Author(s): Shunryu Suzuki (ed Trudy Dixon)
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 of Shunryu Suzuki's classic. 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 thirty years since its original publication, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind "has become one of the great modern Zen classics, much beloved, much re-read, 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. Zen mind is one of those enigmatic phrases used by Zen teachers to throw you back upon yourself, to make you go behind the words themselves and begin wondering. "I know what my own mind is," you tell yourself, "but what is Zen mind?" And then: "But do I really know what my own mind is?" Is it what I am doing now? Is it what I am thinking now?" And if you should then try to sit physically still for a while to see if you can locate it--then you have begun the practice of Zen, then you have begun to realize the unrestricted mind.
The innocence of this first inquiry--just asking what you are--is beginner's mind. The mind of the beginner is needed throughout Zen practice. It is the open mind, the attitude that includes both doubt and possibility, the ability to see things always as fresh and new. It is needed in all aspects of life. Beginner's mind is the practice of Zen mind.
This book originated from a series of talks given by Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki to a small group in Los Altos, California. He joined their meditation periods once a week and afterwards answered their questions and tried to encourage them in their practice of Zen and help them solve the problems of life. His approach is informal, and he draws his examples from ordinary events and common sense. Zen is now and here, he is saying; it can be as meaningful for the West as for the East. But his fundamental teaching and practice are drawn from all the centuries of Zen Buddhism and especially from Dogen, one of the most important and creative of all Zen Masters. Review: "One of the best, and most succinct introductions to Zen practice."-- "Library Journal" "[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 " This is one of the top five Buddhist books, ever." -- Elephant Including six sermons not available in the text. Review: " One of the best and most succinct introductions to Zen practice. " -- Library Journal
& quot; This is one of the top five Buddhist books, ever.& quot; -- Elephant First published 1970; this edition 2006
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.