Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki


I’ve been reading a life-changing book.  I know I’ve mentioned it recently.  It’s called Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

The book starts right off by teaching you the proper “zazen” position.  Here is a quote from the book:

Zazen practice is the direct expression of our true nature.  Strictly speaking, for a human being, there is no other practice;  there is no other way of life than this way of life.”

He teaches the zazen position, which is somewhat hard if you’ve never done it:  Back straight, hands held in front with left middle finger over right middle finger and thumbs barely touching, just over your belly button, and the back of the head pushed up towards the ceiling with chin down and back straight, and then diaphragm pushed down so that the breathing all comes from the belly.

It seems very strange and distorted to sit in this position.  But Suzuki says that this is the zazen position.  There is also a zazen standing position.  When you ask “am I meditating”, if you are in zazen position, then the answer is “yes”.  You shouldn’t feel anything when you meditate.  Your body and the air around it are the same.  The only thing that distinguishes your body is the door that swings back and forth as you breath.  So when you sit in zazen, you just watch this door.  If thoughts come from your mind, then you let them come without judgement, because they will disappear on their own.

He says meditation is not just what is in the sitting practice.  Zazen practice in the zazen position should be done all day long.  While driving, walking, in the doctor’s office, etc.

This is a very simply written book, and something that I believe deeply in.  Because it’s not about reaching some state of nirvana perfection for your future lives, it’s about finding the perfection in yourself right now.

I have the audible version of it as well, and listen and relisten to it while I read the book.  The book physically gives you the gift of art.  Page 55 is an empty page with a fly on it.

I’ve listened to the first chapter over and over and over.  I can’t seem to get enough of it.  I’m starting a push to start moving past the first chapter and finish the book.  Then I’ll come back and re-read it.  I’m hungry to get more teachings from this book.

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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

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