Suggested Reading List

Basic Books About Zen

Robert Aitken, Encouraging Words: Zen Buddhist Teachings for Western Students, Pantheon.

Robert Aitken, Taking the Path of Zen, North Point.

Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen: Love and Work, Harper & Row.

Roko Sherry Chayat, Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart, Shambhala.

James Ishamel Ford, This Very Moment: A Brief Introduction to Buddhism and Zen for Unitarian Universalists, Skinner House.

James Ford, If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break, Wisdom.

Bernie Glassman, Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Making Peace, Bell Tower.

Roshi Philip Kapleau, The Three Pillars of Zen, Anchor.

Dainin Katagiri, Returning to Silence: Zen Practice in Everyday Life, Shambhala.

Taizan Maezumi and Bernie Glassman, On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, and Mind, Wisdom.

Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, Wisdom.

David Rynick, This Truth Never Fails, Wisdom.

Seung Sahn, Only Don’t Know: The Teaching Letters of Zen Master Seung Sahn, Shambhala.

Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Weatherhill.

John Tarrant, The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life, Harper Collins.

Kosho Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought, Wisdom.

Kosho Uchiyama and Ehei Dogen, From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment, Weatherhill.


Histories of Zen

Heinrich Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism: A History (2 volumes), MacMillan.

Andy Ferguson, Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, Wisdom.

Peter Hershock, Chan Buddhism, University of Hawaii.

Rick Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America, Shambhala.

John R. McRae, Seeing Through Zen, University of California.

Barbara O’Brien, The Circle of the Way, Shambhala.


Koan Collections (Listed by Translators and Editors) and Commentaries

Robert Aitken, The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-men Kuan (Mumonkan), North Point.

Ross Bolleter, Dongshan’s Five Ranks, Wisdom.

Florence Caplow and Susan Moon, The Hidden Lamp, Wisdom.

Thomas and J.C. Cleary, The Blue Cliff Record, Shambhala.

Thomas Cleary, Book of Serenity, Lindisfarne.

Francis Dojun Cook, The Record of Transmitting the Light, Center.

James Ford, Introduction to Zen Koans: Learning the Language of Dragons, Wisdom.

James Ford and Melissa Blacker, The Book of Mu, Wisdom.

Thomas Kirchner, Entangling Vines, Wisdom.

Isshu Miura and Ruth Fuller Sasaki, Zen Koan, Harcourt, Brace.

Nyogen Senzaki, The Iron Flute: 100 Zen Koans, Tuttle.

John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros, Shambhala.

Gerry Shishin Wick, The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans, Wisdom.


Sutras and Classical Zen Teachings

Edward Conze, Buddhist Wisdom: The Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra, Vintage.

Francis Dojun Cook, How to Raise An Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo, Wisdom.

Peter Haskel, Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei, Grove.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi, Tuttle.

Donald S. Lopez, Jr The Lotus Sutra: A Biography, Princeton.

Red Pine, The Heart Sutra, Counterpoint.

Red Pine, The Diamond Sutra, Counterpoint.

Red Pine, The Platform Sutra: The Zen Teaching of Huineng, Counterpoint.

Red Pine, The Lankavatara Sutra, Counterpoint.

Red Pine, The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, North Point.

Mu Soeng, The Diamond Sutra: Transforming the Way We Perceive the World, Wisdom.

Mu Soeng, Trust in Mind, Wisdom.

Kazuaki Tanahashi, Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen, North Point.

Kazuaki Tanahashi, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo, Shambhala.

Robert Thurman, The Holy Teaching of Vimilakirti, Penn State.

Burton Watson, The Lotus Sutra, Columbia.



Robert Aitken, Mind of Clover, North Point.

Reb Anderson, Being Upright, Shambhala.

Bernie Glassman, Infinite Circle: Teachings in Zen, Shambhala.

John Daido Loori, The Heart of Being, Tuttle.

Diane Rizzetto, Waking Up to What You Do, Shambhala.


Other Buddhist Teachings

Stephen Batchelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening, Riverhead.

Sylvia Boorstein, It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness, Harper.

David Brazier, The Feeling Buddha, Palgrave.

Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart, Shambhala.

Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion, Shambhala.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English: Updated and Expanded, Wisdom.

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Harmony.

Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life, Bantam.

Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self, Parallax.

Larry Rosenberg, Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation, Shambhala.

Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindess: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Shambhala.


Contemporary Critiques of Buddhism and Zen

Stephen Batchelor, After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age, Yale.

Eido Frances Carney, Zen Teachings in Challenging Times, CreateSpace.

Alan Cole, Fathering Your Father: The Zen of Fabrication in Tang Buddhism, University of California.

Bernard Faure, Chan Insights and Oversights: An Epistemological Critique of the Chan Tradition, Princeton.

David Loy, Money, Sex, War, Karma, Wisdom.

Christopher S. Queen, Engaged Buddhism in the West, Wisdom.

Brian Victoria, Zen at War, Weatherhill.


Buddhism, Gender, and Sexuality

Bernard Faure, The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality, Princeton.

Rita Gross, A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism, SUNY.

Susan Murphy, Red Thread Zen: Humanly Entangled in Emptiness, Counterpoint.

Grace Schierson, Zen Women, Wisdom.


Buddhism and Anti-Racism

Ruth King, Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, Sounds True.

Angel Kyodo Williams, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, Penguin.

Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, Jasmine Syedullah, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, Penguin Random House.

Larry Yang, Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community, Wisdom.