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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind [Kindle Edition]

Shunryu Suzuki , David Chadwick
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“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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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A respected Zen master in Japan and founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, Shunryu Suzuki has blazed a path in American Buddhism like few others. He is the master who climbs down from the pages of the koan books and answers your questions face to face. If not face to face, you can at least find the answers as recorded in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, a transcription of juicy excerpts from his lectures. From diverse topics such as transience of the world, sudden enlightenment, and the nuts and bolts of meditation, Suzuki always returns to the idea of beginner's mind, a recognition that our original nature is our true nature. With beginner's mind, we dedicate ourselves to sincere practice, without the thought of gaining anything special. Day to day life becomes our Zen training, and we discover that "to study Buddhism is to study ourselves." And to know our true selves is to be enlightened. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal

In one of the best and most succinct introductions to Zen practice, the important teacher Shunryu Suzuki discusses posture and breathing in meditation as well as selflessness, emptiness, and mindfulness.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 275 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1590302672
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; Anv edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004R9QFGS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,278 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
484 of 492 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beloved classic of American Zen November 1, 2000
Format:Paperback
This is a collection of talks by one of the first Zen teachers in the U.S. If you're already practicing Zen, I highly recommend this book. If you're new to Zen, you might love this book or you might find it largely incomprehensible, or maybe both. Suzuki makes liberal use of the paradoxical language that is typical of Zen--e.g., "For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence." If you'd prefer a more ordinary, explanatory style, I recommend Charlotte Joko Beck's "Everyday Zen." If you're looking for practical instruction in Zen meditation, you'll find it in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," but you might prefer either Philip Kapleau's "The Three Pillars of Zen," which includes more detailed instructions and illustrations of sitting postures, or Cheri Huber's instructional video "The Secret Is There Are No Secrets."

When I first read "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," for a college class on Buddhism, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but I did end up practicing Zen, and maybe this book had something to do with that. For many years, even while living at a Zen monastery, I suspected that a lot of the enthusiasm for this book was an "emperor's new clothes" phenomenon: a few respected people said it was wonderful, so then everybody said it was wonderful.
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Piece, All You'll Ever Need March 21, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book took me out of the maze of faith-based religion and for the first time I found a teacher and a philosophy with so much credibility I had the confidence to trust in the more esoteric aspects of a teaching that weren't initially obvious. Suzuki, and I assume Zen in general, has the wisdom and courage to acknowedge that there are things about our universe that we cannot comprehend and treat them as both beautiful and mysterious. This contrasts with faith-based religions which instruct us to accept notions of "gods" and elaborate tales for explanation and as such are a complete assault on and violation of the intellect. Zen outlook which does away with the largely western notions of right & wrong, past and future, and states of lack will put one squarely in the present tense from moment to moment. It is utterly refreshing and healthy to look at the universe through glasses which are not colored by human desire and ego. Read this book, gain an understanding of yourself, an appreciation for the universe as a whole and piece of mind. Namaste
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129 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind at one with Tao March 22, 2000
Format:Paperback
Anyone interested in reading this book should not be dissuaded by the negative rantings of the "humble monk" and "Dharma teacher", whose reviews appear to be from the same person. This book does not disappoint. I first read it over 25 years ago and I've fondly returned to it time and again since.
This book is intended as a look at 'Zen Mind', mind at one with Tao. The term 'Beginner's Mind' refers to the goal of always keeping our original beginner's mind in our practice. To awaken to this mind, Suzuki encourages the practice of Zazen, for when we take the Zazen posture we are at once aligned with The Buddha and all of the Patriarchs, we perfectly express our own Buddha nature. The act of sitting itself is the actualization of Buddha Nature or Being. This IS the practice of Zen.
Zen is a practice, not a religion and as thus can not be blasphemed in the way that the negative reviewer asserts. Religion is an attitude of devotion to something other than yourself which is regarded as worthy of supreme devotion. Zen Buddhism is not the worship of Buddha. Buddha taught the way to eliminate the cause of human suffering and conflict, the way to awakening. Zen is the means to that end.
To the Dharma teacher and "Zen monk", I quote Zen Master Dogen Zenji's Bendowa. "You look on the meditation of the Buddhas and the supreme law as just sitting and doing nothing. You disparage Mahayana Buddhism. Your delusion is deep; you are like someone in the middle of the ocean crying out for water. Fortunately we are already sitting at ease in the self-joyous meditation of the Buddhas. Isn't this a great boon? What a pity that your true-eye remains shut - that your mind remains drunk.
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188 of 209 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading title for a possibly great book February 3, 2007
Format:Paperback
I do not want to detract from this book's worth or wisdom in any way. No doubt the glowing reviews reflect the book's significance to the lives of those who have read and UNDERSTOOD it.

My only caveat is that for complete novices--like myself--the title is misleading, and therefore the book's teachings were not very accessible to me. The term "beginner's mind," as used in this work, refers to the idea of maintaining an open, childlike mind, and never acting or feeling as though one has ACHIEVED enlightenment. Be always searching, always growing.

"Beginner's mind" should NOT be taken as an indication that this is a book for those like myself who are newcomers to the study of Zen (i.e. "beginners"). Maybe you're an "old soul," but new to Zen, in which case, you may get more out of this book than I currently do.

As someone who instinctively feels that Zen has something BIG to offer me if only I can understand what the hell the books on Zen are talking about, this is NOT a good introduction. Zen terminology is thrown around as though I already know what the terms mean. The description of poses (without benefit of pictures) is confusing, and I must admit that I [shallowly?] found myself ticked off: if I couldn't figure out a stinking pose (or even get BEYOND the fact that I couldn't figure it out), how on earth was I "deep enough" to get my foot on the path to enlightenment?

For anyone who, like myself, needs something a little more concrete to get me started, something I can sink my literal Western teeth into, this ain't the book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The world did not exist prior to my birth
Existence is an illusion, even if the illusion seems real. Just as an entire world is contained in the mind of the dreamer and it seems real, so too is our waking-reality an... Read more
Published 1 day ago by The Hermit
1.0 out of 5 stars Very dry
This was required reading for a college class but I just could not do it. The book was so dry and so bland. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Brittany Hinkley
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic at any level
Even for the experienced practitioner, this is a great book, a good review of the foundations of Soto Zen Meditation
Published 8 days ago by LEO808
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex yet simple
I have considered myself a Buddhist for many years but have recently been studying it more in depth. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Carolyn Dargevics
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to live with
Memorable, inspiring teachings from the heart and mind of a wise, compassionate, humble teacher, who also has a mischievous sense of humor. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Chris W.
5.0 out of 5 stars ZEN
A remarkably clear distillation of Zen to it's essence: practice zazen, regularly until it becomes each moment of your walk through life, nothing more, nothing less, be here now... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Ken Legg
5.0 out of 5 stars Expedient!
I needed the books to start a study grp, this and other books came in record time. The price was good also.
Published 22 days ago by Matthew L Juan
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues to change my life
Shunryu Suzuki truly speaks to me in the way these words are presented. What he says simply makes sense to me. I am now a constant practicioner
Published 24 days ago by RC
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Emptiness is emptiness, form is form....
These words is emptiness as form...
These last words is just required by amazon...
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Audiobook: Great Introduction to the Practice of Zen
This is a perfect audio-book for any person starting zen practice. It lasts about one hour. It gives the listener the basics of zazen regarding basic approach, posture, breathing,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazonilla
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