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Thread: Most recommended Zen books

  1. #1

    Most recommended Zen books

    I found it interesting to see what students recommend ... -and-more/

    of course everybody finds a different medicine appropriate ;-)

  2. #2

    Re: Most recommended Zen books

    Extremely interesting. I'll get back to you when i've finished reading them :lol:

  3. #3

    Re: Most recommended Zen books

    There are a lot of good books on the list. And some that aren't really Zen books - I don't think Pema Chodron teaches Zen, and, while I very much like and recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn's books, they are strictly non-denominational. And Chogyam Trungpa certainly isn't; this said, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism is an excellent book, and one of the first books I read on the dharma. In fact, seeing it mentioned has prompted me to dig it out and re-read it. As controversial as Trungpa was and is, his books are quite good.

    Perhaps those who haven't voted would want to take the poll; there's a link to it on Facebook at the bottom of the page.

  4. #4

    Re: Most recommended Zen books


    That list is a real mess! There are some wonderful books but from very different approaches (same but very different, very different yet just the same), some books that are wonderful but not about Zen practice particularly at all (e.g., Sprititual Materialism), some Buddhist/Zen books which (IMHO) are often a bit misunderstood and/or over-rated (Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, Three Pillars ... I have spoken about why elsewhere ... )

    On Zen Mind, Beginners Mind ... (diamonds and brass, mostly because of the issue of Suzuki Roshi's struggles with English and peculiarities of the Japanese language, some profundities and mysteries are often just the mysteries of his English ... same for some English writings by Katagiri, Uchiyama and certainly Nishijima Roshis)

    On Three Pillars ...
    (See the "Once Born, Twice Born" posts below)

    ... Some may greatly benefit by some additional reading on the background (such as The Zen Teachings of Huang-po by John Blofeld, which I often recommend for more settled practitioners in combination with reflections on the history, misunderstandings, context and philosophical perspectives of this text: "Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism" by Dale S. Wright) ...

    ... Some were never Zen books at all but folks think they are, or have many questions about them (such as Zen and the Art of Archery, read more on that here) ...

    For the particular flavor of Shikantaza Soto Zen we encourage here at Treeleaf, there is a recommended book list ...

    But let me post again (twice in one day!) the following reading for all folks, ESPECIALLY THOSE NEW TO BUDDHISM OR ZEN PRACTICE. Although the categorizations are very rough and broad brush, and sometimes too black/white, they are still very helpful for the "informed Zen Buddhist reader" to make their way through the variety of flavors of Zen and Buddhist books and teachings ...

    It may also be a good time to point folks to the "One Born, Twice Born Zen" posts.

    Although a very imperfect description, painting with a too broad brush, I still find it useful in seeing the various flavors that "Zen books" come in ...

    Part 1

    Part 2

    This next may also be helpful in seeing the various flavors of Buddhism, although also painting with a much too broad brush ...
    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-30-2012 at 03:10 AM.

  5. #5

    Re: Most recommended Zen books

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    For the particular flavor of Shikantaza Soto Zen we encourage here at Treeleaf, there is a recommended book list ...

    So glad to see Steve Hagen's 'Buddhism Is Not What You Think' on the list. I find this to be a very under-appreciated book, but it is a favorite of mine.


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