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By Shunryu Suzuki
"It's hard to keep our mind
And practice pure in its fundamental sense.
In Japan we have the phrase shoshin,
which means 'beginner's mind.
The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner's mind.
You might easily lose your original attitude towards it.
For a while you will keep your beginner's mind,
But if you continue to practice,
You are liable to lose the limitless meaning of original mind.
For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic.
Our 'original mind' includes everything within itself.
It is always rich and sufficient within itself.
You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind.
This does not mean a closed mind,
But actually an empty mind and a ready mind.
If your mind is empty,
It is always ready for anything;
It is open to anything.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities;
In the expert's mind there are few.
If you discriminate, you limit yourselfl
If you are demanding or greedy,
Your mind is not rich and self-sufficient.
If we lose our original self-sufficient mind,
We will lose our precepts.
If you keep your original mind,
The precepts will keep themselves.
In the beginner's mind there is no thought,
'I have attained something.'
All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind.
When we have no thought of achievement,
No thought of self,
We are true beginners.
Then we can really learn something.
The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion.
When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.
How important it is to resume our boundless original mind.
Then we are always true to ourselves,
In sympathy with all beings,
Then we can actually practice.
So the most difficult thing is
Always to keep your beginner's mind.
There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen.
You should not say 'I know what Zen is,'
Or 'I have attained enlightenment.'
This is the real secret:
Always be a beginner.
Be very careful about this point.
If you start to practice zazen,
You will begin to appreciate your beginner's mind.
It is the secret of Zen practice.