Suggested Readings

Z

  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

    by Shunryu Suzuki

    The most beloved of American Zen books was created from Suzuki Roshi's talks to the Sangha at Haiku Zen, the predecessor of Kannon Do. Read this slowly, one or two chapters a week.
    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
    Suzuki Roshi presents the basics-from the details of posture and breathing in Zazen to the perception of non-duality in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page. It's a book to come back to time and time again as an inspiration to practice.
  • Zen Buddhism: A History

    by Heinrich Dumoulin

    Written by a Jesuit theologian who became a leading Zen scholar after studying Zen during the 1930s in Japan, this book has become a classic of Zen history. Dumoulin carefully considers Zen history, introduces many of Zens greatest thinkers and even examines topics such as Zen in art and culture.

  • Zen at Work

    by Les Kaye

    Kaye-roshi explains with deceptive simplicity how practice "...prepares us to respond in a confident, caring way to whatever comes up in life..." even in the fast paced, high tech workplace. Kaye-roshi is a unique Zen master managing a family and a successful 30 year career at IBM while expanding and deepening his practice to become a lineage holder in the Soto Zen tradition. Suzuki-roshi ordained him as a priest in 1971. Kaye-roshi is one of three disciples Suzuki-roshi's son Hoitsu gave transmission in order to complete, he felt, his father's works after his death. Dan Geddes provides a wonderful review in the critical journal The Satirist.

W

  • What the Buddha Taught

    by Walpola Rahula

    "An exposition of Buddhism conceived in a resolutely modern spirit.”--from the Foreword. "For years,” says the Journal of the Buddhist Society, "the newcomer to Buddhism has lacked a simple and reliable introduction to the complexities of the subject. Dr. Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught fills the need as only could be done by one having a firm grasp of the vast material to be sifted. It is a model of what a book should be that is addressed first of all to 'the educated and intelligent reader.’ Authoritative and clear, logical and sober, this study is as comprehensive as it is masterly.” A classic textbook.

  • Way of Zen, The

    by Alan Watts

    "In 1961, a young man, recently employed as an engineer at IBM in its heyday, attended a party at the home of a friend. Perusing the bookshelves of his hostess, he discovered a book that was to change his life and, therefore, those of many others over the next twenty-five years. The man was Les Kaye; the book was The Way of Zen by Alan Watts." written by Merrill-roshi from the introduction of Zen at Work.

    Zen at Work remains as witty, fresh, vibrant, and insightful today as it was fifty years ago. Half of the book relates the rich history of Zen Buddhism while the second half devotes itself to Zen principles and practices. A very nice review by Mary Kay McBrayer for the Buddhistchannel.

U

  • Unseen Rain: Quatrains of Rumi

    by Jelaluddin Rumi

    In his 2011 Sweeping Zen interview, Kaye-roshi suggested this book as a good book for someone interested in Zen practice.
    "Being is not what it seems, Nor non-being. The world's existence is not in the world."
    Excerpt from Unseen Rain

D

  • Dhammapada, The

    by Valerie Roebuck: Translator

    The Dhammapada is a third century collection of the spoken Buddha's words in verse form. Composed in the ancient Pali language during the third century, it is the most widely read and studied Buddhist scripture in existence today. An exceptional review of this book appeared in the peer reviewed Religions of South Asia written by Elizabeth Harris, a senior lecturer in religious studies at Liverpool Hope University.

C

  • Cultivating the Mind of Love

    by Thich Nhat Hanh

    Thich Nhat Hanh begins with a moving story from his past. When he was a young monk, he fell deeply in love with a young nun. How he translates his passion for a woman into a passion for the world is a breathtaking process..."Where is the self? Where is the non-self? Who is your first love? Who is your last? What is the difference from your first love to your last? How can anything die?" Originally subtitled "The Practice of Looking Deeply into the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition" (for some reason this was dropped in the newer editions) he also discusses the Mahayana traditions and concepts while presenting practical information about meditation. An excellent review by Binh Anson.

B

  • Buddha

    by Karen Armstrong

    Karen Armstrong is one of the most interesting and clear religious writers in our century. In Buddha, Armstrong presents a crisp historical portrait of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, while discussing Buddhist concepts in a very learned yet detached manner. She "deftly" compares the Buddha's teaching to many of the teachings of great Western thinkers such as Jesus, Socrates and Mohammed. An amazing read that can be difficult to put down once started. An excellent review was written by Laura Miller for Salon.com