If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Sparklingly Refreshing

“Sparklingly refeshing,” says one of the blurbs on the back cover.

And also, “Ford’s mature, playful, multifaceted Zen has been slow-cooking for forty years and is now ready. Read and delight!”

That was some guy named “Dosho” and I really can’t beat  his blurb this morning.

Now I confess that when it comes to James Myoun Ford, I’m really biased. Frankly, I love the guy and am deeply indebted to him.

Through working with him in the koan way – and getting to know those near and dear to him as well – among other things, a bit of my negativity about Zen in the west has melted away.

I first read If You’re Lucky one winter day, when I was suffering with a miserable cold and was home from work. James zipped me his manuscript and I spent the rest of the day laying on the couch and reading. Moaning now and then to be sure, but also smiling, laughing, and crying along with James’ warmheartedly sharing his life. A wonderful companion in the midst of suffering.

Here’s a bit of that about his relationship with John Tarrant, his main teacher:

“John was able to push me on my own personal, truly intimate way into the depths of who I really am. Within my relationship with him as a Zen student he had absolutely no judgments about me as a person – an amazing capacity, although it presents its own difficulties. Accordingly, I never really knew whether he really liked me or not. However, I learned relatively quickly that this didn’t matter. All he wanted from me was for me to see into the great matter and out of that to find my own way. And thanks to him I did. I owe him endless bows.”

Back at ya, buddy.

Wisdom, by the way, did an especially lovely job with the cover and form of the book.

If you’re looking for an example of engaged, moving, eye-opening and contemporary Zen, lived deeply in the world, then just click here.


Dogen Did Not Practice Shikantaza and Even Had a Gaining Idea
On Receiving Inka Shomei from James Myoun Ford Roshi
The Deeply Settled Heart: Home-based Practice Period Invitation
Practicing Through Snow and Cold (or Whatever Afflictions May Visit)
  • http://drizzleanddew.blogspot.com/ Austin

    It looks great and he is great! A couple of years ago, when I was mired in the Deshimaru tradition, he helped me see my way out to my current teacher. I had no idea who he was and he just helped me out. Since then, I’ve directed dozens of people to his writing, particularly Zen Master Who?

    The book looks like a Mole Skin! Tell us more about how it feels in your hands!

    • doshoport

      Cool and smooth, like the old dude.

  • Aaron Caruso

    Hey Dosho. I’m a little over half way through this book. What I appreciate most is the honesty and openness James offers. His interpretation of the history of Zen in the West is also very helpful, because many of us weren’t there 40 years ago. For me, he narrates the changes occurring in Western Zen in a particularly helpful way.