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La Vida Tal Como Es / Nothing Special, Living Zen
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La Vida Tal Como Es / Nothing Special, Living Zen

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,204 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A Zen Center weekend in a book! The delightfully contemporary teacher and bestselling author of Everyday Zen shows how to make living itself a spiritual practice and how to discover that the extraordinary is really "nothing special."
Paperback, 406 pages
Published May 6th 2006 by Norma S a Editorial (first published September 3rd 1993)
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This book really changed my view of why I'm meditating and where I'm going with it. I have a completely different visual analogy now, one in which I'm peeling away layers and layers of mental junk I've built over the years. And then nothing special happens. You just peel away as much of it as you can, and the rest takes care of itself. In other words, I'm not trying to achieve any particular outcome, other than the peeling away. There is nothing special at the end of this path, and there is no e ...more
Mika. Mika.
This is a very nice book on Zen, and I picked up a few tips from this book (perhaps because I know a little about Zen) like:

• Zen is like cleaning the mirror to see your real self in here and now… There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So when we don’t pay attention to each little this, we miss the whole thing;
• People shouldn’t be at a Zen center until they feel there’s nothing else they can do: that’s the time to show
Jan 04, 2009 Eric added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zen
Plain, simple and tough. Very good.

I guess maybe part of the usefulness of reading Zen books (as opposed to say, sitting) is to reinforce your commitment to practice and for me, this was a pretty good book for that. No artificial flavours or preservatives, no mystical bullshit, no made-up words, no exhortations for loving-kindness and compassion, no pseudoscientific justifications or the grating "scientists are starting to discover X; Buddhists have known this for thousands of years", just the
I think it's one of the best books I've read so far. She is very kind yet so matter how personal you take it at first, you keep on reading the book because you know she's speaking the truth. I can honestly say I didn't had much discipline to keep up with my practice.. maybe because I practiced for the wrong reasons. She made that all clear for me.

this is my bible - JOKO-BECK is amazing.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In this sequel to Stupid Fast (Sourcebooks, 2011), Herbach continues the saga of the dysfunctional Reinstein family. Written as a journal from 17-year-old Felton's perspective, the story follows the teen's journey to bring his runaway brother home. In the wake of his mother's mental breakdown and Felton's rise to fame as a sports phenomenon, Andrew feels lost and, well, like nothing special. He travels to Florida to finally meet his father's relatives in hopes of fi
Jen Madsen
This was my first investigation into Zen and I found it to be nothing like I expected--which was better than I could have imagined. I fall for fluff and promises of nirvana and enlightenment like anyone else, but I always come back to people like Charlotte Joko Beck and Brad Warner who have the guts to tell it like it is. Rather than feel disappointed that Zen made no promises, I felt relieved. Nine years later I'm still poking around the issues, drifting in and out of fantasies, but this dedica ...more
Felix Ignacio
Pocas veces he visto un título que definiese con tanta perfección su contenido. Joko, la autora, nos presenta, de un modo directo y sin eufemismos, que, para llegar a la 'dicha' en la vida, debemos entender que ésta simplemente 'es'. Gran lectura, clara y tremendamente didáctica.
I do not carve time to meditate in the Zen tradition of sesshin but I read this book to explore the practice of Zen and its canons.
It did awaken some considerations about my own approach to life and they were a useful addition. I found the Dorothy chapter resonated with something I read in Jon Kabat Zin's book and that is, we are on a constant search for our "path" when in fact, our path is in everything we do on a daily basis. From the mundane tasks to our deepest connections with those around
Sean Raf
Much like Beck's previous book 'Everyday Zen' there is no other writer (that I've found so far) that has written with anywhere near the sort of clarity, intelligence, profundity, sheer scary ass wisdom about meditation/mindfulness/Buddhism as this lady did. She cuts through the bullshit with the sharpest hottest knife. There are no riddles, she does not try to be coy or obscure like some writers about something that is already quite hard to grasp already. And I thank her so strongly for giving t ...more
Another excellent book which reinforces the importance of meditation practice, paying attention, noticing and labelling thoughts, maintaining a sense of wonder and keeping a "simple mind". Probably worth re-reading when things aren't flowing because the messages contained here would bring you back on track. I liked the author's practical advice and laid-back writing style as well.
Kasey Jueds
Charlotte Joko Beck is just amazing: down-to-earth, accessible, and wise. I have loved both her books, and both I've read very very slowly, savoring and pondering. When I finally finished this one, I would have been happy to turn back to page 1 and start all over again. There's so much wisdom in her writing, always so much new to learn.
Mohammad Ali Abedi
“Perfect love means to love the one through whom one became unhappy. (Soren Kierkegaard)”

A Zen approach that feels like it has derived from the author’s Zen classes in her San Diego Center with Student-Teacher questions and answers at the end of most of the chapters. The topics seem to be basic stuff about how to forgive, not be bogged down by worries, and try to enjoy life one day at a time.

For some reason, I imagined the students to be stressed out career women, that use the sessions to chill
Lo stile di Charlotte Joko Beck è inconfondibile: illustra lo Zen in modo chiaro, lineare ed estremamente orientato all'applicazione pratica. Esattamente come nell'altro suo libro, ‘Everyday Zen’, sono qui raccolti svariati discorsi da lei fatti ai suoi studenti nel corso di varie sesshin; ciò che risulta particolarmente utile è la riproposizione delle domande poste dagli stessi, seguite dalle relative risposte, in quanto funzionali a delucidare molti dubbi del lettore.

È anche questo un libro or
What I love about Jojo Beck's two books is that they're very no nonsense. Very stripped done, don't try and fool yourself. Essentially very zen.
Best book on Zen I have ever read (and I've read maybe a hundred). Clear, direct, accessible, and profound.
At first I thought the title, Nothing Special, sounded "mean". It was kind of a depressing thought~ as most of us have a need to feel set aside form others and be unique (special) in some way, or else we feel worthless as humans. We seem to have a desire to feel separate. But after delving into the book, I realized that what Joko talks about is pure life itself and our connection to it, without all the nasty complicated emotions we like to center our thoughts around, which separate us from enjoy ...more
Cecily Flynn
Quite simply, this book changed my life. I read it more than fifteen years ago, and keep coming back to it year after year. I recommend this to anyone interested in Zen, but also to anyone dealing with chronic stress or emotional distress. Beautifully simple, easy to comprehend Zen teachings you can apply to all aspects of your life. I just love this book.
An incredible book - but dark. "Nothing Special" gives invaluable insights into the ego, our goals and ambitions (whatever they may be), and our relationships with other people, but at times Joko Beck seems to me to be too fond of negating, and forgets to affirm. Things such as joy and vitality seem to come as an afterthought to negation. The "sitting" she talks about is surely a helpful tool to keep the ego in check, but it also is a radical renunciation, a suppression of the body, a domination ...more
Paul Kotheimer
this book has been extremely good for me and i'm not really one to meditate too often. the concepts come back to sitting constantly, but i thought of the ideas really easy to incorporate into my normal state of mind.

the chapter about the 'icy couch' basically summarized Hubert Benoit's philosophy of zen meditation...noticing the contractions in your psyche and stepping into them, feeling your pain. this is good stuff. i am already more than half way through my second reading of this fantastic b
David Buckley

This is a sequel to the enormously successful "Everyday Zen" by the same author. Though it contains the same dogged realism about human desires and motives, it lacks some of the punch of the first volume. Many of the "talks" in this book include student questions and Joko's responses. While interesting, they lack the freshness and immediacy of her earlier "sermons". Sometimes, in "Nothing Special," despite the introductory remarks, one gets the sense that one is intruding on a long-running conve
This was a hard read for me. I'm used to fiction so it was a struggle to get through it. Admittedly, I did speed-read my way through much of the later chapters but I still go the gist of it. Mostly it was the writing style that was difficult as she seemed to be speaking in circles so it made it sound like a bunch of hokum. I did appreciate her non-judgmental style and I did take a few notes while reading it so it wasn't a total loss.
No one, nothing will save you; this credo may sound quite awful for non practitioners or beginners. This book is not for the faint hearted, no balm for your wounds will be offered. It gives you instead a glimpse of no nonsense daily life practice as a (Zen) meditator.

Joko Beck may seem to emphasize the difficulties of practice. Yet, she hits the core when she says that this path is not going to be easy nor painless. Transformation requires hard work and patience, but the results are real and ta
This is not a book you read in one sitting. I really enjoyed reading the different conversations and stances on meditative practice.
Dru Pagliassotti
This book and her Everyday Zen are very useful explanations of the Zen viewpoint from a Western/US perspective.
Cher Johnson
It wouldn't be fair for me to rate this since I didn't finish it. I regret that I never saw Joko Beck in person; many of my friends were her students for years. They often speak of the power of her presence. Why didn't I finish? I have done so much spiritual reading that this seemed redundant, like revisiting a milepost on my journey that I passed years ago. Another thing is that through my practice, everything has become special. So the sort of dark nature of these teachings (alluded to in some ...more
Unfortunately, I have to return this book to the library before it's finished. It's not the type of thing you can hurry through. I especially like the dialogue excerpts between Joko and her students. As with the other Buddhist texts I've read, I feel at once inspired and discouraged. It seems an impossible pursuit of perfection, a loosening of everything we know, or think we know. Still resistant to "sitting," when I can be soaking in all these and other ideas. Can reading be my meditation?

This is a great book; I enjoyed it much more than I expected because I was afraid I would find it as cryptic as I find many Zen teachings. But her clear speaking style makes it more than understandable and I feel that I learned a great deal, which I will reinforce by re-reading it in a few months.
I wanted more after reading Full Catastrophe Living. Luckily Jon Kabat-Zinn offers a Reading List. NOTHING SPECIAL tops the list. Gratefully, I read a chapter each and every sublime night. Joko offers a mellowness that heals the frantic pace, the place in which I dwell more often than I wish. Now I see that Joko offers more chosen titles in her NOTES. My paperwhite helps me to connect the next dot: Peace Pilgrim or Stephen Levine?
"When nothing is special, everything can be." Joko Beck died last summer, making these teachings put to paper, if possible, even more precious. The format here is mostly transcripts of conversations between Joko and her students; which sort of puts us in the classroom too, with a rare and wonderful Zen master. One of the best ever, anywhere. A pretty little book, if I might add a girly footnote-- I like the watercolor flower :)
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Charlotte Joko Beck was an American Zen teacher. Born in New Jersey, she studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and worked for some time as a pianist and piano teacher. She married and raised a family of four children, then separated from her husband and worked as a teacher, secretary, and assistant in a university department. She began Zen practice in her 40s with Hakuyu Taizan Maezum ...more
More about Charlotte Joko Beck...
Everyday Zen: Love and Work Living Everyday Zen Now Zen Zen día a día. El comienzo, la práctica y la vida diaria Waking Up to What You Do: A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion

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“Most of our difficulties, our hopes, and our worries are empty fantasies. Nothing has ever existed except this moment. That's all there is. That's all we are. Yet most human beings spend 50 to 90 percent or more of their time in their imagination, living in fantasy. We think about what has happened to us, what might have happened, how we feel about it, how we should be different, how others should be different, how it's all a shame, and on and on; it's all fantasy, all imagination. Memory is imagination. Every memory that we stick to devastates our life.” 19 likes
“It's of no use to look back and say, "I should have been different." At any given moment, we are the way we are, and we see what we're able to see. For that reason, guilt is always inappropriate.” 15 likes
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