Jakusho Kwong-roshi is a successor in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi. He has been teaching Zen in the United States and Europe for more than thirty years. He is the founder and abbot of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center outside of Santa Rosa, California. In 1995, he was given the title of Dendo Kyoshi (Zen Teacher) by the Soto School in Japan. He is one of nine Western Zen teachers to receive this acknowledgment. "Zen," he says, "is the aliveness we bring to each moment."
These clear and illuminating teachings on the practice of Soto Zen will benefit all those who are dedicated to realizing and living within the original nature, no matter what our school. Jakusho Kwong-roshi's No Begininng, No End is both highly readable and most inspiring since it comes directly from the heart of his many years of practice and experience.
In these talks Jakusho Kwong Roshi, true dharma heir of Shunryu Suzuki, has laid out the full path of Zen Buddhism, from its simplest and most straightforward applications, to the subtle, nonverbal experiences of realization. Here is a guide that will be helpful to all practitioners of meditation, whatever their path.
Following in the profound lineage of Suzuki-roshi, Jakusho Kwong offers an open-hearted Zen with an immediacy that is both illuminating and simple. These teachings give us confidence to return to our original mind.
Kwong Roshi is a true teacher, his book speaks to both lay people and the serious student of Zen. He may give a lesson drawn from buying his sons tennis shoes or a teaching inspired by his nearly forty years of Zen practice and his studies with great masters from around the world. This book is a treasure!
Kwong Roshi's long-awaited book, No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen, is a winner. Jakusho Kwong Roshi has touched the hearts of many people by his devotion in carrying on the Soto Zen tradition started by Shunryu Suzuki. Each thought and entry in the book is Dharma talk straight to the heart, mind, and soul. If you are looking for a path to follow or interested in improving your meditation this book has my high five.
Jakusho Kwong-roshi practiced with Shunryu Suzuki-roshi for eleven years, from 1960 to Suzuki-roshis death in 1971. This excellent book is the fruit of his steady, peaceful, and profound practice and teaching to his students. His clear and inspiring expression of the intimate heart of Zen shows that the Dharma transmitted from Japan to America by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi has been received and maintained by American Zen Master Kwong-roshi.
Distilling years of experience as a teacher and student, Kwong Roshi has written a practical and profound book that takes us deep into the heart of Zen practice.
The responsibility of Zen/Chan practitioners is to share the benefits derived from their practice with all who need them; this is the simultaneous exercising of compassion and wisdom to benefit oneself and others. I am blessed to have met Jakusho Kwong Roshi during a visit to Sonoma Mountain in October 1990 that left me with an indelible impression of him. I am delighted to see that he has published his first work; this is definitely a precious gift to the English-speaking practitioners all over the world.
Jakusho Kwongs book is not about Zen, it is Zen. In what he says and, more important, in how he says it, Kwong Roshi is constantly pointing at the moon that is right in front of our face, at the practice/realization of our day-to-day life. He is compassionate and tenacious at the same time. With appreciation and love he tells stories and teachings of his ancestors, including Shunryu Suzuki Roshi; with appreciation and humility he tells stories of his own training and his personal path. No Beginning, No End invites us to become intimate with our life in the deepest sense of the word, and in the process, with the teachings--and the heart--of a great American Zen master.
The "Big Mind" that Zen Buddhist master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi so poetically described in his classic Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind shines throughout this collection of talks by Kwong, a disciple and authorized successor of Suzuki's. Appropriately for someone erasing the usual dualistic lines that separate self and other, Kwong's voice is strikingly reminiscent of his teacher's, from the traditional stories and poems he cites to the same central figures of speech and simple diction he uses. The book is also organized like Zen Mind into three parts with quotes pulled out to head each chapter. It even includes 10 of Kwong's calligraphic illustrations, while Zen Mind opens with calligraphy facing its title page. Unlike his teacher, however, the California-born Kwong speaks the language of Zen with an American accent. He is intimately familiar with the American lexicon of words and values, which gives him direct experience-important in Zen-to bring to the cultural meeting of modern American and Japanese Zen minds. He uses "living words"-concrete nouns and simple examples from everyday observation or experience-rather than abstract concepts to make plain and understandable the teasing and logic-confounding contradictions found in Zen. Culled from a lifetime of teaching and studying, the book is persuasive. It is the fruit of a ripened mind, hardened by practice but also softened by the compassionate wisdom drawn from those same long years of experience.
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