Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki | Animated Summary and Review


are you a beginner looking to find out
what is Zen or maybe you’ve got a bit of knowledge about Zen and you just want to
deepen this knowledge, either way continue watching and find out how this
book can help you I’ve included timestamps below so that you can get to
exactly the part of the video you wish to watch the first one is for the review
section which just gives my opinion if this book is worth reading and what
benefits you’ll gain from it and the second time stamp is the summary which
is all the main concepts on this book let’s start with the review of this book
I would definitely recommend reading this book as it’s gives you all the
essential knowledge you need of Zen in a very simple manner and also focusing
more on the practical aspects of Zen so that you can start practicing after
reading only a few pages of the book and even though my summary can give you all
the core concepts of this book there are many more beautiful examples which
you’ll miss out on and some of these examples might help you get a better
understanding as everyone is different and different examples resonate with
different people, okay so now let’s move on to the summary of this book Zen mind
beginner’s mind consists of a collection of notes taken by students during Shunryu Suzuki’s lectures and the essence of this book is found in this quote from
the Zen master “the practice of Zen mind is beginner’s mind the innocence of
first inquiry what am I? is needed throughout the Zen practice the mind of
a beginner is empty free from habits of the expert ready to
accept to doubt and open to all possibilities
it is the mind which sees things as they are
which step-by-step and in the flesh can realize original nature of everything” this shows the essence of the book which is simplicity and being open this book
is then split into three different aspects which can help one reach this
beginner’s mind firstly write practice, the practice of Zen
involves sitting in a seated position and meditating which they call zazen
here we’re going to look at key aspects of your posture so the most important thing is to keep back straight then you can try and fold
your legs into lotus position this involves having the right foot on the
left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh if you can’t do this because
you’re not flexible enough can also do half Lotus or just cross legs works well
and then we make sure that our ears and our shoulders are in a line by relaxing
the shoulders back and down hands are in your lap with the left hand
on top of the right hand so that the middle fingers touch one another and
then the thumbs are brought to touch together to form an oval inside their
hand this is known as the cosmic mudra hands are holed up against the body in
the lap with the thumbs at the level of the navel with the arms just slightly
away from the body once your posture is correct then you focus on your breathing
yeah he says to focus on the breath as if it was a door opening and closing you
just watch it open and close without trying to close or open the door
yourself my favorite example to use is imagining
your breaths as waves in the ocean and the inhales are the waves crashing and
their exhales are the waves drawing back and you’re just watching it like you’re
doing when you’re at the sea without trying to control it and while you’re
watching your breath you will notice that your thoughts keep coming and
distracting you from your focus the point here is just to watch your
thoughts as they come and you don’t need to restrict them or try to control them
just watch them form and let them pass and then return back to your breathing
finally he talks about bowing nine times at the end of each practice and this is
done to remove the ego and surrender oneself to the universe next let’s look at having the right attitude when practicing zazen firstly focus is on
being present in each and every moment during your zazen practice here he gives
the example of how fire completely burns up wood leaving no memories of the past
and nothing else added such as emotions or pride to one’s
practice and you start by focusing on just being present during your practice
and then you try and bring it into your whole life secondly acceptance this
involves accepting each moment as it is and seeing all feelings and disturbances
without any judgment just as weeds grow and flowers die this
is all the cycle of life and as the weeds die they will then become
fertilizer for new flowers to grow and thus the cycle continues next do not add
anything to your practice such as pride desire or goals as these hinder your
progress to reaching your true nature and finally naturalness this is like a
seed following its path to become a tree they do not think they just be exactly
what they are and finally we will look at having the right understanding here
there are eight core principles from the book and these are all gems of wisdom
which one can use to help improve the practice the first one is that the true
purpose of Zen is to see things as they really are next is that we exist not for
the sake of something else we exist for the sake of ourselves focus on
experience not philosophy Zen is about returning to your original nature
through zazen and not about understanding or learning philosophy and
this is part of the reason why there’s not much philosophy in this book do not
focus too much on your teachings or what your teacher says zazen is all about you
the teacher gives you the understanding but only you can find your true nature
and next he recommends that practice should be done daily and consistently to
achieve good results and that the practice should be done according to the
individual little by little so that you don’t further art if you try to do too
much too quickly next practicing emptiness this is about
hearing all information as if it’s the first time you’ve heard it and do not
add your own preconceived ideas towards it you just listen completely openly and then afterwards you can decide whether this information is useful or
not and finally true Buddhism is that Buddha’s in everyone everything and
every action so this makes all actions and things equally important so in summary the main concepts of the book are first right posture secondly right attitude and thirdly right understanding thanks for watching if you like this video and would like to see more check out my book
summary playlist


8 Responses

  1. Paddy J

    March 23, 2019 3:24 pm

    Thank you for your work on these reviews. And ignore the dweeb who made a comment about your voice….your voice is absolutely fine. I do have a question about "emptiness." The definition given isn't consistent with the typical explanation of emptiness in zen literature…which is: we are empty of an independent nature. So is this your interpretation or is this how Suzuki actually explains it?

  2. TheTarutau

    April 22, 2019 7:19 pm

    I have a question. Did you reach no mind. Afterwards did you reach (not sure what to call it yet) samadhi/nirvana. If so did you forget your past as I did? Have you heard of this before? I was in no mind for almost 6 months without exiting no mind. Then it occurred at the age of 18. Immediately afterwards I forgot everything. And due to my adventurous nature I never really dwelled on it much. That is to say I never had a reason to look back. I didn’t know I had meditated. Until recently cause I remember now. Heard of this before? Is it common? Sort of learned about it in the library at 15 and the way they talked was clear to me so following it was easy. Never did a retreat or had a teacher… and never met someone who has meditated… so got to ask. So curious. I leave payment for asking… something thing I learned. I reached no mind and samadhi first in the dreaming state. That is to say I first trained in lucid dreaming. Meditation is not the only way to get there. But meditation is much more powerful in its after effects. I.e. dreaming did not cause me to forget. It could be a combination of methods. But I have my doubts. Dreaming did make meditating much simpler though. Very closely linked in practice. So the ten ox correlates well with meditation and dreaming. Except due to my research I had to meditate after dreaming so dreaming ended at 8 at which point I began at 1 again for meditation. Such is the beginners mind. Now picture 9 lasted till recently. 8 occurred long long ago. www.buddhanet.net/oxherd1.htm

    My dreaming teacher. Not that I ever met him. But in this way. https://youtu.be/-cVBohQ2x1c

    Explaining no mind. https://youtu.be/0nivBXYWxU8

    Correlating to the ten ox. First 7 are fear. 8 is clarity which I feel explains religion. 9 is power. 10 is old age. https://youtu.be/klPSRsoLZgc

  3. Niki Flow

    July 16, 2019 11:22 am

    I just bought this book. This is really cool of you to make this video. It's great to have an overview, thanks so much. Your art is just beautiful! ♥.


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