Books and book reviews


Robert Aitken

The Dragon Who Never Sleeps: Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice
In this collection of gathas, vows for daily living in verse form, Robert Aitken offers ways to face life's difficulties with insight and humor.

Encouraging Words: Zen Buddhist Teachings for Western Students
A collection of talks and brief essays that Robert Aitken has offered his students during meditation retreats over the last two decades. This book offers itself as a manual of instruction and inspiration - encouragement along the dual paths of life and spiritual growth.

The Mind of Clover
A Western Zen teacher looks at contemporary issues including the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, and the pollution of the environment.

Taking the Path of Zen
The practice, life style, rationale, and ideology of Zen, with emphasis on the actual Zazen sitting meditation as the foundation of the whole path.

The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective

James Austin Zen and the Brain | Google books excerpts

Bankei (1622-1693) has long been an underground hero in the world of Zen. At a time when Zen was becoming overly formalized in Japan, he emphasized the importance of naturalness.

Unborn: The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei, by Bankei and Norman Waddell

Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei, translation by Peter Haskel
The unique teachings of the eccentric master Bankei, who stressed natural spontaneity and Zen's relevance to everyday life. This volume presents his teachings - as refreshing and iconoclastic today as they were 300 years ago - in a fluent translation by Haskel, accompanied by a vivid account of Bankei`s life and times.

Bassui Mud and Water: The Teachings of Zen Master Bassui, translation by Arthur Braverman
The Dharma talks of this fourteenth century master are as accessible as those of Bankei, with the eloquence of Dogen. These teachings cut to the heart of the great matter of Zen, pointing directly to the importance of seeing our own original nature and recognizing it as Buddhahood itself.
Exra Bayda Zen Heart: Simple Advice for Living with Mindfulness and Compassion
Charlotte Beck Everyday Zen: Love and Work
Carl Bielefeldt Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation | Review

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma: A Bilingual Edition, commentary by Red Pine
Although Bodhidharma's legacy has been reverently preserved in all schools of Zen, his direct teaching are little known. Red Pine offers these translations of four pithy sermons based on early manuscripts newly discovered in China. Outlines of Practice describes the four all-inclusive habits that lead to enlightenment; the Bloodstream Sermon exhorts students to seek the Buddha by seeing their own nature; the Wake Up Sermon holds up detachment as the essence of the Way; and the Breakthrough Sermon defends his premise that the most essential method for reaching enlightenment is beholding the mind. The "bare-bones Zen" of these short, sharp texts has all the force and immediacy of the great master himself. Includes the Chinese text on facing pages with the translation.

The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen, commentary by Jeffrey L. Broughton
Part of the collection of ancient texts discovered in the Tun-huang caves at the beginning of the century was this seven-piece work, the only one believed to contain genuine Bodhidharma material. Broughton gives a translation and a detailed study, with reference to an extant Tibetan translation. He places the anthology within the context of the Tun-huang Zen manuscripts as a whole and proposes a new approach to the study of the Zen tradition, one that concentrates on literary history - a geneology of texts, rather than the conventional geneology of masters.

In this translation we find the vivid dialogues and sayings of an otherwise unknown master named Yuan. A long forgotten member of the Bodhidharma circle, he emerges here as an iconoclast, consistently criticizing reliance on the Dharma, on teachers, on meditative practice, and on scripture. For master Yuan, faith in Buddhist teachings and teachers, practice and scriptural learning lead to nothing but self-deception and confusion. Instead, he says that if one has spirit and seeks nothing, one will attain the quietude of liberation.

John Daishin Buksbazen Zen Meditation in Plain English| Google books excerpts
Robert Buswell Tracing Back the Radiance: Chinul's Korean Way of Zen
Chinul (1158-1210) was the founder of the Korean tradition of Zen, or Son. Chinul provides one of the most lucid and accessible accounts of Zen practice and meditation to be found anywhere in East Asian literature. In this abridgement of his "Korean Approach to Zen: The Collected Works of Chinul", the author gives an introduction to Chinul's life and thought along with translations of three of his key works.

In the Korean tradition of Zen, the optimal regimen of training starts with an initial sudden awakening to the mind's inherent radiance and enlightenment, followed by gradual cultivation of that awakening, so that one can learn to act as well as be enlightnened. The principal means Chinul proposes for catalyzing this initial awakening is through tracing the radiance emanating from the luminous core of the mind back to its source, restoring the mind to its natural enlightened state.

Zen Monsatic Experience
A detailed, firsthand account of the institutional structure, daily life, and modes of religious practice at a contemporary Korean Zen monastery. Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this intriguing account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice.

Thomas Cleary

The Original Face: An Anthology of Rinzai Zen; T. Cleary

Rational Zen: The Mind of Dogen Zenji
Consists of enlightening selections from Dogen's two masterworks, "Treasury of Eyes of True Teaching" (the famed Shobogenzo, Japan's most sophisticated philosophical work) and "Universal Book of Eternal Peace," which until now has been unavailable in English. Cleary also provides explanations of the inner meanings of Dogen's writings and sayings—the first commentaries of their kind of English. A compendium of authentic source materials further enhances the reader's insight into Dogen's methods, linking them to the great classical traditions of Buddhism that ultimately flowered in Zen.

Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei | Review
The Blue Cliff Record is a classic text of Zen Buddhism and this new work from Thomas Cleary fills the gap in the East-West transmission of Zen lore with commentaries by two of the greatest Zen masters of early modern Japan, Hakuin Ekaku of the Rinzai sect and Tenkei Denson of the Soto sect.Although the Blue Cliff Record has been available in translation for many years these commentaries have been unavailable to the public until now and are sure to shed new light on the meaning of this pivotal Zen text.

Sutra of Hui-Neng, Grand Master of Zen
This collection of the talks of Hui-Neng (638-713), also known as the Platform Sutra and the Altar Sutra, is the only Zen record of its kind to be generally honoured with the designation "sutra". It also includes the first English translation of Hui-Neng's verse-by-verse commentary on the Diamond Sutra. Hui-Neng became renowned as the Sixth Patriarch of Ch`an and is regarded as the founder of the "Sudden Enlightenment" school. Hui-Neng is the supreme exemplar of the fact that neither education nor social background has any bearing on the experience of enlightenment. His teachings are characterized by their striking immediacy and by their concern with direct insight into the essential nature of awareness.

Timeless Spring: A Soto Zen Anthology
Volume Four of Classics of Buddhism and Zen features several essential works on the practice of Zen koans, including a complete translation of Gateless Barrier, a classic collection of Zen parables, paradoxes, and teaching stories. Also included is a collection of poetry from the Chinese Buddhist poet Wen-Siang.

Zen Antics: 100 Stories of Enlightenment
Unlike many of the baffling dialogues between Zen masters preserved in koan literature, the stories retold here are pointedly simple but with a richness and subtlety that make them worth reading again and again.

Unlocking the Zen Koan
A new translation of a classic collection of 48 Chinese Zen koans with commentaries by the 13th century Zen Master Wumen Huikai. The "Wumenguan" is seen as the most important and accessible of Zen commentaries, both intensely concentrated and economical. Cleary translates directly from the Chinese and interprets Zen master Wumen's text and commentaries in verse and prose on the inner meaning of the koans. Cleary then gives us other great Chinese masters' comments in prose or verse on the same koan. Cleary's probing, analytic commentaries wrestle with meaning and shading, explaining principles and practices.

Zen Antics
The stories and anecdotes of Zen masters have always been used as teaching devices in Zen, but unlike the often baffling dialogues of koan literature, the stories translated here are simple and penetrating, with a richness and subtlety that makes them worth reading over and over again. This collection includes over a hundred such short stories drawn from a wide variety of sources and involving some of the best-known Zen masters, such as Hakuin, Bankei, and Shosan. Also presented are stories and anecdotes involving famous Zen artists and poets, such as Sengai and Basho.

Zen Essence
Drawn from the records of eighteen great Chinese Zen masters, this collection of short and penetrating passages represents the most open and direct forms of instruction in the Zen canon. What emerges is a picture of Zen, not as a religion or philosophy, but as a practical science of freedom. In contrast to the popular image of Zen as being an authoritian, monastic tradition deeply rooted in Asian culture, these teachings portray Zen as being remarkably flexible, adaptable to contemporary and individual needs, and transcending cultural boundaries. Zen relates immediately to the way in which the world is experienced and lived.Included here are teachings from the Chinese masters Mazu, Linji, Dazhu, Yangshan, Fayan, Fenyang, Xuedou, Huanglong, Yangqi, Wuzu, Yuanwu, Foyan, Dahui, Hongzhi, Ying-an, Mi-an, Xiatang, and Yuansou. Cleary also provides details of the historical and cultural background of Chinese Zen.

Edward Conze Buddhism: Its Essence And Development, with Arthur Waley
A comprehensive and accessible introduction to Buddhism and its evolution by the celebrated scholar and translator. Demonstrating throughout his heartfelt response to the fundamental wisdom of the Buddha, Edward Conze presents a readable introduction to the doctrines, methods, and literature that have developed within the many schools of Buddhism as a result of their different approaches to the goal.
Francis Cook

How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo
Translations of ten practice-orientated chapters from Dogen's masterwork, Shobogenzo, in which he discusses what is involved in the wholehearted, moment-to-moment practice of Zen. Cook includes several of his own essays in this book which brilliantly illuminates the mind of this peerless master.

The Record of Transmitting the Light: Zen Master Keizan's Denkoroku
A spiritual genealogy tracing the inheritance of the Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment by successive masters of the Dharma. Written in the fourteenth century by master Keizan Zenji, a seminal figure in the Zen Buddhist tradition of Japan, comparable only to the great master Dogen, its significance as a historical and religious document is unquestionable. The text is thoroughly contemporary in its examination of the human condition and of our potential and serves as a testament to our capacity to awaken to a life of freedom, wisdom, and compassion.

Eihei Dogen

Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku (Taigen Dan Leighton & Shohaku Okumura, translators)

Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan (Hakuun Yasutani, commentary)

Enlightenment Unfolds (Kazuaki Tanahashi, translator)

The Heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo (Norman Waddell, translator),

How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment (Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, commentary)

Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen (Kazuaki Tanahashi, ed)

Shobogenzo.:Zen Essays by Dogen (Thomas Cleary, translator)

The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Three Hundred Koans (John Daido Loori and Kazuaki Tanahashi, eds)

The Wholehearted Way (Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, Shohaku Okumura & Taigen Daniel Leighton, translators)

Heinrich Dumoulin Zen Buddhism: A History | Review
Andy Ferguson Zen's Chinese Heritage -- The Masters & Their Teachings
Adam Genkaku Fisher Answer Your Love Letters | Review | Review
Nelson Foster The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader
Bernie Glassman Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life That Matters (with Rick Fields) | Review

Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, translation by Norman Waddell

Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin, translation by Norman Waddell

Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra, translation by Norman Waddell

The Zen Master Hakuin, translation by Philip B. Yampolsky

Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Keys | Review

Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go: Reflections on the Teachings of Zen Master Lin Chi

Sekkei Harada The Essence of Zen: Dharma Talks Given in Europe and America
Peter Haskel Letting Go: The Story of Zen Master Tosui | Review
Stephen Heine (ed)

The Koan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism| Review

Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters | Review

The Zen Poetry of Dogen | Review

Zen Ritual: Studies of Zen Buddhist Theory in Practice | Review

Zen Skin, Zen Marrow: Will the Real Zen Buddhism Please Stand Up?

Did Dogen Go to China? | Review

Huang-Po The Zen Teaching of Huang-Po: On the Transmission of Mind, translation by John Eaton Calthorpe Blofeld

The Sutra of Hui-Neng: Grand Master of Zen, translation by Thomas Cleary

The Platform Sutra: The Zen Teaching of Hui-nen, translation by Red Pine

The Zen Doctrine of No Mind: The Significance of the Sutra of Hui-Neng, D.T. Suzuki & Christmas Humphreys

Philip Kapleau Roshi The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment
Dainin Katagiri

Each Moment is the Universe

Returning to Silence

You Have to Say Something

Hee-Jin Kim

Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist

Dogen on Meditation And Thinking: A Reflection on His View of Zen

Kenneth Kraft

Eloquent Zen: Daito and Early Japanese Zen

Zen: Tradition and Transition: A Sourcebook by Contemporary Zen Masters and Scholars

Zen Teaching, Zen Practice: Philip Kapleau and The Three Pillars of Zen | Review

Jakusho Kwong No Beginning, No End
Trevor P. Leggett First Zen Reader
Taigen Dan Leighton

Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi

Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra


The Linji Lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy: The Development of Chan's Records of Sayings Literature, Albert Welter

Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go: Reflections on the Teachings of Zen Master Lin Chi, Thich Nhat Hanh

The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi, Translation by Burton Watson

John Daido Loori (ed)

The Art of Just Sitting | Review

The Eight Gates of Zen: A Program of Zen Training

Sitting with Koans: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Koan Study | Google books excerpts

Kuan Yu Lu Ch'an and Zen Teaching (Ch'an & Zen Teaching)
Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi

Appreciate Your Life: The Essence of Zen Practice

The Hazy Moon of Enlightenment

On Zen Practice | Google books excerpts

Teaching of the Great Mountain: Zen Talks

Peter Matthiessen Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969-1982
John McRae Seeing through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism | Review | Review | Review | Google books excerpts
Dennis Genpo Merzel

The Path of the Human Being: Zen Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way

Gudo Nishijima Master Dogen's Shinji Shobogenzo: 301 Koan Stories | Review
Shohaku Okumura

Nothing Is Hidden : Essays on Zen Master Dogen's Instructions for the Cook


Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan, translation by John Stevens

One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan, translation by John Stevens

Great Fool: Zen Master Ryokan: Poems, Letters, and Other Writings, translation by Ryuichi Abe

Seung Sahn

The Compass of Zen

Wanting Enlightenment Is a Big Mistake: Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn

Dropping Ashes on the Buddha: The Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn

Ruth Fuller Sasaki A Man of Zen: The Recorded Sayings of the Layman P'Ang, with Yoshitaka Iriya
Nyogen Senzaki

Eloquent Silence: Nyogen Senzaki’s Gateless Gate and Other Previously Unpublished Teachings and Letters

Zen Flesh Zen BOnes: A Collection of Zen and Pre-zen Writings (with Paul Reps)

Master Sheng Yen

Attaining the Way: A Guide to the Practice of Chan Buddhism

Faith in Mind: A Commentary on Seng Ts'an's Classic

The Infinite Mirror: Commentaries on Two Chan Classics

Subtle Wisdom: Understanding Suffering, Cultivating Compassion Through Ch'an Buddhism

Mu Soeng

Trust in Mind: The Rebellion of Chinese Zen
Exploration of and commentary on Sengcan's Xinxinming (The Faith/mind poem)

John Stevens

Zen Bow, Zen Arrow: The Life and Teachings of Awa Kenzo, the Archery Master from Zen in the Art of Archery | Review

D.T. Suzuki

Manual of Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism

The Awakening of Zen

Shunryu Suzuki

Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen | Review

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki

Essays in Zen Buddhism | Google books excerpts

An Introduction to Zen Buddhism | Google books excerpts

Manual of Zen Buddhism | Google books excerpts

Ta Hui Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui, translation by J.C. Cleary
Kazuaki Tanahashi Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa
Arthur Waley

Zen Buddhism and Its Relation to Art (out-of-print) | ebook

Burton Watson Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi | Review
Alan Watts The Way of Zen
Micheal Wenger Wind Bell: Teachings from the San Francisco Zen Center - 1968-2001
Gerry Shishin Wick The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans
Duncan Ryoken Williams The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Soto Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan
John Wu The Golden Age of Zen | Review
Koun Yamada Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans
Hakuun Yasutani Roshi

Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan