Zen-zoned: “The Art of Simple Living” by Shunmyo Masuno

I absolutely love how Shunmyo Masuno starts his book The Art of Simple Living (2009) with quaint pointers.

“Savor the morning air.”

“Make a delicious cup of coffee.”

“Make time to be alone.”

As an introvert, I find all this romantic and exciting. The book does not disappoint in giving us, poor screen-addicted mortals, glimpses of an idyllic, simple life — a life that is in fact within our reach.

Which is the very idea this blog is committed to promote.

In short: I was off to a great love affair with this book in its early pages.

But the latter part of the book starts to get confusing. Zen terms are sprinkled everywhere, with little explanation. I think Masuno could do without them, or kept them at a minimum and still convey their usefulness through juicier anecdotes.

Some of his points also remain abstract — even obscure — to me. I was once curious about Zen philosophy; unfortunately Masuno managed to somehow rob the subject of flavor.

Its minuses notwithstanding, The Art of Simple Living still stands out to me as a primer on the Zen way of living simply. Anyone who’s curious to find examples of simple living a la Zen monk will find some useful baby steps here.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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