Shunryu Suzuki

“Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.”

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.

“To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control them.”

Source of Suzuki’s images and calligraphy:

“In the zazen posture, your mind and body have great power to accept things as they are, whether agreeable or disagreeable.”

“These forms are not the means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture is itself the right state of mind. There is no need to obtain some special state of mind.”

“The most important point is to own your own physical body. If you slump, your mind is wandering about somewhere else, you are not in your body. We must exist right here, right now.”

Shunryu Suzuki (1904 ~ 1971), born in Japan and came to America at age 55, was one of the most influential Zen masters who contributed splendidly to the burgeoning of Zen Buddhism in the US. His sublime book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind is one of the greatest guides to Zen practice.

The Chinese characters in this blog’s header, reading as ‘chu xin’ in Chinese, ‘sho shin’ in Japanese, or ‘beginner’s mind’ in English, is Suzuki’s calligraphy, a perfect example for the Zen way of calligraphing and writing – you write in the most direct and simple way, as if you were a beginner picking up a brush or a pen for the very first time. You are not trying to make something beautiful or skillful, but simply writing with your full attention and inherent nature.

This is the way of practice, the art of living.

calligraphy of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

“To go eastward one mile is to go westward one mile. This is vital freedom.

“There is no need to worry about progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. Just be sincere and make our full effort in each moment is enough. There is no Nirvana outside our practice.”

“Everything can be our object of worship. Bowing is a very serious practice. Be prepared to bow, even in your last moment. Sometimes we may bow to cats and dogs. Even though it is impossible to get rid of our self-centered desires, we have to do it.”

Zen practice is the direct expression of our true nature. Strictly speaking, for a human being, there is no other practice than this practice; there is no other way of life than this way of life.

“A Zen master’s life could be said to be so many years of shoshaku jushaku (one continuous mistake). This means so many years of one single-minded effort.”

“With your whole mind you sit with painful legs without being disturbed by them.”

“When the restrictions you have do not limit you, this is what we mean by practice.”

~ Shunryu Suzuki ~