It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
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It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  956 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Using delightful and deceptively powerful stories from everyday experiences, beloved Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein demystifies spirituality, charts the path to happiness through the Buddha's basic teachings, shows how to eliminate hindrances to clear seeing, and develops a realistic course toward wisdom and compassion. A wonderfully engaging guide, full of humor, memor...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 14th 1997 by HarperOne (first published 1995)
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If I could remember everything I read in this little book, I would be well on my way to being enlightened. But I forget so quickly. I suppose that's why we speak of spiritual "practice"-it's like exercise. I never "get" it, it's never "finished." And that's a good thing.
It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness by Sylvia Boorstein is a clear, brief guide to Buddhist practice. Boorstein's presence emanates from every page: warm, passionate, compassionate. Funny. Loving. And above...more
This was one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time. Sylvia reveals the simplicity and complexity of Buddhism in everyday life. Great book...looking forward to reading her other books.
"The tendency to struggle in the mind comes from taking one's own story personally rather than seeing it as part if the great unfolding cosmic drama."

"We have two kinds of fears. One is a fear that whatever is going on is going to go on forever. It's just not true - nothing goes on forever. The other is the fear that, even if it doesn't go on forever, the pain of whatever is happening will be so terrible we won't be able to stand it."

One of those books that popped up in my life right when I need...more
Overall I enjoyed this book. The author is very down to earth and writes in a way that is both easy to understand and educational. This would be a good book for someone interested in learning more about buddhism without getting bogged down in conceptualism. That being said, I wish more time was spent on each topic. This book only scratched the surface and was set up as a collection of short essays/thoughts about very topics, as opposed to an in depth discussion.
Scout Stirling
A very informative introduction to the practice of Buddhism with personal opinions from the author's own experience. With each chapter being no more than three (with the exception of one that is still only about seven) pages long, it makes it a very easy to understand book with no confusing details.

However, as it says on the front, it generally does not stray from the 'path to happiness', so maybe if you are interested in the deepest realms of Buddhism, it might not be your cup of tea. Ideal for...more
Harriet Roll
Jan 23, 2014 Harriet Roll rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Buddhism and how it interacts with other systems
Recommended to Harriet by: NPR On Being
Truly enjoyed this book. Puts some unfamiliar or "hazy" concepts, right thinking, lovingkindness, etc. into actual experience. This work can/will be helpful and insightful to anyone wanting to both be happy and increase the happiness around them.
I gratefully acknowledge the memory of my parents, both of whom taught me how to think and how to laugh.

Mindfulness, the aware, balanced acceptance of present experience is the heart of Buddhism.

Managing gracefully ~
Craving causes suffering
Decide to “have a good day”
prolonged yearning and prolonged aversion are tiring and demoralizing

what shall i do with my anger? overt expression is unnecessary

Vinaya: Buddha taught ~
Before admonishing another, one should reflect thus...
In due season will I sp...more
Linda Hollingsworth
This is another great book about spirituality with a very down to earth and friendly tone. Reading these short chapters is very much like sitting in the kitchen of a friend over a cup of tea and coffee cake. It is so friendly you may want to stay, and as Silvia points out, it is difficult not to want. The line between appreciating and wanting is so very difficult to negotiate, but Silvia shares stories and insights that illuminate the path and the purpose of mindfulness practice.

A good example...more
Jul 29, 2012 Katherine rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Katherine by: Eliana
More like 2.5 stars. I didn't love it but for the times that I just wanted to read a book that gave some insight about life lessons, it was not a bad read. This book was recommended by a friend who has always been looking for a meaning in her life. And I can say that in some ways it can help you get to some understanding that we just don't get answers in our lives about why we're here and we need to enjoy every second of our lives, because that is we hold in our present. Our past is past and the...more
Sylvia B is awesome! Her book is just what I needed to give me some timely insights into life. The thoughts and teachings are not radically different from what I’ve learned from my parents, my teachers, my friends, and my religion. But its surface level practicality and simplicity just grabbed me, and it offers enough depth to delve into for years.

From my very initial reading, most of Buddhism seems to revolve around the fact that life is difficult, and we can’t change that. Obviously, not rock...more
You could characterize Sylvia Boorstein's style as "folksy." That alone may tell you how much you'll like this book. I'm not a big fan of "folksy," (not a judgment, just a statement), so that's likely the major reason I gave the book no more than a three-star rating. The other reason, I suppose, is because I found the book, generally, a little simplistic. For example, her treatment of the concept of 'emptiness' leaves a lot to be desired. That said, the book is a useful primer for someone who is...more
A wonderful book for both readers who want an introduction to Buddhism as well as a refresher to those who may already understand it. While Boorstein's simple writing style makes understanding the concepts easier, it does not take away the importance of the message - that in life we will always be dealt with surprises but we can learn to manage these challenges and hurdles through learning to let go of attachments, learning to observe our emotions when they arise and recognize that they are just...more
Mary Anne
I have to return this book to the library. It was OK. Mostly the author, a Jewish Buddhist, write short bits about the Buddha.
For me she reinforces the notion that life is suffering. How many times have I read this recently and experienced this in my life.
The Buddha called the journey to happiness the four noble truths. The first truth is Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. the second truth is Clinging is suffering. In other words, let it go. Liberation from pain is possible is the t...more
I want to take her class she is amazing! She's right its simple!
A different approach to understanding... I enjoyed it :)
This is the fundamental breakdown of how to incorporate Buddhism into your everyday life. i have found that while practicing certain perspective changes and other state-of-mind-alterations are addressed, the actual belief system of Buddhism is slightly more compicated and so the novel might now touch on as much as would be needed to clarify the difference in perspective of someone from western cultures and someone from the eastern cultures. An enjoyable read but not enough meat and potatoes to g...more
Mar 22, 2010 Laila rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people in need of spiritual comfort
What a find! I learned of Boorstein through Dani Shapiro's awesome book, Devotion. I think it was fate! In an engaging, relatable manner (lots of personal stories about her own mental struggles) she lays out Buddhist ideas about happiness - obstacles and how we can change our way of thinking to move closer to experiencing it. I really don't think you have to identify yourself as a Buddhist to benefit from this book (I don't.) I came away from this wanting Sylvia Boorstein to adopt me as a grandd...more
Nikki Morse
This was a re-read, and when I read it the first time I hadn't been as exposed to Buddhist teachings so I got a lot more on going through it. The book is made up of short (1-2 page) vignettes exploring different Buddhist themes through anecdote and story. Although I loved the analogies and it made the teachings quite accessible, I wished at times for more continuity or depth. But at the same time, that is Sylvia Boorstein's contribution -- depth through simplicity.
I love the way Sylvia Boorstein incorporates her own personal, real life experiences in each example of the Buddha's teachings. A very easy to read, easy to follow guide on how to attain happiness and balance, or, for those on their way but maybe a bit off kilter, it serves as a gentle reminder. Highly recommend for anyone with an interest in Buddhism or anyone who desires a way to just live simply.
Alisa Miller
Written by a Jewish grandmother, this book breaks down the basic concepts of Buddhism and, in simple language and bite-sized sections, provides insight on how to incorporate these concepts in everyday life to help the reader find peace and balance. This book is about spirituality outside religion, so no worries about your religious affiliation (or lack thereof).
I didn't really learn anything new from this book, but it is well-written and has short chapters so it can be read in increments.
If my mind didn't cling, I would be totally fearless. Nothing would frighten me, because there would be nothing I would be afraid to lose and nothing I would need to be happy. I can tell myself, "I'm frightened now because even though I know what's true, I have forgotten it now. I know the possibility of remembering exists."
Love Sylvia Boorstein's writing style. Offers insight into the foundational elements of Buddhism and offers real life anecdotes as examples of practical application of these elements. VERY relatable. A great book for those who are merely curious about Buddhism as well as for those who have been practicing a while.
Perhaps more ancedotal than I cared for... but the author does relay important truths and how they have applied for her and her situation, which i feel could be rewarding for many readers. I must relay that this book is starting me down a path of further Buddhist study after a dry spell for years
Aug 13, 2008 Alyssa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!
Yes, it's a cliche but THIS BOOK REALLY DID CHANGE MY LIFE!!! This book opened my eyes to the Buddhist path and I have found a sense of peace and a deep happiness that I did not think was possible in this world. Thank you Sylvia Boorstein for truly changing my life!
I liked the way things were presented - it was not presumptuous and the author did not speak down to the reader. It presented Buddhist tenants in a very accessible way, more as gentle reminders than as strict rules, which I feel is in line with the whole thing.
This book is very down-to-earth about applying Buddhism to your daily life and is written by a Buddhist teacher/psychotherapist who you'd want to adopt as your grandma. (At least I did). It's so short and concise, too, so it's a very quick read.
This was a re-read. Such a clear, simple, straightforward little book with so much stuff packed into it. Although I've now been studying Buddhism for almost 8 years, this book was one of the first I read, and it still stands up brilliantly.
Nikki Wood
This is a very easy introduction to Buddhist thinking. She gives down to earth examples and admits to her own human 'weaknesses.' I've found that the ideas are presented so simply, they slide right into some of my thinking and are implemented.
Lauren Teoli
I love Sylvia Boorstein. I read and re-read this book several times. I pick it up and flip to a random section when I need a pick-me-up and she's right there for me. An essential book. I've bought several copies for friends. LOVE her.
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Sylvia Boorstein (born 1936) is an American writer and Buddhist spiritualist.
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“... every single act we do has the potential of causing pain, and every single thing we do has consequences that echo way beyond what we can imagine. It doesn't mean we shouldn't act. It means we should act carefully. Everything matters [p. 41].” 11 likes
“... freedom of choice is possible. Life is going to unfold however it does: pleasant or unpleasant, disappointing or thrilling, expected or unexpected, all of the above! What a relief it would be to know that whatever wave comes along, we can ride it out with grace [p. 35].” 7 likes
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