Ezra Bayda

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Ezra Bayda
TitleZen Teacher
Born1944 (age 76–77)
SchoolOrdinary Mind School
EducationRutgers University

Ezra Bayda is an American author[1][2] and Zen teacher.[3]

Formerly a teacher at Zen Center San Diego,[4] a sangha in Pacific Beach, San Diego, California, and with the Santa Rosa Zen Group in Santa Rosa, California,[5] Bayda has conducted meditation workshops and retreats in Europe, Australia, and North America. He is a member of the Ordinary Mind Zen School.[6] He is also the author of several books, best known for his teachings on working with difficulties and fear in everyday life.[7]


Born in 1944 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Bayda studied philosophy at Rutgers University. After graduation, he worked in the fields of education and computer programming, and later became a carpenter and general building contractor, an occupation he held for thirty years.

His early training was in the Gurdjieff tradition, in a community led by Robert S. de Ropp. In 1970 he began studying Zen meditation, and began formal Zen practice in 1978.[8] After studying with Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi and Jakusho Kwong Roshi, he began working with Charlotte Joko Beck in 1992. He received dharma transmission at the Zen Center San Diego in 1998.[9]


Bayda and his wife/practice partner, Elizabeth Hamilton, taught at the Zen Center of San Diego until August, 2019. In 1995,[10] he also established a sitting group in Santa Rosa, California, the Santa Rosa Zen Group.[11]

His writings have influenced several well-known teachers, including John Welwood[12] and Pema Chodron [13] , and his essays have appeared in three volumes of "Best Buddhist Writing"—2004, 2007, and 2013.


  • Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life. Shambhala Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-57062-856-4
  • At Home in the Muddy Water. Shambhala Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-57062-947-1
  • Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts). Wisdom Publications, 2005. ISBN 978-0861712748
  • Zen Heart: Simple Advice for Living with Mindfulness and Compassion. Shambhala Publications, 2008. ISBN 9781590305430
  • Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment. Shambhala Publications, 2010. ISBN 9781590308257
  • The Authentic Life: Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear. Shambhala Publications, 2014. ISBN 1611800927
  • Aging for Beginners. Wisdom Publications, 2018. ISBN 1614294771


  1. ^ Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-86171-509-1.
  2. ^ MacLeod, Melvin (2004). The Best Buddhist Writing. Shambhala. p. 253. ISBN 978-1590301890.
  3. ^ Brussat, Mary Ann. "The Best Spiritual Books of 2010". Archived from the original on 2014-06-26. Retrieved 9 August 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Brussat, Fredrick. "Living Spiritual Teachers Project: Ezra Bayda". Retrieved 28 May 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Fintushel, Eliot. "Something to Offer".
  6. ^ "Zen as nothing special: Charlotte Joko Beck and the Ordinary Mind School of Zen". Lionsroar.com. Retrieved 30 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Ezra Bayda on True Contentment". Patheos. Retrieved 30 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Tebbe, Adam. "Ezra Shinkoku Bayda".
  9. ^ "Living Spiritual Teachers Project". Retrieved 30 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Elizabeth Hamilton reflects on Joko Beck's life at memorial service". Lionsroar.com. Retrieved 30 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Ezra Bayda on "What Blocks Happiness"". Lionsroar.com. Retrieved 30 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Welwood, John (2007). Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationship: Healing the Wound of the Heart. Trumpeter. p. 182. ISBN 978-1590303863.
  13. ^ Chodron, Pema (2002). The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. Shambhala Classics. p. ix. ISBN 978-1570629211.