Norman Fischer



Average rating: 4.26 · 2,269 ratings · 213 reviews · 53 distinct worksSimilar authors
Training in Compassion: Zen...

4.47 avg rating — 318 ratings — published 2013 — 6 editions
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Taking Our Places: The Budd...

4.29 avg rating — 173 ratings — published 2003 — 2 editions
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Sailing Home: Using the Wis...

4.33 avg rating — 126 ratings — published 2008 — 9 editions
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What Is Zen?: Plain Talk fo...

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4.02 avg rating — 114 ratings — published 2016 — 4 editions
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Opening to You: Zen-Inspire...

3.87 avg rating — 38 ratings — published 2002
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Suffering and Possibility

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 7 ratings — published 2014
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The World Could Be Otherwis...

3.78 avg rating — 9 ratings2 editions
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Precisely the Point Being M...

4.33 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 1993
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I Was Blown Back

3.33 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 2006
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The Strugglers

3.83 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 2013
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“Obviously it won’t do to love somebody and enjoy that person’s company but then, when things between you get difficult, to abandon the person. No, it is clear that as pleasant as love is, it must also be unpleasant, because people are sometimes unpleasant or go through unpleasant things, and if we abandon them at those times and run away from them because they or their situation has become unpleasant, we would have to conclude that there wasn’t much to our loving in the first place.”
Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong

“This doesn’t work by thought and will. It doesn’t disregard thought and will, but thought and will are not the engine that makes this go. The engine that makes this go is taking a step back and trusting the body, trusting the breath, trusting the heart. We’re living our lives madly trying to hold onto everything, and it looks like it might work for awhile but in the end it always fails, and it never was working, and the way to be happy, the way to be loving, the way to be free is to really be willing to let go of everything on every occasion or at least to make that effort.

So the practice really works with sitting down, returning awareness to the body, returning awareness to the breath. It usually involves sitting up straight and opening up the body and lifting the body so that the breath can be unrestrained. And then returning the mind to the present moment of being alive, which is anchored in the breath, in the body.

Then, of course, other things happen. You have thoughts, you have feelings. You might have a pain, an ache, visions, memories, reflections. All these things arise, but instead of applying yourself to them and getting entangled in them, you just bear witness to it, let it go, come back to the breathing and the body, and what happens is you release a whole lot of stuff in yourself. A whole new process comes into being that would not have been there if you were always fixing and choosing and doing and making. This way you’re allowing something to take place within your heart.”
Norman Fischer

“When we sit we recognize the crucial, divine importance of absolutely everything that arises—every thought, every feeling, every breath, every unspeakable, unnameable impulse. But also we recognize the ultimate importance of the others—of the sky, of all the sounds inside and outside the room. As the mind becomes a little more quiet the sacredness of everything within and without becomes clear to us.”
Norman Fischer



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