The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan)

Robert Aitken - 1990
    Gathered together by Wu-men (Mumon), a thirteenth-century master of the Lin-chi (Rinzai) school, it is composed of forty-eight koans, or cases, each accompanied by a brief comment and poem by Wu-men.Robert Aitken, one of the premier American Zen masters, has translated Wu-men's text, supplementing the original with his own commentary -- the first such commentary by a Western master -- making the profound truths of Zen Buddhism accessible to serious contemporary students and relevant to current social concerns.

Sword and Brush: The Spirit of the Martial Arts

Dave Lowry - 1995
    Forty-two examples of Lowry's calligraphy, accompanied by his essays, show how the way of the brush reflects the strategic principles of the way of the sword. Each calligraphy represents a term from the martial arts—such as do, the way, or wa, harmony. The accompanying text amplifies our understanding of the term, what it meant to Japanese warriors, and what it means to practitioners of calligraphy and the martial arts today. What becomes clear is that these two seemingly unrelated disciplines actually partake of the same profound elemental spirit.

Questions to a Zen Master: Political and Spiritual Answers from the Great Japanese Master

Taisen Deshimaru - 1985
    True religion is the highest Way, the absolute Way: zazen."Here, Deshimaru, the author of True Zen, offers practical suggestions for developing unitary mind-body consciousness through the principles of zazen (translated literally as "seated meditation"). Advice is given on posture, breathing, and concentration, and concepts such as karma and satori are clearly explained.

You Have to Say Something

Dainin Katagiri - 1998
    His first book, Returning to Silence, emphasized the need to return to our original, enlightened state of being, and became one of the classics of Zen in America. In You Have to Say Something, selections from his talks have been collected to address another key theme of Katagiri's teaching: that of bringing Zen insight to bear on our everyday experience. "To live life fully," Katagiri says, "means to take care of your life day by day, moment to moment, right here, right now." To do this, he teaches, we must plunge into our life completely, bringing to it the same wholeheartedness that is required in Zen meditation. When we approach life in this way, every activity—everything we do, everything we say—becomes an opportunity for manifesting our own innate wisdom. With extraordinary freshness and immediacy, Katagiri shows the reader how this wisdom not only enlivens our spiritual practice but can help make our life a rich, seamless whole.

The Heart Sutra: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classic of Mahayana Buddhism

Kazuaki Tanahashi - 2014
    Chanted daily by many Zen practitioners, it is also studied extensively in the Tibetan tradition, and it has been regarded with interest more recently in the West in various fields of study—from philosophy to quantum physics. In just a few lines, it expresses the truth of impermanence and the release of suffering that results from the understanding of that truth with a breathtaking economy of language. Kazuaki Tanahashi’s guide to the Heart Sutra is the result of a life spent working with it and living it. He outlines the history and meaning of the text and then analyzes it line by line in its various forms (Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Mongolian, and various key English translations), providing a deeper understanding of the history and etymology of the elusive words than is generally available to the nonspecialist—yet with a clear emphasis on the relevance of the text to practice. This book includes a fresh and meticulous new translation of the text by the author and Roshi Joan Halifax.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism

Gary Gach - 2009
    It also includes additional information on Buddhism's effect on popular arts and sciences, the continuing relevance of the Dalai Lama, and an annotated bibliography. Covers all four schools of Buddhism: Zen,Tibetan, Pure Land, and Insight Meditation.For thousands of years, Buddhism has been a source of inner peace and security for millions.

A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and Zen

Matsuo Bashō - 1979
    The haiku verse form is a superb means of studying Zen modes of thought and expression, for its seventeen syllables impose a rigorous limitation that confines the poet to vital experience. Here haiku by Bashõ are translated by Robert Aitken, with commentary that provides a new and far deeper understanding of Bashõ’s work than ever before.In presenting themes from the haiku and from Zen literature that open the doors both to the poems and to Zen itself, Aitken has produced the first book about the relationship between Zen and haiku. His readers are certain to find it invaluable for the remarkable revelations it offers.

Living Buddha: Interpretive Biography

Daisaku Ikeda - 1973
    This book presents the Buddha not as a mystic figure, but as a human being who struggled to attain enlightenment and to aid mankind in freeing itself from suffering and delusion.

Infinite Circle: Teachings in Zen

Bernie Glassman - 2002
    Glassman illuminates three key teachings of Zen Buddhism, offering line-by-line commentary in clear, direct language:- The Heart Sutra the Buddha's essential discourse on emptiness, a central sutra of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. - The Identity of Relative and Absolute: an eighth-century poem by Shih-t'ou His-ch'ien, a key text of the Soto Zen school. - The Zen precepts: the rules of conduct for laypeople and monks.His commentaries are based on workshops he gave as Abbot of the Zen Community of New York, and they contain within them the principles that became the foundation for the Greyston Mandala of community development organizations and the Zen Peacemaker Order.

Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series

D.T. Suzuki - 1925
    At once a critical explication of the facets of Zen and a meditation on the meaning of existence, Essays in Zen Buddhism is an indispensable document to the student of Eastern religion.

The Zen Experience

Thomas Hoover - 1980
    With anecdote and memorable quotation, this long-needed work restores Zen to its living, human form.The truth of Zen has always resided in individual experience rather than in theoretical writings. To give the modern reader access to understanding of this truth, THE ZEN EXPERIENCE illumines Zen as it was created and shaped by the personalities, perceptions, and actions of its masters over the centuries.Beginning with the twin roots of Zen in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism, we follow it through its initial flowering in China under the First Patriarch Bodhidharma; its division into schools of “gradual” and “sudden” enlightenment under Shen-hsui and Shen-hui; the ushering in of its golden age by Hui-neng; the development of “shock” enlightenment by Ma-tsu; its poetic greatness in the person of Han-shan; the perfection of the use of the koan by Ta-hui; the migration of Zen to Japan and its extraordinary growth there under a succession of towering Japanese spiritual leaders.Rich in historical background, vivid in revealing anecdote and memorable quotation, this long-needed work succeeds admirably in taking Zen from the library shelves and restoring its living, human form.TAGS: Zen History, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Zen History, Bodhidharma, Lin-Chi, Rinzai, Soto, Eisai, Dogen, Hakuin

The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo

Kosho Uchiyama - 1981
    Instead, he lived a traveling, "homeless" life, going from temple to temple, student to student, teaching and instructing and never allowing himself to stray from his chosen path. He is responsible for making Soto Zen available to the common people outside of monasteries. His teachings are short, sharp, and powerful. Always clear, often funny, and sometimes uncomfortably close to home, they jolt us into awakening. Kosho Uchiyama expands and explains his teacher's wisdom with his commentary. Trained in Western philosophy, he draws parallels between Zen teachings and the Bible, Descartes, and Pascal. Shohaku Okumura has also added his own commentary, grounding his teachers' power and sagacity for the contemporary, Western practitioner. Experience the timeless, practical wisdom of three generations of Zen masters.

Zen Is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki, Author of "zen Mind, Beginner's Mind"

David Chadwick - 2001
    In Zen Is Right Here, his teachings are brought to life powerfully and directly through stories told about him by his students. These living encounters with Zen are poignant, direct, humorous, paradoxical, and enlightening; and their setting in real-life contexts makes them wonderfully accessible.Like the Buddha himself, Suzuki Roshi gave profound teachings that were skilfully expressed for each moment, person, and situation he encountered. He emphasized that while the ungraspable essence of Buddhism is constant, the expression of that essence is always changing. Each of the stories presented here is an example of this versatile and timeless quality, showing that the potential for attaining enlightenment exists right here, right now, in this very moment.

Hardcore Zen Strikes Again

Brad Warner - 2012
    This is not that book! Hardcore Zen was a groundbreaking look at Zen Buddhism through the eyes of a Western punk rocker living in Japan who became an ordained monk while working for a company that made cheap monster movies. In this new sequel, Hardcore Zen Strikes Again, Brad returns to his roots and provides a glimpse into some of his early writings that formed the basis for that book. These essays, mostly from a long-defunct website Brad produced in the early 2000s, form a snapshot of the genesis of Brad’s first book. Brad has provided new introductions and afterwords to each essay as well as a complete chapter written for Hardcore Zen that did not make the final cut, plus an article about his experiences at the company he was working for when the book was written. Together they make an invaluable collection for anyone interested in Brad’s writing as well as those interested in his unique way of presenting the timeless truths of Zen in a contemporary idiom.

A Concise History of Buddhism

Andrew Skilton - 1996
    The newcomer seeking to understand the sometimes contradictory spiritual texts can find it daunting. A Buddhist and professor at Oxford University now unravels these varied religious threads and creates a wonderfully clear and compact look at Buddhist history. From the ancient Indian context to Buddhism in countries beyond, from the Mahayana sutras to Tantra, it presents an account of the religion's development up through the 19 the century, its doctrines and its schools. But the study also covers the context in which Buddhism developed, the external events that had an impact on the religion. Using the most recent scholarship available, it reflects on the Buddha and his teachings, the paths to awakening, the development in the Sangha, the Tripitaka and the Abhidharma, the end of Buddhism in India, and the practice of Buddhism all throughout Asia. A truly enlightening guide.