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

“Physical pain is sometimes unavoidable, but suffering is a choice. Sounds nice, but is it true? And if it is true, what choices does a person have to make to find freedom and perhaps even fulfillment in the midst of severe and persistent pain? The book you have in your hand is a rich, informative, and empowering narrative of one person's quest for happiness, independent of conditions. It is informative and empowering because it details step-by-step the sequence of challenges and breakthroughs that the author went through over a period of many years. It is rich because it brings together three deep human endeavors: Buddhist mindfulness practice, higher mathematics, and traditional Jewish text study.
      “Delicious for the intellect, nourishing for the soul.”

Shinzen Young,
author of The Science of Enlightenment and Break Through Pain

“Professor Richard Ellis invites us, as fellow human beings, to join him on his intimate personal journey to discover the heart of reality: when we experience pain and our lives are afflicted by suffering, we can experience healing and transformation. Personal pain, which can challenge our notions of self and our conventional view of the world, can also become our teacher.
      “Richard enriches his journey of self-discovery and transformation by celebrating Hebrew Scripture and ancient Buddhist wisdom. Archetypal Biblical ancestors come alive as Richard explores their struggles, which are our own. Buddhist wisdom complements the wisdom of Hebrew Scripture by offering us the gift of meditation, which allows us to experience the fullness of reality itself.
      “I am profoundly grateful to Richard for sharing his book with me at a time of personal transition. As a former hospital chaplain, I engaged human suffering on many levels. I humbly bow to Richard's embrace of pain, reality, and God's mystery. All who read this book will be enriched by Richard's witness.”

–Father Bruce Teague,
Our Lady of the Valley Church,
Sheffield, MA

“Richard Ellis's close account of his struggle with physical pain opens up very useful insights into the nature of suffering and the role of the ego in prolonging it. For him, pain has become a kind of teacher, and the story of his journey to understand the teaching of his pain brings into one book his knowledge as a mathematician, as a close reader of the Hebrew Bible, and as a practitioner of Buddhist meditation.”

Rodger Kamenetz,
author of The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet's Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India

“I encourage both laypersons and professionals to read this unique integration of Buddhism, the Bible, and behavioral science. The author uses Buddhist teachings, meditation, the wisdom of the Bible, and his own experiences to explore issues of pain and suffering, healing and happiness, ego and enlightenment. The book describes a path of transformation: how people focused on achievement and control can discover a new way of being, based on insight and love. Such a transformation is exactly what we are striving for in biofeedback, cognitive behavior therapy, and modern psychoanalysis.”

–Dr. Arnon Rolnick, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Unit for Applied Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Center, and Psychotherapy School, Ben Gurion University, Israel

“This is a rich and rewarding book that shares deep insights about life, human suffering and ways to cope with it, meditation, and texts from the Jewish Bible. They are delivered compellingly, poetically, and often with an element of humor. The author's wisdom and clarity of thought comes shining through, whether his mode is story-telling memoirist, scholarly analyst, spiritual guide, or self-help coach. I recommend this book highly to anyone seeking help with intractable physical, emotional, or spiritual pain.”

Kenneth Talan, M.D.,
author of the award-winning book,
Help Your Child or Teen Get Back on Track: What Parents And Professionals Can Do for Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Problems

“This book is a mindful and wholehearted exploration of the nature of pain, suffering, and healing that reveals surprising discoveries of simple, yet challenging pathways to equanimity. It also presents imaginative and evocative interpretations of Biblical narratives and their relationship to Buddha Dharma, meditative practice, and wisdom.”

–Ted Slovin, Ph.D.,
former member of the board of directors of the Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA; psychologist

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“Brave is the soul who is willing to merge with and explore rather than relent to their pain. Richard Ellis’s own personal journey demonstrates how each of us has within ourselves the ability to understand the inner places that loudly cry out for our attention. His story is a template which we can all emulate as we adventure through the ups and downs of our lives.”

Gary D. Conrad,
author of The Lhasa Trilogy and Oklahoma Is Where I Live

“An extraordinary odyssey through pain to enlightenment and relief. I found Richard Ellis's book to describe an amazing journey of which he speaks, with unreserved candor, of the transit he had to make through personal doubt, professional anxiety and near estrangement from loved ones, under a blinding canopy of pain. The easy erudition with which he links the teachings of the Hebrew Bible with Buddhist teachings, and their relevance to each other as a path to enlightenment and ultimate release from pain, are a tribute to his wide grasp of the concepts and traditions from which each derive. I couldn't help think of Blake's great lines:

‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower’

when Ellis, as a mathematician loyal to his craft, perhaps sees a divine touch in the organization of nature in fractals. But this is far more than a personal saga of the separation of suffering from pain and its ultimate relief through enlightenment and meditation. It is also a primer for the way to a mindful existence and the deeply felt life of the moment for all of us. A remarkable achievement and deserving of classic status.”

–Haim B. Gunner,
Emeritus Professor, Environmental Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst