Zen Mind Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

Rating: 9/10

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High-Level Thoughts

Primarily useful in its ability to inspire introspection, worth reading for practitioners of mindfulness. Keep the concept of beginner’s mind present to avoid hubris, or limited potential.

Summary Notes

“The practice of Zen mind is beginner’s mind. The innocence of the first inquiry—what am I?—is needed throughout Zen practice. The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities. It is the kind of mind which can see things as they are, which step by step and in a flash can realize the original nature of everything.”

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”

“This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner. Be very very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

“Doing something is expressing our own nature. We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves.”

“The state of mind that exists when you sit in the right posture is, itself, enlightenment. If you cannot be satisfied with the state of mind you have in zazen, it means your mind is still wandering about. Our body and mind should not be wobbling or wandering about. In this posture there is no need to talk about the right state of mind. You already have it. This is the conclusion of Buddhism.”

“So when you practice zazen, your mind should be concentrated on your breathing. This kind of activity is the fundamental activity of the universal being. Without this experience, this practice, it is impossible to attain absolute freedom.”

“CONTROL “To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him.””

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