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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice Paperback – June 28, 2011
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“[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
“One of the top five Buddhist books, ever.”—Elephant
About 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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It's a decent journal and I'm glad it was still available, as I like the Zen sayings as food for thought as I'm writing entries. My only criticism is the wastefulness of the design. Having the Zen images and sayings take up a full page face, then not lining the back of the page, or the backs of lined pages, felt exceedingly wasteful. The book is listed as having 128 pages, but only one side of the lined pages is actually lined, and the picture/saying pages aren't lined at all, cutting the number of lined page faces down to less than 64. Now that seems really wasteful -- especially if you're only intending on using the lined page faces. I personally don't mind writing on unlined pages, so I intend to use the backs of the picture/saying pages as well as the backs of the lined pages -- I dislike the inconsistency, though. It feels like it lacks mindfulness and consideration, in terms of its design. Unfitting for a Zen journal, if you ask me. -- This is why I took off a star. I'd rate it as 3 1/2 if I could, but without any half-stars, I decided to round up.
In terms of giving this as a gift, I'd say it's a decent stocking stuffer or small gift. It's not fancy, but seems pretty well made, and I'd consider giving this to someone who is interested in Zen and journaling. But, as always, when it comes to gift-giving, it's not so much about the price tag as it is about how well the gift fits the person receiving it. Case in point: the 'gift' I gave which made the most impression to someone was just a card, but the artwork was done by the recipient's favorite artist. This meant more to them than gifts I gave to other people which cost almost 5x as much. So, I think the point is to show you care by showing you pay attention. Or, in the spirit of Zen: be mindful. ;)
Would recommend this book to anyone, and even beginners shouldn't have any trouble reading it. I love this book and will reread it many times.
"In your mind you create an idea of place separate from an actual time". How true is this? Nobody is saying not to plan ahead. Everyone must plan for school, work, everyday life etc. On the other hand, as human beings, we overdo everything. There is only one time - here/now. Stop wasting your life and appreciate the only moment you have -- this one.
"The true purpose of ZEN is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes". This is much easier said than done. It almost gives a feeling of resist nothing but just let things happen. Of course, we have to determine in life when and where the right time to step in is, but again, I think as human beings, we think we can control everything. Instead we should realize how things fit together, and simply watch them come and go of their own accord.
"When you can do everything, whether it is good or bad, without disturbance or without being annoyed by the feeling, that is actually what we mean by form is form, and emptiness is emptiness. Knowing that your life is short, to enjoy it day after day, moment after moment, is the life of form is form, and emptiness is emptiness". This one truly speaks for itself so, must I go on?
Needless to say, this book will be reread...