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  1. #1


    Hi All,

    I have been working for awhile, trying to put together a "Recommended Book List" (while trying to re-read as many of the titles as possible). I have not gotten as far in that as I would like, but here is the list so far. If anyone has any particular input, please drop me an email or post a message here ...

    If you have any suggestions, write me. I won't put anything on the list until I have read it however.

    Books marked with ** are suggested for beginners and experienced folks alike.


    1- Opening the Hand of Thought by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi (2004 Edition) **
    2- From The Zen Kitchen To Enlightenment: Refining Your Life by Eihei Dogen; Kosho Uchiyama Roshi (Translator) **


    Nothing Is Hidden : Essays on Zen Master Dogen's Instructions for the Cook by Shohaku Okumura Roshi **

    3- A Heart To Heart Chat On Buddhism With Old Master Gudo by Gudo Wafu Nishijima Roshi (Jundo Cohen, Translator) **
    4- The Wholehearted Way, A Commentary on Dogen’s Bendowa by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi **
    5- What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition by Walpola Rahula **
    6- Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen **
    7- Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi **


    Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi **


    Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Talks on Sandokai by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

    8- The Heart Sutra by Red Pine (Bill Porter)


    Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on Heart Sutra by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

    9- Sit Down and Shut Up by Brad Warner **
    10- Everyday Zen: Love & Work by Charlotte Joko Beck **


    Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck **

    11- Enlightenment Unfolds (the essential teachings of Dogen) by Kazuaki Tanahashi **


    Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen by Kazuaki Tanahashi **

    12- Zen Buddhism, Volume 1: A History, India & China by Heinrich Dumoulin


    Zen Buddhism, Volume 2: A History (Japan) by Heinrich Dumoulin

    13- Master Dogen's Shobogenzo-Zuimonki available online: **

    Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan by Zenkai Shibayama
    Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues by Thomas Cleary
    Master Dogen's Shinji Shobogenzo (Koan Collection) by Gudo Nishijima Roshi

    15- The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics by Robert Aitken
    16- No Death, No Fear by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
    17- The Platform Sutra: The Zen Teaching of Hui-Neng translated Red Pine (Bill Porter)

  2. #2


    I'd like to add Buddhism Is Not What You Think by Steve Hagen for consideration.

    Most of the others I would recommend are already here.


  3. #3



    Here is my list of recommended readings (not including suttas) from my bookshelf and not in any particular order:

    A Flower Does Not Talk: Zen Essays by Abbot Zenkei Shibayama
    Note: This collection includes wonderful essays on the Six (not 10!) Oxherding pictures.

    Minding Mind: A Course in Basic Mediation translated by Thomas Cleary
    Note: Though the title states “Basic”, this collection of essays about meditation is not for beginners!

    The Heart of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh
    Note: This is a simple and beautiful commentary on the Heart Sutra.

    Bankei Zen: Translations from The Record of Bankei translated by Peter Haskel
    Note: This is a collection from a marvelous Zen teacher who is often overlooked.

    The Zen Teaching of Huang Po translated by John Blofeld
    Note: I have read this book many times over 40 years and still find inspiration.

    Mind-Seal of the Buddhas by Patriarch Ou-I translated by J.C. Cleary
    Note: This is a wonderful introduction to the Pure Land tradition, but a Zen practitioner should feel at home.

    The Sutra of Hui-Neng, Grand Master of Zen With Hui-neng’s Commentary on the Diamond Sutra translated by Thomas Cleary
    Note: I would think this is a ‘must read’ for any Zen practitioner.

    Lighting the Way by the Dalai Lama
    Note: This is obviously from the Tibetan tradition, but is a clear exposition of Mahayana Buddhism.


    Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor
    Note: After hearing about this ‘infamous’ book and reading a very thoughtful critique by Urgyen Sangharakshita I decided to read the book. I am currently three-quarters through and have been very impressed and inspired by what I have read.


  4. #4


    Not a recommendation, but more of a query.

    "The New Social Face of Buddhism: A Call to Action" - Ken Jones

    Worth buying or skip? :?:

  5. #5



    I wanted to thank everyone who suggested additional books for the 'Reading List'. I will take some suggestions, and try to get to several books that I have not seen yet or not read for a long while. I will also have an additional reading list for our "Jukai" in the near future, which will consist of a few books on the Precepts and ethics (and other readings that I will supply).

    Let me just comment on a few of the suggestions made in this thread ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth
    Hi Jundo,

    Most of my Dharma books are in German (and unfortunately quite a few good ones aren't available in English), but here are a few further possibilities for consideration:

    - To Meet the Real Dragon, Nishijima Roshi
    - Shobogenzo, Nishijima Roshi
    - Dogen's Pure Standards for the Zen Community (Eihei Shingi), Leighton/Okumura
    - Dogen's Extensive Record (Eihei Koroku), Leighton/Okumura
    - The Record of Transmitting the Light (Keizan Zenji's Denkoroku), F. Cook
    - The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, Red Pine
    - The Diamond Sutra, Thich Nhat Hanh
    - Asking about Zen: 108 Answers, Jiho Sargent
    - Zen at War, Brian Victoria
    All excellent suggestions. I will add all of these. I consider Jiho Sargent to be one of my teachers, and an old friend of many years. Her book is an unusual, "nuts & bolts" manual to Zen Practice as it is actually conducted in Japan. She also knocks down many of the false stereotypes and common misunderstandings about Zen Practice.

    Victoria's "Zen at War" is necessary to read, although I have now come to believe that it overstates its case.

    The Leighton translations are excellent and necessary for the "Complete Dogen Library", although a bit expensive. I would list them as suggested reading only for those looking to delve deeply into Dogen beyond the basics. That is also my reason for not suggesting that people read Shobogenzo cover-to-cover unless they are making a special study of the contents. In other words, good for long time practitioners delving deep into the literature, but not suggested as an early read for newcomers. For them, I suggest the Tanahashi abbreviated versions of Shobogenzo and the like.

    I did not include "To Meet the Real Dragon" as the book I translated, "Heart-to-Heart", covers much of the same material and, I feel, in a somewhat more lucid fashion. However, of course, I recommend both to anyone interested in the thinking of Nishijima Roshi. I think I will add it to the list though.

    Plankton, our Leon loves the Hungry Caterpillar. Next bedtime, I will re-read it with a Zen eye.

    Bill, I am a Steve Hagen fan. I have ordered Buddhism Is Not What You Think (I believe I read it long ago), and will likely add that to the list.

    Harry, The Zen Teaching of "Homeless" Kodo by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi is a wonderful suggestion. Yes, of course.

    I will look for and read One Robe One Bowl by Ryokan.

    Clyde, many great suggestions. I will work down the list as soon as I can (many of those I read years ago). I am a fan of Steven Bachelor and did think of adding one or two of his books. I will consider that.

    Hans, Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist is a favorite of mine (although a deep read). Recommended for those making advanced study of Dogen-think.

    Erik, I am ordering "The New Social Face of Buddhism: A Call to Action" by Ken Jones. I am now in the middle of reading "The New Buddhism" by David Brazier. Depending on how the rest goes, I am thinking of adding it to the list (and I will be using sections for some "Sit-a-Long" talks next week). The fellow basically is calling for a political/social revolution based on Buddhism. Interesting read. ... 782&sr=8-1

    Shui Di, thank you for the "The Essence of Zen" by Sekkei Harada. I will read it. I have sat at some retreats with the translator, Rev. Daigaku Rumme, and I am very impressed with him and his teacher.

    Crankenfurter, thank you for reminding us about ...

    I have mentioned elsewhere that the translation is a bit flowery and worshipful in tone for my taste, but it is a masterful translation. I am a believer in reading several different versions of Dogen's words and 'triangulating' the real intent behind them.

    Anyway, thank you again, and keep the suggestions coming.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6


    Steve Hagen's 'Meditation Now or Never' is the best plain and straightforward book on meditation I have read. Good for beginner's too - he doesn't introduce terms like zazen and shikantaza until near the end of the book.


  7. #7


    I want to second the recommendation for Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs. It is perhaps the most important book on Buddhism I have read - and I have read way too many - because it strips away the mumbo-jumbo of various traditions, much as Jundo sensei does.


  8. #8


    Maybe you should add Austin's Zen and the Brain. While not a core book, it is quite unique, and offers insights into meditation that no other book does.


  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    I want to second the recommendation for Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs. It is perhaps the most important book on Buddhism I have read - and I have read way too many - because it strips away the mumbo-jumbo of various traditions, much as Jundo sensei does.

    I'll join this one. You don't need to agree with Batchelor all te time, but he makes compelling observations that helped me peel this orange a little bit better. Another great one is " Ending the pursuit of happiness" by Barry Magid, from Joko Beck's lineage; I feel this book will really be a landmark in the "westernization" process of zen. I ignored all the Psychoterapy babble of the book (in the same way I ignore all the sympathetic / parasympathetic theories of N. Roshi) and encountered very interesting stuff that demystifies futher zazen, zen masters, etc. He has an interesting vantage point frome which he describes how we approach the practice with all sorts of therapeutic fantasies, secret hopes, etc. Anyways, I'm not good at recommending books but this one really brings something fresh to the table.

    Gassho, A

  10. #10
    I would like to suggest a book for absolute zen beginners, especially those like myself who are always afraid to ask what seem like really stupid basic questions!
    What is Zen? Plain talk for a beginners mind, by Norman Fischer and Susan Moon.
    The book is written in a Q and A format, with Susan asking Norman my kind of questions

  11. #11
    Hi Frankie,

    I will take a look.

    Boy, you dug up an ancient thread!

    Gassho, J


  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Frankie,

    I will take a look.

    Boy, you dug up an ancient thread!

    Gassho, J

    Haha Jundo, you'll always find me hanging around the book thread, I love to browse I have a serious attachment problem!

    Sat with you all today

  13. #13
    Awesome thank you Jundo for sending this out again. Just checked my Overdrive library and checked out your number 1 pick "Opening the Hand of Thought" can't wait to read it.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    s@t today.

  14. #14
    Hey Guys,

    I am actually going to close this thread because it is so many years ago, and from before we were setting up the recommended reading list). However, keep the suggestions coming in a new thread if someone wishes!


    Gassho, Jundo


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