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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare treasure
Its rare I find a book that I want to read again immediately on completion , this is one such book . Barry Magid is a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst in New York ,in 1996 Charlotte Joko Beck gave him permission to establish the Ordinary Mind Zendo as an affiliate of the San Diego Zen Centre and serve as its teacher .Hes well published and this is his latest foray into...
Published on 30 Nov. 2008 by Foxylock

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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book requires a health warning....
In many ways this book contains much commonsense advice, but it is nonetheless deeply flawed. For a start, it is badly written, the sentence construction awkward and contorted - something one might have thought editors at the otherwise excellent Wisdom Publications would have sorted out before publication. Second, it does not travel beyond America. It is written with...
Published on 12 Jun. 2009 by contributor


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare treasure, 30 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide to Ending the Pursuit of Happiness (Paperback)
Its rare I find a book that I want to read again immediately on completion , this is one such book . Barry Magid is a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst in New York ,in 1996 Charlotte Joko Beck gave him permission to establish the Ordinary Mind Zendo as an affiliate of the San Diego Zen Centre and serve as its teacher .Hes well published and this is his latest foray into the world of Zen and psychoanalysis .

This book is best described as a no bulls!?t guide to Zen and I think it will appeal to both beginners and seasoned practitioners . Magid blows away many of the preconceptions we may have about Zen teachers being beyond human folly and reveals them to be ....... well.. human . He asks us what we hope to achieve from our own practice and what is our "secret practice "? He introduces some of the Koans and examines and questions their wisdom , not in a cynical way but in an open and honest attempt to help us gain insight into our own daily struggle . I suppose the big question that arises from this book is : What if this is it ? Do we continue to practice ? Do we dare hope for more ? OK that's three questions but that's the type of book this is , thought provoking ethical and without agenda . Needless to say I enjoyed this book and I leave you with this nugget

"Each one of you is perfect the way you are and you could use a little improvement "
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and thought-provoking read, 22 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide to Ending the Pursuit of Happiness (Paperback)
I think this a truly excellent read. I find Barry's writing easy to read and thought-provoking. It regularly brings me back to basic truths. I thought his earlier book "Ordinary Mind" was by far the best book to date on the interface between Buddhism and Psychotherapy, and his recent "Nothing is Hidden" a significant step forward in the dialogue between these two traditions. As both a Psychoanalyst and a Zen teacher Barry is well-placed to make his comments. I am of course biased in that I find Barry's perspective compatible to my own and inspiring of insight.

Here are some quotes that give a flavour of the book as I experienced it.

"Each of us is trying to cure ourselves in one way or another, but often our hopes go underground and we are never quite clear just what we are seeking or how we imagine we are going to get there. We may say a lot of different things about what we hope to get from meditation, but in the back of our minds there usually lurks the fantasy that something will fix us once and for all".

"I will explore the ways we can become aware of and more honest about that secret practice that we all engage in behind the scenes, so to speak, in our imagination, the practice that we hope will be our fix, or our cure".

"We are surrounded by therapies and diets and self-improvement programs, all of which promise to fix us. What we don't realise is the way all of them tacitly reinforce our assumption that we are broken and need fixing".

"After all our futile efforts to transform our ordinary minds into idealized, spiritual minds, we discover the fundamental paradox of practice is that leaving everything alone is itself what is ultimately transformative".

"It's hard to really do nothing at all. Over and over, we watch our mind trying to avoid or fix, fix or avoid; to either not look at it or change it. Leaving that mind just as it is the hardest thing to do".

"Meditation practices that aim at cultivating Samadhi, or states of clear, thought-free concentration, all too often end up fostering emotional dissociation and avoidance".

" Zen students, especially those who have had some realization, are in grave danger of imagining that they now are somehow "seeing reality directly" just as it is - without acknowledging all the ways that unconscious processes and organizing principles continue to operate, both on a personal and cultural level".

"By and large, there continues to exist within the overall Zen community an idealized picture of monastic practice. There is rarely any acknowledgement that the particular forms of that training may, for many, be part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is particularly hard to come to terms with the possibility that some teachers themselves have had their emotional lives badly warped by their traditional training".

I find this book very helpful. It is also full of common sense. Thank you Barry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a true Joko Beck student, 27 Mar. 2013
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R. K. Hall "pianoforall.com" (Belfast Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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If you like Joko's books you will love this. Although I prefer the sections of the book that deal with 'everyday' zen. A few chapters deal with historical aspects of zen - which, while very interesting, I probably won't want to read twice. I always found that I could re read Joko's books again and again (despite Joko saying we should stop reading and practice :-) and find something useful for my daily struggles. Anyway, you can tell that Barry has been through the same furnace as Joko so his teachings do have a similar clarity.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Including both the immanence of Zen with the developmental., 8 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide to Ending the Pursuit of Happiness (Paperback)
Barry Magid comes from the pragmatism of Joko Beck's Zen Buddhism. He melds the ever possible immanence of Zen with an awareness of the demons that blight our life. Really enjoyed this book, readable, honest and spoke to me in a way that so many books on Buddhism with an overtly historical reverence do not. Worth it.
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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book requires a health warning...., 12 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide to Ending the Pursuit of Happiness (Paperback)
In many ways this book contains much commonsense advice, but it is nonetheless deeply flawed. For a start, it is badly written, the sentence construction awkward and contorted - something one might have thought editors at the otherwise excellent Wisdom Publications would have sorted out before publication. Second, it does not travel beyond America. It is written with Americans in mind, and fairly naive Ameriucans at that. Third, it creates the false impression that 'American Zen' is some kind of free-floating U.S. philosophy, divorced from the Buddha's teachings and from mainstream Buddhist principles, and that it requires no doctrinal grounding. In that sense, it is dangerously sectarian in its approach. A glance through the index is revealing: the sources - with one exception - are contemporary Westerners writing their own versions of a moral science taught 2,500 years ago. Obviously the author does not want to burden or confuse us with ancient discourses - and as a result, he comes across as patronising. We're obviously not smart enough to wrestle with these matters! What little attention is given to Buddhist concepts, the author gets badly wrong. He makes no distinction between conventional and transcendent reality; he refers to the idea of 'not-s/Self' as 'nonself' - the latter a misleading term. He confuses rebirth with reincarnation and in a few lines dismisses the former, raising serious doubts about his own Buddhist credentials as well as his credibility as a writer on Buddhist matters. In short, this is somneone schooled in the putative science of psychology trying, unsuccessfully in my view, to mould and reshape Buddhism, dragging it out of context for his own ends and to harness it to an agenda that has little to do with Buddhist practice or doctrine. For example, the Buddha never taught a path to personal happiness in any form - so the question of ending the the pursuit of happiness doesn't really arise unless one suffers from some major mosconceptions about Buddhism in the first place. The Buddha taught suffering and the cessation suffering - not the same thing at all! Caveat emptor.
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