Shunryu Suzuki Book: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
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The Best and Most Practical Book on Zen
Zen Master Suzuki gives the most lucid exposition on practicing zen ever put on paper. The teachings are not watered down, sugar coated, or given false pretenses as the absolute truth. The chapter on meditation exemplifies all these qualities. To Suzuki, just the act of sitting zazen is meditation itself and as a consequence, enlightenment. No mention of mystical visions, long processes of clearing the mind and becoming "one with the universe" - his only instruction is to perceive simple reality. As a long time meditator, I have found Zen Master Suzuki's approach much more honest and fruitful than any of the methods that use various mediums(i.e. imagery, sounds) to facilitate meditation. The rest of the book constantly reaffirms this simple yet profound concept. Anyone interested in Zen Buddhism, out of spiritual or intellectual curiosity, should start here.
A respected Zen master in Japan and founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, Shunryu Suzuki has blazed a path in American Buddhism like few others. He is the master who climbs down from the pages of the koan books and answers your questions face to face. If not face to face, you can at least find the answers as recorded in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, a transcription of juicy excerpts from his lectures. From diverse topics such as transience of the world, sudden enlightenment, and the nuts and bolts of meditation, Suzuki always returns to the idea of beginner's mind, a recognition that our original nature is our true nature. With beginner's mind, we dedicate ourselves to sincere practice, without the thought of gaining anything special. Day to day life becomes our Zen training, and we discover that "to study Buddhism is to study ourselves." And to know our true selves is to be enlightened.