Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $3.18 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 17 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
If You're Lucky, Your Hea... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Some markings and highlights inside. Cover shows no wrinkles, tears or marks. Pages have no folds.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life Paperback – August 28, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.77
$6.98 $0.63

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Get Inspired
Titles to get you ready for your best year yet. Learn more | See related books
$13.77 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 17 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life
  • +
  • The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan
  • +
  • Zen Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen
Total price: $42.27
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"An example of engaged, moving, eye-opening and contemporary Zen, lived deeply in the world." (SweepingZen.com)

"Finally, a book that reveals to every seeker that the religious and spiritual paths can be one and the same! No one who is on a search for wholeness and meaning will be unaffected by these life-changing reflections of James Ishmael Ford." (Lee Barker, president, Meadville Lombard Theological School)

"Informative...down-to-earth...practical." (Publishers Weekly)

"Engaging, humorous, deep without being dry. I recommend it to Buddhists and also non-Buddhists." (OpenBuddha.com)

"Field Notes from a Zen Life is a sparklingly refreshing offering. Ford's mature, playful, multifaceted Zen has been slow-cooking for forty years and is now ready. Read and delight!" (Dosho Port, author of Keep Me in Your Heart a While)

"James Ford's Field Notes covers the spiritual turf from beginner to Zen master with honesty, clarity and beauty. We love seeing our UU minister and Zen master plotting murder while checking out of the supermarket, as much as we love his probing the depths of Zen wisdom. A book that sparkles with the complexities of humanity, ethical wisdom, and love--and also offers clear instructions for beginning a Zen practice." (Grace Schireson, author of Zen Women)

"James Ford shows us how take the initiative and to be ready to be surprised by joy, freedom, and the whole mess. A valuable companion filled with encouragement for beginners and experienced meditators alike." (Diane Eshin Rizzetto, author of Waking Up to What You Do)

"A must-read addition to the growing literature on 'Western Zen'--with an engaging clarity and informed easy-going sophistication." (Zoketsu Norman Fischer, author of Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls)

"A wonderful blend of story, advice, perspective, history, and instruction." (Sumi Loundon, author of Blue Jean Buddha)

About the Author

James Ishmael Ford is a senior guiding teacher of Boundless Way Zen. James has been a student of Zen Buddhism for over forty years. He is also a senior Unitarian Universalist minister serving at the First Unitarian Church of Providence and a member of both the American Zen Teachers Association and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He lives outside Providence.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1614290393
  • ISBN-13: 978-1614290391
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In IF YOU'RE LUCKY YOUR HEART WILL BREAK, James Ishmael Ford has done something rather remarkable.

There are books about the history of Buddhism, in general, and Zen, in particular, like Heinrich Dumoulin's A History of Zen Buddhism or Ford's own Zen Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen.

And there are books about Buddhist teachings, such as Walpola Rahula's What the Buddha Taught or, again, Ford's earlier In This Very Moment.

And there are books that combine personal memoir with direct teaching of the dharma, like Soko Morinaga's Novice to Master (which has my vote for the best subtitle of all time) or Janwillem VanDeWetering's The Empty Mirror.

What Ford -- a Soto Priest and Unitarian Universalist minister -- has managed to do here is to combine all three kinds of books into one, and he's done so in a way that is both accessible and original. As I look at my shelves containing multiple dozens of books on Buddhism and Zen I can honestly say that I have nothing else quite like this.

In the service of full disclosure I will note that I, like Ford, am a Unitarian Universalist minister. And, like him, I have been involved with Buddhism for quite a while now. Yet unlike Sensei Ford, my involvement has been much more of a study than a practice. I never, as he puts it, "threw myself into the Zen way to find out the most important things about who I am and what I might be." I am both personally and professionally grateful that I now have these "field notes from a Zen life" to help me see what I've been missing.

The chapters in If YOU'RE LUCKY are brief, yet full.
Read more ›
Comment 18 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I save the softest part of my heart for truth tellers -- not the people who shout from mountain tops necessarily -- but those among us who can quietly and steadfastly stand in the face of harm and say, "That's not true", or alternatively, "This is what is true." James Ford is a truth teller. He tells the truth about the path of Zen and how it unfolds. That it isn't anything special. That it opens our hearts if we stick with it. The stories from his own spiritual path with its ups and downs, heartbreaks and joys, combined with many teachings, make for a wonderful reading experience. This is one of those books you'll want to buy and keep so you can pull it off of a shelf on a stormy night when your mind is consumed with, "What was I thinking?!" James will talk you down and witness your reboot for as long as it takes. The man is a true dharma friend.
Comment 17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been trying to decide what is the best way to describe how I feel after reading this book. Inspired doesn't encompass enough of it. Wiser, possibly, as I've learned through Rev. Ford's numerous real - life stories and clear teachings and feel like I was right there with him during the last five decades. I enjoyed reading about his initial experiences in Zen which I haven't read anywhere else. And I resonate with this skeptical eye towards who and what he encounters on his path. I also appreciate him noting when things didn't go as planned. He talks about how Zen means sit down and watch, but also what to do once you get up off the cushion - something that Engaged Buddhists will appreciate. His explanations of what Koans are - and aren't - I foresee will be repeated to every new Zen student before his/her first koan interview. I wish I had this wisdom when I started! But I could say that about the entire book.

Rev. Ford gives us the gift of his hard-won wisdom in such a tender manner that I could imagine him telling these stories to me over numerous cups of tea. His heartfelt desire to share the Dharma with us shines through. If you've never sat in meditation or if you've been around the cushion a few times, you will find new insights and new ways of pointing to reality through our every day lives in modern society.

But the most important and the strongest feeling I'm left with after closing Rev. Ford's unique book covers is to go to my own cushion and sit. He reminds me of one of my teachers, the late Zen Master Seung Sahn (about whom Rev. Ford references in the book) who said: "don't know; try, try, try for 10,000 years non-stop; keep a mind which is clear like space, soon get Enlightenment, and save all people from suffering." I am grateful for Rev. Ford's teachings in this illuminating book. May I break open again and again.
Comment 12 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is subtitled "Field Notes from a Zen Life". It would be more accurate to call it "Field Notes from a Unitarian Minister".

James Ishmael Ford unquestionablly has been practicing Zen Buddhism for a long time (as he informs us at numerus points in the book: "I've been walking the Zen way for the larger part of a lifetime." (p.11) "Many years ago I was living in a Zen Buddhist monastery in Oakland, California." (p.35) "A million years ago, or so, I decided to try Zen meditation." (p. 41) "[This led me to] years of watching my mind and its intimate workings" (p. 115)). His one or two brief chapters on Zen practice show a depth of personal experience with meditation.

But for Mr. Ford, Zen is simply the dominant flavor of an eclectic Unitarian stew. The book contains anecdotes from his Baptist upbringing, quotes from Jesus and Shakespeare, Aldous Huxley, Albert Einstein, Hindu stories of the goddess Kali, Zen stories. And ultimately, we never get far from Mr. Ford's synthesis of these sources. The intellectual heart of the book is Mr. Ford's own melding of the seven precepts of the Noahide Code, a Hebrew scripture with the five Buddhist precepts for lay practitioners. Mr. Ford ends up with his own seven precepts and devotes a chapter to each.

At the end, what we are left with is a lot of Mr. Ford, and not much Zen. The good of this is that Mr. Ford is a genial and intelligent writer and the book draws from various interesting sources -- always looking for parallels and not contrasts, in the Unitarian way. But if readers are looking for an introduction to Zen or Buddhism, they should look elsewhere.

Early in the book, Mr.
Read more ›
Comment 17 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life
This item: If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life
Price: $13.77
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: zen