book entitled Unhindered: A Mindful Path Through the Five Hindrances by Gil Fronsdal.

A selection of texts and their commentaries on The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest by Nyanaponika Thera.

Essay on The Five Hindrances by Ajahn Brahmavamso. Another version of this.

Audio recordings on The Five Hindrances by Gil Fronsdal and Ines Freedman.

Online handouts: The Five Hindrances: Handouts for 2008-2009 Dharma Study Program. These seem to come from Gil Fronsdal. Should match the audio recordings.

Practicing with the Five Hindrances, a Q&A with Geri Larkin, Lama Palden, Ajahn Amaro, Michael Liebenson Grady and Sharon Salzberg.

Working with The Five Hindrances by Barbara O'Brien.

Yet another article: Methods of Working on the Five Hindrances by Kamalashila.

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Here is a website with a teaching by Mahasi Sayadaw – Endless Moments of Insight. In here he address obstacles such as "distracting thoughts, physical discomfort, how to work with mental states, how to increase the number of objects that are being observed, distractions from the path etc.".


There is also this Q & A with Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw where he answers many important questions relating to the practice.


There is this website with a teaching by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw called Insight Meditation: Basic and Progressive Stages. In here obstacles such as "difficulties for the beginner, the wondering mind, pain, swaying, lazyness etc. are being addressed"



If you want some longer and more in-depth teachings here are some books by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw.

The following books discuss both the meditation practice and the obstacles one can meet on the path. There are also given antidotes and methods for how to deal with such obstacles.

A Discourse on Vipassana

An extensive guideline through the practice of Vipassana meditation and explanation of the Satipatthana medthod, including how Nibbana is realized through this method of practice.

Fundamentals of Vipassana Meditation

This book includes an explanation of the difference of Samatha and Vipassana meditation, how Vipassana is practiced, the theory behind the practice, and how the practice achieves the goal of Nibbana and fulfills the Eightfold Noble Path.

Practical Vipassana Meditational Exercises

This is a brief look to the Vipassana meditation along with a few exercises to begin with.

Purpose of Practicing Kammatthana (Buddhist) Meditation

Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw explains the two kinds of meditations taught by the Buddha as well as a brief teaching on how to practice the two methods.

Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation

This book explains the Satipatthana Vipassana meditation method that's taught by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta. It explains extensively the instructions given by the Buddha in the Satipatthana sutta, the practice, and the theory behind it.

Summary of Discourses on Purity and Insight (Visuddhi-Nana-Kattha)

This is a collection of discourses given by the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw on the subjects of purity and insight.

The Satipatthana Meditation

This is yet another discourse to extensively discuss the Satipatthana meditation method prescribed by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta.

Lanka

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... how to do various form of Buddhist meditation practice ...

Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana by Shaila Catherine covers all 40 meditation objects / types and is more accessible than the Vissudhi Magga. In general other books in the Pa Auk tradition covers all 40 subjects of meditation as this is part of the training though finally may settle on what works best for you. (This is one fully contained book covering all the Theravada meditation subjects.)

If you are interested in Anapana (limited to Anapana) have a look at: Mindfulness With Breathing : A Manual for Serious Beginners which is a very good book to read which covers all 16 steps of Anapana.

If you are looking for general Vippassana (limited to Vippassana) practice have a look at: The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation (should be complimented with the instruction in the course) or Beyond the Breath: Extraordinary Mindfulness Through Whole-Body Vipassana Meditation (this discusses some question and issues people may face - but keep in mind evey one is unique, hence what you may face maybe different). But best is that you complement this with a course which you can apply through: https://www.dhamma.org/

  • Do these books "in addition to describing the practices themselves, discuss various difficulties that may arise during various stages of meditation practice and what can be actively done to address these difficulties"? – ChrisW May 26 '15 at 13:26
  • Main difficulties as per Theravada tradition is the 5 Hindrances. These cover Meditation Subject + Hindrances to a varying degree. Beyond the Breath: Extraordinary Mindfulness Through Whole-Body Vipassana Meditation covers other as aspects also. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena May 26 '15 at 13:31
  • Just curious why you asked about only these titles? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena May 26 '15 at 13:32
  • I asked about "only these titles", because the titles in ruben2020's answer are explicitly about the "five hindrances"; and Lanka's answer begins with "In here he address obstacles such as" and "discuss both the meditation practice and the obstacles" ... and so I thought it was evident that those other sets of titles specifically answer the question (i.e. they describe "difficulties"); I couldn't tell just from reading your answer whether the titles you suggested specifically address difficulties, and so (I hope you don't mind) I wanted to ask you to check that. – ChrisW May 26 '15 at 13:45
  • My answer also had: "... this discusses some question and issues people may face - but keep in mind evey one is unique, hence what you may face maybe different ..." – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena May 26 '15 at 13:47
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The best I can think of for your purpose of methods, the practices, and difficulties that may arise is "Twenty-Five Doors to Meditation."

For the purpose of your question this is the best book IMO but it is not limited to only Theravadin or even Buddhist practices for that matter.

(However, all are related to the quest for release from the hindrances and skandhas that bind us to non-enlightenment and it is explained in these Buddhist terms rather than any other tradition.)

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