No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong

No Beginning No End The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong

No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong

No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen Book Cover No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen
Jakusho Kwong
Shambhala Publications

In No Beginning, No End, Zen master Jakusho Kwong-roshi shows us how to treasure the ordinary activities of our daily lives through an understanding of simple Buddhist practices and ideas. The author's spontaneous, poetic, and pragmatic teachings—so reminiscent of his spiritual predecessor Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind)—transport us on an exciting journey into the very heart of Zen and its meaningful traditions. Because Kwong-roshi can transmit the most intimate thing in the most accessible way, we learn how to ignite our own vitality, wisdom, and compassion and awaken a feeling of intimacy with the world. It is like having a conversation with our deepest and wisest self. Jakusho Kwong-roshi was originally inspired to study Zen because of zenga, the ancient art of Zen calligraphy. Throughout this book he combines examples of his own unique style of calligraphy, with less-known stories from the Zen tradition, personal anecdotes—including moving and humorous stories of his training with Suzuki-roshi—and his own lucid and inspiring teachings. All of this comes together to create an intimate expression of the enlightening world of Zen.

No Beginning, No End The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong spine
As you can tell from the shape the book is in, I’ve been carrying it around for a while. It’s not one I could just read all at once (and I’ve been known for reading 4 or 5 books at a time). Having no experience with Zen or Buddhism, this was a great first look into the practice, history, and thinking. As Kwong was introducing words and concepts he would include definitions and examples to ease you into understanding. He gives a fantastic narrative on how Zen came to be and how Zen has morphed through the introduction into the Western region of the world.
No Beginning No End The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong coming alive
There were several parts of the book that gave me a new perspective on how I view myself, my thoughts, and life.  Highlighting many powerful quotes throughout so I might come back to them later when I am needing some inner peace, particularly the parts on quieting your mind and allowing yourself to notice your feelings, breathing them in and then letting them go. Other parts that were relevant as I was reading were the sections on viewing loss, how it is natural and inevitable. Being able to consider hardships as fundamental to life and ultimately necessary for happiness (without hard times you cannot recognize good times).
We are truly like the moon Any amount of light makes a full halo
The end of the book was the most difficult for me to bring into my own thinking. I believe (maybe wrongly) that Kwong was tying it all together and leveling up to possibly the entire purpose of Zen practice. Unfortunately, it seemed very far away from something I could work with in my own experience at this time. Perhaps in the future, once I’ve worked through some of the lower level ways of Zen, I will be ready for the end of the book. This is one I’ll keep on the shelf to look at again!


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about angela

I'm one of those people who loves the experience of physical books and bookstores. Plus my daughter LOVES to read so we decided to put this site together to share these passions with others who feel the same. <3

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