"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it's all about. An instant teaching on the first page. And that's just the beginning.
In the forty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern spiritual classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page.
About the Author
Shunryu Suzuki Roshi came to the United States in 1959, leaving his temple in Yaizu, Japan, to serve as priest for the Japanese American congregation at Sokoji Temple in San Francisco. In 1967 he and his students created the first Zen Buddhist monastery in America at Tassajara in the coastal mountains south of San Francisco. Suzuki Roshi died in 1971 at age 67, a year and a half after delivering his teaching on the "Sandokai". He may have had a premonition of his coming death when he said that it was common for Zen teachers in the Soto tradition to lecture on the "Sandokai" near the end of life.Mel Weitsman is the former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center and current abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. Michael Wenger is Dean of Buddhist Studies at the San Francisco Zen Center.
David Chadwick has been the pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, North Carolina since 1980. He played basketball at and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, then joined a professional basketball league for three years in Europe. He has MDiv and DMin degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary.
“[This] is a different book every time I read it. Behind the simplicity, it is dense with Zen wisdom that flashes like lightning as you read and reread.”—Jon Lebkowskyl, Millennium Whole Earth Catalog
“One of the best and most succinct introductions to Zen practice.”—Library Journal
“One of the top five Buddhist books, ever.”—Elephant