Further Readings About Zen
Reading List Compiled by Janet Cooke
Batchelor, Stephen, Verses from the Center: A Buddhist Vision of the Sublime (New York: Riverhead Books, 2000). Nagarjuna, the 2nd century Indian Buddhist monk and poet, is an almost mythical figure in Buddhist history. His Mulamadhyamakakarika is a poetic treatise on the nature of existence and is arguably one of the most important discourses on Buddhist philosophy. This volume includes Batchelor's translation of Nagarjuna's text, his commentary on the text and his own insights into the nature of reality.
Bodhidharma, The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, translated and with an introduction by Red Pine, bilingual edition (New York: North Point Press, 1989). Includes "Outline of Practice," the "Bloodstream Sermon," the "Wake-up Sermon," and the "Breakthrough Sermon." These are the central teachings of Bodhidharma, the 5th century Indian Buddhist monk who is credited with bringing Zen to China.
Boucher, Sandy, Hidden Spring: A Buddhist Woman Confronts Cancer, (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2000) Sandy Boucher is a practitioner in the Theravadan tradition and a student of Ruth Denison. This is an engaging narrative of her year-long struggle with colon cancer and offers valuable insight into the role of meditation practice in confronting and coping with human suffering.
Chadwick, David, Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, (New York: Broadway Books, 1999) A comprehensive biography of the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center by one of his long-time students.
Chayat, Roko Sherry, editor, Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart (Massachusetts: Shambala Publications, 1996). A collection of Zen talks by Maurine Stuart, the guiding teacher of the Cambridge Buddhist Association from 1976 to 1990.
Dogen, Shobogenzo (4 volumes) translated by Gudo Nishijima and Chodo Cross, (Woods Hole, MA: Windbell Publications, 1994 - 1999) A scholarly and comprehensively annotated translation of Dogen's 95 chapter masterwork, Shobogenzo (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye).
Friedman, Lenore, Meetings With Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America revised and updated edition (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2000) A series of interviews with 13 teachers from various schools of Buddhism.
Hakuin, Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra, translated by Norman Waddell (Massachusetts: Shambala Publications, 1996). A section-by-section commentary on the Heart Sutra by the 17th century Rinzai Master, Hakuin.
Halifax, Joan, A Buddhist Life in America: Simplicity in the Complex (New York: Paulist Press, 1998). A brief account of the life of the guiding teacher of Upaya, a Buddhist center in Santa Fe. Joan Halifax is known for her work with the dying and is a leader in the practice of "engaged Buddhism."
Hui-neng, The Sutra of Hui-neng Grand Master of Zen with Hui-neng's Commentary on the Diamond Sutra (Boston: Shambhala, 1998) Translated by Thomas Cleary. A modern translation of the life and teaching of the 6th patriarch of Zen and founder of the "Southern School" of Zen, which emphasizes direct insight into the nature of reality.
Jenkins, Sara, editor, Buddha Facing the Wall: Interviews with American Zen Monks from the Zen Monastery Practice Center under the guidance of Cheri Huber, (Lake Junaluska, N.C.: Present Perfect Books, 1999). Material drawn from interviews with 17 residents of the Zen Monastery Practice Center, including Cheri Huber, the founder and head teacher of the center.
Katagiri, Dainin, You Have To Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight, (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1998) edited by Steve Hagen. A collection of talks by the first Abbot of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, focused on the means by which the insights borne of Zen practice can be brought to bear on daily life.
Kaza, Stephanie, The Attentive Heart: Conversations with Trees (New York: Ballantine Books, 1993) Illustrations by Davis Te Selle. A Buddhist perspective on environmental activism.
Leggett, Trevor, editor and translator, A First Zen Reader (Rutland, VT: Charles E Tuttle Co., 1960) and The Tiger's Cave and Translations of Other Zen Writings (Rutland, VT: Charles E Tuttle Co., 1960) (originally published as A Second Zen Reader). Two collections of traditional Zen texts ranging from the 1oth to the 2oth century.
Loori, John Daido, Two Arrows Meeting In Mid Air: The Zen Koan (Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., 1994) A valuable introduction to Koan study, including Loori's commentary on 21 Koans from classical and contemporary sources.
The Lotus Sutra, Translated by Burt Watson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993) A modern and highly respected translation of one the central texts of Mahayana Buddhism.
Mackenzie, Vicki, Cave In the Snow: Tenzim Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1998). The story of the first western woman to be ordained as a Tibetan nun.
Packer, Toni, The Work of This Moment (Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., 1995). (Originally published in 1990 by Shambhala Publications). A collection of talks, interviews, and writings by the founder of Springwater Center near Rochester, New York. Toni Packer was a director and resident teacher at the Rochester Zen Center until 1981. Her questioning of the forms of traditional Zen practice led to her departure from the Rochester Zen Center and the beginnings of Springwater Center.
Rengetsu, Lotus Moon: the Poetry of the Buddhist Nun Rengetsu (New York, Weatherhill, Inc., 1994) Translated by John Stevens. A small volume of traditional waka poetry arranged in the classical style of the four seasons. Rengetsu was a 19th century nun well known for her pottery and poetry. She was ordained in the Pure Land School, but also practiced Zen meditation.
Reps, Paul and Nyogen Senzaki, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings, (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 1985) (originally published in 1957). This was one of the first collections of Zen writings ever published in the U.S. It includes four texts: 101 Zen Stories transcribed by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps; Mumon (The Gateless Gate) by Ekai; Ten Bulls by KaKuan; and Centering, a translation of Ancient Sanskrit texts that may well be the earliest roots of Zen.
Suzuki, Shunryu, Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999) edited by Mel Weitsman and Michael Wenger. A collection of talks by Shunryu Suzuki, the founding teacher of the San Francisco Zen Center, on the Sandokai, a traditional Zen text by the 8th century Zen poet Sekito. The Sandokai is still chanted daily in many Zen temples, and is often part of the Buddhist memorial service, especially for Zen teachers.
Tanahashi, Kazuaki, editor, Enlightenment Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen (Boston: Shambhala, 1999) Includes translations by a variety of contemporary practitioners and scholars.
Tanahashi, Kazuaki, editor, Moon In A Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen (New York: North Point Press, 1985) As well as 20 selections from Shobogenzo, this collection includes several independent pieces and a selection of Dogen's poetry.
Tollifson, Joan, Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up From the Story of My Life (New York: Crown Publishers, 1992). A personal narrative exploring the integration of meditation practice and day-to-day life. Tollifson is a student of Toni Packer, the founder of Springwater Center.
Yasutani, Hakuun, Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan (Boston: Shambhala, 1996) Translated by Paul Jaffe. A full length commentary on one of Dogen's most famous works. Yasutani was trained in both the Rinzai and Soto traditions, and received dharma tradition in 1943 in the Soto school. In the 1950's he broke with the Soto school and established his organization (Sanbokyodan, "Fellowship of the Three Treasures") as an independent school of Zen.
Yokoi, Yuho with Daizen Victoria, Zen Master Dogen: An introduction with Selected Writings (New York: Weatherhill, 1976) A useful introduction and overview of the work of Dogen in the context of the history of Zen Buddhism and the development of the Soto Zen school.