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Zen Mind Beginner's Mind [PDF / EPUB] Zen Mind Beginner's Mind “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities but in the expert’s there are few” So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books Seldom has such a small handful of words provided “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities but in the expert’s there are few” So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line In a single stroke the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it’s all about An instant teaching on the first page And Zen Mind Epub / that’s just the beginningIn the forty years since its original publication Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern Zen classics much beloved much reread and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page It’s a book to come back to time and time again as an inspiration to practice and it is now available to a new generation of seekers in this fortieth anniversary edition with a new afterword by Shunryu Suzuki’s biographer David Chadwick.

10 thoughts on “Zen Mind Beginner's Mind

  1. says:

    This book was recommended to me by various persons in different phases of my life but I clearly wasn't ready to read it till now Suzuki's talks on zazen are spare and direct demystifying Buddhism as a religion or philosophy and continually bringing the focus back to the simple and perfect practice of sitting cleaning out your mind through meditation Though we all choose different paths according to our culture and temperament the ultimate desire is the same for the soul or big I to freely express itself released from delusion Whether you meditate or not Suzuki provides useful and illuminating truths for anyone interested in becoming mindful Here is one of my favorite passagesEach of us must make his own true way and when we do that way will express the universal way This is the mystery When you understand one thing you understand everything When you try to understand everything you will not understand anything The best way is to understand yourself and then you will understand everything So when you try hard to make your own way you will help others and you will be helped by others Before you make your own way you cannot help anyone and no one can help you To be independent in this true sense we have to forget everything which we have in our mind and discover something uite new and different moment after moment This is how we live in this world

  2. says:

    “In the zazen posture your mind and body have the great power to accept things as they are whether agreeable or disagreeable” How do I put this into words? This does actually work Simple Zen meditation on a nightly basis does help to put things into perspective It helps clear the mind and get rid of those false delusions and expectations; it helps you move away from dangerous attachment and recognise the impermanence of everything Not to mention its benefits in reducing stress and actually allowing one a peaceful night’s sleep Live in the now enjoy the now Don’t waste a moment because you won’t get that moment back Ten years from now when you look back you’ll kick yourself for missing those opportunities As we get older we always look back to a time in the past and cling to it we wish to go back to it which is folly because at each stage in our life we are doing the same thing The point is to make the most of it all now in every now Learn the state of emptinessOpen your Zen mind and begin to walk down the path of Buddhism

  3. says:

    YOU’VE GOT TO PICK UP EVERY STITCHMUST BE THE SEASON OF THE WITCH DONOVANIn this age of rabid misinformation it’s best to pay attention An ancient Zen teacher said we’ve got to scrutinize it ALL ‘Attention means ATTENTION’Another old Zen Master used to shout at his young students “You’ve got to climb to the top of a thousand foot wooden pole“Yeah well we all know such poles aren’t made that high So what gives?The point of the story is simple when you run out of pole just keep climbing Impossible? Maybe not Because life‘s like that too I’ll explainYou‘re late for a crucial Power Meeting As you open the door to the conference room you see your zipper‘s at half mastOr you‘re coming home from a nice harmless office Christmas party As you open the door you‘re happy you‘re home early because your wife will be there to greet you What you don‘t know is there‘s hot pink lipstick on your cheekWe‘re not born with attention And now we’re suddenly climbing in VERY thin airShunryu Suzuki would chuckle uietly over that one A uiet humble man his way was not the way of those autocratic old mastersHe liked a simpler decent approach to spiritualityHe was the Heart and Soul of The San Francisco Zen Centre back in the glory days of the Hippie Era Long haired sandalled young searchers from all around the world carried this book in their backpack as they hitch hiked to Nirvana Yes he was really something and he had to leave us much too soonBut he reminded us that our faith is STILL not a happily ever after affair though it can be unhurriedIt is earned and has to be LEARNED just like these old teachers said every single day of our lives For the REST of our livesBut we now have his kinder gentler way to make us get back up and stand on our own two feet when we fall flatLike the old song saysC‘mon you little fighterNo need to get uptighterC‘mon you little fighter Just get back up againSound corny?That’s all this little solid gold book is simple heartfelt encouragement for our own long and winding roadAnd learning to meditate uietly through the process of simple unhurried and UNFORCED attentionTill one fine day that door at your long journey’s end will open for YOU

  4. says:

    I know this is supposed to be THE zen book for beginners by one of the most influential western zen masters etc But it didn't set a fire under me at all I found myself trying to mine a few words of relevant wisdom from chapter after chapter of semi opaue discourse It's not that the book is difficult to read but that the insights offered by Suzuki Roshi undeniably a great zen master are the insights of an old man who has been practicing zen for a long time and talking to serious zen students for a long time In other words it's not a beginner's book at all and it's not really about beginners' minds You have to already know the benefits of Zen and Buddhism before you read this book or it will bore you and turn you off of Zen A true beginner is the person off the street who is sincerely interested in Zen but doesn't know why he or she should start a serious practice This person is full of problems Life is really problematic Life is really hard and painful What can Zen Buddhism say to this person? A lot but this book doesn't say much Suzuki Roshi talks a lot of typically riddle ish circles about emptiness and expression calmness and onenesshis audience are serious Zen students There are a few nuggets to entice the true beginner into wondering what riches lie beneath the smooth hard polished surface of this practice called Zen But to get at those riches I would recommend a different book Everyday Zen Love and Work by Charlotte Joko Beck That book lit a fire under me I'll go write a review of it right now

  5. says:

    If and when you meet The Buddha Kill him Then come back And sit Sit In Zazen Be Enlightenment is thereBefore it arrives

  6. says:

    This book is balm My second reading It contains its own instructions for reading too If some metaphor or anecdote seems too dense just let it pass There is no need to read the text as closely as I just have; that’s me Suzuki roshi explains it all Toward the end it gets a little bit repetitious; that’s because these are in fact transcripts—elegantly edited—of talks given at Tassajarra Zen Mountain Monastery Los Altos California in 1969 or so Really worthwhile if you seek big Mind

  7. says:

    The most important things in our practice are our physical posture and our way of breathing We are not so concerned about a deep understanding of Buddhism p99 To cook is not just to prepare for someone or for yourself; it is to express your sincerity So when you cook you should express yourself in the activity in the kitchen You should allow plenty of time; you should work on it with nothing in your mind and without expecting anything You should just cook That is also an expression of our sincerity a part of our practice It is necessary to sit in zazen in this way but sitting is not our only way Whatever you do it should be an expression of the same deep activity We should appreciate what we are doing There is no preparation for something else pp53 54This is one of those curious books like the The Muaddimah that did not start out as a book but rather as lectures or in this case brief talks The author's talks were taped transcribed and then put into the order they have in the book Reading it from cover to cover then is as arbitrary as reading it in any order Each piece is free standing Each can be reread In my experience it is even better to reread pieces and not to try and read too many at one time The murderer is not revealed on the last page there is no shocking denouement It is what it is A series of commentaries on the practise of Zen I imagine that someone familiar with some other form of Buddhism might find this book rather curious The you understand our thinking the you feel it difficult to talk about it p90 by which measure it seems that I apparently have an excellent understanding of it but I can say that there are two themes that crop up in a lot of the talks The difficultly of talking about Zen or Buddhism one dialogue of about four sentences ends with 'lets have some tea' This at least is a philosophy that I can understand although naturally can't explain easily He's keen to avoid doctrine this is a book about being engaged in the practice of Zen it is not a book about Zen The other main theme is the ordinariness of Zen It is very domestic in this book Nothing special Simply being true to ones own nature This reminds me of hearing how Buddhism was transformed in China from having a tendency to be difficult and hard to achieve reuiring particular effort to being something that people could do at home without families having to be broken up by people running off to monasteries caves or mountain tops I would write further about what this means in terms of the domestic and the every day but it seems that I understand it too wellI have had this book on my shelves for a long time One of the good bad things about my austerity reading programme the difficultly of talking about duality and non duality is also important is reading the dusty as well as the new books Reading this from cover to cover works and does not work It is best perhaps to read a piece after practising Zen I can't tell you how to practise Zen you sit preferably cross legged and become aware of your breathing but don't think 'I am practising Zen' Perhaps you bow or read Sutras which you can't understand but strive to All of this is hard easy to talk about but which makes less sense if you do it I imagineThe beginner's mind is good because it is free from pre conceptions It has not learnt what is impossible It has not learnt to constrain itself I wonder about what is unwritten here Sitting and observing your breathing does not strike me as a particular remunerative activity although it would be nice to be wrong about this How did he afford to establish himself in the USA? Does he have an intention to bring Zen to the USA how does this effect his teaching? It is interesting to think of this book as the missionary lure dangling to catch the convert

  8. says:

    One of the classic introductions of Buddhist Zen practice in America So many books on Zen written since this small jewel first came out forty five years ago Is there really to say than shikan taza just sitting When you bow you should just bow; when you sit you should just sit; when you eat you should just eat When you do this the universal nature is there We are achievers us westerners Goal oriented Forever striving But what if what your heart most wants even if you don't know it is already there in you The effort needed to get there is one of return than of advancement of letting go than of attaining There's so much wisdom in this little book Even if you have a hard time undertaking a practice of meditation Let's not call it meditation Let's call it calming your mind by letting things be as they are Don't fight and struggle against your problems For a few moments just sit and let everything in your mind and your life be as it isTake a few minutes now and then to be a beginner in whatever you do When we have no thought of achievement no thought of self we are true beginners Isn't this also the secret of the great artists to always be a beginner? You begin to write because of a need to express something in you There's no pulitzer prize in your mind There is just the writing If you do something in the spirit of non achievement there is a good uality in it So try not to achieve anything special You already have everything in your own pure uality If you understand this ultimate fact there is no fear There may be some difficulty of course but there is no fear I'm pretty sure that Shunryu Suzuki would not mind if you incorporate the wisdom in his book to wherever you are in life whatever religious beliefs you have or not have Whether or not you make yourself peaceful is the point and whether or not you stick to it Stick to it as in taking some of that peacefulness into your daily life I like this book which I re read periodically for the insights and the inspiration it gives me It helps me to see where creativity comes from and to where I must return to find it again You can call it God or Buddha Nature or Emptiness or the Self with a capital s or simply the unknown subconscious but there is a reality a mysterious reality that exists behind your thoughts Shunryu Suzuki sometimes calls it big mind sometimes he calls it our true nature Whatever name you give it once you know it is there you will realize it to be the source of all true creativity and also of all true compassion You must put confidence in the big mind which is always with you you should be able to express things as an expression of big mind This is than faith This is the ultimate truth which we cannot reject

  9. says:

    This is the best non academic introduction to Zen Buddhism that I've come upon What caught me especially was a moment in the introduction when an interview with Suzuki was interrupted by his wife She was serving tea overheard part of his discourse and remarked to the interviewer that in essence he was full of shit having never attained satori all given and taken in good humor

  10. says:

    This book had been on my radar for a while and then in his bibliography of Don't Be A Jerk Brad Warner basically says You need this book Who am I to argue with Brad?As the subtitle Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice implies the essays in this book are transcripts of lectures Shunryu Suzuki gave to students arranged by topics Suzuki is often described as a founding father of Zen in America as he was one of the first to bring the teachings to the continent and to teach Westerners He was also the first one to found a Buddhist monastery outside Asia in CaliforniaIn the afterword David Chadwick perfectly captured why reading this book is so inspiring he says Suzuki has confidence that you whoever you are can understand Zen Buddhism reality truth yourself Zen is ultimately very simple; it's grasping that simplicity that can be a complicated processAnyone interested in practicing Zen should read this book but I also can't really recommended it to newbies if you haven't already read a couple of books about Zen some of the material in Suzuki's essays will be impossible to grasp Suzuki gave those lectures to people who were already practicing Zen so it assumes you are familiar with basic teachings and meditation techniues For people who are working on their Zen practice however the material in this book is invaluable It's also the kind of book that needs to be read than oncePosture breathing intent attitude mindfulness enthusiasm mistakes; all these ideas are addressed in a way that is tailor made for Western students The essays are clear encouraging inspiring motivating and uplifting Suzuki's tone is full of joy and devotion which I thought made reading this a truly great experience Very highly recommended

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