Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen

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9780060197858: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen

Practicing the True Spirit of Zen

Not Always So is based on Shunryu Suzuki's lectures and is framed in his own inimitable allusive, paradoxical style, rich with unexpected and off–centre insights. Suzuki knew he was dying at the time of the lectures, which gives his thoughts an urgency and focus even sharper than in the earlier book.

In Not Always So Suzuki Roshi once again voices Zen in everyday language with the vigour, sensitivity, and buoyancy of a true friend. Here is support and nourishment. Here is a mother and father lending a hand, but letting you find your own way. Here is guidance which empowers your freedom (or way–seeking mind), rather than pinning you down to directions and techniques. Here is teaching which encourages you to touch and know your true heart and to express yourself fully, teaching which is not teaching from outside, but a voice arising in your own being.

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Review:

If you can imagine Zen Existentialism, Not Always So is it. Part instruction manual for Zen practice and part philosophical meditation, Shunryu Suzuki's teachings emphasize being-in-the-world. He does not point toward a singular enlightenment-event as a burst into higher consciousness. Rather, he suggests a more experiential enlightenment that finds meaning in a full awareness of the present. For example: "If you go to the rest room, there is a chance for enlightenment. When you cook, there is a chance for enlightenment. When you clean the floor, there is a chance to attain enlightenment."

Shunryu Suzuki was an important emissary of Zen Buddhism to the United States. Establishing a Zen center in San Francisco in the 1960s, he attracted many noted pupils, including this book's editor, Edward Espe Brown. In fact, Not Always So is Brown's collection of Suzuki's teachings during his last years, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

No doubt some readers will want to wrestle with the often paradoxical nature of Zen teachings. And those from the Western philosophical tradition may find vast differences between the Western system that takes its cue from Descartes' cogito and the Eastern one that emphasizes the destruction of the ego. Says Suzuki: "It is just your mind that says you are here and I am there, that's all. Originally we are one with everything." While the book does not wrestle with cultural-philosophical differences, it is nevertheless a good introduction to Zen. Suzuki's teachings tend to flow from simple stories, usually drawn from his own experiences. It's almost entirely free of the jargon that clutters many books on Buddhism, and the teachings are communicated with clarity and brevity. --Eric de Place

About the Author:

The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki was an unassuming, much-beloved spiritual teacher. Born the son of a Zen master in 1904, Suzuki began Zen training as a youngster and matured over many years of practice in Japan. After continuing to devote himself to his priestly life throughout the Second World War (when priests often turned to other occupations), Suzuki came to San Francisco in 1959. While some priests had come to the West with "new suits and shiny shoes," Suzuki decided to come "in an old robe with a shiny [shaved] head." Attracting students over several years, Suzuki established the Zen Center in San Francisco, with a training temple at Tassajara-the first in the West. After a lengthy illness, he died of cancer in December 1971.



Edward Espe Brown was ordained as a Zen priest in 1971 by Shunryu Suzuki, who gave him the name Jusan Kainei, "Longevity Mountain, Peaceful Sea." While a student at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, he wrote two bestselling books, The Tassajara Bread Book and Tassajara Cooking. His most recent book is Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings.

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Suzuki, Shunryu; Brown, Edward Espe; San Francisco, Zen Center
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ISBN 10: 0060197854 ISBN 13: 9780060197858
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Book Description Harper, 2002. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Shunryu Suzuki's first book, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," published in 1971, continues to be one of the world's most valued books on Buddhism. Now the long-awaited companion volume, "Not Always So," has arrived.Chosen and edited by Edward Espe Brown, bestselling author and student of Suzuki's, the lectures are taken from the last three years of Suzuki's life. His maturity as a teacher with a deep commitment to conveying his message is warmly and fully expressed.In "Not Always So" Suzuki voices Zen in everyday language, with humor and good-heartedness. While offering sustenance much like a mother and father lending a hand, Suzuki encourages you to find your own way. Rather than emphasizing specific directions and techniques, his teaching encourages you to touch and know your true heart and to express yourself fully. Suzuki's words do not seem to come from outside, but awaken a voice arising from your own being.Topics in this volume include living in each moment, being kind to yourself, and "wherever you are, enlightenment is there." Whether speaking about changing your karma or walking like an elephant ("Slowly, without any idea of hasty gain), Suzuki's guidance empowers freedom rather than prescribes thought. This extraordinary new collection allows Suzuki's presence to enter your life in the form of a wise, warmhearted friend. "Not Always So" is a wonderful gift for anyone seeking spiritual fulfillment and inner peace. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0060197854

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