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Stumbling Toward Enlightenment Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A series of failed relationships and nervous exhaustion led Larkin, a former management consultant, to seek solace in Zen Buddhist meditation. This account of her spiritual quest is hilarious and serious, breezy, and earnestly truthful all at once. It is filled with reflections on Zen precepts and meditative practice, distilled in pragmatic observations that will resonate with American seekers wanting out of the fast lane. An enjoyable, thoughtful book for popular reading collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

A humorous and honest collection of Buddhist wisdom from a Western beginner's perspective. * Features a new preface by the author. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Celestial Arts; First Edition edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890878498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890878491
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,566,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
I knew Larkin in her pre-Zen days and during the early "what-am-I-doing-in-a-Zen-temple" days too. I worked with her and edited a good deal of her business writing. The thing that always struck me then and struck me again as I reviewed the advance copy of "Stumbling. . ." is that she always finds a way to make the deepest, most profound points in a down-to-earth, accessible way. Even if you are not "Zen" yourself. . . if you are a seeker, or are new to spirituality, this is the book on Zen that you want to read. Larkin is above all honest. She gives you herself, the genuine article, with no window dressing. And what she is - what she gives you - are wit and openness and forthright, hard-won answers. She weaves personal stories and humor into the message and eventually you come out at the back cover realizing that while Zen may be profound, it need not be stuffy or unapproachable
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I originally bought this book over 10 years ago.

I did not like the title. My roommate told me that I should buy it for that reason.

I am glad I did.

This book helped me achieve a level of peace and happiness I had never experienced previously.

I gave my original copy away and felt that I had strayed from my spiritual path. Perhaps I stumbled. :)

I decided it was time to re-read this awesome book.
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Format: Paperback
I am a practicing Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist minister and when I first read Geri Larkin's book I was immediately moved to read it again from cover to cover. Imagine someone writing about Zen practice with a sense of humour and gentle wit? Imagine seeing ourselves all with 'bad hair days' and still able to laugh and see it as part of the healing that brings so many of us to spiritual practice. I have recommended this book to many friends and colleagues and I know many of them have bought it. People in their 20's have been especially moved by Geri's down-to-earth style because they seek honesty, integrity and gentleness - this book has all three and so much more.
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By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
It is great to read about a Westerner who is indeed "stumbling toward enlightenment" like we all are.....this book is warm, funny, and compassionate....plus goes places that others seem not to go (like "If All You Can Think About is Sex."). It is very supportive and uplifting, and makes you feel that she is in the trenches alongside you.
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Obviously a certain previous reviewer from the great state of Mass missed one of the main points. Lighten up, my friend!

I already have books by Chodron and Suzuki. These are wonderful books written by Zen Masters. They are excellent references and guides. But perhaps a little too distant to provide the inspiration that I found here.

I chose Larkin's book because it puts more of a human face on Zen practice. I get more from this work because it is written with humor from a western point of view. Someone who started down this road from a point closer to where I now stand. These are stories and lessons that relate more to me and hopefully will continue to prod me forward. And I thank Geri for sharing them.
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By A Customer on January 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
No pre-fabricated philosophy here. No set of rules to follow. Like good discussions with old friends, what "Stumbling Toward Enlightenment" offers is an unpretentious look at what has worked -- and what hasn't -- for Zen teacher Parang Geri Larkin, informed throughout by an apparent wish that all beings everywhere might stop and smile a little more often.
Forgetting for a moment Larkin's obviously huge heart, insatiable curiosity, warmth, kindness, and compassion, what makes "Stumbling" such a wonderful book is that Larkin asks no one to clean a kitchen she herself isn't willing to clean a thousand times.
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By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Accessible Zen" is how the author describes her book about embarking on a spiritual path. With chapters like "The Invaluable Lessons of Miserable Days" and "The Art Of Cultivating Sympathetic Joy" you cannot help but stumble upon a gem or two of truth. This book will help you become wiser and make you feel human along the way. You've gotta fall before you fly, but fly you can. Stumbling Toward Enlightenment will help you on with your wings.
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Format: Paperback
Many of us revere, love, and learn from our Eastern teachers. I myself am a student of Thich Nhat Hanh's. But how easy is it to relate to a celibate elder zenmaster who was born in a different time and culture? Perhaps not so hard but Geri Larkin speaks to all of us who have questions about how to engage in a tradition so different from the one into which we were born as she chronicles her journey from businesswoman to monk, letting us know that we "can get there from here" and showing us how. Apparently it is possible to be smart, witty, honest- and headed towards enlightenment!
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