Between the Covers of “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”

As part of its May events marking the fiftieth anniversary of Suzuki Roshi’s arrival in America, San Francisco Zen Center created a lively art installation celebrating his classic Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. The installation grew out of the Page Project, which asked readers to send copies of pages of the book that included their underlining, highlighting, asterisks, annotations, post-it notes, drawings, insertions, etc. The resulting display presented all of the first edition’s 148 surfaces (covers, jacket, and everything in between) drawn from forty copies of the book from individuals and libraries.
About 250 people viewed the installation and were drawn into animated discussions about how the markings said something about the myriad ways the book had affected readers, says Genine Lentine, co-curator of the show with Todd Gilens. A number of people also sent in written accounts of how Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind influenced their life. The project has been such a success that Zen Center has decided to continue to collect pages and recollections in preparation for a celebration next year of the fortieth anniversary of the book itself.
Scans, photocopies, or recollections may be sent to pageproject@sfzc.org or Page Project, c/o SFZC, 300 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
For more on Suzuki Roshi’s fiftieth anniversary in America, visit suzukiroshi.sfzc.org.

For more on Suzuki Roshi visit our Zen Buddhism spotlight page and his article “Wherever You Are, Enlightenment is There” from our May 2002 issue.