Editorial Reviews. Review. "Deep Wisdom; strong, clear, practical advice-- wonderful common sense Zen." -- Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart. PDF: Teaching Zen to Americans by Kim Boykin () Philip Kapleau's The Three PDF: Nothing Special: Living Zen () by Charlotte Joko Beck with. By Charlotte Joko Beck. Charlotte Joko Beck used to be an American Zen instructor. Born in New Jersey, she studied track on the Oberlin.
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Living Zen is nothing special: life as it is. Zen is life itself, nothing added. “ Put no head above your own,” declared Master Rinzai. When we seek from Zen (or. Notes on: Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck. Struggle: 1. Self- centered thinking arises from living in fear and drains us of life energy thereby. Nothing Special [Charlotte J. Beck, Steve Smith] on soundofheaven.info Nothing Special: Living Zen and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle.
Aug 28, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: And a small note: But this also leaves room for you to do your own thinking. Over time, it becomes stronger and more insistent in Christian terms, the 'hound of haven' chases us. The first has a deep clear quiet pool, and the second also has a deep clear quiet pool.
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Sort order. Oct 08, Adil rated it it was amazing. This book really changed my view of why I'm meditating and where I'm going with it. I have a completely different visual analogy now, one in which I'm peeling away layers and layers of mental junk I've built over the years. And then nothing special happens. You just peel away as much of it as you can, and the rest takes care of itself.
In other words, I'm not trying to achieve any particular outcome, other than the peeling away. There is nothing special at the end of this path, and there is no e This book really changed my view of why I'm meditating and where I'm going with it.
There is nothing special at the end of this path, and there is no end in this path. What will happen will unfold on its own naturally. This is a difficult fact to face sometimes but the sooner you face it the better and Joko Beck's book really helps you understand this. The message is universal and simple. I'm Turkish and yet I doubt the book is less accessible to me or anyone from my culture as it is to any American.
That shows how successful the author was. I've been meditating on and off, completely on my own no teacher, no Zen center, etc. I do not have a broad exposure to Eastern philosophy or Buddhism I don't consider myself a Buddhist.
While reading this book, I've broken through a good deal of that resistance because of this "better" understanding of what meditation is about. After a few years, I've finally been able to meditate daily again; and this shows again how successful the author was. As a result of my increased insight, I'm compelled to meditate and thus, the resistance has been naturally weakened; it's not a struggle anymore.
I wish all of our actions were backed up by this kind of compelling insight. One caveat: I'm not sure if certain paradoxes or contradictions in Zen were explained as deeply as they could have been, and I'm not sure if they ever could be But this also leaves room for you to do your own thinking.
And a small note: This is not a how-to e. View all 4 comments. Jan 19, Emma Sea rated it it was amazing Shelves: Life changing for me. View all 3 comments. Jan 02, Eric added it Shelves: Plain, simple and tough. Very good. I guess maybe part of the usefulness of reading Zen books as opposed to say, sitting is to reinforce your commitment to practice and for me, this was a pretty good book for that.
No artificial flavours or preservatives, no mystical bullshit, no made-up words, no exhortations for loving-kindness and compassion, no pseudoscientific justifications or the grating "scientists are starting to discover X; Buddhists have known this for thousands of years", just the Plain, simple and tough.
No artificial flavours or preservatives, no mystical bullshit, no made-up words, no exhortations for loving-kindness and compassion, no pseudoscientific justifications or the grating "scientists are starting to discover X; Buddhists have known this for thousands of years", just the same messages presented over and over again from slightly different angles, jarring me out of my self-conscious, self-centered loop maybe if I practice long enough, I'll stop being so anxious.
Useful distinctions: Useful practices: This book seems to be a collection of talks, of which I particularly liked: Such efforts are never the path to freedom.
View 1 comment. Sep 26, K. Best book on Zen I have ever read and I've read maybe a hundred.
Clear, direct, accessible, and profound. Spiritual truth teller. May 07, Beatrice rated it it was amazing Shelves: I do not carve time to meditate in the Zen tradition of sesshin but I read this book to explore the practice of Zen and its canons.
It did awaken some considerations about my own approach to life and they were a useful addition. I found the Dorothy chapter resonated with something I read in Jon Kabat Zin's book and that is, we are on a constant search for our "path" when in fact, our path is in everything we do on a daily basis. From the mundane tasks to our deepest connections with those around I do not carve time to meditate in the Zen tradition of sesshin but I read this book to explore the practice of Zen and its canons.
From the mundane tasks to our deepest connections with those around us. I absolutely savored this book. Jun 08, Greta rated it really liked it Shelves: Another excellent book which reinforces the importance of meditation practice, paying attention, noticing and labelling thoughts, maintaining a sense of wonder and keeping a "simple mind". Probably worth re-reading when things aren't flowing because the messages contained here would bring you back on track.
I liked the author's practical advice and laid-back writing style as well. Aug 05, Lindsay rated it it was amazing Shelves: I think it's one of the best books I've read so far. She is very kind yet so confronting I can honestly say I didn't had much discipline to keep up with my practice..
She made that all clear for me. Aug 28, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Shelves: Nov 14, Cody added it Shelves: This book was nothing short of a revelation to me, distilling complex practices into clear, functional ideas. Ultimately, Nothing Special is a necessary guide to stripping away the mental and emotional constructs that cause us so much misunderstanding, anger, a This book was nothing short of a revelation to me, distilling complex practices into clear, functional ideas.
Ultimately, Nothing Special is a necessary guide to stripping away the mental and emotional constructs that cause us so much misunderstanding, anger, and fear and keep us from taking in the wonder of it all.
Aug 05, Velvetea rated it really liked it Shelves: At first I thought the title, Nothing Special, sounded "mean". We seem to have a desire to feel separate. But after delving into the book, I realized that what Joko talks about is pure life itself and our connection to it, without all the nasty complicated emotions we like to center our thoughts around, which separate us from enjoy At first I thought the title, Nothing Special, sounded "mean".
But after delving into the book, I realized that what Joko talks about is pure life itself and our connection to it, without all the nasty complicated emotions we like to center our thoughts around, which separate us from enjoying life. This is not a self help book and I don't recomend them. It doesn't try to convince us that we need to do this or that program, that there is some miracle cure that will make us into better people.
A wonderful introduction to Zen! Jan 22, David Buckley rated it liked it Shelves: This is a sequel to the enormously successful "Everyday Zen" by the same author. Though it contains the same dogged realism about human desires and motives, it lacks some of the punch of the first volume. Many of the "talks" in this book include student questions and Joko's responses. While interesting, they lack the freshness and immediacy of her earlier "sermons".
Sometimes, in "Nothing Special," despite the introductory remarks, one gets the sense that one is intruding on a long-running conve This is a sequel to the enormously successful "Everyday Zen" by the same author.
There seems to be a payoff, though, because you feel alive instead of dead. I wouldn't say a payoff. You're returning to the source, you might say - what you always were, but which was severely covered by your core belief and all its systems. And when those get weaker, you do feel joy. I mean, then it's no big deal to do the dishes and clean up the house and go to work and things like that. Doing the dishes is a great meditation — especially if you hate it….
Well, if your mind wanders to other things while you're doing the dishes, just return it to the dishes. Meditation isn't something special. It's not a special way of being. It's simply being aware of what is going on.
Doesn't sitting meditation prepare the ground to do that? It gives you the strength to face the more complex things in your life. You're not meeting anything much when you're sitting except your little mind. That's relatively easy when compared to some of the complex situations we have to live our way through. Sitting gives you the ability to work with your life.
Oh you read. Well, give up reading, O. Give up reading your books? Well, they're all right. Read them once and that's enough. Books are useful. But some people read for fifty years, you know. And they haven't begun their practice. How would you describe self-discovery? You're really just an ongoing set of events: The awareness is keeping up with those events, seeing your life unfolding as it is, not your ideas of it, not your pictures of it. See what I mean? How would you define meditation?
Awareness of what is, mentally, physically. Can you please complete the following sentences for me? I don't wake up in the morning thinking I'm going to be useful. I really think about what I'm going to have for breakfast. I don't want to share anything with all people. Who do you want to share with? I just live my life.
I don't go around wanting to share something. That's extra. Could you talk about that a little bit? Well, there's a little shade of piety that creeps into practice. You could probably figure it out yourself.
I think that's something I need to learn. You and I know there's nothing that's going to make me run away faster than somebody who comes around and wants to be helpful. You know what I mean? I don't want people to be helpful to me. I just want to live my own life.
Do you think you share yourself? She married and raised four children before separating from her husband and working as a teacher, secretary and assistant in a university department. She came to Zen practice in her forties and studied with the late Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi roshi.
For many years she commuted between San Diego and Los Angeles to practice with the roshi. She became one of Maezumi's twelve Dharma successors in and went on to establish the Zen Center of San Diego in where she served as head teacher until July, She is the founder of the Ordinary Mind Zen School, a loose fit organization of her Dharma successors which is non-hierarchical.
Joko's approach to Zen teaching was greatly informed by Western culture, and she discontinued shaving her head, seldom wore robes and seldom used titles. Joko was the author of two very important books that are frequently recommended by interviewees at Sweeping Zen— Everyday Zen and Nothing Special Her first book, Everyday Zen, is a book in which she described what meditation is and, more importantly, what it is not.
She does say that meditation practice is simple, and it's about ourselves. To practice effectively, we need to remove ourselves from all external stimuli. Then we experience reality, which is challenging for most of us.
In it Joko expresses what is the original essence of Zen—unencumbered by some of the formal practices and activities we've come to associate with Zen practice over the years. For Joko, Zen is simply being right here in the moment, with nothing extra. Zen practice will yield us nothing other than this moment. In the book she answers her students questions and helps highlight, again, what Zen practice is really about.
We have to see that everything we demand and even get eventually disappoints us. This discovery is our teacher.
Her family placed her under the care of hospice. She is survived by her four children: She let us digest her teaching and grow in our own different directions. Her Dharma seeds are scattered far and wide. They will go on sprouting in ways we cannot predict and cross-fertilize with other lineages.
The Ordinary Mind School may grow or wither, but her influence is now everywhere. Let's picture if we can two landscapes. The first has a deep clear quiet pool, and the second also has a deep clear quiet pool. The first one is surrounded by garbage. The second one, also surrounded by garbage, has an odd characteristic - everyone who jumps into the pool takes a little pile of garbage in with him -- and there is something in the pool that eats it up, so it remains quiet and clear.
Which kind of practice are you doing? Most of us long for deep, blissful sitting and, even if our pool of peace is ringed around with garbage, we attempt not notice it; if the garbage can disturb us, we want to ignore it. We don't like difficulties; we prefer to sit in our peace and not be intruded upon.
That's one type of sitting. The other kind of pool eats up the garbage; as fast as it appears, it is consumed as the person entering the pool carries it in with him. Still in a short time the pool is clear and undisturbed. It may churn more at first. The major difference is that the first pool ends up with more and more garbage around it; the second has none or very little.
As has been said, most of us long for the first kind of practice life. But the second, facing life as it is, is more genuine; we keep churning up our drama -- seeing it, experiencing it, swallowing it -- throwing the garbage into ourselves, the deep pool that we are. A practice exclusively devoted to concentration shutting out all but the object of concentration is the first pool.