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Many Dharma books have been written from the perspective of Buddhist monks. Even more, have been written for academics and philosophers. But there are few Buddhist books that have the householder in mind; the person who wants to devote themselves to spiritual practice but still has a job, a family, or a home that requires their attention.

I wrote this book for those individuals. In Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life, I take the core teachings of Buddhism and use simple language to explain not only how they work, but how they can help us with everyday struggles. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Traffic Jams
  • Family Drama
  • Feelings of Loneliness
  • Difficult Co-Workers
  • Experiencing Universal Love

The end result is a book that's useful both for people who've been walking the path for decades and others who are just finding their way.

Advance Praise for Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life

Sensei Alex Kakuyo is one of the most interesting young Buddhist teachers around today. His take on Buddhism is refreshingly different. The most obvious difference is that he's black. But he's also a former Marine. The fact that he's ex-military gives Alex a very different take on a lot of issues that concern American Buddhists. 

He's not at all what people are expecting when they're looking for a stereotypical spiritual master. And that's a great thing. For too long, Buddhism in America has focused on an audience that's too narrow. Alex's writing is clear and heartfelt. He means every word he writes. I think a lot of people who wouldn't ordinarily be interested in Buddhism will find Alex's writing appealing. 

-Brad Warner, Soto Zen Priest and author of Letters to a Dead Friend about Zen 

Sensei Alex Kakuyo has that rare gift for making Buddhist teachings interesting and accessible without watering them down. Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life begins by unpacking the Four Noble Truths before taking the reader on a deep dive into the Eightfold Path. Kakuyo caps off each pithy, readable chapter with a lucid lesson that recasts traditional Dharma principles in a contemporary light. You’ve heard this stuff before, you just haven’t heard it quite like this. 

What distinguishes Perfectly Ordinary is Kakuyo’s willingness to share poignant, illustrative, and often very funny stories from his own life. Perfectly Ordinary doubles as a memoir of the author’s childhood and family life, his time in the Marines and corporate America, and the work he’s done with the insightful Zen Buddhist teachers who have made him into the teacher he is today. This book is food for your practice!

-Shozan Jack Haubner, Rinzai Zen Monk and author of Zen Confidential

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Alex Kakuyo does a wonderful job of conveying the simple yet profound teachings of Buddhism while simultaneously sharing some of his own personal life stories. If you're looking for a book that covers all the basics in a thorough and well thought out manner, this is the book for you.

- Noah Rasheta, Host of The Secular Buddhism Podcast 

Sensei Alex has written a very thoughtful and engaging book about lived Zen. Throughout this book, he tells relatable stories that illuminate the presence of the Dharma in everyday experiences. He blends balanced advice about interacting with the world with meditations on the great beyond. This is a handbook of lessons that you can return to constantly. 

-Raymond Lam, Senior Writer at Buddhist Door Global 

No nonsense language and a wry sense of humor dishing practical advice for living a life with less suffering and more ease. These are the kinds of stories you'd expect from your wise, old grandmother. Yet they weave together the fundamentals of Buddhism and everyday common sense to craft profound teachings that will not only make you smile, but also show you that life can be better with practice. 

Whether it's addressing thorny issues within the Buddhist community or tackling basic questions like why Buddhists bow, Sensei offers clear, heartwarming recommendations the anyone can follow. 

-Dhammapida Konin Cardenas, a nun in the Theravada Forest Tradition in the West and in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition

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This debut book by the Zen Sensei (Teacher) Alex Kakuyo is a refreshing, practical, guide to bringing Buddhist contemplation and meditation into our real lives. Written in beautiful jargon-free English, Sensei uses examples from his life as a former Marine, a corporate cog, and farm intern to illustrate the empowering joy of being a master of your own mind and emotions in any situation. He writes, “our pain lessens as we stop piling emotional baggage on top of it.” That is the truth. This fresh American voice can teach you how. 

-Loppon Yudron Wangmo, Mayum Mountain Foundation, Oakland, California

Many books offer the Dhamma, but few are as accessible as "Perfectly Ordinary." Sensei Kakuyo has shown a compassionate thoughtfulness in his short passages, and sayings such as, "Nirvana exists on a spectrum," shall stay with me on my own path. Read him cautiously and deeply.

-Jennifer Hawkins, Community Director of The Secular Buddhist Association 

I absolutely loved reading Sensei Alex Kakuyo's book, 'Perfectly Ordinary: Finding the Buddha in Everyday Life.' He covers his content in a substantial manner and his words are clear and straightforward. This is the what or the content that he wants to communicate. 

He writes in an enjoyable style that encourages further learning. This is the how of the way he expresses the points he wants to make. The examples he uses makes you smile and want to keep reading. If a book is like a meal, the content is the food and the style is the flavoring. If you take a little taste of this book, you'll want to eat it all up! 

-Rev. Koyo Kubose, President of The Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism

Get your copy today!


Sensei Alex Kakuyo's "Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life" goes to the heart of the Buddhist experience. Written by a former Marine who eventually became an American Buddhist minister, it is a field guide for the rest of us whose objective is to bring meaning to our own lives and the lives of others. Sensei Alex weaves his own experiences and the fundamental teachings of Buddhism into an easy-to-follow narrative that is both educational and entertaining. Semper Fi, Alex!

-Ven. Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland

Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life is a rare treat. Alex Kakuyo has a wonderful talent for presenting complicated Buddhist teachings in plain English without sacrificing the integrity of those teachings. I would highly recommend Perfectly Ordinary to anyone interested in Buddhism. 

-Rev. CJ Daiyo Marbutt 

The Buddha spread his wisdom with love and stories of events and situations people could relate to in the time they lived. I think the Buddha would smile with appreciation at the work Sensei Alex has compiled in this book. 

Sensei Alex has not written a book about Buddhism, he has written a gentle guide on how to detoxify modern life, and I think it is just what we needed. It is full of relatable stories and quotes you will want to copy to your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door to see and inspire every day.” 

-Jim Two Snakes, Shamanic practitioner and co-host of the Around Grandfather Fire podcast

Get your copy today!



  1. Can't wait to order my copy!!

  2. I can't wait either to order my copy !

  3. Just ordered and eager to receive and read!

  4. I've been very impressed with Alex's YouTube videos. He comes across as sincere and full of wisdom. Kindle version of the book purchased! :)


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