Untrain Your Parrot: And Other No-Nonsense Instructions on the Path of Zen by Elizabeth Hamilton | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Untrain Your Parrot: And Other No-Nonsense Instructions on the Path of Zen

Untrain Your Parrot: And Other No-Nonsense Instructions on the Path of Zen

by Elizabeth Hamilton
     
 

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This book offers exercises, instructions, jokes, stories, pithy quotes, and—most of all—encouragement to anyone interested in exploring Zen but who may find traditional presentations severe or intimidating. Hamilton writes with an easygoing, friendly style that invites readers of all backgrounds to sit down and give meditation a try. But don’t be

Overview

This book offers exercises, instructions, jokes, stories, pithy quotes, and—most of all—encouragement to anyone interested in exploring Zen but who may find traditional presentations severe or intimidating. Hamilton writes with an easygoing, friendly style that invites readers of all backgrounds to sit down and give meditation a try. But don’t be fooled by her puns and checklists—this is serious Zen.

Drawing on three decades of experience as a Zen practitioner and teacher, Hamilton explains how to meditate and how to maintain an ongoing practice. From there, in her clear, lighthearted, and humorous style, she moves right to the heart of Zen, showing us how we could move beyond our concepts, expectations, and emotional reactivity to touch the reality of our lived experience with openness and simplicity, thereby finding freedom.

Untrain Your Parrot includes simple instructions to clarify and elucidate the basics:

   • 

how to establish a beginning meditation practice
   • 

how to develop physical, mental, and emotional awareness
   • 

how to experience "open" awareness—observing one's practice while allowing for a sense of spaciousness with whatever occurs

For more information on the author, Elizabeth Hamilton, go to www.zencentersandiego.org.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Serious Zen taught in a friendly and accessible manner with special exercises, jokes, and more; from a San Diego-based teacher of Zen with 30 years' experience."—Library Journal

"A superb teacher who has peppered meditations with stories, colorful anecdotes, exercises, and imaginative phrases. . . . Hamilton helps us examine in fresh ways the warps of the conditioned mind, and provides many practices that you will want to try as you attempt to live a life of wholeheartedness."—Spirituality & Health

"Delightful humor and deep wisdom in the key of Zen. Elizabeth Hamilton has been there, done that, and tells the truth, so her teaching is gentle, grounded, and emotionally intelligent. She makes meditation practice real and accessible, rather than a romantic idealization."—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are

"The title tips us off that we're in for a witty read, rich with metaphor. But Untrain Your Parrot turns out to also be a brilliant reconceptualization of Zen practice as a comprehensive, do-able program for psycho-spiritual growth. The clarity of Hamilton's pedagogy makes this an uncommonly serviceable workbook for the inner (and outer!) life."—Zoketsu Norman Fischer, author of Taking Our Places

"Elizabeth Hamilton is an intrepid spiritual practitioner, meeting sorrows and hardships with a spirit that continues to open to love. With humor and unrelenting use of skillful means, Elizabeth provides sound guidance in everyday language for everyday folks who dare to live awake."—Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles

Publishers Weekly

This debut book by San Diego Zen teacher Hamilton boasts a quirky, appropriately Zen-ish title and a foreword from, surprisingly, the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks, with whom the author worked during Parks's later life. It offers plenty of meditation exercises with easy-to-follow directions. It thoroughly translates what can be the culturally foreign characteristics of Japanese Zen into contemporary American parlance and life situations. All these things commend the book to a beginner, but it's too often unclear and could have used more work. The diction is occasionally foggy ("both tinged with some degree of narcissistic attachment to a truncated self"). Attempts to simplify aspire to easy-to-remember lists, but these come out idiosyncratically obscure ("BBSTSBB is a palindrome composed of the first letters of seven words that beckon our awareness"). It is interesting that the center of a person's chest includes the acupuncture point Conception Vessel 17, but there is such a thing as too much information, particularly for beginners. Hamilton is very likely a good Zen teacher, funny and imaginative, but that doesn't automatically translate onto the page. (Aug. 14)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Serious Zen taught in a friendly and accessible manner with special exercises, jokes, and more; from a San Diego-based teacher of Zen with 30 years' experience.


—Graham Christian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590303634
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 7.43(h) x 0.63(d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Hamilton teaches and lives at the Zen Center of San Diego with her husband and practice partner, Ezra Bayda. She leads retreats and Zen programs throughout the United States and Hawaii, Australia, and Canada, including leading a retreat with Pema Chödrön and Ezra Bayda at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She has published numerous articles and dharma teachings under the pen name M. T. Head.

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