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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2015
As someone new to the practice of meditation, I got almost nothing from this book. If you're looking for a primer, this is not it. Read the first couple chapters on posture and breathing and move on. Here's a representative excerpt

"Or you may say, “This is bad, so I should not do this.” Actually, when you say, “I should not do this,” you are doing not-doing in that moment. So there is no choice for you. When you separate the idea of time and space, you feel as if you have some choice, but actually, you have to do something, or you have to do not-doing. Not-to-do something is doing something. Good and bad are only in your mind. So we should not say, “This is good,” or “This is bad.” Instead of saying bad, you should say, “not-to-do”! If you think, “This is bad,” it will create some confusion for you. So in the realm of pure religion there is no confusion of time and space, or good or bad. All that we should do is just do something as it comes. Do something! Whatever it is, we should do it, even if it is not-doing something. We should live in this moment."
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2015
I just didn't think it was a very good book. I like Thich Nhat Hanh's books better.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2014
I couldn't finish it. Perhaps his writing style is intended to lull one into a state of contemplation, but I found the language to be repetitive and intentionally obtuse. I was hoping to learn something. I wish I could rate it no stars. I wish I'd read a few more of the one star reviews, and spent my money and time on one of the dozens of other books recommended by other unhappy readers who are also interested in this ancient and spiritual subject. Read some of the other one star reviews, and select another book.
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4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2014
This was required reading for a college class but I just could not do it. The book was so dry and so bland. It wasn't even the cultural differences expressed, just the awful way it was written.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2014
Too much fucusing of the master and not the main point should change title to the life of the creator or master
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71 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2004
Being more than a little fond of The Great Matter I've looked thru this book on many occasions and never found anything to warrant close examination. I am amazed at the high praise it receives in these reviews, and I can appreciate some of what the naysayers point out, Sutra study (Mahayana or Theravada) isn't part of the picture here. I wouldn't recommend the Sutras for those new to Zen, but I would expect that what's presented in a book on Zen would have its roots, in some fashion or other, in the Mahayana, whether zazen is emphasized or not. Consequently, I would recommend THE WAY OF ZEN, by Alan Watts, which is a lot more informative and, more importantly, a lot more fun! Yes, I said the F word and if you've read all the reviews here, as I have, you will notice they are rather serious and that alone makes you wonder. (The Watts book is always available 'used' and can also be found in most libraries.) Take Care.

UPDATE: Finally managed to read this book. (How can one avoid it with all the hype surrounding this book & this Master?) Well, I can now say Little Suzuki does try to hitch his wagon to the Mahayana, but with nothing other than cliches. In every instance where he mentions either the Sutras or Zen Masters he follows it with the most insipid comments imaginable. Here's an example from the text (you be the judge):

"This sutra [Prajna Paramita Sutra] says, 'Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara observes that everything is emptiness, thus he forsakes all suffering.' It was not AFTER he realized this truth that he overcame suffering --to realize this fact is itself to be relieved from suffering. So realization of the truth is salvation itself. We say 'to realize,' but the realization of the truth is always near at hand. It is not after we practice zazen that we realize the truth; even before we practice zazen, realization is there. It is not after we understand the truth that we attain enlightenment. To realize the truth is to live--to exist here and now." (pg. 113, 7th printing 1973.)

Every mention is followed by this type of cheerleading passed off as 'insight'. Just look at the each chapter heading and the accompanying quote.

'It is wisdom which is seeking for wisdom.'

Now, that's impressive. There's more. How about:

'The point we emphasize is strong confidence in our original nature.'

Or:

'When you become you, Zen becomes Zen. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings'.

Management seminar talk applied to Zen? Richard Baker may have been impressed by such nonsense, but its clear that he and 'the Emperor have no clothes.'

No stars. Worst book ever on Zen. This is nothing more than a shallow attempt to make sitting meditation the be all and end all of Buddhism (just to 'keep things simple,') 'Zen Center' Buddhism. Since this book is considered 'a classic of American Buddhism' you'll probably end up, like me, feeling you probably should read it. Well, at least, check it out of the library before you waste hard earned money.

If you want to avoid the 'intellectual and religious stuff' better to return to your study with the poetry of Cold Mountain or even Mary Oliver! Sands of the Ganges, read the Tang Dynasty Masters, better to struggle with them than be coddled by these guys! Not recommended.
Take care.

'Those with the same disease sympathize with each other...buried in the same hole.' Yuanwu

'Hey! You are all adults! How can you accept this?
What should you do yourself?
Chan Master Chen-Ching (exiled 1080)
(pg.67, Teachings of Zen)
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13 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2013
This book is a collection of lectures. Just unorganized talking for half an hour every week. It is very shallow when you just talking about sitting and count your breath. We need more substance than that.
The best book about Meditation and Enlightenment for Americans is by Philip Kapleau Roshi,an American Zen Master who dedicated most of his life to Zen and put his experience and deep knowledge in the book The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment.
I spent years in the soto school (gradual enlightenment) meditation and actually joined The Zen Center in Rochester NY. I can tell you for sure that there is no such thing that we call Enlightenment. Suzuky was right about it " Sitting itself is Enlightenment".
All written accounts for Enlightenment are just mental pictures, phantasies and explosion of lights that come from the Solar Plexus or Dream Organ as Schopenhauer calls it . Perceiving the metaphysical with our physical mind is an illusion and downright impossible.
The best book I have ever red about Meditation and Enlightenment is written by Fadel Sabry The Will's Harmonic Motion: The Completion of Schopenhauer's Philosophy, in few pages tells you the skinny about all what you need to know.
If you want to start practicing Meditation on your own read The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness. This book is very simple and has more practical value that the three pillars.
I really don't recommend Suzuky's book , it is vague, hazy impractical talk gets you nowhere. It only teaches you that thru Meditation you can realize Emptiness as the Buddha teaches "Forms are Empty", Beginner's mind proved that some books are empty.
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9 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2012
I read all the positive reviews about this book and thought I couldn't go wrong by purchasing it. I also looked at the negative reviews but the positive so heavily outweighed the negative I decided to trust those. Unfortunately I wish I would have paid closer attention to the 1 star reviews as now I have a book to toss into our next garage sale. If this is the best way that Zen can be explained then I'm not embarrased to say I don't get it, don't think I'll ever get it, and don't care anymore (or wait...does that mean that I actually do get it?). I can see from the swarming responses to the other 1 star reviews that I can expect this review to be pounced on by the books defenders. I mean no disrespect to the author, and if you can get something out of it good for you. But after re-reading some entries repeatedly to ensure I wasn't missing anything I interpret this to be mostly nonsense.
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8 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2013
If this was the first and only book I read on Zen, I would have given up on it. I found the book dense and tedious. For anyone new to Zen or curious about it, I recommend Eckhart Tolle's "Power of Now" which explains the practice of Zen in a clear, simple and easy to apply way. This book does not do that. Instead it goes on and on and on about ideas and concepts instead of telling the reader about the actual practice of Zen, I felt it misses the whole point of Zen.
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28 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2009
Shunryu Suzuki never had Satori.

He admits this on the FIRST page of this very book.
So why should we listen to him?

According to D. T. Suzuki, "Satori is the raison d'être of Zen, without which Zen is no Zen. Therefore every contrivance, disciplinary and doctrinal, is directed towards satori."

Shunryu Suzuki inherited his Roshi title from his father, without any authentic Dharma transmission.
HIS only named Dharma successor, Richard Baker, was a notorious playboy who spent the SF Zen Center money on Porsches and jetsetting.

And now the SF Zen Center, run by a bureaucracy of new age politically correct "talking parking meters", is a franchise temple, spinning off their chain store temples all over the nation, with their emphasis on "no enlightenment buddhism".

The San Francisco Zen Center has yet to produce an enlightened Roshi. They are a fraud.

And this fox's book continues to trick naive Dharma seekers.

No satori, no authority.
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