Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Beginner's Mind' is Not Just for Beginners

In Zen Buddhism, the notion of 'beginner's mind' - a state of receptivity - has been written about extensively.

I was wondering if there was a similar teaching in the Christian tradition, and ran across this astounding statement by Jesus:

"When, therefore, a teacher of the law has become a learner in the kingdom of Heaven, he is like a householder who can produce from his store both the new and the old." (Matthew 13:52)


  1. many years ago, a traveler, me, decided to stop speaking English and learn to speak French again, my first language. in my backpack, I allowed only one written-in-English book: Zen Mind / Beginner's Mind... Suzuki.

    Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" in FRENCH was a funky read!

    some of my favorite images of the student mind come from old Zen stories like the overflowing teacup, knocking at the gate of the temple to get in to become enlightened only to be asked countless times what your name is... the door closing every time until you realize that you simply do not know.

    also in Native American in-the-earth "sayings" I love the wisdom that comes from being in touch, as if the pulse of the earth itself runs in our blood...

  2. Your comments remind me of a story that Anthony de Mello tells...

    A young man knocks at the door of his beloved.
    From inside comes the question, "Who is there?"
    "It is I."
    She replies, "Go away, for there is not enough room in here for you and me."
    The young man goes out into the desert and contemplates her words for several months.
    At last, he returns and knocks again.
    "Who is there?"
    "It is you."
    The door was opened immediately.