Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Overview

“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.

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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

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Overview

“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.

"A primer on what Zen is and how a person can begin to practice it."--Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[This] is a different book every time I read it. Behind the simplicity, it is dense with Zen wisdom that flashes like lightning as you read and reread.”—Jon Lebkowskyl, Millennium Whole Earth Catalog

“One of the best, and most succinct, introductions to Zen practice.”—Library Journal

“This is one of the top five Buddhist books, ever.”—Elephant

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590302675
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/11/2005
  • Series: Shambhala Library
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 201,767
  • Product dimensions: 4.59 (w) x 7.01 (h) x 0.72 (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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Table of Contents

Preface Huston Smith ix

Introduction Richard Baker xiii

Prologue: Beginner's Mind 1

Part 1 Right Practice

Posture 7

Breathing 11

Control 14

Mind Waves 17

Mind Weeds 20

The Marrow of Zen 21

No Dualism 25

Bowing 28

Nothing Special 32

Part 2 Right Attitude

Single-Minded Way 37

Repetition 39

Zen and Excitement 42

Right Effort 44

No Trace 47

God Giving 51

Mistakes in Practice 57

Limiting Your Activity 61

Study Yourself 63

To Polish a Tile 67

Constancy 71

Communication 74

Negative and Positive 78

Nirvana, the Waterfall 81

Part 3 Right Understanding

Traditional Zen Spirit 87

Transiency 91

The Quality of Being 93

Naturalness 96

Emptiness 100

Readiness, Mindfulness 103

Believing in Nothing 106

Attachment, Nonattachment 109

Calmness 112

Experience, Not Philosophy 114

Original Buddhism 117

Beyond Consciousness 120

Buddha's Enlightenment 124

Epilogue: Zen Mind 127

Afterword David Chadwick 135

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • 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 March 14, 2012

    The best introduction to Zen spirituality in English. I recommen

    The best introduction to Zen spirituality in English. I recommend it to the beginning student along with "Taking the Path of Zen" by Robert Aitken, which offers more "nuts and bolts" instruction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 29, 2012

    Intresting book!

    Intresting book, intresting author's opinion. But it didn't impressed me as I expected. I didn't find in the book lots of spirituality, i found it only intresting. Comparing with book I've read few weeks ago, I mean a crossing or the drop's history by Anatoliy Obraztsov where I really found a lot of spirutuality

    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
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    Posted November 2, 2008

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    Posted February 7, 2009

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    Posted November 26, 2009

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    Posted November 14, 2008

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