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Thread: Beginner's Mind: Reboot

  1. #1

    Beginner's Mind: Reboot

    Friends, family,

    I've been reflecting lately on the words Jundo wrote about the upcoming Ango quite a bit over the last few weeks. After some thought, I know how I would personally like proceed when it begins and much like my Zazen challenge I 'd like to offer anyone who's interested to join me.

    We've all heard the term "Beginners Mind" during our practice. I'm bringing that down to the most fundamental level I can by effectively by pretending that I am brand new to Zen, even though I received Jukai in January of this year. My plan is to participate fully in Ango, to participate in the Jukai teachings, and to participate in the koan readings as I have been. My way of taking Zen more seriously, is to flip back to the beginning of the book.

    That said, does anyone have a good recommendation for a book (that I likely don't have) that you might recommend to someone who was very interested in Zen?

    Be talking to you more often, and Gassho.
    _/\_
    Jigetsu

  2. #2
    Brad warner's sit down and shut up thats what lead me here
    --Washu
    和 Harmony
    秀 Excellence

    "Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body" George Carlin Roshi

  3. #3
    Gotta agree with threethirty on this one. Warner's stuff is pretty refreshing and seems to be a reason for the upturn in various new zendo's for the young and socially conscious. My favorite: Underdog Zendo-Chicago. 2-19-12-group2.jpg

  4. #4
    Sign me up for Beginners' Mind, moment to moment! All flip back to the first page again and again, pristine and ready for writing!

    I recommend Sit Down and Shut Up too. Wonderful, fresh, unique.

    I am also now rereading (from page 1) Steve Hagen's "Zen is Not What You Think", and I am quite taken with it.
    http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Not-W.../dp/0060507233

    How to Cook Your Life/From The Zen Kitchen To Enlightenment by Eihei Dogen; Kosho Uchiyama Roshi (Translator)
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Cook-Your-...8Translator%29

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    I just re-read the Hagen book too. After my first reading, I had thought it to be a bit simplistic, but reading it again showed me that this was not the case. I would, in fact, recommend it as a first read for anyone interested in Zen.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Jigetsu,

    Count me in! I have also been doing some thinking and taking Ango and training for Jukai, like if I was new, is something I'd love to do.

    I have been reading Nothing Special by Joko Beck. In my opinion it's a good book to start. I's conformed with talks by Joko and some of them are amazing. Full of wisdom and common sense.

    By any means, I'm glad to join you

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  7. #7
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    I just re-read the Hagen book too. After my first reading, I had thought it to be a bit simplistic, but reading it again showed me that this was not the case. I would, in fact, recommend it as a first read for anyone interested in Zen.
    This is probably my favorite Zen book! I'm glad to see others are finding it worthwhile. I actually like it better than 'Buddhism Plain and Simple' although both are quite good.

    Chet

  8. #8
    Zen Mind, Beginners Mind ... one of my favorites and one I enjoy reading over and over.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Opening the Hand of Thought by Kosho Uchiyama.
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Opening the Hand of Thought by Kosho Uchiyama.
    Yes! Right at the top of our "Suggested Book" list (** marked as recommended for new folks) ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    "Realizing Genjokoan" by Shohaku Okumura is really good. "Living By Vow" by the same author is good if you want to go a little more in depth on some of the main chants and texts of practice. It covers the Four Vows, the Verse of Repentance, the Verse of the Three Refuges, the Robe chant, Meal Chants, the Heart Sutra, Sandokai and the Verse for Opening the Sutra.


    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  12. #12
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    I love all the above mentioned books and each one is like a mind reboot that creates beginners mind. Each author presents their flavour and it is delicious and refreshing. I try to look on my own life and activities as a new practice each day, each moment a new moment to refresh and reboot. I always chant the Heart Sutra before morning zazen and this refreshes beginners mind for me...maybe I should try it in Japanese then Spanish?!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku View Post
    ... I always chant the Heart Sutra before morning zazen and this refreshes beginners mind for me...maybe I should try it in Japanese ...
    Thanks Heisoku ... I too do the same and I have been trying it in Japanese ... talk about having to go back to beginners mind.

    Gassho
    Michael


    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  14. #14
    Great idea!

    I've read Hagen's "Plain and Simple" book but not the other one--will check it out!
    Gassho, Kaishin
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  15. #15
    Zen Mind: Beginners Mind
    Opening the hand of thought
    The Heart of Being.

    I have caught myself reciting the Heart Sutra while walking to work.
    ~Gassho~
    Shinko

  16. #16
    Count me in too! Even though I don't post in the Zazen Challenge thread I'm sitting there right with you. i just don't like counting my zazen reps. lol

    I really liked "Buddhism: Plain and Simple", so I've got to check the other one out too. I'm currently reading "Buddhism Without Beliefs" by Stephen Batchelor. I really like it, but then again I'm an iconoclast at heart. heheheh

    Gassho,

    Risho

  17. #17
    I am currently reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind for the first time. I can make little sense of it. I get that zen is essentially experiential and doesn't lend itself to verbal explanations, but can anyone recommend a book that has some compassion for those of us with Western-style organizing/systematizing kinds of minds?

  18. #18
    Robert Aitken roshi's "Taking the path of Zen", and "Mind of Clover".
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Piobair View Post
    Robert Aitken roshi's "Taking the path of Zen" ...
    Of course, such book presents Zen teachings in the flavor of Aitken Roshi's Sanbokyodan Lineage, with key emphasis on Koan Introspection Zazen and attaining of Kensho in their Rinzai-ish way. For that reason, I do not usually recommend such a book for Shikantaza sitters in our Sangha. We will be reading "Mind of Clover" for our Precepts Study, and it is a fine book on engaged practice in this world.

    Another very good book I might suggest is ... Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo by Shohaku Okumura Roshi

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by JustBen View Post
    I am currently reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind for the first time. I can make little sense of it. I get that zen is essentially experiential and doesn't lend itself to verbal explanations, but can anyone recommend a book that has some compassion for those of us with Western-style organizing/systematizing kinds of minds?
    Hi Ben,

    I am going to say something that almost sacrilegious in the Soto Zen World, but which is true.

    Part of the problem with Zen Mind (and with many books by older Japanese teachers such as some of the writings of Uchiyama Roshi ... our own Nishijima Roshi is certainly no exception) is that their English was often a struggle for them (not their fault ... you should hear me when I offer a talk in Japanese on some abstract point ... but Suzuki like Nishijima often struggled with English), and that Japanese sentence structure is generally very indirect and hazy in making statements compared to English. In addition, Japanese essay structure is typically rather "mushy" (i.e., to Western ears, the essays and talks tend to meander from topic to topic, while most public speakers in the west keep the train on the tracks), and ... gee... this is Zen, and so many of these ideas are spagehtti nailed to the wall even for the teacher! For that reason, Zen Mind Beginners Mind is not really a series of essays. Suzuki Roshi, like many Japanese writers of his time, rather wanders from insight to insight, strung together, meandering here and there without clear direction, and not particularly ending up with a solid "conclusion" in a Western essay style. Thus, take each little paragraph, even sentence, as standing on its own ... not necessarily leading in a set direction.

    On top of that, Suzuki's students RECREATED the talks in the books from handwritten notes taken during the talks and really poor quality tape recordings. The transcribers mostly did not speak Japanese, so were hindered in that too

    However, nonetheless, the book is a treasure house of beautiful quotes and insights. Lots to ring one's bell! Real gold in there.

    Of course, not EVERYTHING in the book has to ring one's bell! Some things in the book that sound very profound and mysterious ... don't really mean anything, I feel. Some other things are just mistranslations of English too.

    Reminds me of when (true story) I first came to Japan and met my first Japanese "Zen Master" (my first teacher, Azuma Roshi of Sojiji). I promptly proceeded to ask him the big questions, one of which was "What is Time? What is the "NOW"?"

    His answer: "Now 5:30"

    Wow, I thought. HOW PROFOUND! He must mean "time is just what it is!" and it is "Now! Just this moment, 5:30!!"

    Instead, I later found out that his English was not so good, and he just thought I was asking what time it was. ops:

    Lots of stuff like that in Beginners Mind I think. However, lots of gold too.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-03-2012 at 05:19 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    This may also be a good time to repost links to "Readings on How to Read Zen/Buddhist" books, discussing how Buddhist books ... and Zen books in particular ... come in many lovely flavors (same but often very different different, different but just the same). Some of these readings sometime paint with too broad a brush, and are not completely accurate, but still useful to Zen readers who may pick up a book on "Zen" or "Buddhism" and not realize that the authors are often coming from quite different perspectives and approaches on "Zen" etc. (many roads up the non-mountain mountain).

    SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-enlightenment

    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)
    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    Perhaps the best book on all the many lineages and flavors of Zen in the West (although the book is already a few years dated and too limited to the USA) is James Ford's Zen Master Who? (Look for Jundo Cohen on page 140, pre-Treeleaf days! plug plug ) ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Master-Who...zen+master+who

    SweepingZen webpage has become the best source of biographies and interviews with Zen teachers in the West in all their many flavors ...

    www.sweepingzen.com

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-03-2012 at 03:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    Thank you for the advice, Jundo. That explanation clears up a lot. I'll try to take Suzuki in smaller bites. I am picking up the glimmers of gold here and there.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    This may also be a good time to repost links to "Readings on How to Read Zen/Buddhist" books, discussing how Buddhist books ... and Zen books in particular ... come in many lovely flavors (same but often very different different, different but just the same). Some of these readings sometime paint with too broad a brush, and are not completely accurate, but still useful to Zen readers who may pick up a book on "Zen" or "Buddhism" and not realize that the authors are often coming from quite different perspectives and approaches on "Zen" etc. (many roads up the non-mountain mountain).

    SPECIAL READING - EIGHT TYPES OF ENLIGHTENMENT
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-enlightenment

    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)
    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1

    Perhaps the best book on all the many lineages and flavors of Zen in the West (although the book is already a few years dated and too limited to the USA) is James Ford's Zen Master Who? (Look for Jundo Cohen on page 140, pre-Treeleaf days! plug plug ) ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Master-Who...zen+master+who

    SweepingZen webpage has become the best source of biographies and interviews with Zen teachers in the West in all their many flavors ...

    www.sweepingzen.com

    Gassho, J
    While reading the above descriptions of the different approaches found in various Zen teachings and Buddhist books, it would also be wise at the same time to recall Taigu's words from his wonderful Talk today .... the seamless reality.

    We may raise the banner of ideas ... the Shikantaza guy, the Koan guy ...

    You may just sit, and in this action, absolutely free, the highest freedom is released and experienced, and the whole universe becomes what it is. ...


    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...4665#post84665

    It is useful to be able to recognize all the many, often seemingly quite different (sometimes quite conflicting in advice) flavors of Buddhist (and Zen Buddhist) teachers and teachers ... and to develop educated taste buds to recognize the ingredients and what the cook is cooking. It7s helpful to know where the writer-cook of the cookbook is coming from ... the difference between Chinese food and Japanese and TexMex. Some ingredients, although each lovely in its own way ... may not mix well or easily in the kitchen with other flavors, like onions and strawberries. Different nourishment many be suited to different tongues and needs, and no one right way to make soup. Yes, it is important to know the differences in approach if one wants to learn to read cookbooks ... and then cook beyond what is written down, free of the books ...

    Yet, know through all difference in approach and taste the Taste of One Taste.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-04-2012 at 04:07 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Speaking of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi....may I suggest "Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai". It, too, is a series of lectures, but more poignant to one work, Sekito Kisen's great poem on the relative/differentiation and absolute/equality.

    I've seen a few videos of Suzuki Roshi's lectures and am aware of difficulties in the task of teaching in a language for which you may not have great command. Dainin Katagiri Roshi often "apologized/acknowledged" that his students had to endure his lack of English language fluidity. And yet, when I read their work in print, I am amazed at the eloquence. And that likely comes with help from
    others.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by YuimaSLC View Post
    Speaking of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi....may I suggest "Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai". It, too, is a series of lectures, but more poignant to one work, Sekito Kisen's great poem on the relative/differentiation and absolute/equality.

    I've seen a few videos of Suzuki Roshi's lectures and am aware of difficulties in the task of teaching in a language for which you may not have great command. Dainin Katagiri Roshi often "apologized/acknowledged" that his students had to endure his lack of English language fluidity. And yet, when I read their work in print, I am amazed at the eloquence. And that likely comes with help from
    others.
    Hi,

    An excellent suggestion. Thank you. We actually read "Branching Streams" in our "beyond words and letters book club" awhile ago. Another wonderful book in Suzuki Roshi's style.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...OOK-CLUB/page8

    It is also on our recommended book list.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    ... currently reading "Buddhism Without Beliefs" by Stephen Batchelor. I really like it, but then again I'm an iconoclast at heart. heheheh

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Listening to this one during my commute. Enjoying it very much. The section on emptiness is the clearest discussion of that topic I've found yet.

  27. #27
    sorry for the sidetrack, but I find this "don't know" interesting.

    It's funny Stephen Batchelor says that "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer to a question, but Steve Hagen says we truly do know, so even I don't know
    is not acceptable. And you know what? I think both are right. In a sense, we just don't know if there is an afterlife, but this practice is all about questioning even if we don't know... this is my personal take anyway. So if we just say "I don't know" that could be a copout to just stop examining, but life is changing all the time, so of course we don't know. It doesn't excuse us from the responsibility from discovery and questioning in the face of that ignorance

    Anyway I just don't know. hahahaha

  28. #28
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecoist View Post
    Zen Mind, Beginners Mind ... one of my favorites and one I enjoy reading over and over.
    Me too! Also, Taking the Path of Zen by Aitken. I know that Jundo sensei doesn't necessarily recommend this book, but personally I am able to differentiate between the practices of our path and Aitken's. The book has helped me understand certain aspects of our practice and for that I have to offer him a gassho and recommend it to those who might also be helped by it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Reminds me of when (true story) I first came to Japan and met my first Japanese "Zen Master" (my first teacher, Azuma Roshi of Sojiji). I promptly proceeded to ask him the big questions, one of which was "What is Time? What is the "NOW"?"

    His answer: "Now 5:30"

    Wow, I thought. HOW PROFOUND! He must mean "time is just what it is!" and it is "Now! Just this moment, 5:30!!"

    Instead, I later found out that his English was not so good, and he just thought I was asking what time it was.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    SPECIAL READING - ONCE BORN TWICE BORN ZEN (Part 1)
    https://sites.google.com/site/jundot...edirects=0&d=1
    Will put on my Kindle and read through.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Thanks! I keep forgetting to bookmark this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    While reading the above descriptions of the different approaches found in various Zen teachings and Buddhist books, it would also be wise at the same time to recall Taigu's words from his wonderful Talk today .... the seamless reality.

    We may raise the banner of ideas ... the Shikantaza guy, the Koan guy ...

    You may just sit, and in this action, absolutely free, the highest freedom is released and experienced, and the whole universe becomes what it is. ...
    Gassho, Taigu.
    迎 Geika

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