Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen

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HarperCollins, May 27, 2003 - Religion - 176 pages
22 Reviews

Practising the true spirit of Zen.

Not Always So is based on Shunryu Suzuki's lectures and is framed in his own inimitable, allusive, paradoxical style, rich with unexpected and off–centre insights. Suzuki knew he was dying at the time of the lectures, which gives his thoughts an urgency and focus even sharper than in the earlier book.

In Not Always So Suzuki once again voices Zen in everyday language with the vigour, sensitivity, and buoyancy of a true friend. Here is support and nourishment. Here is a mother and father lending a hand, but letting you find your own way. Here is guidance which empowers your freedom (or way–seeking mind), rather than pinning you down to directions and techniques. Here is teaching which encourages you to touch and know your true heart and to express yourself fully, teaching which is not teaching from outside, but a voice arising in your own being.

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Review: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen

User Review  - Tim Weakley - Goodreads

While there isn't an overall flow to this collection of letters it comes together anyway. The editor did a brilliant job in cleaning Suzuki Roshi's prose. A short read in terms of the number of pages, but if you take your time with it there is a lot of reward to it. Read full review

Review: Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen

User Review  - Patti K - Goodreads

This 2002 Buddhist book is inspiring. I found it amazingly helpful in its suggestions and ideas. I have read Buddhist work for some time but this is one of my very favorites. Read full review

About the author (2003)

The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki was an unassuming, much-beloved spiritual teacher. Born the son of a Zen master in 1904, Suzuki began Zen training as a youngster and matured over many years of practice in Japan. After continuing to devote himself to his priestly life throughout the Second World War (when priests often turned to other occupations), Suzuki came to San Francisco in 1959. While some priests had come to the West with "new suits and shiny shoes," Suzuki decided to come "in an old robe with a shiny [shaved] head." Attracting students over several years, Suzuki established the Zen Center in San Francisco, with a training temple at Tassajara-the first in the West. After a lengthy illness, he died of cancer in December 1971.

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