Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind”. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.
The phrase is also used in the title of the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, who says the following about the correct approach to Zen practice: In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
Saadat A. Khan suggests that “Beginner’s mind embodies the highest emotional qualities such as enthusiasm, creativity, zeal, and optimism. If the reader reflects briefly on the opposites of these qualities, it is clear to see that quality of life requires living with beginner’s mind. With beginner’s mind, there is boundlessness, limitlessness, an infinite wealth.”
A related term, shōshin (正真), means correct truth and is used to denote a genuine signature on art works or to refer to any thing or person that is genuine.