Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book - Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

I am currently reading the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. The book comes from a series of talks by Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki.

The book is broken up into three parts, Right Practice, Right Attitude, and Right Understanding. They refer roughly to Body, Feeling, and Mind. I have just started the first section, Right Practice. This section describes the practice of Zazen or meditation.

Things I've learned:

The book focuses on Shojin, or beginner's mind. To me that means to keep an open mind and a fresh mind. To someone who is a beginner, everything they learn is new and fresh and has special meaning. The idea is to maintain that feeling, the beginner's mind, throughout Zen practice.

The explanation of correct posture, breathing, etc. in zazen. By concentrating on your breathing or your back, you are organizing yourself. Which leads to order for our mind. It is impossible to organize things if you yourself are not in order. When you do things the right way, at the right time, everything else will be organized. You are the boss. When the boss is sleeping, everyone is sleeping. When the boss does something right, everyone will do everything right, at the right time. That is the secret of Buddhism (p. 27).