Upside-Down Zen: Finding the Marvelous in the Ordinary

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Wisdom Publications, Nov 13, 2006 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 271 pages
3 Reviews
Writing and teaching in the same tradition as Robert Aitken (Taking the Path of Zen) and John Tarrant (Bring Me the Rhinoceros), Susan Murphy shares their warm and lyrical approach to Zen Buddhism.

Upside-Down Zen is Murphy's unique invitation to explore the vivid spirit of Zen. Concentrating her gaze on the particular-the lived moment-she delivers Zen's timeless wisdom in a voice that stimulates and sustains the interest of the contemporary reader. She illuminates Zen koans, the often misunderstood teaching stories of the tradition, by drawing on diverse sources such as literature, folk-tales, modern cinema, and Australian aboriginal spirituality.

Upside-Down Zen is an excellent, enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in meditation, self-knowledge, and the opening of insight and compassion in ordinary life.

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Review: Upside-Down Zen: Finding the Marvelous in the Ordinary

User Review  - Goodreads

Deep, rich, and poetic, and much of it way over my head. But I discovered that going back and re-reading something that made me go "Huh?" was rewarding, and it is on my new shelf, the "to-read-again ... Read full review

Review: Upside-Down Zen: Finding the Marvelous in the Ordinary

User Review  - Goodreads

Murphy incorporates a lot of narratives -- her own and others -- as she uses a Buddhist framework to respond to a variety of life's challenges. A gentle book with great depth. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Susan Murphy is a Zen teacher in the lineage that comes through Robert Aitken and Ross Bolleter in the Diamond Sangha branch of the Harada-Yasutani line of Zen, and John Tarrant, who has established an independent Zen school, the Pacific Zen Institute. She regularly conducts sesshin (Zen retreats) with the Zen Open Circle ( She also travels to Melbourne and the US to teach. Susan is a writer and feature film director, with a special interest in place, dream, and the affinity of Dharma with aboriginal spirituality. She is a widely published author on subjects as varied as cinema and Zen. She lives in Sydney.

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