From Publishers Weekly
Rizzetto, abbess of the Bay Zen Center in Oakland, Calif., offers a compelling and highly accessible set of teachings on the Buddhist precepts, "guidelines" to everyday thoughts and behaviors that "prod us to wake up and see clearly the reality of... every situation." The first part of the book presents a clear overview of how to actually work with the precepts, as well as some fundamental Buddhist teachings on the illusion of the self and the advantages of resting in the "full experience" of life "just as it is." The bulk of the book is then given to discussions of the precepts themselves, which Rizzetto presents as aspirations rather than prohibitions: "I take up the way of speaking truthfully" instead of the traditional "not lying," for example. Other precepts include cultivating a clear mind and letting go of anger. Rizzetto's discussions are intelligent and compassionate, practical and engaging: while giving pragmatic suggestions, she persistently affirms that the precepts are not about following "some outward moral authority," but rather about engaging "the power of awareness so that we can see more clearly what deeply held beliefs are behind our actions"—a liberating invitation for anyone wanting to break open their usual "reactive thinking" and instead "find real freedom to engage life." (June)
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"Rizzetto's discussions are intelligent and compassionate, practical and engaging: while giving pragmatic suggestions, she persistently affirms that the precepts are not about following 'some outward moral authority,' but rather about engaging 'the power of awareness so that we can see more clearly what deeply held beliefs are behind our actions'—a liberating invitation for anyone wanting to break open their usual 'reactive thinking' and instead 'find real freedom to engage life.'"—Publishers Weekly
"The distinctive charm of Rizzetto's book is that she not so much explains Buddhism as applies its precepts to an active, committed, and contemporary life."—Library Journal
"A thought-provoking book that invites the reader to sharpen mindfulness in the presence of the most ordinary, everyday moments."—Ascent Magazine
"Rizzetto's book is an inspiring as well as practical guide. How refreshing! Please read this good book and then pass it on to a friend so that the circle of investigation and engaged practice widens."—Inquiring Mind
"A gem of a book; relevant for all schools of buddhadharma. This work goes well beyond listing and explaining rules to live by. We are given tools of discernment that bring these guidelines to life and make the precepts a far more interesting and creative dharma practice."—Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath
and Living in the Light of Death
"Diane Rizzetto has written a thoughtful, sensitive examination of how to be a genuinely good person in this world. Steering a wise course between recklessness and self-righteousness has never been an easy task in life, and she does a beautiful job guiding that journey."—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
"A wonderfully honest, wise, and useful book, and an important one, as we find a way to express a spirituality of compassion in our troubled world."—Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico
"Waking Up to What You Do
, besides being an inviting title, is also an excellent description of what Buddhist practice is fundamentally about. Diane Rizzetto knows this terrain extremely well. She has lived and practiced it her whole life; her methods, insights, and anecdotes invite readers to do the same. This book is about more than just Buddhist precepts. It is a roadmap toward a more awakened and illumined life."—Lewis Richmond, author of Work as a Spiritual Practice
"No aspect of Zen practice is more crucial today than precepts, the bodhisattva mode of expressing compassion and insight in our troubled world. Diane Rizzetto's book provides a good introduction to actual practical engagement in the life of precepts. Her detailed examples from everyday situations clearly demonstrate how to find our own helpful deep awareness."—Taigen Dan Leighton, author of Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression