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The Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  140 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Here is a comprehensive introduction to Zen Buddhism for those who don't know how or where to begin, nor what to expect once they have started practicing. It includes the fundamentals of meditation practice (posture, technique, clothing), descriptions of the basic teachings and major texts, the teacher-student relationship, and what you will find when you visit a zendo, pl ...more
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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Oct 06, 2010 Lon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very broad, not very deep, introduction. Really, much more of an orientation into Zen practice (sitting meditation, finding a community of practitioners and what to expect when you go to your first sesshin or meditation retreat, etc.) as it was an introduction into Buddhist beliefs and Zen Buddhism in particular. I think I would have preferred buying Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind instead; the stuff in this book could have been found in a half hour of Google surfing. Still, it delivered wh ...more
Haven't I read that before?: While Smith's book is a very good introduction to Zen for Americans who have no background in Buddhism, I have one complaint. In at least two sections, Smith quotes verbatim from her collection Zen 365, without acknowledging the original sources. In Beginners Introduction to Zen, it appears as Smith's own words. In Zen 365, these passages are attributed to someone else. Very disconcerting. Otherwise, it is a competent introduction and I enjoyed reading it.
May 01, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism is both fantastic and flawed. It is a valuable resource for beginners in establishing a basic mediation method, understanding the basic structure of Zen practice, and learning, albeit briefly, some of the history of Zen.

This book's brevity is also part of its flaws. Short books is the norm for Zen studies, but this book claims to be a beginner's guide while glossing over much of the actual cognitive aspects of Zen. Couple this with the book's age, and it's v
Jordan Palmer
This is, as it is titled, a very simple introduction to Zen Buddhism. I cannot tell if I enjoyed it a little more or a little less than a person reading it with no background whatsoever in Zen. In college, I took an Asian religions class that went a bit more in depth and I have visited a Zen temple before.
Overall, I found it to be a nice refresher, a primer almost, to a subject I am looking to reacquaint myself with. Smith's instructions for how to begin your medication practice are helpful and
Laura Lynch
This book gave me a broad overview of Zen Buddhism. It discussed the practice of meditation and later joining a group where there are certain protocols. The book also touched on the basic history, teachings and texts that are the foundations of Buddhism.

I learned that the key to Buddhism is mindfulness (now). I also found out more about the four truths that address suffering which is often caused by the desire for things to be different from the way they are. If one can accept things as they ar
Mark Terry
A good general introduction, but not much meat on the bones.
Dec 27, 2013 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A broad overview that basically tells you what to expect to learn if you employ a teacher for zen buddhism. More of an informational guide than a how to.
Dec 06, 2008 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beginners in Buddhism
Recommended to Justin by: no one
Great general introduction to the religion as well as a general description of some other schools of buddhist thought. I especially appreciated the comparison between Mahayana and Therevada Buddhism.
Jennifer Kyrnin
Apr 03, 2011 Jennifer Kyrnin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swap
This was a Buddhist book that I really was able to get into. It was easy to read and accessible. It made Buddhism interesting and something I wanted to learn more about.
Sep 03, 2007 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in visiting a zendo.
Shelves: refrence
Very practical easy to read introduction with a focus on the practice of Zen Buddhism in the United States.
Jul 15, 2013 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned more about Zen Buddhism and Buddhist customs. It sounds complicated, though.
Apr 25, 2013 Pennyjelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book for anyone interested in learning about Zen Buddhism.
Tricia Guillen
Feb 01, 2010 Tricia Guillen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative.
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