As prayer is to the Christian life, so meditation is the very heart of Buddhist life. With enlightenment, or the state of Nirvana, as its goal, the practice of meditation also serves to foster spiritual development, alleviate pain, soothe the mind, and reveal the truth of existence. Author Edward Conze recognizes that this book cannot provide a cure for every ill; instead, he seeks to offer guidance, along with knowledge of historical and psychological interest. The introduction, explaining the meaning and purpose of Buddhist meditation, is followed by a series of devotional exercises. Instructions on maintaining mental and physical awareness during meditation includes advice on postures, breathing, repudiation of the sensory world, remembrance of mortality, disdain for corporal existence, attaining a trance state, and the recollection of the goal: Nirvana. A convert to Buddhism who devoted much of his life to translating many of the fundamental Mahayanist scriptures into English, the author was the forerunner of a whole new breed of Western scholars in Buddhism. His informative and direct explanations of Buddhist wisdom have enlightened generations of readers.