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 unique style with less well-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 to draw all readers into this intimate expression of the enlightening world of Zen: the world of who we are.
The "Big Mind" that Zen Buddhist master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi so poetically described in his classic Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind shines throughout this collection of talks by Kwong, a disciple and authorized successor of Suzuki's. Appropriately for someone erasing the usual dualistic lines that separate self and other, Kwong's voice is strikingly reminiscent of his teacher's, from the traditional stories and poems he cites to the same central figures of speech and simple diction he uses. The book is also organized like Zen Mind into three parts with quotes pulled out to head each chapter. It even includes 10 of Kwong's calligraphic illustrations, while Zen Mind opens with calligraphy facing its title page. Unlike his teacher, however, the California-born Kwong speaks the language of Zen with an American accent. He is intimately familiar with the American lexicon of words and values, which gives him direct experience important in Zen to bring to the cultural meeting of modern American and Japanese Zen minds. He uses "living words" concrete nouns and simple examples from everyday observation or experience rather than abstract concepts to make plain and understandable the teasing and logic-confounding contradictions found in Zen. Culled from a lifetime of teaching and studying, the book is persuasive. It is the fruit of a ripened mind, hardened by practice but also softened by the compassionate wisdom drawn from those same long years of experience.