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Plant Seed, Pull Weed: Nurturing the Garden of Your Life Hardcover – May 6, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061349046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061349041
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Larkin was a college student, she took a job as a gardener—something she says she knew absolutely nothing about. Now more plant savvy, the former management consultant–turned–Buddhist priest and author (The Chocolate Cake Sutra) uses gardening and Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva to mine themes for her text. Her points are simple: see clearly, become more intentional, tame your mind, give generously and live with a wide-open heart. While advocating passion and enthusiasm, Larkin has learned the hard way that the best gardeners are patient. When we slow down, she writes, then chaos becomes beauty, lethargy energy, insolvable problems solvable. Her spare but pithy prose, common sense and laugh-out-loud humor emphasize her points. Other lessons also resonate: Learn to lose. Let go of mistakes. Forgive. Be kind. And don't worry, for anxiety will block your joy. Larkin is at her best when she shares personal experiences and insights, rather than stories about others, and the few recipes seem random. Although Larkin's book is clearly aimed at Buddhists, at its heart is a lesson about staying awake and paying attention to life, which is good advice for readers of any religious stripe. Readers will find Larkin's central promise—We can be happy. Right here. Right now—difficult to resist. (May)
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Review

With spare but pithy prose, common sense and laugh-out-loud humor, readers will find Larkin’s central promise—“We can be happy. Right here. Right now”—difficult to resist. (Publishers Weekly)

What a joy to find spiritual writing so deeply rooted in the life of the earth. If the Buddha were alive today, Geri Larkin would be his gardener. (Clark Strand, author of Meditation Without Gurus: A Guide to the Heart of Practice)

Both edifying and entertaining. (Spirituality & Practice)

Larkin takes readers into her vegetable and flower garden to teach them a few lessons about what our minds--and spirits--need to thrive. (Body & Soul)

Plant Seed, Pull Weed should find a receptive audience in this part of the world [the Pacific Northwest], where there are garden centers galore and any number of people trying to live a calmer, more centered life. (The Oregonian)

Life as gardening is hardly an original metaphor...but Larkin breathes fresh life into it with anecdotes, insights, and enjoyable prose. Her focus on present-moment awareness and being ‘as wise and compassionate as we can be, right where we are’ will resonate with all readers. (Shambhala Sun)

...you’ll not only grow amazing vegetables...you’ll gain some Buddhist insight along the way. (Eugene Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David Crumm on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Geri Larkin's life has taken her from the heights of American business to the simplicity of Buddhist practice. She began her career as a jet-setting business consultant -- and is ending it as a sort of free-lance teacher and landscape consultant living in a tiny home in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, in this new book she writes that when she volunteers at an emergency food bank -- it's impossible to tell her and the other folks running the program from the clients in need of the emergency food.

It's a wonderful journey, which Geri has laid out for readers in a series of books that are half spiritual memoir and half Zen advice about everything from personal relations to -- in this new book -- cooking up the dandelions you've pulled from your front yard.

Around the time her previous book, "The Chocolate Cake Sutra," was published, I invited a group of high school students to spend time interviewing Geri for a documentary film on prayer and meditation. Geri was heading back to southeast Michigan for a few days from her new home in the Pacific Northwest, and I told the students that the cost of a seat with Geri was reading her book.

If you know anything about the busy lives of teenagers, the idea of reading a book on Buddhism sounds like an impossible challenge. But, on the day of the interview, an eager little crowd of students pulled couches up around Geri's own easy chair. They pulled out these beautifully well-thumbed copies of her book -- their pages sprouting bookmarks, sticky notes and slips of paper with questions scribbled to ask Geri.

That's the best way I can convey the excitement of her spiritual voice. It can hook and hold a busy teenager -- or a busy middle-aged writer like myself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Rose VINE VOICE on April 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I really like about this book is how the author takes the reader right down into the garden of her own life where we are present as she nurtures her own seeds of insight and pulls the weeds of distraction. Watching, together with Larkin, I see just where and how to attend to and cultivate my own garden of life. Very useful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TLG on January 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've loved Geri Larkin's books since my first read and each one gets better and better. Geri shares her new life out west, and as usual, she shares her journeys, friends, pets, and posies. She gets cranky about a cold day and I love that even she takes a little while to "get it" when lessons pop up in her every day life. The title and the book lovingly suggest that we need to pay attention to our lives -- "plant seeds" whether they are ideas or relationships; and "pull weeds". . . we know who and what they are. It's as simple and as difficult as that. The best is the simple lesson on enthusiasm. Read it in a coffee shop and enjoy the looks you get as you laugh and cry out loud. Great to hear you are doing well, Geri! Waiting for your next book, with enthusiasm.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Plant Seed, Pull Weed" is a garden of reading delight. Geri Larkin (whose books I've not read before) is warm, funny, wise, authentic, unpretentious, and inspiring. Reading "Plant Seed, Pull Weed" is like gardening with the Dalai Lama's younger sister, the one responsible for growing the community roses and veggies who is still cheerfully learning.

There are ten chapters in this slender book (192 double-spaced, wide-margin pages), each considering a quality valued in Buddhism and, for that matter, valued in many faiths & spiritual practices:

--casing the landscape: developing a clear intention
--rolling up your sleeves: transcending hesitation
--preparing the ground: seeding
--the great fertilizer: generousity
--planting like you mean it: enthusiasm
--weeds and more weeds: taming our minds
--tomatoes grow at their own speed: patience
--weeding at the root: anger
--the great harvest: joy
--the whole world is our garden: vigilance

Many metaphors could frame discussions of these virtues---cooking, child rearing, hiking the Appalachian Trail, iron mongery, sheep raising, archery and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The virtues considered work well & beautifully, in Larkin's hands, with gardening. Her writing combines stories about the famous, such as Bill Gates, and stories about the wonderful actions of people who have much much less; about legendary monks from centuries past; about her beloved Master under whom she studied for almost a decade; about her experiences as a landscaper's assistant and in a nursery; about guidance from the Gautama Buddha and from that magnificent gardener, philosopher, and writer, Henry Mitchell.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read. Spiritual, good natured humor - interesting info about Buddishim. Reading three more of her books. Love my Kindle.
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