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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha Hardcover – June 10, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st edition (June 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801675
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A psychotherapist and Buddhist meditation teacher in the tradition of Jack Kornfield (who contributes a foreword), first-time author Brach offers readers a rich compendium of stories and techniques designed to help people awaken from what she calls "the trance of unworthiness." The sense of self-hatred and fearful isolation that afflicts so many people in the West can be transformed with the steady application of a loving attention infused with the insights of the Buddhist tradition, according to Brach. Interweaving stories from her own life as a hardworking single mother with many wonderful anecdotes culled from her therapy practice and her work as a leader of meditation retreats, Brach offers myriad examples of how our pain can become a doorway to love and liberation. An older Catholic woman in one of Brach's weekend workshops, for example, recounts how she learned to ask God to help hold her pain. Like her colleagues Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and others in the Vipassana or Insight meditation tradition, Brach is open-minded about where she gathers inspiration. Garnishing her gentle advice and guided meditation with beautiful bits of poetry and well-loved if familiar dharma stories, Brach describes what it can mean to open to the reality of other people, to live in love, to belong to the world. Obviously the fruit of the author's own long and honest search, this is a consoling and practical guide that can help people find a light within themselves.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Radical Acceptance offers gentle wisdom and tender healing, a most excellent medicine for our unworthiness and longing. Breathe, soften, and let these compassionate teachings bless your heart."
— Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Thank you, Tara Brach, for a beautiful book!!
AAMLRunner
As the title of this marvelous book indicates, Tara Brach shows each and every one of us the path towards accepting our life as it is.
Swing King
And to avoid knowing what's life is really like.
Donald Fleck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

421 of 431 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on November 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've read a number of books on Buddhism, and many of them include a fair amount of discussion on "suffering" and how much of our pain is perpetuated by our telling stories to ourselves. The mind (and heart) is seemingly forever tangled in a web of doubt, what-ifs, and events that exist mostly or entirely in one's head. As Mark Twain put it, "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened."
That, in essence, is what /Radical Acceptance/ is about, but it goes above and beyond the seemingly brief gloss-over treatment traditional western Buddhist books give this subject. Tara Brach has crafted an amazing book that opens your eyes to just how much suffering we tend to bring upon ourselves. Despite the very serious nature of what this book deals with, it is a delight to read. With each turn of the page, you begin to see more and more clearly. It's like having a compassionate, age-old friend guide you down the road of your own emotions and thoughts.
If you take the time to truly digest what /Radical Acceptance/ is all about, I can guarantee it will change you forever. My brief description here cannot do it justice by any measure - just as the storytelling and strategizing of the mind cannot do justice to the vibrant reality of the world. You might think a book about suffering and self-delusion would be depressing, but it is entirely the opposite. It's like suddenly being able to see with clarity after being caught up in a dense fog for so long. And that, I believe, is the highest praise you can give any book.
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132 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Byrne on July 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
'A book with heart.'
In the 25 centuries since the Buddha's enlightenment under the tree in northern India, his teachings have taken on unique expressions as they spread from India and throughout Asia. The core of the teachings kept their integrity and directness, but the forms and expressions they took both helped shape and were shaped by the cultures and pre-existing traditions in these countries.
As the Buddha's teachings have spread to the West-particularly in the last two generations-a similarly fascinating encounter is at work. Westerners have the opportunity to read, explore, and practice in a variety of Buddhist traditions-Tibetan, Zen, Insight meditation and others. At the same time, Buddhism in the West is being shaped by our own social, political, cultural, and scientific history of recent centuries-so already Buddhism here looks less monastic, more gender equal, more focused on the inner search for truth than on external rites and rituals, and more agnostic on questions that are not so easily testable by our own direct experience, e.g., reincarnation.
The spiritual marketplace is rich with the extraordinary contributions of Westerners who have spent extensive time in Asia studying with teachers there and coming back to share their wisdom-Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Christopher Titmuss, to name just some of those teaching in the Insight meditation tradition. They have all succeeded in taking these perennial wisdom teachings and expressing them in a language that is accessible to Westerners from many walks of life and spiritual backgrounds.
Tara Brach's `Radical Acceptance: Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha' is a wonderful continuation of this still-new encounter.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mark Waller on September 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Even though this book has Buddha in the subtitle, this book is the best of three worlds. Fundamentally, this is a book about awareness and awakening, which springs from a rich Buddhist tradition. However, it is also a book about the way awareness and awakening should be applied in the setting of therapy. Also, this is a book about the journey of the author, through her life, through her pain, to the fullness and divinity that is available in each moment. This makes the reading even more enjoyable and real.
Finally and for me most importantly, this is a book about pain and how saying yes instead of saying no to our pain is the true path to freedom. Ms. Brach's approach is not to act out your pain, but to become fully aware of it.
This book should be every therapist's required reading.
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420 of 494 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Tara Brach is a great teacher of psychology and an especially brilliant teacher of mindfulness, but I think her teachings of Buddhism are reductionist when it comes to their fundamental core.
I concur with what many of the reviewers have said below about how well Tara Brach brings the Buddhist teachings on awareness and compassion to light. This book is particularly valuable for those who are interested in Buddhism as a collection of practical, secular techniques to improve personal well-being and social relationships. It is "accessible", "practical" and "heart-warming". In this sense Tara Brach is a master of human psychology.
However, those who are interested in seeing what the Buddha saw (which is a possiblity for all), in living in such a way that it is no longer necessary to cultivate joy but merely have bliss follow one like a shadow, in realizing the formless compassion of the Buddhas which is beyond the limited techniques of psychology, should question some of the assertions in this book.
The primary notion Tara Brach emphasizes which, while believable from a psychological perspective, is highly questionable from a Buddhist perspective, is the notion that "awareness is the true self" or "compassion is the true self". Tara Brach describes the true self as something one knows when one has the clear mind of meditation (whether seated or in daily life) or a compassionate heart, but doesn't know when one gets distracted or angry or self-doubting. In one passage, she describes being her true self one morning, getting distracted, and then losing touch with her true self. This makes it sound like the "true self" is some separate state, which is then defined with terms like awareness and compassion.
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