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.
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“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