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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 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 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 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 26. Februar 2000
I teach reading and art in public school to eleven-year olds. _Zen Mind Beginner's Mind_ is a good guidebook for these activities. When reading, children are easily distracted. Perhaps they do not feel a connection to the story. The story is certainly not an expression of themselves. Writing about the story helps. Then it becomes part of their own expression. Their interests and experiences can become part of the story. But when we paint, it is a different "story" altogether. Then you see beginner's mind in action. The object of their study is certainly part of them. Focus is inherent in the activity. The paint, the paper, the child all become one event. And since I have only started teaching art recently, I am beginner's mind at work!
In the prologue, Suzuki-roshi tells us: "This is the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner." Why? It is because "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few." The joy of perpetually being a beginner!
Is _Zen Mind_ about education and art? Yes. No. {Mu?} _Zen Mind_ is a book about mind and life. Big mind and small mind. Small life and unencumbered life. Maybe you are a gymnast. Maybe you sell real estate or groceries. Maybe you work in a factory or in an electrical power plant. Maybe you write the questions for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Whatever you do {even if you do no-thing} and wherever you are {right here right now}, this book will speak to you if you have an interest in the freshness of beginning and the beauty of everyday life.
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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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am 22. März 1999
This book took me out of the maze of faith-based religion and for the first time I found a teacher and a philosophy with so much credibility I had the confidence to trust in the more esoteric aspects of a teaching that weren't initially obvious. Suzuki, and I assume Zen in general, has the wisdom and courage to acknowedge that there are things about our universe that we cannot comprehend and treat them as both beautiful and mysterious. This contrasts with faith-based religions which instruct us to accept notions of "gods" and elaborate tales for explanation and as such are a complete assault on and violation of the intellect. Zen outlook which does away with the largely western notions of right & wrong, past and future, and states of lack will put one squarely in the present tense from moment to moment. It is utterly refreshing and healthy to look at the universe through glasses which are not colored by human desire and ego. Read this book, gain an understanding of yourself, an appreciation for the universe as a whole and piece of mind. Namaste
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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 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 8. April 2000
This was the very first book on buddhism I ever read, and although many will point out it's shortcomings, I belive it is a good starting point for anyone interested in buddhism. Is there a bad starting point-if it sparks your interest? Progressing from this book is an easy step, and the book is simple enough for anyone.This is the first book on buddhism I give to people with new interests in buddhism as everything and anything can branch off and away from it. All the more indepth information can be taught from other books. Give this book a try (it's cheap too!) and lighten up on the bad reviews--at least people will show an interest without being overwelmed.
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