Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

zen-mind-beginners-mindZen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

by Shunryu Suzuki

A mental workout is often required when studying Buddhism, Taoism, and other easten philosphy. The teachings are so simple, they can be difficult to understand.

This collection of teachings is no different. But anything that requires the reader to think deeply about simple things is a good read. The book refers mostly to zazen, but basically covers all aspects of life through meditative practice.

The purpose of the teachings are to develop “beginner’s mind.”

  • Always be a beginner.
  • You can’t control what’s around you until you’re in control of yourself.
  • There is no good or bad only to-do and not-to-do.
  • The worst way to control something is to try to control it, or ignore it. The best way to achieve control is to give it freedom, and observe it.
  • As long as you have rules you have a chance for freedom.
  • When times are hard, meditate. If you only meditate when times are easy, you’ve missed out. Meditation is the place where you can accept your situation. Only then can you deal with it effectively.
  • Idealism can lead to despair. The idealist sees the world as they’d like it to be, then despairs because there is no bridge long enough to cross the gap between what is and their ideal.
  • Spirituality is not about idealism, it is about practice.
  • Practice is your food, encouragement is your medicine. Do not let medicine become your food.
  • Having an open mind is to have the joy of life
  • Wisdom is not something that is learned outside yourself, it is a result of mindfulness.
  • Attainment of some skill or state of being is not the goal. Practice is enough.