The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby mettafuture » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:57 am

Have any of you read The Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism by Jean Smith?

From the looks of the reviews, and table of contents, it looks promising. :D

Or, perhaps, there is a better intro to Zen?
Last edited by mettafuture on Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby Dexing » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:24 am

nopalabhyate...
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby catmoon » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:26 am

The best place to start - that I know of - is Shunryu Suzuki's books. They are permeated with a spirit of warmth and kindness that are completely missing from some sources.
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby mettafuture » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:52 am

Dexing wrote:Best intro I've seen. 25 mins.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 946953220#

:namaste:

I've never seen this one before.

Thank you. I'll give it a peek now.

catmoon wrote:The best place to start - that I know of - is Shunryu Suzuki's books. They are permeated with a spirit of warmth and kindness that are completely missing from some sources.

I completely agree. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind is a classic!

My intro to Zen was The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. The clarity of his writing is so refreshing and direct.
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby hungryghost » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:16 pm

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. I really like Shunryu Suzuki's writing, dont get me wrong, but as a beginners book I don't see enough nuts and bolts stuff in any of his books. For Rinzai Zen I would choose Zen Training by Omori Sogen. On the soto side i'd go with Opening the Hand of Thought by Uchiyama. For the Harada-Yasutani line (in which I practice) I would go with The 3 Pillars of Zen, Philip Kapleau.
Alan Watts introduced alot of people to (quasi) zen noodling and scholarship, but as Watts was never a zen practicioner I would never recommend his writing to anyone interested in starting a zen practice.
just my 2 or 3 cents
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:29 pm

hungryghost wrote:I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. I really like Shunryu Suzuki's writing, dont get me wrong, but as a beginners book I don't see enough nuts and bolts stuff in any of his books. For Rinzai Zen I would choose Zen Training by Omori Sogen. On the soto side i'd go with Opening the Hand of Thought by Uchiyama. For the Harada-Yasutani line (in which I practice) I would go with The 3 Pillars of Zen, Philip Kapleau.
Alan Watts introduced alot of people to (quasi) zen noodling and scholarship, but as Watts was never a zen practicioner I would never recommend his writing to anyone interested in starting a zen practice.
just my 2 or 3 cents


I agree Shunryu Suzuki is not for begginers. It may be that this is the first zen book a majority of people read but the first time i read it i didnt feel that i understood zen any better than before i picked it up. Once one has got a good grasp on what the zen tradition is about then one can return to Suzukis books.
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby meindzai » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:47 pm

bodom wrote:I agree Shunryu Suzuki is not for begginers. It may be that this is the first zen book a majority of people read but the first time i read it i didnt feel that i understood zen any better than before i picked it up. Once one has got a good grasp on what the zen tradition is about then one can return to Suzukis books.


I agree, though I have to say that most people *do* think they understand Zen after reading Suzuki, to the extent they think that his teachings constitute the whole of zen, which has lead to some very unfortunate attitudes about the practice. No fault of his, but it's had some unintended consequences.

-M
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby bodom » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:26 am

meindzai wrote:
bodom wrote:I agree Shunryu Suzuki is not for begginers. It may be that this is the first zen book a majority of people read but the first time i read it i didnt feel that i understood zen any better than before i picked it up. Once one has got a good grasp on what the zen tradition is about then one can return to Suzukis books.


I agree, though I have to say that most people *do* think they understand Zen after reading Suzuki, to the extent they think that his teachings constitute the whole of zen, which has lead to some very unfortunate attitudes about the practice. No fault of his, but it's had some unintended consequences.

-M


Yes the "I can do whatever i want because everything's zen" syndrome.

:anjali:
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Re: The Beginners Guide to Zen Buddhism?

Postby catmoon » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:39 am

bodom wrote:
Yes the "I can do whatever i want because everything's zen" syndrome.

:anjali:



Really? I got the impression he had a strict streak in him. Not a very large one, but it is there I think. Anyhow the first books I read on Zen were not by Suzuki. They were small, colorful, beautifully photographed books, one of which had a nuts'n'bolts explanation of posture, breathing and a few other essentials of meditation, with detailed diagrams. Not one of them has attained any great fame. Yet they do a wonderful job of communicating the Zen atmosphere, and provide sufficient information to allow a beginner to start a solo practice.
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