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Beginner’s Mind – Shunryu Suzuki

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Beginner's MindThe events of this past week (company offsite and annual business review) reminded me of a post I wrote a year ago on “Beginner’s Mind”.

Here’s a re-post.

Shunryu Suzuki (1905 – 1971) was born in Japan. He was a Sōtō Zen roshi (priest) who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States. Suzuki was occasionally mistaken for the Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki, to which Shunryu would reply, “No, he’s the big Suzuki, I’m the little Suzuki.”

I have always been fascinated by Zen, finding the ideas and practices liberating, and seeing in it the perfect balance between thought and action.

This past week I was reminded again of “beginner’s mind” as I attended an offsite team building event. Leave your baggage at the door …

Here are a few of Suzuki-san’s quotes:

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything.”

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”

“All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement.”

“The world is its own magic.”

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

“If your practice is good, you may become proud of it. What you do is good, but something more is added to it. Pride is extra. Right effort is to get rid of something extraAs soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw.”

“The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing.”

“I think you’re all enlightened, until you open your mouths.”

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