My journey to Living the Zen-Journal Lifestyle, recounted in my book, The Practical Buddhist, is the story of a 10-year journey and how I left behind the dogma of my parents and my ‘pulpit of origin’ to a life of freedom and fulfillment that is belief, regret, and guilt free.
The Practical Buddhist is the story of my tortuous journey through the trappings of ‘Big Religion,’ the traditional religious path for so many, and its reliance on myth and ritual, to the freedom of awakening.”
The Story Begins in 2012
In 2012 I published The Practical Buddist – Buddhism Without the Robes & Ritual, as a way of informing the world that there was a secular mode of living that didn’t rely on the false-narratives and myths espoused by what I called ‘Big Religion.’ I wanted to, as much as possible, answer the questions I’d been asked in person as well as those sent to me via email and social media.
Today, eight years after the first edition was published, the Zen-Journal Lifestyle incorporates the three active practices I explained in the book: meditation, mindfulness, and compassionate-kindness, with the fourth practice being the daily interaction with your ZenJo notebook.
A new edition of the book is planned that will merge the two into a single volume. Until its release, you can still read The Practical Buddhist for the price of a good coffee.
What if you could discover life’s inherent meaning without belief, guilt, or religion?
- Are you a spiritual person but burned out on the constraints of Big Religion?
- Are you looking for a more secular approach to spiritual practice but without the ceremony and ritual?
The Practical Buddhist is for anyone searching for a more meaningful way of living in the 21st Century and a clearer understanding of what it means to enjoy a secular spiritual practice without the robes, ceremony, or ritual.
I’m Barry, founder of Zen-Journal and author of The Practical Buddhist. For nearly 30 years I searched for a secular way to live an ethical and meaningful life apart from the confines of organized religion.
My experiences within Christianity led me to conclude that ‘big religion’ wasn’t the answer; that religion was created by man in his search for a more meaningful existence.
I found that Buddhism (before the 26 centuries of cultural and geographic influences transformed it into a ceremonial religion) was originally a secular, simple mode of living that led to a more meaningful life.
The Essentials of Practical Buddhism
The Practical Buddhist, my third book, is tempered by over fifty years of inquiry, study, and direct experience. In this book, I write about the role religion plays in my life, society, and clearly explain what’s behind the active practices of Practical Buddhism.
“As the title implies, Practical Buddhism is what’s left when the funny hats, strange-sounding prayers, and saffron robes are laid aside and the practitioner focuses on daily meditation, the practice of mindfulness, and the expression of compassionate kindness.” –The Practical Buddhist
Written to explain a simpler, more accessible practice of Buddhism apart from the ceremonies and rituals, the narrative also touches on a personally revealing spiritual journey woven between dramatic life events that ultimately led me to a life of meaning and fulfillment.
Though I am an atheist, this not a book that attacks religion nor does it level scorn at those who find comfort and personal meaning within it. Instead, it provides an honest account of my own experiences while gently encouraging others to embrace the spirit and practice of inquiry.
Though I hold no beliefs, I am convinced that It is only through self-examination that we can truly know our own heart and find our ultimate truth.
Here’s what readers have said about TPB…
“Barry, I read your amazing, kind and spacious book. Thank you for putting into words the path I have been walking. You are very brave to open yourself to the world… My favorite thing I am taking from your book is, kindness is the action of compassion.” — Robin
I enjoyed this book. What I liked most about it was the fact that the author really wasn’t prescribing any sort of belief system or way of living. He detailed his own story and how his practical Buddhism applied to his life. I think many people will find this book engaging and will be able to take pieces of it to enrich their own lives. I myself share the author’s philosophy so I may have had a different reaction to it than some people might. For me, it was nice to read the thoughts of someone who thinks similarly to myself. That’s always comforting, isn’t it? –James
“Short, readable chapters, with enlightening personal examples, make this an easy, but not shallow read. Several things in this book, though far from my own personal belief set, will be tumbling around in my brain for awhile, sure to find expression in some changes in my life. Thanks for sharing, Barry!” –Kate
Barry’s’ religious journey took him outside of religion altogether to the mindfulness at the core of Buddhist practice. He recounts this journey in the format of a self-interview, a structure that emphasizes the stripping-away of the unessential in his personal story as well as in the form of practice he describes. His approach shows a good way to reconcile the benefits of practice with non-Asian culture, secularism, or even with your existing religion if you are so inclined. –Meg
The Practical Buddhist strips away a lot of the chaff normally found in Buddhist books and just provides the wheat. It provides access to a belief set that I have studied for years and presents it to those new to Buddhism in a simple, easy to understand way. It has joined Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana as sources I recommend when asked about what I believe in. Well done, Barry! — Jeff
What you’ll learn by reading The Practical Buddhist
- How Practical Buddhism differs from traditions that include ritual and ceremony
- How to recognize the source of suffering
- How to use the Eight-Fold Path as a means to eliminate suffering in your life
- What Practical Buddhists think about prayer and the existence of God
- Why Practical Buddhists hold no beliefs whatsoever
- Why meditation is a key practice for achieving greater meaning in life
- How to establish and maintain a meditation practice
- How to practice mindfulness
- How to be more compassionate and practice kindness
- Plus a lot more
Why is it priced so low? I see my role as helping as many people as possible to awaken to the reality that there is more to life than the seemingly empty promises of religion.
I PRICED IT LOW BECAUSE I WANT EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO AWAKEN, TO LEARN HOW TO DEVELOP THE PRACTICE OF SITTING IN SILENCE, AND BECOME MORE MINDFUL. IT’S THE FOUNDATION FOR A TRULY INSPIRED LIFE.
About the Author
Raised as a fundamentalist Christian, educated in institutions steeped in the traditions of the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention, yet initiated into Kriya Yoga by a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, you could say my quest to find a spiritual basis for personal meaning and fulfillment has been significant.
My experiences within the Christian church and later in Kriya Yoga convinced me that I was still required to adopt someone else’s version of the truth. I came to realize that just because someone said something is true, doesn’t make it so.
I saw first-hand how most people’s definition and interpretation of religion is superficial at best and crumbles under the mildest scrutiny. As the years have passed, I came to see that religion is not something I could endorse.
My own direct experiences have proven it to be a hindrance rather than a path to self-discovery, growth, and happiness.
My quest is to understand this life, this moment, right here and right now. Practical Buddhism and the entire Zen-Journal Lifestyle, when freed from the ritual and robes, ceremony and other superficial trappings, provides a path for this understanding to be realized.
I live in Silicon Valley with my cute girlfriend, Karen and our two cats Aji and Shima.