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The Authentic Life: Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear Paperback – 3 Jun 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc (3 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611800927
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611800920
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really like Ezra Bayda's writing. It's not light-weight: usually a chapter or two a week is enough. However, he really does know his stuff and some of the practical exercises are excellent. Sometimes his writings are a tad repetitious, but I actually find that helpful as it's so easy to forget a really good point unless it's reinforced.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An important read for frustrated meditators. 17 Jun. 2014
By Dustin G. Rhodes - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On one hand, nearly every Buddhist book I have ever purchased and read--which is a lot, might I add, over the past 20 years--is essentially the same; that is to say, at the heart, there's always a similar message. The main difference being: can the teacher actually write (or, in many cases, can the editor translate a talk well)? There are some Buddhist books which I have found indispensable; I've read them over and over again. Some I can barely get through.

My. Bayda is a good writer, clear and uncomplicated; he isn't fixated on Buddhist terminology and I think his teachings are accessible to anyone, regardless of one's practices or path. If you've read Pema Chodron, Charlotte Joko Beck, Barry Magid and other contemporary Buddhist teachers, Mr. Bayda's writing style will be familiar.

I have read all of Mr. Bayda's books and, for the most part, I've found all of them useful. This one, for me at least, is a stand out because it's helpful in course-correcting a personal weakness: getting lost and giving up. I have been an on-again, off again meditator for the past 20 years; I have sporadically attended Buddhist centers and adhered to the practices. Yet, I always eventually get frustrated and give up (temporarily) -- precisely for the reasons that Mr. Bayda discusses so eloquently in this book. While I am not convinced he has anything brand new to say on the subject, I found his insight more direct and accessible than many other teachers writing on the same subject. Mr. Bayda, in my opinion, specializes in taking what happens on the mat, and in the mind, and applying it to the proverbial real world -- which is messy, complicated, confusing, irritating and sometimes outrageously beautiful. He teaches as someone who has really lived.

Sometimes "spiritual books" can really get in the way of practicing; they offer idealized views of what practice is supposed to look like, and give the voice in one's head another reason to berate ourselves: "I am not doing this right"; "there's no use, I give up," etc., ad nauseum. Not this book. Instead, it shows how the obstacles are universal, and how we can skillfully work with them -- including seeing the obstacles as the path itself. The book is a map that, in addition to showing the path, shows the many obstacles along the way -- offering suggestions for how to work with them, rather than avoiding them altogether (because that's not possible).

Find yourself frustrated with meditation? Ready to give up? This book is for us.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Master teacher 17 May 2014
By Janet C Mann - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his new book Mr. Bayda encourages us to get curious about who we would be without all our self images, identities, and beliefs.....all our stories. Then once we see these as strategies that we have devised to help us manage in the world, he teaches us how to practice with the fears that drive them. "...spiritual practice", Mr. Bayda contends, " is not so much about being free from anxiety and fear as it is about not having to be free from them". Freedom is really about letting our experience be what it is.

There is great power in the clarity, simplicity, and genuineness of Mr. Bayda's words. His generous use of personal stories normalizes and enriches the challenges of the spiritual path he describes. Mr. Bayda is a master teacher.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Genuine and Comforting 29 April 2014
By Pat Sampson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book speaks more directly to me than any other Buddhist work I’ve read in the past thirty five years. The descriptions of the experience of illness and eminent loss and more importantly the guidance offered in dealing with these experiences is a great comfort to me. Many, many thanks to the author.

This will stay on my Kindle nightstand along with Shunryu Suzuki, Joko Beck, Pema Chodron and Stephen Levine.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Inspirational, practical guide to living an awakened and joyful every-day life 10 Jun. 2014
By Julie - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book that I will keep by my side as an inspiration and guide to practice in my real life. It is valuable as a resource both for learning and attaining a deeper understanding and for support in times of distress and disillusionment. Throughout the book, Bayda passionately expresses the importance of recognizing that we do not have endless time; that now is the time to aspire to live the authentic life. He succinctly, compassionately and realistically explains spiritual practice and what it means to live an awakened life, and addresses the many challenges, pitfalls and questions that arise on the path. His explanations of practice principles are clear and non-esoteric. Through generous use of real-life examples, including many from his own journey, he illustrates how to practice in our daily lives, recognizing the inevitable ups and downs as the path. The extensions to daily sitting practice (gratitude, letting be and loving kindness meditations) are pieces I will add to my own practice.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Pleasantly surprised! 12 May 2014
By banh - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by my girlfriend. I was skeptical at first, since I wondered whether it would be anything different than the other stuff out there. I expected it to be like many other meditation/Buddhist books with advice on focusing on the breath (don't get me wrong - breathing mindfully is of utmost importance but I was looking to read something different). So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a book that is accessible, comprised of inspiring quotes/stories, and most importantly, a book that has challenged me to think about how we can live more authentically... in a way that cultivates freedom, honesty, and true vulnerability.
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