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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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From the Inside Flap
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a "newby" to Zen. I am really enjoying this book. It was recommended to me by a friend who has been doing Zen for quite some time.Published 14 months ago by Christopher Metzger
Great manner to deal with daily difficulties and problems. Everything is on our mind , better to live from the heartPublished 14 months ago by Sganarelle
Ive read all his books. They just speak to me. Maybe they will to you slso not heavy zen writing but practice sdvise o living to your full poentislPublished 17 months ago by Karp
This is a wonderful book to read. It speaks to you in everyday language. Teachings that can be applied to every facet of your daily life, are presented in a... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Barbara Fotherby
I purchased the kindle version and have only read the first 2 chapters in preparation for a book discussion group. Read morePublished 24 months ago by ella
I highly recommend this. I read it after Being Zen. He was a student of Charlotte Joko Beck. Although Joko Beck's two books are also make Zen highly accessible, making Zen... Read morePublished on April 27, 2014 by Pen Name
This book is very clear on the issues of Zen Buddhism. It continues to help you see to live in the here and now and experience each and every moment of your life.Published on February 17, 2014 by Amazon Customer
I am so disappointed with this purchasing experience. I ordered a brand new hardback edition of At Home in the Muddy water. It was to be a gift. Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by Mary K Swyden
I love this book! The author provides real, helpful strategies for practicing a rational life in an irrational world. Read morePublished on November 24, 2013 by troyfeenix