am 4. Januar 2000
This is an excellent little book. It is based on the a series of talks that were given by Shunryu Suzuki in a sesshin lead by him, as it happened near the end of his life. The book in my view would be suited to a more advanced practitioner rather than a beginner. However all would benefit by reading it.
The book gives a line by line explanation of the "The Identity of Absolute and Relative" sutra. This sutra along with the "Heart Sutra" are the two main sutras chanted in Zen Buddhist services.
As practitioners we hear this sutra over and over again and it is easy to think of it as just a simple and poetic piece(even dare I say it, tune out to some extent with our own familarity), which it is. Suzuki's explanation of the sutra shows that considerably more can be gleaned from studying/meditating on this important zen work.
am 12. Juni 2000
I have no doubt that Shunryu Suzuki will be a great influence on American Buddhism for many years to come. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (though not "written" by Suzuki-roshi--it's edited from lectures) has been a work that I have turned to again and again through-out my years of practice, finding new levels of insight each time. Branching Streams is a deserving continuation to the publication of Suzuki-roshi's teaching (it is, of course, also based on lectures, coming almost thirty years after his death). But it is a little more slow-going than Zen Mind and probably won't be as accessible to those without some experience of Zen. But, like Zen Mind, there are some beautiful, even poetic moments in the text. If you are just getting started in Zen and haven't read Zen Mind, you should definitely start with that before moving on to this. But if you have read ZM, BM and couldn't get enough, you will enjoy revisiting the Master.