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Paperback Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice Book

ISBN: 1590308492

ISBN13: 9781590308493

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice

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"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 that's...

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A golden book on what the Buddha was really all about.

ZEN MIND, BEGINNER'S MIND : Informal talks on Zen Meditation and practice by Shunryu Suzuki. Edited by Trudy Dixon, with a Preface by Huston Smith and an Introduction by Richard Baker. 138 pp. New York and Tokyo : Weatherhill, 1970 and Reprinted.Some years ago I undertook a fairly extensive program of reading in Indian, Chinese, and Japanese Buddhism and in Zen. Most of my Zen books have since disappeared. Only the choicest remain, among which is Shunryu Suzuki's 'Zen Mind Beginner's Mind.'Buddhism may be said to have begun with the enlightement of the Buddha. Many centuries later, however, when Buddhism entered China, an incredibly elaborate and complex superstructure of Indian scholastic thought had grown up around the Buddha's original insight. The Chinese, with their basically down-to-earth and common sense attitude, had little use for Indian over-elaboration and set about ridding Buddhism of it.The Chinese, as Lin Yutang says, believe in a reasonable use of reason, and not in reason's excesses. The end product of their effort to rid Buddhist thought of its heavy freight of scholasticism, and to shift the emphasis from theory back to the practical by centering Buddhism once again in the enlightenment experience, became what the Chinese know as Ch'an and the Japanese as Zen. As Shunryu Suzuki himself pointed out, when freed of unnecessary theory and speculation, Buddhism as Zen becomes something that is basically "quite simple" (page 64). Its essence was brilliantly captured in the thirty-one verses of Third Patriarch Seng-ts'an's 'Hsin-hsin-ming,' the very first Zen treatise in verse. This is a beautiful text that deserves to be far better known, and an easily accessible translation will be found in D. T. Suzuki's 'Manual of Zen Budhism' ('On Believing in Mind,' pages 76-82).The first verse of the original Chinese may be read as follows, with oblique marks to indicate line breaks:"To realize the Way is not difficult / If you'd only stop choosing; / Just let go of all of your hate, and love, / And everything will be brilliantly clear" (my transl). This statement may gain in meaning if we set it alongside an observation made by the great Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253), founder of the Japanese Soto sect of Zen Buddhism and one of the most brilliant philosophical minds Buddhism has ever produced, who wrote in 'Genjo Koan,' the third chapter of his 'Shobogenzo' :"Conveying the self to the myriad things to authenticate them is delusion; the myriad things advancing to authenticate the self is enlightenment" (Tr., F. H. Cook, 'Sounds of Valley Streams,' page 66). Suzuki Shunryu, who as a member of the Soto school was a direct spiritual descendant of Dogen, would certainly have understood this. In fact, so far as I can see, the idea expressed by both Seng-ts'an and Dogen Zenji is at the very center of his book.'Zen Mind Beginner's Mind' is a golden book that may be heartily recommended to all open-minded readers. In it they wil

Finally, Answers Found

I luckily stumbled onto this little treasure while reading basketball coach phil jackson's "sacred hoops." in that book, jackson repeatedly referred to the teachings of zen master suzuki's teachings in this book. never could i have imagined that a book on sports could lead to such a dramatic, profound and truly life changing experience as i found when reading "zen mind, beginner's mind."whereas faith based religions are a complete assualt on the intellect when providing answers to the secrets of the universe that are not known to us, suzuki instructs us to respect such things as both "mysterious and beautiful." important and fundamental concepts such as "non-attachment" that can be difficult to grasp are succinctly communicated in reminders such as "a weed grows even though we hate it, and a flower falls even though we love it." zen mind will place your focus squarely in the present and allow to rid yourself of state depriving emotions once you learn to let go of any "gaining" notions. you'll find focus and calm in all situations. (just like michael jordan and the chicago bulls whom coach jackson required zen-like meditation at the end of each practise!)this book is so complete it's all you'll really ever need. and as the author implies "once you've got it, you've got it. no need to keep searching."

A beloved classic of American Zen

This is a collection of talks by one of the first Zen teachers in the U.S. If you're already practicing Zen, I highly recommend this book. If you're new to Zen, you might love this book or you might find it largely incomprehensible, or maybe both. Suzuki makes liberal use of the paradoxical language that is typical of Zen--e.g., "For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence." If you'd prefer a more ordinary, explanatory style, I recommend Charlotte Joko Beck's "Everyday Zen." If you're looking for practical instruction in Zen meditation, you'll find it in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," but you might prefer either Philip Kapleau's "The Three Pillars of Zen," which includes more detailed instructions and illustrations of sitting postures, or Cheri Huber's instructional video "The Secret Is There Are No Secrets." When I first read "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," for a college class on Buddhism, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but I did end up practicing Zen, and maybe this book had something to do with that. For many years, even while living at a Zen monastery, I suspected that a lot of the enthusiasm for this book was an "emperor's new clothes" phenomenon: a few respected people said it was wonderful, so then everybody said it was wonderful. I figured its aura of profundity was due in large part to Suzuki's congruence with our archetype of mountaintop gurus--the short sentences and limited English vocabulary, and the paradoxical language that sounds deep even though nobody actually knows what the heck it means. More recently, I've come to think that the emperor really does have clothes and that the big issues of human life are hard to talk about without paradox, and this is now one of my favorite Zen books.

Mind at one with Tao

Anyone interested in reading this book should not be dissuaded by the negative rantings of the "humble monk" and "Dharma teacher", whose reviews appear to be from the same person. This book does not disappoint. I first read it over 25 years ago and I've fondly returned to it time and again since.This book is intended as a look at 'Zen Mind', mind at one with Tao. The term 'Beginner's Mind' refers to the goal of always keeping our original beginner's mind in our practice. To awaken to this mind, Suzuki encourages the practice of Zazen, for when we take the Zazen posture we are at once aligned with The Buddha and all of the Patriarchs, we perfectly express our own Buddha nature. The act of sitting itself is the actualization of Buddha Nature or Being. This IS the practice of Zen. Zen is a practice, not a religion and as thus can not be blasphemed in the way that the negative reviewer asserts. Religion is an attitude of devotion to something other than yourself which is regarded as worthy of supreme devotion. Zen Buddhism is not the worship of Buddha. Buddha taught the way to eliminate the cause of human suffering and conflict, the way to awakening. Zen is the means to that end.To the Dharma teacher and "Zen monk", I quote Zen Master Dogen Zenji's Bendowa. "You look on the meditation of the Buddhas and the supreme law as just sitting and doing nothing. You disparage Mahayana Buddhism. Your delusion is deep; you are like someone in the middle of the ocean crying out for water. Fortunately we are already sitting at ease in the self-joyous meditation of the Buddhas. Isn't this a great boon? What a pity that your true-eye remains shut - that your mind remains drunk. The world of the Buddhas eludes ordinary thinking and consciousness. It cannot be known by disbelief and inferior knowledge. To enter one must have right belief. The disbeliever, even if taught, has trouble grasping it.... Your only purpose in reading the sutras should be to learn thoroughly that the Buddha taught the rules of gradual and sudden training and that by practicing his teachings you can obtain enlightenment. You should not read the sutras merely to pretend to wisdom through vain intellections.... While you look at words and phrases, the path of your training remains dark....Constant repetition of the Nembutsu is also worthless - like a frog in a spring field croaking night and day....Understand only this: if enlightened Zen masters and their earnest disciples correctly transmit the supreme law of the seven Buddhas, its essence emerges, and it can be experienced. Those who merely study the letters of the sutras cannot know this. So put a stop to this doubt and delusion. Follow the teachings of a real master and, by zazen; attain to the self-joyous samadhi of the Buddhas."The Buddha himself said "This is itself the Way to Awakening".

A Wonderful Piece, All You'll Ever Need

This book took me out of the maze of faith-based religion and for the first time I found a teacher and a philosophy with so much credibility I had the confidence to trust in the more esoteric aspects of a teaching that weren't initially obvious. Suzuki, and I assume Zen in general, has the wisdom and courage to acknowedge that there are things about our universe that we cannot comprehend and treat them as both beautiful and mysterious. This contrasts with faith-based religions which instruct us to accept notions of "gods" and elaborate tales for explanation and as such are a complete assault on and violation of the intellect. Zen outlook which does away with the largely western notions of right & wrong, past and future, and states of lack will put one squarely in the present tense from moment to moment. It is utterly refreshing and healthy to look at the universe through glasses which are not colored by human desire and ego. Read this book, gain an understanding of yourself, an appreciation for the universe as a whole and piece of mind. Namaste
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