Village Zendo Suggested Reading

Zen is known for its emphasis on wisdom that is maintained and transmitted “outside the scriptures,” or independent of any external intellectual device. All the great treatises and teachers in the Zen tradition have stressed that fundamental insight can come only from within, and cannot be grasped by words and letters.

Despite this essential point, there is a rich body of inherited Zen literature that seeks to help sincere practitioners cultivate their understanding and their ability to live in accord with the teachings.

This list of suggested readings draws on this work, and is intended as an aid for Zen Buddhist study. It cannot take the place of direct practice itself, beginning with meditation, but may be useful for arousing aspiration and dissolving some sticking points in practice.

The reading list may be used in consultation with one of the Village Zendo teachers, as part of a collective study group, or for individual inquiry. It can complement existing study activities such as koan practice, precepts study, or ango study periods.

While we have organized the list on three levels, roughly equivalent to the first three years of Zen practice, it is only a loose organizing principle, and students are encouraged to follow their interests as they will, across categories and on to other texts. Enjoy!

Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara

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Level 1

First Steps

Maezumi, Taizan & Glassman, Bernie:On Zen Practice: Body, Breath and Mind. Boston: Wisdom Publications. 2002. order here…

Zen In Our Lives Daily

Beck, Charlotte Joko. Everyday Zen: Love and Work. New York: HarperCollins. 2007. order here…
Glassman, Bernie. Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Living a Life that Matters. New York: Crown Publishing. 1997. order here…
Maezumi, Taizan. Appreciate Your Life: The Essence of Zen Practice. Boston: Shambhala. 2001. order here…
Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginners Mind. Boston: Shambhala. 1977. order here…
Uchiyama, Kosho. Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2004. order here…

Old Stories

Reps, Paul & Senzaki, Nyogen. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Hong Kong: Periplus. 1998. order here…

On Meditation

Aitken, Robert. Taking the Path of Zen. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 1982. order here…
Buchsbazen, John. Zen Meditation in Plain English. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2002. order here…
Dogen, Eihei. Fukazazenji. VZ Website. (read it here)
Hakuin, Kosho. Zazen Wasan. VZ Website (read it here)
Leighton, Taigen Daniel. Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi. Clarendon, VT: Tuttle. 2000. order here…

History and Principles

Hanh, Thich Nhat. Being Peace. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press. 2005. order here…
Hanh, Thich Nhat. Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press. 1991. order here…
Walpola, Sri Rahula. What the Buddha Taught. New York: Grove/Atlantic. 1994. order here…

Poetry and Art

Stevens, John. Three Zen Masters: Ikkyu, Hakuin, Ryokan. Tokyo: Kodansha Int’l. 1993. order here…

Level 2

Zen in our Lives Today

Glassman, Bernie. Infinite Circle: Teachings in Zen. Boston: Shambhala. 2003. order here…
Maezumi, Taizan. Teaching of the Great Mountain: The Zen Teachings of Maezumi Roshi. Clarendon, VT: Tuttle. 2001. order here…
Schneider, David. Street Zen: The Life and Work of Issan Dorsey. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo. 2000. order here…
Sutras
O’Hara, Pat Enkyo. A Winter Sesshin: Ten Talks on the Heart Sutra. PDF downloaddownload here…
Conze, Edward. Buddhist Wisdom: The Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. New York: Knopf. 2001. order here…
Thurman, Robert. The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: Mahayana Scripture. University Park, PA: Penn State Press. 2001. order here… read here…
Translation and Commentary
Hanh, Thich Nhat. The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra. Berkeley, CA: Parallax. 1988. order here…
Pine, Red. The Heart Sutra. Emeryville, CA: Shoemaker and Hoard. 2005. order here…
Soeng, Mu. Trust in Mind: The Rebellion of Chinese Zen. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2004. order here…
Waddell, Norman. Zen Words from the Heart: Hakuin’s Commentary on the Heart Sutra. New York: Random House. 1996. order here…

Dogen Translations

Cook, Francis H. Sounds of Valley Streams: Enlightenment in Dogen’s Zen. Translation of Nine Essays from Shobogenzo. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1989. order here…
Tanahashi, Kazuaki. Enlightenment Unfolds. Boston: Shambhala. 2000. order here…
Tanahashi, Kazuaki. Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen. New York: North Point Press. 1995. order here…
Waddell, Norman & Abe Masao. The Heart of Dogen’s Shobogenzo. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1989. order here…

Dogen Translations and Commentary

Uchiyama, Kosho. The Wholehearted Way: A Translation of Eihei Dogen’s Bendowa with Commentary by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. Clarendon, VT: Tuttle. 1997. order here…
Yasutani, Hakuun. Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Dogen’s Genjokoan. New York: Random House. 1996. order here…

Precepts

  Read The 16 Bodhisattva Precepts of the Village Zendo
Aitken, Robert. The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics. New York: North Point Press. 1982. order here…

History

Addis, S., Lombardo, S. & Reitman, J. eds. Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea and Japan. Indianapolis: Hackett. 2008. order here…

Poetry

Aitken, Robert. A Zen Wave: Basho’s Haiku and Zen. Emeryville, CA: Shoemaker & Hoard. 2003. order here…

Level 3

Zen in our Lives Today

Maezumi, Taizan & Glassman, Bernie. The Hazy Moon of Enlightenment. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2007. order here…

History

Ferguson, Andy. Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2000. order here…
Tisdale, Sally. Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom. New York: HarperCollins. 2007. order here…

Sutras

Cleary, Thomas F. The Flower Ornament Scripture: A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Boston: Shambhala. 1993. order here…
Hurvitz, Leon. Scripture of the Lotus Blossom of the Fine Dharma: The Lotus Sutra. New York: Columbia University Press. 1976. or Watson, Burton. Lotus Sutra. New York: Columbia University Press. 1994. order here…

Sutras with Commentaries

Pine, Red. The Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom, Text and Commentaries Translated from Sanskrit and Chinese. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint. 2002. order here…
Pine, Red. The Platform Sutra: The Zen Teaching of Hui-neng. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint. 2008. order here…

Koan Study

Cleary, J.C. & Cleary, T.F. The Blue Cliff Record. Boston: Shambhala. 2005. order here…
Cleary, T.F. The Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues. Boston: Shambhala. 2005. order here…
Cook, Francis. The Record of Transmitting the Light: Zen Master Keizan’s Denkoroku. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2003. order here…
Shibayama, Zenkei. The Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan. Boston: Shambhala. 2000. order here…

Poetry

Grant, Beata. Daughters of Emptiness: Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. 2005. order here…
Stevens, John. Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan. Boston: Shambhala. 2004. order here…