Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind : Shunryu Suzuki



Book Introduction:

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has the ability to evoke introspection in the readers. Penned by late Shunryu Suzuki, a collection of speeches and discourses conveyed by him. These speeches were given to his satellite Zen center in Los Altos, California. The book is not scholarly but contains informal and transparent translations of Suzuki’s talks. These talks were recorded by his student Marian Derby and Published in 1970 by Weatherhill. Trudy Dixon and Richard Baker published these speeches. They did it by selecting the most admissible talks, organizing them into chapters. Richard Baker was Suzuki’s successor. Many consider that it has matured into a spiritual masterpiece. It has helped millions of readers to direct away from the web of intellectualism. Bodhin Kjolhede, Monk of the Rochester Zen Center, called it, “it is one of the two most influential books on Zen in the west.”  He placed it alongside Philip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen.


Author Introduction:

Shunryu Suzuki, 鈴木 俊隆 , also known as Suzuki Shunryū. His dharma name Shōgaku Shunryū 祥岳俊隆, frequently addressed as Suzuki Roshi. Suzuki was born on May 18, 1904 . He was a Sōtō Zen monk and mentor who encouraged the proselytization of Zen Buddhism in the United States. He is fabled for establishing the oldest Zen Buddhist monastery outside Asia. It was named Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Suzuki also established the San Francisco Zen Center. He affiliated many temples to this center. This went on to evolve into one of the most prominent Zen institutions in the United States. The book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind portrays his teachings. It is one of the most acclaimed books on Zen and Buddhism in the West.


Excerpts from the book:

Before we jump into the book, a little housekeeping: The following excerpt is taken from the book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind- Part one. We’ve added bold/italics to some quotes for importance. 


PART ONE

RIGHT PRACTICE 

“Zazen practice is the direct expression of our true nature. Strictly speaking, for a human being, there is no other practice than this practice; there is no other way of life than this way of life.” 

POSTURE

“These forms are not the means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture is itself to have the right state of mind. There is no need to obtain some special state of mind.” 

Now I would like to talk about our zazen posture. When you sit in the full lotus position, your left foot is on your right thigh, and your right foot is on your left thigh. When we cross our legs like this, even though we have a right leg and a left leg, they have become one. The position expresses the oneness of duality: not two, and not one. This is the most important teaching: not two, and not one. Our body and mind are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think that they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one.


Link to get the book:

You can get your copy of ‘Zen Mind: Beginner’s Mind’ By Shunryu Suzuki from Here: 

Amazon.com and Amazon.in


Reviews of the book:

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice

by Shunryu Suzuki, Trudy Dixon (Editor), Huston Smith (Preface), Richard Baker (Introduction)

“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.

This review was taken from Goodreads.com


“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 spiritual 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.

Review by Amazon.com


“[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


Tell us what you think about this book in the comments section.

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