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Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment Hardcover – December 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (December 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590308255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590308257
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #904,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“With compassion and humor, Ezra Bayda has graced us with ways to accept what is and to reside in it fearlessly, giving us a roadmap to enduring happiness and equanimity.”—David Richo, PhD, author of The Five Things We Cannot Change

“A wise and deep-hearted book, a must-read for today’s world.”—Roshi Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Center

“This book offers an extremely sane, practical, and grounded approach to the larger happiness that lies beyond conventional notions of happiness. Ezra Bayda details simple yet powerful methods both to work with mental and emotional obstacles and to cultivate well-being, and it’s clear that his hard-won insights grow out of his own dedicated inquiry and practice. Highly recommended.”—John Welwood, author of Toward a Psychology of Awakening

“Bayda’s writing is straightforward and his wisdom hard-earned. When he tells us that he himself was ‘born with a fairly low set point for happiness,’ you get the feeling that Bayda understands what it is that gets people stuck and, having learned a few things himself over years of practice, that his only agenda for Beyond Happiness is to help people find their own way. Fortunately for readers, he’s a trustworthy guide.”—Tricycle Magazine

“Bayda’s deep understanding of his topic allows him to keep a conversational tone and tie his wisdom into everyday practices. This book is a genuine attempt to help people to see beyond their daily preoccupations and move towards a path of fulfillment.”—PsychCentral.com

“Good advice from a compassionate teacher.”—NewAgeJournal.com

About the Author

Ezra Bayda teaches at Zen Center San Diego. He is also the author of Being Zen, At Home in the Muddy Water, Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts), and Zen Heart. For more information, visit www.zencentersandiego.org. 

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

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I've read this book twice now, from cover-to-cover.
Rachel's mom
In this book Mr. Bayda teaches how to practice, which means how to live, in a way that yields genuine happiness.
Dennis E. Bradford
Ezra clearly describes essential practice tools for both beginners and experienced meditators.
Carol R. Wolfe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By zenmezzo on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have found all of Ezra Bayda's books profoundly helpful, but this one is a spiritual masterpiece. Its appearance in my life coincided with several immensely difficult and traumatic happenings, and the teaching has proved its worth far beyond anything I hoped. Bayda traces the daunting but truthful path to waking up to life as it is, without the illusions we have been taught to believe from our cradles: that life should be comfortable, fair, easy, without real difficulty, and that something is wrong with us if we have problems and setbacks. The truth is very different. Bayda gives powerful and practical tools for how to dwell in the open heart of reality, as it is, without judging or blaming ourselves or others. An invaluable tool for learning to open to genuine happiness and contentment. I'm buying copies for family and friends today!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Anna on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
QUIET BUT POWERFUL
I've read other books on happiness and been disappointed how little they helped me. So I was happily surprised on reading Beyond Happiness, because it immediately showed me what I've been doing in my own life to undermine my happiness, and it also gave me specific suggestions and practices to help cultivate what Ezra Bayda clearly describes as genuine happiness (as opposed to superficial or ephemeral personal happiness.)
The three questions that the author recommends asking, which I've been doing regularly, has particularly helped me to see what blocks happiness, and at the same time given me a practice where I've begun, for the first time, to feel real equanimity, even when things aren't going so well. I also appreciate the author's use of humor, which reminded me again and again to not take myself so seriously.
This is a quiet book - it does not shout out, "Do this and you'll be happy!" But in its quiet and very clear way, it's given me tools that are already becoming invaluable.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carol R. Wolfe on December 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a mature offering from an ernest Zen teacher that is helpful for all of us struggling with the human condition. Ezra Bayda blasts myths of how to achieve happiness and instead prescribes the genuine contentment of living from the open heart. Ezra clearly describes essential practice tools for both beginners and experienced meditators. This book is a keeper.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rachel's mom on February 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read every book Ezra Bayda has written. In my opinion, he gets better with every book, as he gains more experience as a writer and teacher.

Ezra's writing is very clear and specific, and he frequently illustrates his points with an example from his own life experiences. Since these references are frequently amusing, and always warm and personal, they're memorable.

Recently, when I was laid low by intense lower back pain, I remembered a vivid description of how Ezra had dealt with a serious illness in an earlier book, "Being Zen." I pulled that book off my shelf and followed every one of Ezra's suggestions during this frightening and painful time. The experience was one of the most valuable of my life; I found, among other things, that I could be truly happy in the midst of pain. (I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering pain or illness.)

But back to Ezra's latest: "Beyond Happiness." I've read this book twice now, from cover-to-cover. I also refer to it when I feel overwhelmed by circumstances and uncertain as to what practice in this moment might be, or as encouragement to persevere. That's what's so special about Ezra's work: after a thorough read, it's great as reference material or an inspirational boost.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nate DeMontigny on February 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really appreciate the author's approach with this book, and at this point in my practice I really needed something like his to come along. Those that are regular readers of my blog know of my constant, and more frequent, stumbles and questioning this thing we call practice.

Ezra, I believe, has found that delicate balance between that plastic outer happiness so many of us "Buddhists" project, and the real underlying happiness we truly desire but fail to tap into. He describes a level of contentment, where we just come to this place of still happiness. Not the kind of contentment where just forget about everything that is going on and masquerade our "inner happiness", but being content with where we are.

You might be comfortable in life, you've got some extra cash, a nice home and you've got the family you always wanted, circa the 1980's nuclear family model. You've got your spirituality, you pay for those high end retreats and feel the bliss buzz every time you leave. It burns off after a while, but you remember how to smile, so the act begins and you go about your life smiling but feeling tied up and confused inside, not truly happy. But you play the part because inside, you know it is there somewhere and you can find it if you try.

Then again, you might be poor and struggle for everything you "need". Finding a job is not easy, but you do what you have to to make ends meet. Your car sucks, it needs a mechanic badly, but it gets you from a to b so that's all that matters. Those high end retreats you dream of are never going to happen, even if you get the financial aid and are able to afford it, how are you going to get there?
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