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

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Overview

Zen mind is one of those enigmatic phrases used by Zen teachers to throw you back upon yourself, to make you go behind the words themselves and begin wondering. "I know what my own mind is," you tell yourself, "but what is Zen mind?" And then: "But do I really know what my own mind is?" Is it what I am doing now? Is it what I am thinking now?" And if you should then try to sit physically still for a while to see if you can locate it—then you have begun the practice of Zen, then you have begun to realize the unrestricted mind.

The innocence of this first inquiry—just asking what you are—is beginner's mind. The mind of the beginner is needed throughout Zen practice. It is the open mind, the attitude that includes both doubt and possibility, the ability to see things always as fresh and new. It is needed in all aspects of life. Beginner's mind is the practice of Zen mind.

This book originated from a series of talks given by Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki to a small group in Los Altos, California. He joined their meditation periods once a week and afterwards answered their questions and tried to encourage them in their practice of Zen and help them solve the problems of life. His approach is informal, and he draws his examples from ordinary events and common sense. Zen is now and here, he is saying; it can be as meaningful for the West as for the East. But his fundamental teaching and practice are drawn from all the centuries of Zen Buddhism and especially from Dogen, one of the most important and creative of all Zen Masters.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834800793
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1973
  • Pages: 138
  • Product dimensions: 5.35 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Shunryu Suzuki (1904–1971) was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century and is truly a founding father of Zen in America. A Japanese priest of the Soto lineage, he taught in the United States from 1959 until his death. He was the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He is the author of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai, and he is the subject of the biography Crooked Cucumber by David Chadwick.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 17, 2009

    Unpretentious spirituality

    This modern classic cuts through the quick-fix and instant results promised by many spiritual "methods". It is applicable to other religious traditions. If you want instant spirituality, if you want God in your pocket, if you want the thrill of religious experience over and above an ordered, integral, calm spiritual life, then this is not the book for you.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2002

    Zen Wisdom

    I read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind for the first time about a year ago. I found it to be one of the most accessible works on Zen Buddhism and Zen meditation techniques I've read (and I've read plenty, by both Eastern and Western writers). The late Suzuki had a gift for making Zen accessible to Westerners, as evidenced by his extensive use of anecdote and analogy to put across some of the more esoteric aspects of the philosophy. Regardless of one's religious background, I believe there is much to be learned about living from this slim book. Also suggest you read 'Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Book of Eastern Wisdom' by Taro Gold, which makes a great companion book on the path to learning more about Buddhism and living a happy life.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    Excellent first read for the beginner, but also good for the more experienced Buddhist. A fast and engaging/engrossing read. Pertains more to zazen and meditating; and also how to start one's practice in Buddhism and zazen. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Nothing Really New Here

    I got this ebook on the recommendation from well-known coach Phil Jackson via Oprah's Super Soul Sunday program. I'm about halfway through it, and while I find it a simple, easy read with some nuggets worth highlighting, for the most part, I feel like it's not telling me anything I haven't already read elsewhere. If you are new to meditation and the idea of zen, you might enjoy his simplistic explanations. For me, I was hoping for a deeper angle than what I'd read in other books. I do think he offers a glimpse into the simple beauty of having a practice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    This book is so zen, it...

    Tells you not to read the book and to learn zen on your own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Great content, poor quality

    Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind is one of my top recommendations for anyone on a path involving meditation. So much practical advice! I bought the audio tapes of Peter Coyote's reading from Audio Literature back in 1986. I literally wore my tapes out from use over the years.

    I was hoping to get the work restored on Audio CD. However, when I heard these, I found the sound quality matched my old cassette tapes. I suspect Phoenix Books just made CDs from cassette tapes as old as mine. I can make CDs of this quality or better in my own home. No restoration has been attempted on these CDs.

    So I am torn as to how to rate this product. The content is top notch. I haven't found a better book on mindfulness. But the quality of these CDs is horrible. I think someone needs to re-produce this work in the sound studio.

    For those new to this book, it is the most inspiring, life-changing, motivating book on spiritual practice I've ever read. It provides a lot of fundamental advice on how to meditate and some of the traps along the way. It is a spiritual must read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2000

    The Bible of Zen

    This book teaches you everything you need to know about zen and meditation. It is broken into three chapters: 1) right posture, 2)right attitude, and 3) right understanding. Suzuki gives very clear and insightful ways on how to approach zen. Suzuki emphasizes that you must have a beginner's mind, which means that you must approach everything with a clear and open mind. No matter whether you're trying zen for the first time or having been meditating for years, this book is a necessity for all those interesting in zen and/or meditation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Fantastic bit of Philosophy

    This is a classic book that is meant to be read over and over. It is the work of true genius.He takes complex topics and breaks them down with the sole purpose of communication. Truly a masterpiece. It was originally produced in the 1970s and is timeless. After learning the word Suzuki you will see him quoted in fields of thought. Do yourself a favor and ensure that this book is available to you to read again and again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    Flameclaw

    Oh ok

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Lilacgrace

    " Yyyayy... " she mews worriedly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    Feathersong

    At moonpool first res.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Singerstar

    Bbt@ 7- 8 central

    Bye feathersong!
    Written 9:37 pm central

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Zen

    K &hearts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    A great introduction to Zen without a lot of "fluff" o

    A great introduction to Zen without a lot of "fluff" or clutter.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Sesilu

    That is the book that introduced me to Zen ans shikantaza. I read the book 5 years ago and I still read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Chaned my life

    It helps you experience reality more fully :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    A classic

    Suzuki roshi introduced America to zen and a totally different way of being that transcends the material world of dependence on form. This is a must have book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    A great Guide to Zen

    If you are just embarking on a path of Zen or a serious practitioner or just curious about a different take this is a must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews

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