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am 15. März 2007
This is a collection of talks by one of the first Zen teachers in the U.S. If you're already practicing Zen, I highly recommend this book. If you're new to Zen, you might love this book or you might find it largely incomprehensible, or maybe both. Suzuki makes liberal use of the paradoxical language that is typical of Zen--e.g., "For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence." If you'd prefer a more ordinary, explanatory style, I recommend Charlotte Joko Beck's "Everyday Zen." If you're looking for practical instruction in meditation, you'll find it in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," but you might prefer Philip Kapleau's "The Three Pillars of Zen," which includes more detailed instructions, with illustrations of sitting postures.

When I first read "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," for a college class on Buddhism, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but I did end up practicing Zen, and maybe this book had something to do with that. For many years, even while living at a Zen monastery, I suspected that a lot of the enthusiasm for this book was an "emperor's new clothes" phenomenon: a few respected people said it was wonderful, so then everybody said it was wonderful. I figured its aura of profundity was due in large part to Suzuki's congruence with our archetype of mountaintop gurus--the short sentences and limited English vocabulary, and the paradoxical language that sounds deep even though nobody actually knows what the heck it means. More recently, I've come to think that the emperor really does have clothes and that the big issues of human life are hard to talk about without paradox, and this is now one of my favorite Zen books.
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am 14. Mai 2000
Keep it simple. You don't need any other Zen Books. It's against the Zen idea to confuse the issue. This is the first and final word on how to meditate and the best book on understanding Zen. Don't be a fool and buy books on Zen by westerners. Tap the source, cut to the chase and just buy this book and only this book and maybe the tapes by Peter Coyote. Stop getting your spirituallity filtered to you by Winnie the Pooh. This is pure Zen. Keep it simple. One mind. Begginer's mind. Stay an absolute begginer. There. I've just given you the secret to life and all happiness. Like Faust seeking magical knowledge, you've found it. O lucky man.
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am 23. Januar 2015
A really great Book about how to really understand and practice Zen.
I would recommend that book to absolutely everyone.
It's probably going to take more than just reading it once to understand what is really meant, though.
Furthermore it might be helpful to already be a little familiar with the topic to really appreciate the message, but not absolutely necessary.
I already read the book five times in about three months time, because it is so wonderfully eye-opening.
Also the topics discussed are very easily applicable in everyday situations.
It's a book on how to appreciate the world and life from a Zen-Buddhist point-of-view
and it goes deep in our fundamental understanding of our reality of life.
This book is not religious nor is it a self-help book.
But reading it and practicing Zen is likely going to help one more than any modern so-called self-help-book could ever hope to.
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am 27. Januar 2013
The title exactly depicts the content of the lecture which is an introduction to the Zen "philosophy", it's goal and some aspects of it's application - geared towards giving a beginner a head start into the topic.
I found it inspiring, practical and a very pleasant read.
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am 2. Juli 2016
Super Buch und nicht umsonst als Klassiker angesehen, egal in welcher buddhistischen Tradition mensch sich bewegt. Mir wurde das Buch damals im buddh. Kloster von meinem Lehrer empfohlen und ich empfehle es jedem, egal ob Anfänger_in oder Fortgeschritten.
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am 21. Mai 2013
Einfach zu lesender Text, der durch seine Klarheit besticht. Das Gedankengut des Zen Buddhismus wird verständlich, auch wenn einige Aussagen der westlichen Leserin fremd bleiben. Dies ist aber der Philosophie selbst und nicht dem Text geschuldet. Das Buch ist graphisch sehr schön gestaltet.
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am 19. Juli 2000
This is perhaps the best book for a westerner interested in zen buddhism to read (though Steve Hagen's Buddhism Plain and Simple is also excellent). Neither of these books really teach you much about Buddhism, rather they teach you how to be a Buddhist (or at least how to find the buddha nature which is already inside of you)
Don't let the first section discourage you, it gets much better. I was initially turned off by this book because it begins with an almost harsh description of how one should practise zazen (meditation). For example I did not like hearing that there is only one correct way to do it (you must sit in a lotus position with your hands in your lap, your head perpendicular to you shoulders, and so on and so on). However, it was a misunderstanding on my part as to what the author meant about meditation and what it is you are trying to achieve (or not achieve for that matter).
It was only after realizing the author's description of zazen is the best way to realize the illusions we have created in our minds about the world around us (not to sound like a nutball or anything).
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am 30. August 1999
"Simplify, simplify, simplify." Thoreau's message is aptly repeated in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind." No need to study philosophical theories, no need to go and sit on some mountaintop, no need to engage in spiritual gymnastics: Shunryu Suzuki encourages his students to learn to express their true nature in their everyday activity.
The book is actually a transcript of talks given at a Zen center. The only shortcoming of the book, then, is what is lost in the process of transcribing-the tone of voice, the emphasis on a particular word or phrase, the demeanor of the speaker. Nevertheless, Suzuki expresses himself with such clarity that the reader has no trouble understanding the many lessons that help the spiritual seeker find his way home.
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am 8. Juni 2000
So many books have been written about Zen, and so many reviewers have waxed prolific on the values of Zen, I'll not waste my time doing that myself. Suffice to say that this particular book was never intended by Shunryu Suzuki to be a book, and as such, it's probably close to the perfect book for anyone wishing to delve into the awareness of mind that Zen represents. This book could easily represent the spearhead of the invasion of the western world by a unique, eastern thought process. It is also the comfortable image of warm wood and wisdom at your door.
At first, when I touched on "Right Practice", I was disappointed. For my interpretation of Zen requires no practice. It's not about practice. And yet, I understand after reading what Master Suzuki was getting at. In order to break the back of your old practices that lead to the busy, reactive world, you need other mechanisms. They could be anything, so long as they lead down the path of self-awareness and balance.
He says it: chanting and meditation will not get you there. Yet I suspect that "practice" will always get more publicity than the intended result. In this capitalistic age, meditation classes sell, but having a Zen state of mind is totally antipodal to making money.
Still, reading this book cannot hurt. Perhaps in your case, thought will not become thoughtless stone...
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am 21. März 2000
It is March, 2000, and I have just ordered another 6 copies of this classic book on Zen sitting meditation. I first read it shortly after it was published in 1972, borrowed from the Cleveland Heights OH library. Since then I have returned to it many times and given many copies away to friends.
Some are grieving a loss, some are facing a major personal challenge, like cancer. Some are simply searching for truth or a sense of themselves.
In any case, I do agree with those reviewers who point novices toward a more traditionally instructive book like The Three Pillars of Zen. That book speaks to the logical structure of Zen study, its emphasis on teaching, practice and enlightenment. It is important to understand Zen in this historic and traditional light if one is to pursue it seriously. But Three Pillars is a "study book" - it is not a description of the sitting zen experience. Shunryu's lectures were "live" and directed to the experience itself.
As in the old Zen saying, his words are fingers, pointing to the moon.
Certainly, there may be purists who find dogmatic contradictions in some of Shunryu's comments. But he did not set out to teach the dogma!
This is an excellent book the serious zen student will return to again and again. And for the "everday man" among us, the "beginner" Shunryu spoke to, it is much better than a handbook of Hazleton platitudes, an erstwhile koan or a list of Covey's rules.
Sit up straight! Put your thoughts away! Sit and....
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