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Zen: The Art of Simple Living

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Zen is the perfect antidote to the chaos of modern life . . . In clear, practical and easy to follow lessons - one a day for 100 days - renowned Buddhist monk Shunmyo Masuno draws on centuries of wisdom to show you how to apply the essence of Zen to modern life. You will learn how to exhale deeply to eliminate negative emotions, to arrange your house simply to clear your th Zen is the perfect antidote to the chaos of modern life . . . In clear, practical and easy to follow lessons - one a day for 100 days - renowned Buddhist monk Shunmyo Masuno draws on centuries of wisdom to show you how to apply the essence of Zen to modern life. You will learn how to exhale deeply to eliminate negative emotions, to arrange your house simply to clear your thinking, to line up your shoes at night to bring order to your mind, to plant a single flower and watch it grow, to worry less about what you cannot control, and so much more . . . You will even make time to think about nothing at all. Simplify your life with the art of Zen, and learn how to feel more relaxed, fulfilled, and with a renewed sense of peace.


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Zen is the perfect antidote to the chaos of modern life . . . In clear, practical and easy to follow lessons - one a day for 100 days - renowned Buddhist monk Shunmyo Masuno draws on centuries of wisdom to show you how to apply the essence of Zen to modern life. You will learn how to exhale deeply to eliminate negative emotions, to arrange your house simply to clear your th Zen is the perfect antidote to the chaos of modern life . . . In clear, practical and easy to follow lessons - one a day for 100 days - renowned Buddhist monk Shunmyo Masuno draws on centuries of wisdom to show you how to apply the essence of Zen to modern life. You will learn how to exhale deeply to eliminate negative emotions, to arrange your house simply to clear your thinking, to line up your shoes at night to bring order to your mind, to plant a single flower and watch it grow, to worry less about what you cannot control, and so much more . . . You will even make time to think about nothing at all. Simplify your life with the art of Zen, and learn how to feel more relaxed, fulfilled, and with a renewed sense of peace.

30 review for Zen: The Art of Simple Living

  1. 5 out of 5

    Simple

    I like this kind of books. One simple idea in one page. They are separate ideas linked to one concept which is to live a simple life. #Takeaway_notes : Simple Living - Make time for emptiness. - Wake Up fifteen minutes earlier. - Discard what you don’t need. It will refresh your mind. - The happiness to be found in taking your time. - Try eating only vegetables one day a week. - Improve your breathing, and your mind, too, will improve. - Don’t waste time worrying about things you cannot control. - Becom I like this kind of books. One simple idea in one page. They are separate ideas linked to one concept which is to live a simple life. #Takeaway_notes : Simple Living - Make time for emptiness. - Wake Up fifteen minutes earlier. - Discard what you don’t need. It will refresh your mind. - The happiness to be found in taking your time. - Try eating only vegetables one day a week. - Improve your breathing, and your mind, too, will improve. - Don’t waste time worrying about things you cannot control. - Become adapt at switching modes. Create gates within your mind. - Breathe Slowly for 5 minute. - Make time to be alone. - Be grateful for making it through another day. - Don’t think of unpleasant things right before bed. - Try your best to do what you can now. - Don’t be troubled by things that have not yet happened. - In anything, the hard part is just to keep going. - No day is more important than today. - Do not fear change. - Wanting more leads to suffering - Try taking care of someone or something. - Understand what is important in life. - Life really does go by in the blink of an eye.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nika

    2.5 stars rounded up Here is a little tale from the book: Zen Buddhism is said to have originated with a monk named Bodhidharma. He transmitted his teachings to a disciple named Huike. One time, Huike shared his troubles with Bodhidharma. ‘My mind is always filled with anxiety. Please help me to quieten it.’ Bodhidharma replied, ‘I will calm these anxieties for you. But first, will you bring them to me? If you can set them before me and say, “These are the anxieties that burden me,” I will be sure t 2.5 stars rounded up Here is a little tale from the book: Zen Buddhism is said to have originated with a monk named Bodhidharma. He transmitted his teachings to a disciple named Huike. One time, Huike shared his troubles with Bodhidharma. ‘My mind is always filled with anxiety. Please help me to quieten it.’ Bodhidharma replied, ‘I will calm these anxieties for you. But first, will you bring them to me? If you can set them before me and say, “These are the anxieties that burden me,” I will be sure to calm them for you.’ Hearing this, Huike realized something for the first time. ‘Anxiety’ was a thing within his mind. In reality, it was intangible. His fears were intangible, and yet he clung to them. He recognized the futility in this. There is no need to be troubled by things that have not yet happened. Think only about what is happening right now. Almost all anxieties are intangible. They are the invention of your own mind.

  3. 4 out of 5

    7jane

    The author is a Zen Buddhist (head) priest, a Zen garden designer, lecturer, and environmental design professor at an art school. These are 100 lessons for happiness and calm, put in four parts. Some parts are clearly connected and there is some repetition, but it doesn’t really disturb the flow. One gets among other things a light introduction to Zen, and I learned for instance why Zen paintings are done only in black ink (chapter 65), and why there’s that using of koans (chapter 87). The last The author is a Zen Buddhist (head) priest, a Zen garden designer, lecturer, and environmental design professor at an art school. These are 100 lessons for happiness and calm, put in four parts. Some parts are clearly connected and there is some repetition, but it doesn’t really disturb the flow. One gets among other things a light introduction to Zen, and I learned for instance why Zen paintings are done only in black ink (chapter 65), and why there’s that using of koans (chapter 87). The last chapter can act also as the conclusion chapter. The version that I review here had beautiful and colorful paintings that really fit well among the chapters. Subjects including eating, not-thinking meditations, Zen gardens and meditations, on cleaning and owning less, breathing style, appreciating nature, cultivating a right attitude and being positive, and so on. I do think that some of this writing has been done with Japanese audience in mind, but it easy to apply even if you’re not. Of course, not all chapters may feel like you can apply them to your life, but even so I feel that most would. The chapters are short, so one could easily use this book for daily-chapter reading. Even after having read some books on Zen already I feel I got something out of this, and the book was quick to read. Afterwards I had the feeling that this would belong among my ‘essentials’ books, even when not a ‘top ten’ kind of book – very rereadable. And the illustrations made things even better. A lot to think about, a lot to use in one’s life to improve it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Booth

    Simple one pages chapters with surprising insight. Sure there’s a lot of basic stuff but quite a few nuggets in there as well. Worth the quick read and even a reread.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    A nice reminder, but it's pretty basic and very repitious. I'm not sure if I took something new from this. A nice reminder, but it's pretty basic and very repitious. I'm not sure if I took something new from this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    SheReaders Book Club

    This was the best time ever to read this book. I would listed to it on audio every time my mind got wrapped up with worry and anxiety which lately, has been often! Here are a few points that I took away but honestly, I could probably listen to this book on repeat for the next several weeks as a form of therapy. "You decide that you want to do something, pursue it as if your life depends on it." "Live how you want to die." Just delicious bite size pieces of Japanese wisdom. Loved it! This was the best time ever to read this book. I would listed to it on audio every time my mind got wrapped up with worry and anxiety which lately, has been often! Here are a few points that I took away but honestly, I could probably listen to this book on repeat for the next several weeks as a form of therapy. "You decide that you want to do something, pursue it as if your life depends on it." "Live how you want to die." Just delicious bite size pieces of Japanese wisdom. Loved it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Owen

    This book consist of short chapters filled with insight. It takes time to read because you need to stop and think after reading a chapter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Daryll

    Be Kind, and Un-wind Shunmyō Masuno's terse, and straight to the point book is densely packed with beginner level lessons (or more like power points) on the simple living of a Zen lifestyle. I found some talking points as real solutions to life's stressful problems while others seemed far too much into the Monk lifestyle (walking barefoot in the snow, lining your shoes, holding hands together to prevent angry inclinations, etc) for my liking as a non-monk. I would say there is enough here to Be Kind, and Un-wind Shunmyō Masuno's terse, and straight to the point book is densely packed with beginner level lessons (or more like power points) on the simple living of a Zen lifestyle. I found some talking points as real solutions to life's stressful problems while others seemed far too much into the Monk lifestyle (walking barefoot in the snow, lining your shoes, holding hands together to prevent angry inclinations, etc) for my liking as a non-monk. I would say there is enough here to chew on for the average reader, but be wary of expectations.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nopadol Rompho

    Really good book with 100 recommendations about how to live our lives. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Short and inspiring. Written by Shunmyo Masuno, a Zen Buddhist monk based in Yokohama, also renowned as a designer of Zen gardens. Each chapter is one short page that gives mostly practical advice about applying Buddhist principles to everyday life. It's a translation from a Japanese original, and is a window into Japanese culture as well as Zen thinking. Some of the chapters are very straightforward and easy to relate to. Others are more enigmatic or even contradictory, which adds some spice to Short and inspiring. Written by Shunmyo Masuno, a Zen Buddhist monk based in Yokohama, also renowned as a designer of Zen gardens. Each chapter is one short page that gives mostly practical advice about applying Buddhist principles to everyday life. It's a translation from a Japanese original, and is a window into Japanese culture as well as Zen thinking. Some of the chapters are very straightforward and easy to relate to. Others are more enigmatic or even contradictory, which adds some spice to the mix, I would say. I can think of some ways to improve this book, particularly the illustrations and presentation. I understand there is an attempt to keep the design sparse, with a simple line drawing by Harriet Lee-Merrion at the start of each chapter. These are OK, but I would do more. I would at least have the Japanese kanji for each chapter name. As a beginning student of Japanese, I would enjoy seeing the kanji for things like "savor the morning air", "feel instead of think", etc. If the author is going to explicitly reference Japanese kanji characters, I would actually show those characters. For example, in chapter 73, he talks about the concept of "ishiki" or mental consciousness, and mentions a contrast between the first character "i" and the second character "shiki". But I missed actually seeing those characters. This happens in a couple of other places. Similarly, in chapter 8 he mentions "the indescribable intensity in the calligraphy of the Zen monk Ikkyu." I suppose a Japanese reader knows what this calligraphy looks like, but a Western reader could really use an illustration. On the whole I think much of the interest and beauty in this book comes not only from the Zen principles, but from the way these principles are woven and integrated into the beautiful and ancient culture of Japan. I could imagine it being fleshed out into a much larger, more graphically appealing format. As is, it's an interesting and inspiring little book which I enjoyed reading in a single evening.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    Just lovely.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    A calm and simply pleasant book of ideas, some immediately practical and some esoteric/requiring more contemplation. A balm.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abhi

    Let me pick some nits first. 1. A lot of the prescriptions in this book are repetitive, and are found again and again in several places. The one about clearing or emptying your mind, for instance. The "100" in the "100 ways..." then is, as Carlin would put it, a purely marketing decision. 2. I find something easier to learn or remember if it fits neatly in a framework that follows the MECE principle. And, well, yes, that was missing. Everything was all over the place, and the apportioning of the c Let me pick some nits first. 1. A lot of the prescriptions in this book are repetitive, and are found again and again in several places. The one about clearing or emptying your mind, for instance. The "100" in the "100 ways..." then is, as Carlin would put it, a purely marketing decision. 2. I find something easier to learn or remember if it fits neatly in a framework that follows the MECE principle. And, well, yes, that was missing. Everything was all over the place, and the apportioning of the content into the different parts did not make any logical sense to me. After all, this book is about Zen. It is hard to teach something so abstract. There is, obviously, no clear formula or a magic principle, or a set of them. The book does list a lot of good things that are, in my opinion, worth practising everyday, and things we have forgotten or take for granted. Like meditation, or appreciation for nature, or keeping your calm in a tough situation. Yes, this does sound like commonsense wisdom, but how many of us actually practice these things? The path to a good and peaceful life is well-lit, but we are blind.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shwe

    With our busy never ending schedules and tasks on our to do lists, it's bound to happen, we often forget what's important for us as human to live a peaceful and content life. This book reminds us how we can lead a simple life. It's a good simple read which gives a reader a positive attitude towards life. With our busy never ending schedules and tasks on our to do lists, it's bound to happen, we often forget what's important for us as human to live a peaceful and content life. This book reminds us how we can lead a simple life. It's a good simple read which gives a reader a positive attitude towards life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erika Teszler

    It’s not a book that you read in order to finish, but one from which you enjoy small parts every day. You might find out that you are already following some of the concepts in your everyday life without knowing they are part of the Zen way of thinking. A nice and easy reading.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jane Glossil

    Simple. Calming. Practical.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Diep Nguyen

    The book gave me some useful simple but powerful tips that could be applied in daily life. Small things like arranging the shoes after entering the home, or try to see the sunset everyday to appreciate life better... those are examples of what I’ve been able to add on mindfully to my daily routine, and they do make me happier

  18. 4 out of 5

    book_withquotes

    With our bustling ceaseless timetables and assignments on our plans for the day, it will undoubtedly occur, we regularly neglect what’s significant for us as people to carry on with a quiet and content life. This book reminds us how we can have a straightforward existence. The creator is a Zen Buddhist (head) minister, a Zen garden architect, speaker, and ecological plan teacher at a craftsmanship school. These are 100 illustrations for satisfaction and quiet, put in four sections. Subjects inco With our bustling ceaseless timetables and assignments on our plans for the day, it will undoubtedly occur, we regularly neglect what’s significant for us as people to carry on with a quiet and content life. This book reminds us how we can have a straightforward existence. The creator is a Zen Buddhist (head) minister, a Zen garden architect, speaker, and ecological plan teacher at a craftsmanship school. These are 100 illustrations for satisfaction and quiet, put in four sections. Subjects incorporate eating, not-thinking contemplations, Zen nurseries, and reflections, on cleaning and possessing less, breathing style, appreciating nature, developing a right demeanor and being positive, etc. Every section is one short page that offers generally pragmatic regarding about applying Buddhist standards to daily existence. It’s an interpretation from a Japanese unique and is a window into Japanese culture as well as Zen suspecting. A portion of the sections is clear to connect with. Others are more baffling or even incongruous, which brightens up the blend. It’s anything but a book that you read to get done, yet one from which you appreciate little parts consistently. You could discover that you are now following a portion of the ideas in your day-to-day existence without realizing they are essential for the Zen perspective. This is a wonderfully delineated book for certain decent thoughts on the most proficient method to carry on with your everyday life. There’s not all that much yet it gives a few things to contemplate. I cherished this book, the writer has a comprehension of life in the west and as a senior Zen priest, his recommendation feels useful to my life rather than others I have perused which center around the confinement of cloister life. The tips are short and forthright and I got a feeling of quiet and reflection from understanding them. I would prescribe this book to other people and unquestionably as a beginning stage for those hoping to make little Zen changes in their day-to-day existence. I will treasure this book going ahead and return to it frequently.

  19. 5 out of 5

    FlyingBulgarian Svetli H.

    I felt a little bit betrayed by this book - I felt like some of the lessons were differently worded versions of previous lessons earlier in the book. But, nonetheless, I did note down the following as most important - these one spoke straight to my heart - don't leave what you can do today for tomorrow - don't think of unpleasant things before you go to bed - don't be troubled by things that have not yet happened - take pleasure in your work - cast away greed, anger and ignorance - the three poisons I felt a little bit betrayed by this book - I felt like some of the lessons were differently worded versions of previous lessons earlier in the book. But, nonetheless, I did note down the following as most important - these one spoke straight to my heart - don't leave what you can do today for tomorrow - don't think of unpleasant things before you go to bed - don't be troubled by things that have not yet happened - take pleasure in your work - cast away greed, anger and ignorance - the three poisons I would probably list through this book again, but reading it in one sitting was not satisfying

  20. 4 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    A sweet book with some very practical ways to live life. It’s meant to be dipped into so that you have 100 days to try out the suggestions in the book. Some of these suggestions are simple, as the title of the book suggests, but I found that there’s so much to take from that simplicity. I loved how free I felt when I arranged the slippers neatly, removed some clutter, made time for emptiness, and really savored that cup of coffee. And oh, just to get up in the morning, open the window and breath A sweet book with some very practical ways to live life. It’s meant to be dipped into so that you have 100 days to try out the suggestions in the book. Some of these suggestions are simple, as the title of the book suggests, but I found that there’s so much to take from that simplicity. I loved how free I felt when I arranged the slippers neatly, removed some clutter, made time for emptiness, and really savored that cup of coffee. And oh, just to get up in the morning, open the window and breathe in the fresh air. A lovely book, honestly. You can keep this on your shelf and keep coming back every day.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gen-v

    Just one word- Therapeutic. I was so obsessed with the Japanese concept of life and even more after reading this one. The only flow which i find in this book is the unnecessary repetition of a single concept over and over. Zazen and wabi-sabi both the topics are discussed too many times but other lessons are just mind-blowing. Some common zen- practices are being followed in indian households for decades. Other practices are inspiring. The best part is how the writer didn't forget to give enough Just one word- Therapeutic. I was so obsessed with the Japanese concept of life and even more after reading this one. The only flow which i find in this book is the unnecessary repetition of a single concept over and over. Zazen and wabi-sabi both the topics are discussed too many times but other lessons are just mind-blowing. Some common zen- practices are being followed in indian households for decades. Other practices are inspiring. The best part is how the writer didn't forget to give enough credit to india for the buddhism and yoga. Very soothing book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marija S.

    2,7/5 There is nothing fundamentaly wrong with this book but it is far, far less inspiring than other similar guides to 'small enlightenment'. Most advices are repetitive and pretty straightforward (common sense) and some are just random (to avoid using the word useless). If this is the first self help piece you read, I guess it is alright. To me it seems lazy, recycled and spiked with 'mysterious' Japanese words. 2,7/5 There is nothing fundamentaly wrong with this book but it is far, far less inspiring than other similar guides to 'small enlightenment'. Most advices are repetitive and pretty straightforward (common sense) and some are just random (to avoid using the word useless). If this is the first self help piece you read, I guess it is alright. To me it seems lazy, recycled and spiked with 'mysterious' Japanese words.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vamshi Malreddy

    When I read Sapiens and Jobs there were excerpts about Zen way of living and I was impressed to read a full book about it. This book will be a quick read with one simple Zen idea in one page. No waste of time just gets to what he wants to say. It tells you what to do but not how to achieve it. All in all the book has really good insights, worth a quick breeze. Would love a recommendation of books based on Zen.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vageesh Saxena

    Through his book, the author beautifully portrays the importance of zen lifestyle; an art of simple living followed by monks in Japanese Zen temples, for day-to-day life. In short, the book suggests ways on how to 1) Make subtle shifts in habits, 2) Change perspective about ourselves, 3) Better interact with people around us at a workplace and home, and 4) How to shift our attention from our problems to the present. My favourite chapter: Don't be bounded by a single perspective. Through his book, the author beautifully portrays the importance of zen lifestyle; an art of simple living followed by monks in Japanese Zen temples, for day-to-day life. In short, the book suggests ways on how to 1) Make subtle shifts in habits, 2) Change perspective about ourselves, 3) Better interact with people around us at a workplace and home, and 4) How to shift our attention from our problems to the present. My favourite chapter: Don't be bounded by a single perspective.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    I am not a Buddhist, I am not becoming a Buddhist however this book has some simple life practices that are just good to be reminded of. Also it puts some things in a perspective that I might not of thought of. Overall good little read. I would have been done with this sooner had I not had to return it to the library and wait to check it out again! 🙂

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Oh the world would be a very calm and peaceful place if everyone could follow these simple suggestions.

  27. 4 out of 5

    StarMan

    3 to 5 stars, depending on how much you are into Zen stuff. A relaxing read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rashmi

    Beauty of living a simple life. Many basic known & simple stuff, but feels good to read about them....the wisdom of a Zen priest.

  29. 5 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    Thought provoking in many ways as a guide to good psychology and skills to lead a less stressed filled life. I like these types of books even though I am not Buddhist.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gayatri Saikia | per_fictionist

    Divided into four major sections, Zen by Masuno feels like a calming breeze amidst the uncertainty of life as it endeavours to add a clearer perspective to live a simple, content life. Zen : based on teachings that are fundamentally how humans can live in the world, are habits and ideas that you can inculcate : a treasure trove of sorts to live a life abundant with wisdom and to attain Buddhahood. 100 valuable and cherished teachings and a hundred ways to unlock the true happiness and the 'best' v Divided into four major sections, Zen by Masuno feels like a calming breeze amidst the uncertainty of life as it endeavours to add a clearer perspective to live a simple, content life. Zen : based on teachings that are fundamentally how humans can live in the world, are habits and ideas that you can inculcate : a treasure trove of sorts to live a life abundant with wisdom and to attain Buddhahood. 100 valuable and cherished teachings and a hundred ways to unlock the true happiness and the 'best' version of you💚✨

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