Book Review: Zen Mind, Beginners Mind

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind: 40th Anniversary Edition
Written by Shunryu Suzuki
Published by Shambhala Publications

“You may think that if there is no purpose or no goal in our practice, we will not know what to do. But there is a way. The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity, or to be concentrated on what you are doing in this moment.”

I think this quote epitomizes the message of the this book. Shunryu’s approach to explaining Zen not only to groups of Americans in the 60’s, but even today, was simple and like a pond that is motionless, clear as clear can be.

He came to the US to mind Soko-ji, a temple located in San Francisco. He was a bit put off by the fact the Zen that had been taught was diluted. He was excited though to see and hear all that was going on and believed that teaching Americans could help revolutionize Zen teachings. He went on to found the San Fransisco Zen Center, and left Soko-ji disappointed with the way Zen was being taught by mainly Japanese immigrants. He believed that the students he was gaining, mainly Caucasian hippies, were more serious about the core practices.

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