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At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos Paperback – November 9, 2004


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At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos + Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life + Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (November 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590301684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590301685
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ezra Bayda provides real, specific advice for extending our spiritual practice beyond the mediation cushion. This is a major contribution to contemporary dharma."—Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath and Living in the Light of Death

From the Inside Flap

May we exist like a lotus, at home in the muddy water. Thus we bow to life as it is.

This verse, often recited in Zen retreats, is an important reminder, says Ezra Bayda, of what the spiritual life is really about: the willingness to open ourselves to whatever life presents?no matter how messy or complicated. Through that willingness we discover wisdom, compassion, and the genuine life we all want. Bayda applies this simple Zen teaching to a range of concerns from everyday life?including relationships, trust, sexuality, and money?showing that we have all the material we need for practice right here before us, and that peace and fulfillment is available to everyone, right here, right now, no matter what the circumstances. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ezra Bayda was born in 1944 in Atlantic City, New jersey. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in philosophy, and began practicing Zen meditation in 1970, receiving permission to teach in 1995. He now lives, writes and teaches at Zen Center San Diego with his wife and fellow teacher, Elizabeth Hamilton. He also leads a meditation group in Santa Rosa, Ca., and has been a hospice volunteer for over ten years. He is the author of five books, including his most recent, Beyond Happiness (Shambhala, 2010). For more information, go to www.zencentersandiego.org.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The material is practical, heartfelt and inspiring.
anna manchester
I have bought several extra copies and have given them away and the recipients of this book are equally taken with it.
Dorothy S. Azouz
This and the author's other book have as a goal the individual's achieving of inner peace.
Matthew M. Cohen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dustin G. Rhodes VINE VOICE on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reviewing a book such as this is no easy feat. Quasi-spiritual, semi-self help books are a dime a dozen, and many of them are terrible. They attempt to reduce common sense to a formula that, once applied to one's individual life circumstances, permanently alters the course of one's life.

Do you know anyone whose life has radically changed as a result of reading a self help book?

I bought this book (along with Being Zen, Ezra Bayda's previous title) because I am interested in Zen Buddhism. I bought them rather randomly, having never heard of Mr. Bayda before (these books did not, however, serve as an introduction to Buddhism for me; I have been interested in the practice for many years). I am extremely impressed, however, by Mr. Bayda's simplicity and practicality; I don't think I've read a more accessible book on Buddhist practice. I would argue, in fact, that he does it better than Pema Chodron (whom he credits as a source of inspiration). Mr. Bayda's books are the result of some fantastic writing and editing.

Mr. Bayda says that these two books are really Parts 1 and 2 of the same work, and I would agree: You should read both of them, so that the important concepts are really hammered home. After all, these books are not intended to be feel-good, airy-fairy words to make one "feel better"; this, in fact, is what I believe to be the "strength" of Buddhism---the fact that its primary goal is not to make one feel better, but rather to point us toward residing in the ordinariness and pain of every day life. Mr. Bayda's effort is directed at pointing us in the direction of an "authentic life," as opposed to the "substitute life" which so many of us are accustomed to living. Mr.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is excellent for someone who is practicing without a teacher. I found the discussion of how to deal with a "dry spot" in your practice especially helpful. It's difficult for a solo practioner to step outside the self thing and see what's sabotaging your practice. I am thankful to Mr. Bayda for his ability to articulate so well what's going on.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By sue on July 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At Home in the Muddy Waters, brings an everyday, practical way to approach our practice and our lives. It's insistence on clear-thinking and precision in looking at what our lives are about, help us to focus on the difference between our conditioned lives, and the free, connected lives we are all searching for.The format is readable, and down-to-earth, with everday examples that ordinary students can relate to. Thankyou, Ezra
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Regina P. on April 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was truly inspired and edified by reading this book. Mr. Bayda's insights into the principles of Buddhism are gentle, accessible and practical. These books are informative and I am glad they were recommended to me by a friend. I would also say that while many Buddhism books are either too abstract or too nuanced, this book comfortably falls in the middle providing real insight. I highly recommend it.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Barry Magid on June 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Ezra Bayda is the Clark Kent of American Zen. On the outside, he appears to be a mild-mannered ordinary guy. But underneath that disguise is �..well, a mild-mannered ordinary guy. That�s his secret. Nothing is hidden, nothing is missing. He fully embodies his ordinary humanity, emotional warts and all. He teaches us that fully experiencing the moment just as it is � fully experiencing it emotionally, in our bodies, breath and mind is the only enlightenment there is.
This book is a continuation of the basic message found his first book, Being Zen. He illustrates his teachings with simple stories from his own life: the ups and down of being a father and a husband. He talks about sex, money and relationships � topics too often glossed over or avoided altogether in discussions of spirituality. He includes an account of working through an argument he had with his wife and how they both had to come to terms with their own expectations and the nature of their trust in one another. Since he is married to fellow Zen teacher Elizabeth Hamilton, it�s refreshing to learn that even Zen masters can have marital problems.
I do have two substantive qualms about this book. After elucidating a basic practice stance of staying with our emotional experience as it is, he ends the book with instructions for an exercise in forgiveness. Visualizing the person who has wronged you, he suggests reciting a particular poem of forgiveness to transform the inner hurt and anger. All very well and good, and possibly very useful � but I don�t think Bayda does a good job of explaining how this kind of exercise � or the similar "loving kindness" exercises in his earlier book - are compatible with a practice of leaving everything just as it is.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By anna manchester on June 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
MUDDY WATER REVIEW
Sometimes it seems there's an assumption that spiritual practitioners are either (1) beyond having to deal with issues like trust, relationships, money, sex, or (2) that such things will just clear up with enough meditation or enlightenment experiences. Neither has been the case for me.
AT HOME IN THE MUDDY WATER provides the missing piece. Ezra Bayda recognizes that if something is going to become clear, it has to be dealt with directly. Just like learning to ride a bike, you have to get on one; no amount of abstract meditation will teach you how to ride.
The material is practical, heartfelt and inspiring. Although there's no such thing as wasted time, I wish I'd found it 20 years ago. The specific insights and practical pointers go to the heart of what needs to be experienced, from the murkiest corners to the vastness of it all. And Bayda makes it clear that what we're searching for is always available right where we stand, right in the midst of the muddy water of life. What a relief.
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