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Endorsements

Blinding Pain, Simple Truth is an intriguing blend of Buddhist insight meditation and a fascinating interpretation of key Hebrew Bible passages. In this engaging work, Dr. Richard Ellis shares his own journey of life-changing transformation through these liberating practices and studies. The pairing of these two ancient traditions helps to illuminate our own explorations of healing and awakening.”

Joseph Goldstein, author of A Heart Full of Peace and One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

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My Articles and Blog Posts

  1. “Aging Gracefully: Dealing with Chronic Pain Through Meditation.” Posted on January 12, 2012 on 60sFolksinTheir60s.

  2. “Healing the Suffering Caused by Chronic Pain Through Meditation.” Posted on January 13, 2012 on ThePeacefulRunner.

  3. “Healing the Suffering Caused by Chronic Pain Through Meditation.” Posted on February 3, 2012 on BlissPlan.

  4. “Bringing Mindfulness into Higher Education” by Richard S. Ellis, 2012-2013 Newsletter of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Volume 28, page 3.

Interview

  1. “Blinding pain, simple truth: a professor of mathematics heals himself through Buddhist meditation.” An interview with Elena Giorgi on the writing process and my book, posted on January 12, 2012 on Chimeras.

Review

  1. “Not just another book about alternative healing, this is also a very well-written textbook about how and why the alternative process Ellis chose actually worked.” more

    –Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight (May-June 2011), p. 106

Articles About the Book and Myself

  1. “Power of the mind: A UMass professor finds relief from debilitating headaches through meditation” by Suzanne Wilson, Daily Hampshire Gazette, March 8, 2011, pages C1–C2. The article also appeared in Amherst Bulletin, March 18, 2011, pages B1, B4. Another pdf file of the article is also available.
  2. “A simple equation for turning suffering into healing,” University of Massachusetts Amherst Online Publication, In the Loop: News for Faculty & Staff, March 17, 2011.
  3. “Faculty Profile of Richard S. Ellis: Healing the Stress of Academic Life and Finding Peace” by Michael Lavine, 2011-2012 Newsletter of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Volume 27, pages 2–3.
  4. “Ellis wins Living Now Book Award,” University of Massachusetts Amherst Online Publication, In the Loop: News for Faculty & Staff, September 27, 2012.
  5. Tapping the Power of Mindfulness by Maureen Salamon, H2U–Health to You magazine, Summer 2013, pages 8–10. My mindfulness approach to chronic pain is discussed on page 10: “the suffering has disappeared.”
  6. Love, Blessings, and Happiness: I Asked for Wonder

Talks on the Book

  1. “Escaping from the Prison of Chronic Pain Through Meditation”. This is the text of a talk that I gave, with small variations, at several book readings listed under Past Events.
  2. “Healing the Stress of Academic Life,” a talk in the College of Public Health, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, March 18, 2013. A recording of this talk is available online.

Table of Contents



Introduction

Buddhist meditation has changed my life. It can also change yours. I started on the path of falling in love and raising a family, discovering mathematics and literature, Israel and the Bible. But it became the path of achievement, success, and overreaching, which brought upon me the curse of chronic, incapacitating headaches. When Buddhist meditation enabled me to face the pain, the suffering ceased and the curse became a blessing, blossoming, after years of anger and struggle, into acceptance and peace.

What is your path?

Whatever path you are following, you can learn from mine because my story is a variation on a common theme. Blessed with first-rate Western educations and enjoying successful careers, about wisdom we learn nothing until it is almost too late. Then we must learn wisdom the hard way, the Buddha's way of suffering and the end of suffering. As I learned, so can you learn.

In order to help you discover your path, this book is a web interwoven with many strands: meditation, Buddhist teachings, spiritual healing, inspiration, self-help, the interpretive power of the Bible. Each strand enriches and supports the others while illuminating a main theme: how Buddhist teachings can give us the wings that will lift us out of the maelstrom of an unaware life in which we focus on ego and suffer. Most of us suffer, whether from physical pain, emotional pain, or the dissatisfaction and sense of lack that, as the Buddha taught, are pervasive in our lives. By sharing Buddhist teachings and insights into pain, suffering, and healing, I hope that you will gain greater awareness into your own suffering, awareness leading to change leading to peace.

If you suffer from pain and turn onto the path of meditation, then pain will become your best teacher. Here is what it can teach you:

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Appendix: Meditation

The meditation that I practice is called insight meditation. It calms the mind, focuses the attention on the present moment, and leads to self-transformation. more


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