Zen of Seeing | Beginner's Mind

Beginner's Mind

A seminal concept in the practice of Zen is that of the “Beginner’s Mind.” Known as Shoshin, to have a beginner’s mind is to cultivate an attitude of openness to all possibilities. In his book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki explained that, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

 

A beginner has no concept of the “correct” way of doing things. Edward Weston once said, “When subject matter is forced to fit into preconceived patterns, there can be no freshness of vision.” A beginner is willing to try new things because a beginner has no fear of failure. A beginner accepts his ignorance and is open to see and experience without preconceptions. As Dorothea Lange put it, “The best way to go into an unknown territory is to go in ignorant, with your mind wide open . . .”

 

Do not be afraid to be a beginner – regardless of how long you have practiced.


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