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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha Hardcover – Jun 10 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (June 10 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801675
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 13.8 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #400,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 24 2004
Format: Hardcover
Tara Brach is a great teacher of psychology and an especially brilliant teacher of mindfulness, but I think her teachings of Buddhism are reductionist when it comes to their fundamental core.
I concur with what many of the reviewers have said below about how well Tara Brach brings the Buddhist teachings on awareness and compassion to light. This book is particularly valuable for those who are interested in Buddhism as a collection of practical, secular techniques to improve personal well-being and social relationships. It is "accessible", "practical" and "heart-warming". In this sense Tara Brach is a master of human psychology.
However, those who are interested in seeing what the Buddha saw (which is a possiblity for all), in living in such a way that it is no longer necessary to cultivate joy but merely have bliss follow one like a shadow, in realizing the formless compassion of the Buddhas which is beyond the limited techniques of psychology, should question some of the assertions in this book.
The primary notion Tara Brach emphasizes which, while believable from a psychological perspective, is highly questionable from a Buddhist perspective, is the notion that "awareness is the true self" or "compassion is the true self". Tara Brach describes the true self as something one knows when one has the clear mind of meditation (whether seated or in daily life) or a compassionate heart, but doesn't know when one gets distracted or angry or self-doubting. In one passage, she describes being her true self one morning, getting distracted, and then losing touch with her true self. This makes it sound like the "true self" is some separate state, which is then defined with terms like awareness and compassion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Garden on April 11 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I want to begin with qualifications. I am tough. I deal with terrible things on a daily basis. I have a thick skin and the armor has served me well. That said, this book has changed how I see myself.

Certain things affect how we see ourselves, especially in childhood. We see ourselves through the eyes of our parents, caregivers, guardians, friends, leaders, teachers. We want to impress. Some of us lead ourselves to the extreme of perfectionism. Perfection is unattainable. Perfection is a recipe for self-loathing.

I found this book life-changing. It forced me to self-examine my perfectionism and unworthiness, to really take a hard look at the ways I tried to manipulate my performance in the outside world to conform to peoples' expectations, and how that brought me suffering at the expense of the curation of my own valuable soul. I won't say it solved all of my problems, but it definitely helped me strike at the heart of them. The real hard work is still left up to you, but she shines a bright white light on the blackness of the space between the lovingkindness with which a person could treat themselves and the way we actually treat ourselves. She makes it first okay to treat yourself with this lovingkindness, and that in itself is transformative.

I will recommend this book to anyone who's very deeply hard on themselves, especially those who were raised in a highly critical environment that was not at all kind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on Nov. 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've read a number of books on Buddhism, and many of them include a fair amount of discussion on "suffering" and how much of our pain is perpetuated by our telling stories to ourselves. The mind (and heart) is seemingly forever tangled in a web of doubt, what-ifs, and events that exist mostly or entirely in one's head. As Mark Twain put it, "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened."
That, in essence, is what /Radical Acceptance/ is about, but it goes above and beyond the seemingly brief gloss-over treatment traditional western Buddhist books give this subject. Tara Brach has crafted an amazing book that opens your eyes to just how much suffering we tend to bring upon ourselves. Despite the very serious nature of what this book deals with, it is a delight to read. With each turn of the page, you begin to see more and more clearly. It's like having a compassionate, age-old friend guide you down the road of your own emotions and thoughts.
If you take the time to truly digest what /Radical Acceptance/ is all about, I can guarantee it will change you forever. My brief description here cannot do it justice by any measure - just as the storytelling and strategizing of the mind cannot do justice to the vibrant reality of the world. You might think a book about suffering and self-delusion would be depressing, but it is entirely the opposite. It's like suddenly being able to see with clarity after being caught up in a dense fog for so long. And that, I believe, is the highest praise you can give any book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SLee on March 26 2005
Format: Hardcover
Initially borrowed this book from the library to see if it was worth buying; thought I would just entertain myself, if nothing else. Read many other meditational books but this has been the ONLY effective one that gave me the tools to help deal with the vicious cycle of self-negative thoughts. These tools are not "airy-fairy" & has been written in a most excellent way with plenty of examples of what other people have gone through & how to have compassion towards oneself. It just takes an open & willing heart. This book has been so life altering that I'm looking forward to joining one of the vipassana meditation retreats held by the author. Thanks Tara for writing this book for me!!!
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