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Everyday Zen: Love and Work
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Everyday Zen: Love and Work

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  4,043 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
Charlotte Joko Beck offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living—love, relationships, work, fear, ambition, and suffering. Everyday Zen shows us how to live each moment to the fullest. This Plus edition includes an interview with the author.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by HarperOne (first published 1989)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it

This a great no-nonsense guide to Zen spirituality, free of Asian exoticism and specialized language, whose only purpose is to make you see. According to Joko Beck, enlightenment is really very simple and yet may take an entire lifetime--or more--to achieve. Enlightenment consists in this: being present in the moment, every moment, for the rest of your life.

For you Christians who have been nourished by the spirituality of Juliana of Norwich, Meister Eckhardt and Brother Laurence of the Resurrec
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest here. The reason I got these books on Zen and meditation in the first place was to help me clarify what I was supposed to be doing in karate.

Damn this book is sobering. I don't even know where to start...

This book is a series of lectures that were transcribed by some of Joko's students. I guess the biggest thing that I got out of this book is the idea that yesterday is gone and tomorrow's not here yet so just live out today. Now I know that the point isn't that *tomorrow* isn't he
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned more about Zen from this book than from any other I've read so far.
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Zen/Buddhism book to date. I read it in the middle of a crisis in my life, and it might have saved my marriage, because it spoke straight to me. About how life doesn't "work for you," about how people resist their lives and live in their dreams and fantasies, about how we expect things from other people and our lives and suffer when we are disappointed.

Joko speaks with such a feeling for the problems of real life that she could be any age, at any stage of practice (except th
Julie Ehlers
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I’m still pretty new to the whole Buddhism thing, and for a long time I was intimidated by zen: I held the common, but mistaken, belief that it was highly ascetic and all about denying human emotions and desires. It took some time for me to be able to read a book like Everyday Zen and really understand what it’s saying. In fact, zen does not ask you to deny your emotions. It asks you to feel them, really feel them, without obsessing on them or rationalizing them, reacting to them prematurely or ...more
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality, zen
My manual for Zen meditation and understanding. [return][return]The format of Everyday Zen is a series of transcripts of talks that Joko has given to students during intensive meditation retreats or during regular Saturday morning programs at the Zen Center of San Diego, which she heads.[return][return]Joko is a rarity in American Zen--American, not Asian; female; mother of 3 children; she had an independent career from which she retired. She started Zen when a mature adult. As a result, she bri ...more
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who practices meditation/zen or has a genuine interest and open mind
It has helped me to be more accepting of myself and everything else, just the way it is. It has helped me to see (or reminded me) that I don't have to change myself or my life, to try to get rid of my "problems" (an endless and frustrating goose chase). Actually, I can accept them, and in that acceptance, they lessen. It has given me faith and clarity in my meditation practice, and inspiration and motivation to keep practicing. The first time I tried to read it (4 or 5 years ago), I didn't get a ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
Just an incredible book. I practiced for several years with Charlotte Joko Beck's dharma heir, Elihu Genmyo Smith, at the Prairie Zen Center. So I had heard about her, but was never completely aware of her work. I have to thank GoodReads for leading me to this book. It was ranked highly on the listopia "Buddhist Reading List" so I decided to make it part of my practice. After sitting, I would read a section of the book, much like I did previously with Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace Is Every Step: The P ...more
Nov 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddhism
One of the challenges of maintaining any kind of spiritual practice is bringing it into your daily routine. This modern world we live in is just full of distractions, some important, others less so- and I've found it's easy to run through an entire day without having spent even five seconds in the right mindset. For Buddhists and Buddhist fellow travelers like me, this tends to manifest most obviously as a neglect of sitting meditation, but it's really part of a whole lifestyle of neglect- readi ...more
Sean Raf
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like Beck's subsequent book 'Nothing special' 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/Zen 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
Christian Northe
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: daoyin, favorites
If you ever feel reading about selfeducation and mindfulness you should give Charlotte Beck a chance. This book has accompanied me on my search for understanding on meditation, awareness and orientation in life for well over 15 years by now. I have always been fascinated by Jokos Becks words but had and still have a hard time to accept all the implications and deeper meanings. She is a very, very strict person and yet ever so understanding and caring. By and by I manage to accept what she says i ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Don't let the possibly pop-psyche, self-helpy title fool you! Joko is the real deal. The path is nothing but practice, thorough-going effort to accept this moment as it is, with no reservations. On giving up hope - "We have to give up this idea in our heads that somehow, if we could only figure it out, there's some way to have this perfect life that is just right for us. Life is the way it is. And only when we begin to give up those maneuvers does life begin to be more satisfactory."
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zen beginners, American Buddhists
Shelves: buddhism
True to its name, this book lays out the basics of Zen thought and practice without glamorizing them, and without wandering off into esoteric/academic sidebars. A very useful book for beginners, and a healthy "reality check" for intermediate practitioners.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple dozen talks transcribed, lightly edited, and presented here, each offering an informal, unpretentious exploration of the Dharma generally, and of zazen (sitting meditation) particularly. Each talk had a memorable line or two, but the essays themselves weren't ones I'll be coming back to.

A few passages worth remembering:

"Someone said to me a few days ago, "you know, you never talk about enlightenment. Could you say something about it?" The problem with talking about enlightenment is th
May 08, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zen
I thought I'd note down (hah) some quotes I liked in this book:
[T:]o substitute one conditioning for another is to miss the point of practice. The point is not that a positive emotion is better than a negative one, but that all thoughts and emotions are impermanent, changing, or (in Buddhist terms) empty

Joko Beck is not the first person I've heard say (in effect) impermanence == emptiness, but I think reading it here is the first time it's stuck.

Another thing I liked in this book is the "New Jer
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Una lettura davvero intensa che riesce a far sentire il lettore sempre più leggero, pagina dopo pagina; il problema è che, chiuso il libro, la mente analizza ciò con cui si è confrontata e il peso gravoso ritorna tutto in una sola volta. Per questo è bene sottolineare che, nonostante possa essere una lettura interessante per chiunque, è una raccolta di discorsi elaborati dall'autrice durante le sesshin da lei tenute, quindi le sue parole sono rivolte a chi pratica meditazione (zazen, nel caso sp ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wisdom
"It was ok" is about all I can say about this book. Some of her points were well-taken, and she does a good job of hitting all the main zen and meditation points, but the delivery just didn't endear the book to me. Part of it might be that it was a transcription of actual talks that the author has given, so it's not really laid out like a usual book. Also, it irked me how her main point came down to "meditate, know yourself, and you will Just Know what to do". It seemed a bit of a cop-out to avo ...more
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
A very concise and earthy explanation of meditation and Zen Buddhism. As someone who has been studying meditation in a different tradition I found her practical guide to meditating spot on, illuminating things I'd been struggling with for years.

I'm not sure this would be a great introductory book. I think there are basic concepts not explained as exhaustively as someone new to Buddhism and meditation would want. But if you've been around a bit (in any spiritual or contemplative path) I think thi
Aug 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely terrible. It can be summed up with, "Don't get mad. Be aware. The present is what is really important." But instead of just saying that, she has to wrap it up in all kinds of devotional nonsense. Horrible stories like one about this jerk who is waiting for the karma train or dharma train or something... so here he is sitting around like a jackass and people start dumping their kids on him and he ends up having a lot of work to do. So he works the rest of his life babysitting and when ...more
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I keep this book on my bedside, along with the other Beck book. These are, to me, the best books I have on insight meditation. They are practical, no-nonsense pieces taken from her work with students and include questions from students. I find both books grounding and helpful without all of the difficult to penetrate mumbo jumbo (my phrase) that books like this sometimes offer. I highly recommend this book and "Nothing Special." Mine are so worn, it's time for new copies.
Paweł Skorupiński
The most pragmatic down-to-earth and hence the best book about so called "spiritual life" that I have ever read. Simple, well-structured and containing some great parallels for life situations each one of us encounters. If you let it, it is going to help you accept things in your life no matter how painful they are sometimes, and commit to those things that you care about most.
Wes Packer
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the closest book I have to a "bible". Wonderfully clear, simple advice and instruction. Perfect for Western practitioners, in my opinion.

Stands up extremely well to repeated reading - in fact, I recommend revisiting it at least once a year!

I take it everywhere with me.
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first Zen book, when there were only a couple available on bookstore shelves. What a refreshing view of life.
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great book, wish I owned it.
Geoff Young
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical collection of lectures on how to live in a world that rarely conforms to our conception of it and that has no interest in our hopes and dreams. I first read this in the early '90s and understood little. I still don't understand as well as I'd like and so will read it again, probably many times.
Darren Mcbratney
Some interesting stories

It is just that though, a collection of disparate speeches. So it's a bit difficult to get through as it feels somewhat disjointed. But that is also seemingly part of the point about "practice".
Isaac Kerson
Starts off strong with a discussion of lay practice in America then goes down hill fast. The most confused presentation of zen I've ever read. Very unlikely to cut through any delusions. More likely to prolong them. Did not finish.
Kumar Vikash
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly this book contains the secrets of living life, the way it should be lived. There is so much in this book that cant be absorbed in one go. More than just going through the pages and re-reading it one must make a sincere attempt to apply the teachings.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We cannot love something we need.
Alice Mindrum
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing

This book offers life practice that will make you a wiser more compassionate person no matter what your faith tradition is.
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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...
“My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life.” 8 likes
“We tend to run our whole life trying to avoid all that hurts or displeases us, noticing the objects, people, or situations that we think will give us pain or pleasure, avoiding one and pursuing the other.” 6 likes
More quotes…