Book Review: Zen – The Art of Simple Living

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Recently I read a book called ‘Zen: The Art of Simple Living’. I am an avid reader and love to read books on investing, trading business, economics, psychology, behavioral finance etc. I update my readings time to time in Investdunia home page on ‘Currently Reading’ section. Also I post updates on what I am reading and review of books on Twitter some times.

This book I have chosen to read to know how to live a simple and happy life. The Covid 19 pandemic has taught us how to live with minimum necessities. I use the phrase minimum necessities because necessities can be changed person to person according to circumstances.

However, let’s jump on to the review of the book. This book is written by Shunmyo Masumo who is the head priest of a 450 year old Zen temple in Japan. Every parts are having one some ideas. It’s book which is concise and there is no unnecessary explanation or description. This book is to be read slowly and every words are to be felt when you read.

Zen The Art of Simple Living

The book is divided into 4 parts

Part 1: 30 Ways to energize your present self

Part 2: 30 Ways to Inspire Confidence and Courage for living

Part 3: 20 Ways to alleviate confusion and worry

Part 4: 20 Ways to make any day the Best Day

Some glimpses from Part 1:

  1. Give 10 minutes to yourself everyday. Try for emptiness for not thinking about anything. Just try clearing your mind, and not being caught up in the things around you. Making time for not thinking about anything- this is first step towards creating a simple life.
  2. When you come home, take off your shoes and line them up neatly by the front door. By lining up the shoes, you are taking the next step towards where you are going.
  3. Discard your attachments. Let go o your assumptions. Reduce your possessions. Living simple is also about discarding your physical and mental burdens.
  4. Try concentrate on your food while eating. All our food passes through the hands of a hundred people before it reaches us. By adopting this mindset you will be aware that how fortunate you are.
  5. Whenever you feel anger or anxiety try to exhale deeply and focus on breathing from your abdomen, Soon you will be relaxed and refreshed.
  6. Try seating zazen (correct posture-focus on breathing-steady mind). Empty your mind and allow your thoughts to float up and then drift away.
  7. Don’t waste time worrying about things you cannot control. Mind emptiness will help you to forget about the sense of yourself. Mind will become transparent and you become spiritually lighter.
  8. When you go to bed let go whatever happened to you since waking up in the morning, and be thankful for having made it through another day.
  9. Make time to be alone. Go to a place where you can disconnect from other people and spend time by yourself.
  10. Don’t envy someone who is luckier than you and lament your lack of opportunities. Simply work hard today and do what needs to be done. And fortunate will surely come your way.

Some Glimpses of Part 2:

  1. Don’t think about the things that have not happened. Think only what is happening right now. Almost all anxieties are intangible. They are the invention of your own mind.
  2. Try to do your work mindfully. Think of it as something that educates you. You will experience the true pleasure of work by thinking like this.
  3. We have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  4. When the work day is over and you arrive back at the first gate,it’s important to leave work behind. Enjoy your home life and it is the time to relieve stress.
  5. See as much as you can, Feel as much as you can. And make sure to think with your own head.
  6. Life does not go smoothly, Our efforts remains sometimes unrewarded. Despite this, try to believe in yourself and do your best. Don’t fear moving forward.
  7. Become more down to earth. There are somethings that you can appreciate only when you do them yourself.
  8. Wait for the right opportunity when  you feel stuck in a job or  a relationship.
  9. Be close to nature. Try seating and having a dialogue with nature.
  10. When you are busy make time too clear your head. It will clam your mind and your body will be full of power.

Some Glimpses of Part 3:

  1. Everything exerts an influence on everything else. Do not adhere to your belief firmly. Practice non attachment. By doing so you will be serving the happiness of others.
  2. The three poisons are greed, anger and ignorance. Stay away from these 3 poisons.
  3. Cultivate your sense of gratitude for everything what you have.
  4. In your fuss over black and white you miss out the beauty of grey. Things don’t need to be defined as black or white, right or wrong. Instead of coming down on one side or the other, a compromise may be the best way.
  5. Find occasions to get together with family. Family is the place where you can show up as you are.
  6. Appreciate all the people who came before you. Think about your ancestors and how your presence in the world is nothing but miracle. You will realize the preciousness of life.

Some Glimpses of part 4:

  1. Be grateful for everyday even for the most ordinary day.
  2. Be positive. Let us make today and every precious day as a good day.
  3. Accept the reality what it is. It might sound as giving up., but in fact it is quite the opposite.
  4. Do not divide things into good and bad. Attempting to define things as good or bad breeds worry and stress.
  5. Believe in yourself, especially when you feel anxious. Focus on self confidence that lies behind the anxiety.
  6. The more you try to accumulate money, the more it goes away. Try to contribute to the society and make a better world. Ultimately you will find that money you need will find you.
  7. Cherish being alive every single day.
  8. Put your everything here and now. Make the most of your life.

Finally I would request everybody to read this beautiful book Zen: The Art of Simple Living. This book will help you to be a better human being and as you become better human being you will become a better investor.

If you liked the book summary share it with others and encourage me to write more. 🙂

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Invest Duniya

Invest Duniya

Suman Kumar Gayen of Invest Duniya encourages others to invest and helps them to make informed decisions on savings. She writes primarily on Personal Finance.
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