I thought to post some special reading topics. The theme is "readings that will help in understanding Zen readings". 8)
For years and years, after first starting Zen practice, I would read many "Zen Books" but not quite understand why so many seemed to be saying rather different things (or the same things, but seemingly with very different emphasis). In other words, it too me a long time to realize that "Zen Books" (not to mention "Buddhist Books" in general) come in several flavors, often by different teachers within even the same school. Buddhism has evolved over the centuries, and various teachers do emphasize teachings in ways employing particular perspectives. My attempts to "harmonize" in my mind all these differences, and resolve how everyone was really "saying the same thing somehow" often worked, but sometimes also left me quite confused. It was only when I had some historical background, and understood better where these various approaches were coming (and coming not coming) from, did I see that not all "Zen Books" were of one kind ... not one, not two.
(it is early in the morning ... I hope the above makes sense too!)
My point is, not at all, to say which approach is better than any other (although, of course, I have my own approach and way of presenting the practice too). My intent is merely to help people understand the context of all these different teachings, teachers and teachers' books. All are just slightly varied paths up the same mountain (and, anyway, ultimately "what mountain"?).
Our first reading is from a book (that, unfortunately, goes in and out of print) called "Once Born Twice Born Zen" ... about the two most common "different flavors" of Zen one will most likely encounter in the West today: the "Just Sitting" Shikantaza flavor most usually associated with Soto Sangha such as Treeleaf, and the "Kanhua" Zazen flavor most often associated with Rinzai (or mixed Soto-Rinzai) lineages (PDF).