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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 compl “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 just the beginning. In 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.


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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 compl “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 just the beginning. In 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Keleigh

    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 free 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 more mindful. Here is one of my favorite passages: "Each 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 quite new and different moment after moment. This is how we live in this world."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    YOU’VE GOT TO PICK UP EVERY STITCH. MUST BE THE SEASON OF THE WITCH... - DONOVAN In 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 cl YOU’VE GOT TO PICK UP EVERY STITCH. MUST BE THE SEASON OF THE WITCH... - DONOVAN In 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 explain... You‘re late for a crucial Power Meeting. As you open the door to the conference room, you see your zipper‘s at half-mast... Or 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 cheek... We‘re not born with attention! And now - we’re suddenly climbing in VERY thin air. Shunryu Suzuki would chuckle quietly over that one. A quiet, humble man, his way was not the way of those autocratic old masters. He liked a simpler, more decent approach to spirituality. He 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 soon. But he reminded us that our faith is STILL not a happily-ever-after affair, though it can be unhurried. It is earned - and has to be LEARNED, just like these old teachers said - every single day of our lives. For the REST of our lives. But we now have his kinder, gentler way to make us get back up and stand on our own two feet, when we fall flat. Like the old song says: C‘mon you little fighter, No need to get uptighter. C‘mon you little fighter - Just get back up again. Sound corny? That’s all this little solid-gold book is - simple, heartfelt encouragement for our own long and winding road... And learning to meditate quietly through the process of simple, unhurried, and UNFORCED attention. Till one fine day, that door at your long journey’s end will open for YOU.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    “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 actu “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 emptiness. Open your Zen mind and begin to walk down the path of Buddhism.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    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-opaque 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 stud 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-opaque 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 oneness...his 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. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

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

  6. 5 out of 5

    William2

    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. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    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 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. pp53-54 This is one of those curious books like the The Muqaddimah 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 more you understand our thinking the more 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, requiring 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 well. I 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 more less sense if you do it I imagine. The 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. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    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 more 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 kn 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 more 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 more of return than of advancement, more 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 is.Take 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 quality in it." "So try not to achieve anything special. You already have everything in your own pure quality. 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 more than faith. This is the ultimate truth which we cannot reject."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    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. 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. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    This book had been on my radar for a while, and then in his bibliography of "Don't Be A Jerk" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), 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 t This book had been on my radar for a while, and then in his bibliography of "Don't Be A Jerk" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), 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 California. In 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 process. Anyone 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 techniques. 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 more than once! Posture, 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!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike W

    This book is frustrating to read. There is some wisdom here, and in Zen Buddhism generally, but the delight Suzuki takes in paradoxes and contradictions serves to obscure his meaning, rather than illuminating it, eg 'we prepare by being unprepared'. The book gets its title from his contention that wisdom consists in being open to the present moment, with the eagerness of the beginner, rather than closing oneself off like the self-styled expert. A closely related concept is that of zazen, which, t This book is frustrating to read. There is some wisdom here, and in Zen Buddhism generally, but the delight Suzuki takes in paradoxes and contradictions serves to obscure his meaning, rather than illuminating it, eg 'we prepare by being unprepared'. The book gets its title from his contention that wisdom consists in being open to the present moment, with the eagerness of the beginner, rather than closing oneself off like the self-styled expert. A closely related concept is that of zazen, which, to the extent I understand it, involves being in the present moment, without judgment, analysis or anxiety, accepting what comes and not struggling against the present reality. And the process of sitting with a certain posture, and focusing on one's breath, is a means to quieting the mind and just being. The idea of zazen is an important one, but it would have been helpful is Suzuki had explained it more clearly. I gather that there is method in the madness, that Suzuki believes that the essential enlightenment cannot be attained through ratiocination or analysis, and that the endless stream of paradoxes are intended to help the reader move away from from analytical thinking toward a different mode of being and thinking. But I still would have preferred a more straightforward explanation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    I read this book, learned a lot, and decided to do the exact opposite. what is the opposite of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind exactly? I dunno. Crazy Expert Mind? I read this book, learned a lot, and decided to do the exact opposite. what is the opposite of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind exactly? I dunno. Crazy Expert Mind?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vaishali

    Exceptional, and highly surprising. Really helpful in clearing up obstacles to motivation, and why we sometimes cannot practice/complete tasks. Notes : ------------ “Keep your practice pure.” “In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few.” “When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.” “The most important point is to own your own physical body… when we have our body and mind in order, everything will exist in the right place, in the right way.” “When my Exceptional, and highly surprising. Really helpful in clearing up obstacles to motivation, and why we sometimes cannot practice/complete tasks. Notes : ------------ “Keep your practice pure.” “In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few.” “When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.” “The most important point is to own your own physical body… when we have our body and mind in order, everything will exist in the right place, in the right way.” “When my teacher was 70 he said ‘When I was young, I was like a tiger. But now, I am like a cat.’ He was very pleased to be like a cat.” Four Buddhist Vows —————————— Although sentient beings are innumerable, we vow to save them. Although our evil desires are limitless, we vow to be rid of them. Although the teaching is limitless, we vow to learn it all. Although Buddhism is unattainable, we vow to attain it. “It is easy to have calmness in inactivity. It is hard to have calmness in activity. But calmness in activity is true calmness.” “Zen is not some type of excitement, but concentration on our everyday routine. If you become too excited, your mind becomes rough and ragged. This is not good. If possible, try to be always calm and joyful, and keep yourself from excitement.” 6 Paramitas (Sanskrit: "traversing, crossing over") ———————————------------------- Dana........ giving Sila ..........morality or ethics Shanti....... patience Virya..........energy or enthusiasm Dhyana.....meditation Prajna........wisdom “Not to be attached to something is to be aware of its absolute value.” “When we sit in the cross-legged posture, we resume our fundamental activity of creation.” Types of Creation ———————- 1. Sitting 2. Producing something, like food 3. Systems within self “Our problems should be solved or dissolved in this life.” “If we are aware that what we do or what we create is really the gift of the Big Eye, then we will not be attached to it.” “The future is the future, the past is the past. Now, we should work on something new.” “To do something through and through is to resume our true activity of creation. This is why we sit. If we do not forget this point, everything will be carried on beautifully. But once we forget this point, the world will be filled with confusion.” Mistakes in Practice: ————————— 1. Having an ideal to strive for : You sacrifice yourself now for some time in the future. This is absurd. 2. Being in competition with someone - A poor, shabby practice 3. Practicing because it gives you joy - Eventually you will discover the worst side of the practice, and become discouraged when it is too late. This is silly. “Whether or not someone encourages our practice, just do it.” “It is when your practice becomes greedy that you become disturbed.” “Whether or not you are aware of it, you have your own true enlightenment in your practice.” Stages of Mahayana practices (in descending order of purity) ——————————————-- 1. Just do it. No feeling, not even spiritual joy 2. Have physical joy in your practice 3. Have mental and physical joy in your practice 4. No thinking, no curiosity in your practice “If you find some difficulty in your practice, that is a warning that you have some wrong idea. But do not give up your practice.” “When everyone knows the value of pure practice, we will have no conflict in our world. This is the secret.” “There is no particular way in true practice. You should find your own way.” “Concentrate on the activity you do in each moment.” “When your mind is wandering elsewhere, you have no chance to express yourself.” “If you understand the secret of practice, wherever you go, you yourself are boss.” “The problem is you, yourself. When this is so, there is no problem.” “To solve a problem is to be a part of it… to be one with it.” “True existence comes from emptiness and comes back again into emptiness.” “Begin with enlightenment, and proceed to practice.” “Practice zazen [seated meditative cross-legged posture] to express our true nature, not to attain enlightenment.” “Buddhism is to be practice, to be enlightenment.” “If we become too serious, we will lose our way. If we are playing games, we will lose our way.” “We have to be careful of the rules we establish. If they’re too strict, we will fail. If too loose, the rules will not work.... The important thing is to obey your rules without discrimination.” “Our inmost nature wants some medium, some way to express and realize itself.” “That you can do it in this moment means that you can always do it.” “Your efforts should extend to saving all sentient beings.” .

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    This is the first book about Zen that I read, found it in a library. At that time I read it before I had any experience of meditation. For me, this was a very enlightening read. And even without remember much of the contents, I rated this book as a solid 5 star when I was inputting my reads in Goodreads. Fast forward decades later (and more experience in meditation practice), I re-read this book, and I found new understandings. This book is not only good as an introduction for people who want to This is the first book about Zen that I read, found it in a library. At that time I read it before I had any experience of meditation. For me, this was a very enlightening read. And even without remember much of the contents, I rated this book as a solid 5 star when I was inputting my reads in Goodreads. Fast forward decades later (and more experience in meditation practice), I re-read this book, and I found new understandings. This book is not only good as an introduction for people who want to learn Zen, but also good at discussing Zen understandings for practitioners. Why not rated it 5 star? I want to encourage you guys to learn more, do not stuck by reading this book alone if you are starting want to know more about Zen. For an example, this book has quotes from Dogen, and there are many books about Dogen or his teachings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    As a music performance major who is burned out and bitter going into her last year of her undergraduate career, this book was invaluable for its ability to have the notion of practicing zazen also be equal to practicing her instrument. I have taken a bit of a break from meditation and music for 3-4 months now, and these informal talks are exactly the kind of thing I need to get myself to head in the right direction. It's a book that I recommend re-visiting often, for it provides a perfect impetus As a music performance major who is burned out and bitter going into her last year of her undergraduate career, this book was invaluable for its ability to have the notion of practicing zazen also be equal to practicing her instrument. I have taken a bit of a break from meditation and music for 3-4 months now, and these informal talks are exactly the kind of thing I need to get myself to head in the right direction. It's a book that I recommend re-visiting often, for it provides a perfect impetus to look at yourself honestly.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gergana

    Short and to the point. What I like about books about Buddhism, Taoism and so on, is that they make you feel really relaxed and accepting of yourself. Although self-improvement books on how to get rich, find love, loose weight etc. are great, it's nice to hear that life can be uneventful and boring, yet completely satisfying if you just stop and relax. PS: On a personal note: People who have been the happiest in their lives, who lived the longest and didn't get ill as often, were not the ones th Short and to the point. What I like about books about Buddhism, Taoism and so on, is that they make you feel really relaxed and accepting of yourself. Although self-improvement books on how to get rich, find love, loose weight etc. are great, it's nice to hear that life can be uneventful and boring, yet completely satisfying if you just stop and relax. PS: On a personal note: People who have been the happiest in their lives, who lived the longest and didn't get ill as often, were not the ones that were rich, successful or popular, but the ones that had the strongest relationship with his/her partner and their family and friends. ...Not sure why I wrote this here, but I felt like sharing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    rahul

    गम और खुशी में फर्क ना महसूस हो जहा मैं दिल को उस मकाम पे लाता चला गया Gham aur khushi mein fark na mehsoos ho jahaan Main dil ko us makaam pe lata chala gaya Where there is no difference felt between Joy and pain, I kept bringing my heart to that realm, again and again... --------------------------------------------------------------------- Movie : Hum Dono Lyricist: Sahir Ludhiyanvi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCUUgy... --------------------------------------------------------------------- It is practic गम और खुशी में फर्क ना महसूस हो जहा मैं दिल को उस मकाम पे लाता चला गया Gham aur khushi mein fark na mehsoos ho jahaan Main dil ko us makaam pe lata chala gaya Where there is no difference felt between Joy and pain, I kept bringing my heart to that realm, again and again... --------------------------------------------------------------------- Movie : Hum Dono Lyricist: Sahir Ludhiyanvi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCUUgy... --------------------------------------------------------------------- It is practice, is what enlightenment is. And you won't be able to say it in words. Words, they just confuse.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara Alaee

    "When you become you, Zen becomes Zen. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings." "When you become you, Zen becomes Zen. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings."

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book was put together from a series of lectures by Shunyru Suzuki who was one of the first Zen Buddhist teachers to share Buddhism with Americans in the middle to late 20th century. I met Suzuki when I was a teenager, and was influenced by him a great deal. Because of him I found that I was very attracted to meditation practice and to his particular style of teaching. He was a good spiritual friend. In this book Shunryu expresses the heart of Zen in the simplest but most profound ways. His This book was put together from a series of lectures by Shunyru Suzuki who was one of the first Zen Buddhist teachers to share Buddhism with Americans in the middle to late 20th century. I met Suzuki when I was a teenager, and was influenced by him a great deal. Because of him I found that I was very attracted to meditation practice and to his particular style of teaching. He was a good spiritual friend. In this book Shunryu expresses the heart of Zen in the simplest but most profound ways. His style is casual but enigmatic. If you want to get a feel for Soto Zen, this is the best book you'll find. When I was an idealistic 19 year old, I ask Shunyru if I could be his student. He said, "Of course. Now we're good friends". I never forgot his words.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abhimanu

    This is, I feel, one of those books that one wouldn't be able to get into unless one has some past encounters with zen, or meditation in general. It is a short book but is also quite complex and takes time for mental digestion---and that's why some background is needed. It gave me feelings of intense calm while reading the book. I will definitely revisit this books many times in future. For the uninitiated, get Dan Harris' book---10% happier---and then go for this one, imo. This is, I feel, one of those books that one wouldn't be able to get into unless one has some past encounters with zen, or meditation in general. It is a short book but is also quite complex and takes time for mental digestion---and that's why some background is needed. It gave me feelings of intense calm while reading the book. I will definitely revisit this books many times in future. For the uninitiated, get Dan Harris' book---10% happier---and then go for this one, imo.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ankur Banerjee

    As an introductory book to Zen Buddhism, this is quite daunting or useless. The publishing industry seems to have cashed into the misconception that this this is a book for beginners because it has "Beginner's Mind" in the title. This book is really not where you should be starting as the first point for any sort of reading on Buddhism - Zen or not. I'd recommend reading something else first, actually attending a zazen session somewhere and *then* reading this book to get the full impact. Suzuki' As an introductory book to Zen Buddhism, this is quite daunting or useless. The publishing industry seems to have cashed into the misconception that this this is a book for beginners because it has "Beginner's Mind" in the title. This book is really not where you should be starting as the first point for any sort of reading on Buddhism - Zen or not. I'd recommend reading something else first, actually attending a zazen session somewhere and *then* reading this book to get the full impact. Suzuki's talks are very elliptical and it can sometimes be hard to decipher, but I think the spirit of the book is that you shouldn't even *try* to decipher it. Rather, just try to *feel* what his words mean. I can see myself re-reading this book many times and it illuminating something new each time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Synthia

    Some take aways: -Right attitude is to have strong confidence in our original nature -Repetition -Concentration on our usual everyday routine -When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself. -Study yourself and forget yourself -When you become you, Zen becomes Zen. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings. -Big mind is something to express, not something to figure out. Big mind is something you Some take aways: -Right attitude is to have strong confidence in our original nature -Repetition -Concentration on our usual everyday routine -When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself. -Study yourself and forget yourself -When you become you, Zen becomes Zen. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings. -Big mind is something to express, not something to figure out. Big mind is something you have, not something to seek for. -If you take pride in your attainment or become discouraged because of your idealistic effort, your practice will confine you by a thick wall.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emanuella

    And the best part of the book is the quote: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few." And I think the zen mindset can be summarized by three words: "Attention, attention, attention." I picked up this book because I thought it would have genuine insights about being mindful and compassionate. I was disappointed; it turned out to be a lot of navel-gazing, typical of the pseudo-spiritual circle-talk that Westerners seem to think is profound, but r And the best part of the book is the quote: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few." And I think the zen mindset can be summarized by three words: "Attention, attention, attention." I picked up this book because I thought it would have genuine insights about being mindful and compassionate. I was disappointed; it turned out to be a lot of navel-gazing, typical of the pseudo-spiritual circle-talk that Westerners seem to think is profound, but really isn't. Maybe other people got more out of it. It just wasn't for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    This book is a classic to be read from time to time. At present I am not reading it but have convinced my 15 year old sn to read it hoping that it, together with long conversations and care, will immediately help him with his teenage angst. Even more, I hope the ideas in the book can be planted now to bloom later. Those are just some thoughts about some present concerns. The main reason for the posting is to pass on something I read that as not in a book. It is this powerful Zen koan. Count the s This book is a classic to be read from time to time. At present I am not reading it but have convinced my 15 year old sn to read it hoping that it, together with long conversations and care, will immediately help him with his teenage angst. Even more, I hope the ideas in the book can be planted now to bloom later. Those are just some thoughts about some present concerns. The main reason for the posting is to pass on something I read that as not in a book. It is this powerful Zen koan. Count the stars in the sky.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    While I have now read all the words on all the pages, I don't think I'm actually finished with this book. And I don't mean that the thoughts will stick with me, though that is true. What I mean is that I will skim parts of this book again, maybe even soon. Or I will reread sections of it, thinking about the ideas again. For as simply as the words are written, the ideas have oceanic depth, I'm going to be swimming here for quite a while. While I have now read all the words on all the pages, I don't think I'm actually finished with this book. And I don't mean that the thoughts will stick with me, though that is true. What I mean is that I will skim parts of this book again, maybe even soon. Or I will reread sections of it, thinking about the ideas again. For as simply as the words are written, the ideas have oceanic depth, I'm going to be swimming here for quite a while.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Zen — I don’t get it. But does that mean I truly get it? No.

  27. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Beitelman

    I am not the only Westerner to be moved by this, the first Zen tract aimed specifically at an American audience. And maybe to the Zen true-believer (Western or otherwise) it’s Zen-lite, I don’t know. I’m not a Buddhist or anything, much less a Zen master. But reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind helped me realize that Zen is not so much about religion as it is about discipline of all kinds — it is, in fact, a discipline about discipline. Not so much the rap-your-knuckles kind. More the “fall down s I am not the only Westerner to be moved by this, the first Zen tract aimed specifically at an American audience. And maybe to the Zen true-believer (Western or otherwise) it’s Zen-lite, I don’t know. I’m not a Buddhist or anything, much less a Zen master. But reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind helped me realize that Zen is not so much about religion as it is about discipline of all kinds — it is, in fact, a discipline about discipline. Not so much the rap-your-knuckles kind. More the “fall down seven times, get up eight” kind. The discipline of (an) incessant practice. As Suzuki, who was referred to by his own Zen master as “Crooked Cucumber” because he seemingly couldn’t do anything right, writes: After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, “Oh, this pace is terrible!” But actually it is not. When you get wet in a fog it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress….There is no Nirvana outside our practice. It’s applicable to whatever practice you choose — whether it resides in the realm of science or art or spirit or elsewhere. The most important part of the book is not the classification “Zen” or even the specific practice of zazen (zen meditation); it’s the idea of being a perpetual beginner. The perennial wisdom of “I don’t know.”

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by the late Shunryu Suzuki is the most interesting book on Zen Buddhism I've read so far. I thought it was a pleasure to read, and unlike so often, I just took my time reading it, taking one chapter a day. There is something calming about reading it, and I think that has to do with the author voice. It is a bit like sitting somewhere, listening to a knowledgeable man talking about the subject. Partly that is because it's not written. It is a collection of talks Shunryu S Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by the late Shunryu Suzuki is the most interesting book on Zen Buddhism I've read so far. I thought it was a pleasure to read, and unlike so often, I just took my time reading it, taking one chapter a day. There is something calming about reading it, and I think that has to do with the author voice. It is a bit like sitting somewhere, listening to a knowledgeable man talking about the subject. Partly that is because it's not written. It is a collection of talks Shunryu Suzuki made not long before he died. These talks were collected together, and publish after some minimal editing. The editing is so light that one can feel it is talked, rather than written. Unlike some collection of this kind, it does have a good sense of build up, and I think that is because Suzuki intended this to be published. So one doesn't get a lot of the repeated material than sometimes happens in books that have been written in this manner. One does get a good dose of contradictions with it, and Zen Buddhism seems to have a lot of those. Statements that seem to point in oposide directions at the same time. This is actually one of the elements I find so fascinating about this subject. The thing is, they only seem to point in oposide directions. There is something behind these contradictions, something quite interesting. Suzuki talks about meditation. I'm not sure if I would say that it is a good introduction to meditation, or at least not one without its flaws. For example, he talks about what position should be used, but doesn't discribe it so I had to google images of it to see what he meant. This is of course one of the few things that could have been improved, but it is not a big flaw. This one is definitly going on my re reading list.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MissUnderstoodGenius

    The title "Beginner's Mind" could/might mislead a few, as it refers to the idea of maintaining an open, childlike mind, and never acting or feeling as though one has ACHIEVED enlightenment. Beginner's mind in this case refers to the state of mind we have when first jump into any endeavour. Be always searching, always growing. Each chapter is just the right length for a cup of tea (or coffee). "Crooked Cucumber" is a biography of Suzuki and a wonderful intro to Zen Mind. In this world of Space and The title "Beginner's Mind" could/might mislead a few, as it refers to the idea of maintaining an open, childlike mind, and never acting or feeling as though one has ACHIEVED enlightenment. Beginner's mind in this case refers to the state of mind we have when first jump into any endeavour. Be always searching, always growing. Each chapter is just the right length for a cup of tea (or coffee). "Crooked Cucumber" is a biography of Suzuki and a wonderful intro to Zen Mind. In this world of Space and Time Truth can only be perceived by us humans as paradoxical, in my view. Actually, if it isn't paradoxical it can't be Truth ;) Simple mind-changing concept which at first were difficult to accept (and even more to practice!) but it helped me to understand and accept the unchanging universe and to appreciate what I still have--life. Am beginning to realize the profoundity..at least to the extent my newbie Zen mind can grasp! Would I recommend it? YES - Not just to folks curious about Zen but to anybody who is curious at all. Regardless of one's religious background, I think there is much to be learned about living (and about faith) from this slim book. However, I would not recommend it as an introduction to Zen as someone with little or no knowledge of Zen can become completely lost.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hamidreza

    always stay a beginner

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