zen buddhist priest edward espe brown learn H u m a n i t i e s

zen buddhist priest edward espe brown learn H u m a n i t i e s

Link to “The Beauty of Beginner’s Mind” available here:

Link to “Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind” available here:

Link to “Beginner’s Mind vs. Expert’s Mind, Explained” available here:

Be sure that your responses are adequately thorough and detailed. Some of the answers may just be fill-in the blank while others clearly require more detail and full sentences. It might be helpful to take notes while reading the articles in order to appropriately answer the questions below. Keep in mind that the questions are asked in order of the articles’ progression (starting with “The Beauty of Beginner’s Mind” followed by “Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind” and then “Beginner’s Mind vs. Expert’s Mind, Explained”) making it easier to identify the answer.

Most of the answers to the questions below come directly from the articles. There are a few questions which are considered “Personal Reflection” questions and are thus indicated as such in parentheses to avoid any confusion. Please answer questions gender neutral and basic.


1.According to “The Beauty of Beginner’s Mind”, describe the “wisdom of uncertainty” from the perspective of Buddhist psychology.

2.According to the article, the Buddhist teacher, Ajahn Chah used to shake his head and smile, “You have so many opinions. And you suffer so much from them. Why not let them go?” How do you think that we suffer from our opinions? How have you suffered from your own opinions? (Personal Reflection)

3.The article describes beginner’s mind as a “freedom from views”. What do you think is the value of reaching a “freedom from views” (e.g., opinions, judgments, expectations, etc.)? (Personal Reflection)

4.According to the article, how do children naturally have a beginner’s mind? And what happens to us as we get older that causes us to lose our beginner’s mind? (Feel free to elaborate on this in your own words since the article doesn’t provide a lot of context for it.)

5.According to the article, what is the value of a “don’t know mind”?

6.What would be the value of a “don’t know mind” in your own life and experiences? (Personal Reflection)

7.According to the article, what is the value of beginner’s mind in our relationships?

8.According to “Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind”, what is “beginner’s mind”?

9.The article provides an example of how a beginner’s mind can “transform” activities such as eating a bowl of cereal. Pick one ordinary activity that you can bring the quality of a beginner’s mind to and practice approaching it with a beginner’s mind. Use the space below to describe what activity you chose and how that experience was different for you. (Personal Reflection)

10.Describe how beginner’s mind leads to “better experiences.”

11.Describe how beginner’s mind leads to “better relationships.”

12.Describe how beginner’s mind leads to “less procrastination.”

13.Describe how beginner’s mind leads to “less anxiety.”

14.According to the article, how is beginner’s mind practiced in meditation?

15.According to “Beginner’s Mind vs. Expert’s Mind, Explained,” how did the Zen Buddhist priest Edward Espe Brown learn about shoshin (i.e., “beginner’s mind”)?

16.According to the article, what did Brown had to “let go of” in order to truly appreciate his biscuits?

17.Indicate at least one area of your life in which letting go of expectations might be beneficial? And what might be the benefit of doing so? Please elaborate. (Personal Reflection)

18.The author states that “the mind has a tendency to compare what’s happening to what could, should, or would be happening – and that this comparing holds us back.” How do you think that this comparing holds us back? (Personal Reflection)

19.According to the article, how is the beginner’s “state of mind” different than our typical state of mind?

20.According to the article how does meditation “allow our beginner’s mind” to naturally emerge?

21.Now, sit for 5-10 minutes in meditation, cultivating a beginner’s mind. Act as if this meditation experience was a brand-new experience—cultivate a sense of curiosity, and notice what comes up for you. In particular, notice the comparisons, expectations, and judgments that arise, and then use the space below to indicate what came up for you in the meditation. (Personal Reflection)

22.After going through the material, answer the following Personal Reflection Question Series:

a.What have you learned from this assignment that may be significant to you?

b.How can you apply these teachings in your life?

c.What will be the benefit of applying these teachings?

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