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No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen Paperback – June 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The "Big Mind" that Zen Buddhist master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi so poetically described in his classic Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind shines throughout this collection of talks by Kwong, a disciple and authorized successor of Suzuki's. Appropriately for someone erasing the usual dualistic lines that separate self and other, Kwong's voice is strikingly reminiscent of his teacher's, from the traditional stories and poems he cites to the same central figures of speech and simple diction he uses. The book is also organized like Zen Mind into three parts with quotes pulled out to head each chapter. It even includes 10 of Kwong's calligraphic illustrations, while Zen Mind opens with calligraphy facing its title page. Unlike his teacher, however, the California-born Kwong speaks the language of Zen with an American accent. He is intimately familiar with the American lexicon of words and values, which gives him direct experience-important in Zen-to bring to the cultural meeting of modern American and Japanese Zen minds. He uses "living words"-concrete nouns and simple examples from everyday observation or experience-rather than abstract concepts to make plain and understandable the teasing and logic-confounding contradictions found in Zen. Culled from a lifetime of teaching and studying, the book is persuasive. It is the fruit of a ripened mind, hardened by practice but also softened by the compassionate wisdom drawn from those same long years of experience.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“California-born Kwong speaks the language of Zen with an American accent. . . . The book is persuasive. It is the fruit of a ripened mind, hardened by practice but also softened by the compassionate wisdom drawn from those same long years of experience.”—Publishers Weekly

“Following in the profound lineage of Suzuki-roshi, Jakusho Kwong offers an open-hearted Zen with an immediacy that is both illuminating and simple. These teachings give us confidence to return to our original mind.”—Jack Kornfield

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590308115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590308110
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the most intimate voice, this book offers the wisdom and compassion of a great-hearted American Zen master. The promise Shunryu Suzuki saw decades ago in his young student Jakusho Kwong has been lovingly cultivated into a lifetime of conscious compassion, wisdom and care. Chapter after chapter offers the benefits of such a life in a way that makes the book a real page turner, though I suggest you read it slowly. Let the teachings, the vision and the kindness seep in.
So many spiritual books based on their author's talks fall short of allowing the reader to feel included. They make you feel that you wish you had been at the actual event. This book is the opposite. Each chapter made me feel I was actually sitting with a true Zen master who was helping me to understand my life and parts of myself in ways I never had. It was like having a private interview with someone who really saw me for who I was and wanted to help me to become whole.
One last thing. I have read gazillions of Zen books. I look to them as a kind of spiritual companion or friend. Often the relationship is pretty good, but not quite the perfect fit. This book, however, like Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, is that friend. We go places together. I take it with me when I want to be with someone who understands me, and I find that it helps me to understand myself in new ways each time. Books that are called "classics" are books that "last a lifetime." For me, No Beginning, No End is one of these
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alice Bolocan on May 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I have read on the spirit of Zen that I could begin to relate to. I could not put it down, nor can I wait to dip into it again and again for its many messages. The book spoke to me in a way my sporadic attempts to learn about Zen through sittings at various Zen Centers have not. I have attempted sittings -- even overnight retreats -- at Centers with Asian Zen Masters, plus sittings at Zen Centers led by American Zen Masters. These sittings did not work for me. I could not connect and did not know why. After reading NO BEGINNING NO END,I have finally found my connection. The connection is because Roshi Jakusho Kwong was born and raised in America of Chinese ancestry and we speak the same language. Roshi's childhood, formative teenage and adulthood years were all here in California. He grew up in a small town with very few Asians, played football with his American classmates -- yet spoke Chinese before he spoke English.
Roshi is one of the early American pioneers instrumental in introducing Zen to America. Roshi communicates Zen to Americans in a manner that relates to their cultural context and milieux. Roshi's book and teachings are rare examples from a teacher who has bridged two cultural traditions. There are not many,if any,other American Zen Masters of Asian heritage who have transplanted the Zen that is practiced in Japan onto native American soil and has produced a new American home grown variety.
I highly recommend this classic not just for oneself, but as gifts for friends you feel can appreciate its uniqueness. I would have bought NO BEGINNING NO END just for its artful, powerful book jacket.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This gem of a book truly offers us a glimpse into the heart of zen. Kwong Roshi's words are as down to earth and accessible as they are thought-provoking and profound. It is clear that his is the voice of experience and that his teachings are based on years of personal, devoted practice of Dharma. This book would be helpful for those wanting to learn more about the practice of meditation or for any seasoned student of zen. His teachings are pithy and can be applied to the obstacles and challenges we face every day in our lives. We are fortunate to have the teachings of this living master available to us. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested enriching their lives through the practice of meditation and the cultivation of wisdom. What a treasure!!!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brendan on April 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've searched for the last 10 years, for a book, movie, music that would help me with my search for spiritual/emotional contentment. This book is it. If I have any questions at all about whatever I am doing, and I'm feeling stuck, finding myself without perspective, I can open to any chapter in the book and instantly feel free from my overworked mind. This book speaks clearly and passionately about life, sitting, and the variable scale of emotions we so fondly exercise. I tend to live my life a little recklessly, and generally without focus, and this book helps me to find that stillness inate in all of us. I'm able to calm down and shift my attention to the bigger picture, the picture I so rarely glimpse. If you are looking for a book that will speak, as the title suggests, intimately with you...this is the book. Take some time with these words and thoughts. It will guide and assist as you begin living your full potential.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Swing King on December 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Aside from being Dharma heir to the late Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, Jakusho Kwong-roshi is also one of only 9 Western Zen teachers to have been given the title of Dendo Kyoshi (Zen teacher) by the Soto sect in Japan. It is not often one finds themself coming across a book so thoroughly complete with the good teachings.
The style is simplistic and exhaustive thoroughout, I rank Jakusho Kwong-roshi among the very best of contemporary Zen masters. His style is certainly reminiscent of his former teacher Suzuki, while we also see glimpses of similarity with Zen master Seung Sahn and Taizan Maezumi-roshi. No Beginning, No End is a very important contribution to modern Zen literature, in striking contrast to some of the hot air you often find on the bookshelves. The work comes from a person truly knowledgable of the Dharma, filled with both humor and monstrous wisdom.
So out of all the Zen literatures out there to date, this book has become one of a select few I hold dear. I am grateful to have found this rare Dharma treasure, which rekindled my belief that I would again find a true teacher among us teaching and writing. I am halfway tempted to leave my current lineage and take off towards the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in Santa Rosa, California where he currently teaches. Enjoy this book, it's really extraordinary.
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