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The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2003

    Great Book

    Having meditated with Dean Sluyter as an instructor and listened to many of his lectures and talks, I have come to realize what an incredible and open minded person he is. This book only enforces my prior impressions. With witty allusions and real wisdom that is sometimes difficult to come by, he enlightens the reader and in the end proves that there are really no specific 'commandments.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2002

    Excellent book to make your life a beautiful thing

    This book gives you an outline in how to live your life but it¿s not something that has to be done religiously. Dean Sluyter points out everything you need to be happy even nothing is going right in your life since he makes see that in life the good times come with the bad. He also writes that when the bad times are here, he tells the reader that it¿s not a permanent situation. He also writes about a way of not repeating the same mistakes in you life and to learn from all the experiences life has for us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2001

    Nice book

    This nice book lays down 10 guidelines for living a more 'present' life and experiencing moment-to-moment awareness. Some of his 'commandments' are Zen interpretations of the 10 laws Moses brought down from Mount Sinai; others have nothing to do with them. It's really not as much Zen as it is a nice book about moment-to-moment living.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2001

    Fine Writing, Useful Info

    There are many wonderful spiritual teachers who write books, but they¿re not all wonderful writers. Sluyter is. His witty, inventive approach and his exceptionally clear prose style held me from the first page (a cosmic riff on 'Singin¿ in the Rain') to the appendix (seven pages of the most useful meditation tips I¿ve seen anywhere in print). The title is a joke which most people get; Sluyter states at the outset that he¿s not a Zen teacher and that the book embraces much more than Zen. (His fresh look at the Ten Commandments as an enlightenment manual is eye-opening.) The book is eclectic without being superficial, full of practical how-to¿s without being boring. Its pop culture sensibility (Elvis, Dylan, Homer Simpson, 'Groundhog Day,' etc., are cited alongside the Buddha) makes 'Eastern' teachings lively and accessible to Westerners. I think even advanced meditators and seekers will find fresh insights here, while beginners will receive a thorough, entertaining, dogma-free introduction to the path.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2001

    Smiles and Wonder

    This is the book that I will recommend to anyone who wants an interesting and user friendly book on (mostly) Eastern spirituality that is also deep and grounded in tradition. Sluyter¿s excellent writing brings regular 'hits' of smiles and wonder. It does not break new ground; it is about timeless wisdom. But it does open new, friendly versions of old spiritual practices, and it identifies spiritual signposts in our own familiar cultural landscape. Quotes range from Plato to Pogo, from Dogen to Dylan. In one chapter we are taken into a class with Charles Genoud, the originator of 'Gesture of Awareness,' an adaptation of Tibetan Dzogchen meditation. 'In one exercise, each student picks out a spot across the room and walks toward it. After a few repetitions, Charles interrupts them halfway to their goal and has them walk to a different spot instead. Then he invites them to consider: 'if we never reach the original goal, in what sense were we ever walking `toward¿ it? Where did that `toward¿ exist?....In our minds, we¿re always going somewhere; in actuality we always are somewhere.' This exercise, like so many in 'The Zen Commandments,' can actually be done by the reader. So on one level this book is an easy, breezy read. On another level it leads to an engagement with conundrums and wisdom practices that can profitably be followed for years. Here is some tantric wisdom on marriage. 'The procedure is simple: if you worship (that is, acknowledge) your partner as the infinite, then you get to set up house with the infinite, eat breakfast with the infinite, make love to the infinite. Such worship doesn¿t require you to relate in an artificial or saccharine way; that would just confuse the issue...It doesn¿t require you to suppress your occasional anger or other 'negative' feelings, which are a natural, ordinary feature of relationships.... Instead of fantasizing about the person of our dreams, we devote ourselves to a real person and so awaken.' Thomas Merton similarly advised, 'Make a chair as though an angel were going to sit in it.' Make your bed as though a god/goddess were going to lie in it. Tantra like this turns projection on its head. Instead of being ruled unconsciously by the mental pictures we make of others, we openly embrace the whole projection project and do it positively and consciously. This book is successful because it is modest. It does elegantly what it sets out to do: makes wisdom accessible from our ordinary experience. Sluyter notes the joke about the seeker who asks the guru for the secret of life. The guru answers: 'You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around; that¿s what it¿s all about.' Sluyter¿s suggestions make good Hokey Pokey. You have to do the turning yourself. Unfortunately, for those committed to specific traditions the title is dishonest and a turn-off. Dean Sluyter, a student of Dzogchen, is not a Zen practitioner and has no business using 'Zen' in his title, just as California wineries have no business calling wine 'Burgundy.' 'The Zen Commandments' is excellent jug wisdom. Zen it isn¿t.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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