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If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Lifeby James Ishmael Ford
Synopses & Reviews
Using vignettes and anecdotes from his own life - as well as quotations drawn from sources as varied as the Bible, Yiddish aphorisms, and stand-up comedy - Zen teacher and Unitarian Universalist minister James Ishmael Ford shares the gifts won over his lifetime of full-hearted engagement with the Zen path. "I've found myself broken open," Ford says, "and found in that opening my fundamental connection to the whole world."
What's more, If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break breathes new life into the Buddhist ideas of karma and rebirth - as well as the Buddhist precepts of ethical action - and finds for them kinship in other spiritual endeavors. Even the most cynical of hearts will find resonance in Ford's compassionate presentation of basic human truths.
The book has a casually warm and friendly tone that will appeal to wide variety of readers.
Drawing on sources as diverse as the Bible and stand-up comics, Ford reflects on his more than four decades walking the Path—and the Big Questions asked and answered (in his words: sort of”). He examines the nature of Awakening and what it means to work toward it—helping us see, in the words of one chapter title, Some of What Zen Practice Is, and a Little of What It Isnt”; he offers a wise perspective on the nature of spiritual directors and enormously helpful counsel on What to Look for When Looking for a Teacher”; and give us a seasoned look at the core practices of Zen (shikantaza and koan study) within the key principles of not knowing and sitting down, shutting up, and paying attention.”
This book explores the always fascinating issues of karma and rebirth from the deconstructing perspective of Zen—in a way that will find resonance with both conservatives and the vast audience of Stephen Batchelors Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist.
And perhaps most significantly, the last section of the book takes a fresh and nuanced look at the Buddhist Ethical Precepts—which
About the Author
James Ishmael Ford is a senior guiding teacher of Boundless Way Zen. James has been a student of Zen Buddhism for over forty years. He is also a senior Unitarian Universalist minister serving at the First Unitarian Church of Providence and a member of both the American Zen Teachers Association and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He lives outside Providence.
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