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Zen Path Through Depression, The Paperback – February 16, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (February 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060654465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060654467
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,509,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since depression sometimes responds well to drugs, it's natural to think that, without medicinal intervention, we're helpless in the face of it. Like John Tarrant's groundbreaking Light Inside the Dark, Philip Martin's The Zen Path Through Depression offers a powerful alternative. A psychiatric social worker having recovered from depression himself, Martin is a sympathetic voice, urging the reader not to escape from depression or fight against it but to face it and work through it. He says that the mindfulness exercises appended to each short section of his book are optional, but they seem essential. It's true that the book could stand alone with its one- and two-page sections devoted to trenchant explorations of fear, death, sufficiency, choice. But the exercises bring you through the quagmire of depression and back into life. They are true experiences that untie knots impervious to thought alone. Instead of thinking your thoughts, you watch them, and where they can take you finally is back into joyful living. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

At age 37, Buddhist scholar and psychiatric social worker Martin found himself in the grips of a depression that initially eluded his reliance on Buddhist practice to stay balanced. However, like Jonathan Zuess, M.D., the author of last year's The Wisdom of Depression, Martin eventually found in depression an unexpected opportunity for spiritual exploration. He has distilled the lessons he learned into 43 brief essays on topics such as pain, impermanence, death, faith and selflessness, each of which aim to encourage the patient to accept and examine depression rather than attempt to escape or heal it. In contrast to popular conceptions of Buddhism as "a dry, joyless, intellectual exercise," Martin asserts that "the path Buddha offered is one of turning toward and moving into joy." His meditative exercises will have a familiar ring to readers already versed in the subject. Among the more innovative ones are those dealing with thoughts of suicide and death, in which he recommends writing one's prospective obituary or imagining in detail the genuine effect of one's suicide on others, including those who discover the body. Agent, Scott Edelstein.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book contains very short essays (no fluff or jargon) that can be read easily.
Dennis Kessinger
As someone who has suffered with depression for most of my life, I have found that Zen Buddhism and meditation have been great tools in helping me manage.
R. G. Robb
Recently, I bought this book as a gift and would highly recommend this book to anyone!
Jen Watson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Finally, something helpful for that interminable time when you're in the middle of a six-month bout of severe depression. It helped me to minimise the fear of long-lasting depression and the thoughts that maybe it will never pass. Maybe it won't (though we all know depressions usually eventually lift, but it's impossible to believe this at the time), but at least this book says: "Hey, there are some good things about being depressed." And it tells you what these are, so you can appreciate this awful state of mind for a few moments. Much easier to digest when you're depressed than those useless and offensive "Think Bright And Happy Thoughts"-style of books.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book came to my attention just when I really needed it.
Don't confuse this volume with the fuzzy-minded dreck filling the shelves of your local New Age bookstore. Martin's writing is simple and lucid, tempered by years of zazen under the guidance of an authentic master of the Soto school. He invites you to recognize your depression as an opportunity to grow, and as a teacher. The modest exercises offered at the end of most chapters cannot fail to help a sincere student.
Non-Buddhists will discover much of value here, but Zen students will find it especially rewarding. Many passages earned the approval of my day-glo hilighter. I will return to this little book of wisdom again and again.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have found his book very helpful to me when I am awake in the middle of the night and focused on my depression. The exercises at the end of the brief, useful chapters are a calm voice leading me back to letting me relax again. The table of contents allows me to look for the topic that strikes the most immediate note for me. I love this book and recommend it heartily, whether you take medication for depression or not.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Francisco X. Stork on March 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What makes this book so helpful is its tone. It pulls off the very difficult task of showing us how to face the pain of depression (and the emotions and thoughts that lie beneath it) while at the same time providing comfort and compassion for the suffering associated with depression. It is a book that can be read safely by those in the midst of depression. It will not add to the self imposed burdens and self-reproaches that come with depression. Rather, the reader is helped to see herself the way we would look at someone very dear to us who needs both unconditional love and limits, acceptance and encouragement. The book, written into two to three page chapters with meditation exercises at the end combines non-technical insight about depression with heartfelt advice about surviving and, if possible, benefitting spiritually from it. It is a book that helps us receive and re-discover self-acceptance, courage and gratitude.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by D. Burns and Philip Martin's book are the most important books I have ever read to deal with profound depression. I have been hospitalized for depression and now live a healthy, happy, successful life with a challenging career, good friends, and liesure activities I love and enjoy.
Moving INTO your depression, instead of escaping from it, is the most important thing you can do to heal. You must practice Zen in order to build the habit of doing this. It is challenging. Pema Chodron's book "When Things Fall Apart" was a very comforting book, but did not offer the strong medicine necessary to deal with serious, profound depression. Philip Martin's does.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
In late 1999 I experienced a 9 week period of extreme anxiety followed by profound depression. This book helped me hang on although I wanted to end my life. I felt that the author did not pull any punches. That is, he wrote about the experience of depression from the perspective known only by those who have been there. His words rang true, and although he did not candy coat the experience of depression he found a way of helping me understand that I could live through it, as he had. I greatly appreciate this book and recommend it to anyone going through depression or wanting a deeper understanding of the perspective of those who are.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book doesn't deal with the psychiatry of the mind in traditional terms. Any person suffering from depression will immediately realize that the FEELINGS they have and have experienced in the past are not unique. The triggers might be unique, but the loneliness, the sense that time has slowed down, the sensation of being stuck in the thickest of mud, those feelings are not unique. This book helps a person understand how to use the experience in a positive way instead of becoming lost in the psychobabble that traditional psychiatrists use to explain why a person becomes depressed. Most people suffering depression want to find a way to feel better--immediately--not sink deeper into a state of melancholy while reading a medical thesis. The chapters are short and to the point and offer a person an opportunity to think about the triggers in their lives which have brought them to this same point again and again. Once a person knows what has made them sad and depressed, they can recognize it in the future and deal with the triggers as they happen and not later on when they feel the worst.
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