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am 3. Mai 2000
I purchased this book back in 1992, got half-way through it, couldn't understand it, and put it down to read other things and go on with my life of everyday living, thinking, worrying, etc. that we all do in our lives. Not until a crisis of sorts came up in my life did I pick it up again. This time, it all made sense. Living life in the present moment, right here, now. Working at being less judgemental. Not looking for 'happiness' and instead finding joy in everyday life. I know it sounds like a lot of BS, but something changed after the second reading of this book, and now mundane aspects of my job are just me doing my work. I haven't changed religions, haven't joined a cult, haven't even attended a 'zendo' or 'sesshin.' But something has changed since reading this book. It could be the thing that changes your life, too. I know I've got a long way to go, but what a start! The companion second book by Joko is also highly recommended.
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am 15. März 2007
This is one of my favorite books on Zen. Charlotte Joko Beck is the resident Zen teacher at the Zen Center of San Diego, and "Everyday Zen" is a collection of her talks. Joko speaks about Zen in an ordinary, conversational, down-to-earth way--as opposed to the paradoxical, poetic, non-logical style that is typical of Zen--and she explicitly relates Zen to everyday life. For Joko, Zen is about being OK with everything, an OK-ness that does not imply fatalism, passivity, or an absence of feelings. She says: "For something to be OK, it doesn't mean that I don't scream or cry or protest or hate it. . . . What _is_ the enlightened state? When there is no longer any separation between myself and the circumstances of my life, whatever they may be, that is it."

While this book is a good one for newcomers to Zen--and for old-timers too--it does not include nitty-gritty beginning instruction in Zen meditation, so for that you'll need to look elsewhere. (I'd recommend "The Three Pillars of Zen" or a Zen center.)

This is not the best Zen book for everyone. When you're in a swamp of existential angst, desperately wanting to know that peace and joy can be found within this fleeting life so full of suffering--exactly the issues Zen addresses--Joko's "everyday" approach can be exasperating and can seem not to address those issues, and you may prefer "The Three Pillars of Zen" or "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind." I appreciate Joko's wariness of leading us astray with images of "enlightenment," which is so easily misunderstood as a thing we can achieve that will make our lives perfect at last, but sometimes I want more reminders than Joko offers that our life can be utterly transformed (while still being the same old, imperfect life).
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am 12. Oktober 1999
Joko Beck's thesis is a simple one: That life, just as it is at any moment, is all that it can be and therefore is perfect. Pointing again and again to the troubles we cause ourselves by living life not in the moment, but out of a confused fog of fantasies and "what ifs," Beck challenges us to divest ourselves of our mental defense mechanisms and dare to be OK with life as it is. Yet she is a compassionate teacher, intimately familiar with human weaknesses and struggles, and she extends one hand of comfort even as the other hand pulls the rug out from under our feet. Perhaps the only shortcoming of this book is that it is much more clear about the "deconstructive" aspect of Zen practice than about exploring the ultimate manifestations and benefits of enlightenment. Knowing her aversion to "holding out cookies," however, this absence is understandable.
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am 28. Juli 1996
I've read quite a few books over the past few months in my search to "understand Zen" (yes, I *know* that's a contradiction in terms!). But "Everyday Zen" is really the first that helped me see how Zen can operate in the midst of my modern American life -- outside of a monastic environment, dealing with business and family and the other assorted miseries of the late 20th century. Her style is forthright and no-nonsense; excuse the sexism, but it's almost as if you had a plain-spoken old aunt who simply told you the truth about the birds and the bees when everyone else was hemming and hawing and quoting Robert Browning. I recommend this book HIGHLY to anyone new to Zen who struggles, as I do, with how to place it into a modern context
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am 6. Mai 1999
Ms. Beck is clearly not a guru on a mountain top. But a real person whose knowledge and understanding of life and living are nothing less than enlightened. Her clear and thoughtful interpreations of the practice of "sitting Zen," make anyone remotely interested, wanting to begin and those who have begun,to continue. Ms. Beck demonmstrates by example the clarity of thought that can be acheived through this method of practice. One of the best books on the topic.
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am 18. Februar 1997
I have read many books on Zen and eastern philosophy. Each page of this book can provide a bit of truth to reflect upon for the day. It is not intended to be so, there is just such a density of wisdom that it is. Ms. Beck is an American with a background that I share, and she does not "speak in riddles."
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am 19. Juni 1997
This book has changed my life. Suffering deconstructed effectively. No riddles, no koans. Incisive, tough, human, compassionate. It works.
Also recommended: "Thoughts without a Thinker" by Mark Epstein, not as simple, but explains the link between Zen and therapy
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am 21. Januar 1998
Joko Beck writes compellingly on practice and real life. These collected Dharma talks spell out beautifully why one might want to add traditional Zen practice to modern western life, therein bringing center and no-thought out into all aspects of being.
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am 9. Februar 2000
This is the book that brought Zen home to me, that made me see its meaning in practical, down-to-earth manifestations. In addition to its practicality, this book is very beautifully written--compassionate without being trite or lightweight.
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am 21. Juli 1997
Pure wisdom: no nonsense, no
appeals to authority, no pressure,
no dogmatism. The author even says
that she doesn't want people to believe
her, but rather wants them to experience for
themselves. Simply one of the best
books I've ever read
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