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SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL [Paperback]

CHERI HUBER

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SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL + The Fear Book: Facing Fear Once and for All + What You Practice is What You Have: A Guide to Having the Life You Want (Mind Body Spirit Thought Pract)
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Suffering Is Optional The 11th book from the American Zen teacher centers around three basic aspects of Zen practice: pay attention, believe nothing, and don't take anything personally. Huber gently guides the reader along this path in this book produced with a handwritten font and pen and ink drawings. Full description

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best approach I've found 19 Mar 2006
By Thomas Hochmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read a lot of books on Buddhism of various flavors - Zen, Tibetan, etc. Most Zen books I've read are either very abstract, or very straightforward but lacking in detail for how to practice day-to-day. Cheri Huber has written the ultimate book that is pretty much buzzword-free and extremely simple to put to the test.

/Suffering Is Optional/ is not really a Buddhist book, or a Zen book. It happens to have been written by a Zen teacher, and there are a few Buddhist-y words (mostly "karma") that are used to highlight points for which Western culture tends to lack solid terminology. But for the most part, this is simply a book about freeing yourself from the ways you (often unknowingly) punish yourself. Suffering is indeed optional, and Cheri Huber shows how to see that.

This is a very fast, very simple read, but do not be fooled. /Suffering Is Optional/ does not set out some pie-in-the-sky path to happiness that involves no effort on your part. Quite the opposite, as the author herself is quick to point out:

"I remind people with annoying regularity that if this practice were easy it would be more popular. Consider that, please. Look around and see what has thousands or even millions of 'adherents.' What do those things have in common? I would suggest that they all share the quality of people being exactly as they are while having something hopeful to believe. Very popular. Compare that with a practice that encourages people moment by moment to go up against, see through, and embrace the worst stuff in life. Not popular."

Not popular, maybe, but I feel it is very beneficial.

There's a lot of hands-on exercises to try in this book... Not of the SIT PERFECTLY STRAIGHT IN YOUR CHAIR MAKING THE SUCH-AND-SUCH MUDRA WITH YOUR HANDS sort. No, miss Huber invites you to be AWARE of the things that go on in your life, and inside you. What things lead to joy, and what things lead to suffering? She doesn't preach or politicize any of it - all she asks and guides you to do is to be aware. Through awareness and genuine commitment, much can be revealed about our interactions with this world and how often we get in the way of our own happiness.

If you're ever stressed, or angry, or frustrated, I highly recommend this book. It's conversational, caring, and does not require you to run out and purchase a saffron robe and begging bowl. I've yet to discover a more wise or more powerful way for discovering "the path to freedom and joy."
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Clear Explanation of the Path 28 Jun 2001
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is apparent reading Huber's books that she is has truly traveled the path. This particular book is particularly outstanding for two reasons. One, it clearly sets out three fundamental tenets through which the seeker may finally find her/himself. Two, the responses of many of her students are included. These are helpful because the issues they raise are often the same one that I experience. Huber shows us clearly how we produce our own suffering. It is a choice we make out of egocentricity - basically believing our own conditioned projections about the world and "our" individual experience. Believe Nothing seems to me to be the most powerful element of her teaching. I strong recommend this book.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen for every day life! 28 Mar 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hi,
I love Cheri's books. I find them to be WONDERFULLY enlightening, interesting, deep and profound, yet fun and funny. A FANTASTIC way to understand deep Zen teachings and apply them to every day life. The books "There is Nothing Wrong With You" and "Suffering is Optional" especially spoke to me.
I REALLY like the handwritten look text. It is both easy to read, and seems more "fun" somehow than regular book type. Her approach is very conversational and fun, and at times, humorous. She draws me in, and I don't want to stop reading (except to do the exercises).
I previously tried to read some of the Zen classics, by both oriental and western writers, but their writings just seemed to philosophical, too dry, too hard to understand and apply, not to mention too small type to read comfortably. I just happened on Cheri's books at my local bookstore. Once I read one, I was hooked! I've read 5 and counting!
Thank you Cheri!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddism for the masses 1 Aug 2007
By Phyllis A. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have read just about every Cheri Huber book, and given them as gifts to friends. She has impacted my life in a very positive way. I highly recommend any of her books to anyone who is open to seeing life in a new way. The books are very easy reads, and the type of books you read more than once to let the information truly sink in.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book ! Cut to the chase 3 July 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Focuss on the core of suffering...No pep talk but realistic talk ! Anyone who has courage to step into her path ! You have already won half the battle
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