The Best Books On Zen

The Books I Picked & Why

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen

By Seigaku Amato

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen

Why this book?

A delightful introduction to traditional Zen practice in the West. Seigaku Amato introduces us to the intricacies of monastic practice adapted into Western communities with humor, insight, and pictures?


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The Circle of the Way: A Concise History of Zen from the Buddha to the Modern World

By Barbara O'Brien

The Circle of the Way: A Concise History of Zen from the Buddha to the Modern World

Why this book?

Journalist and long-time Zen student Barbara O'Brien offers the only readable, concise, and yet comprehensive survey of Zen's history, the development of its teachings from the beginnings of Buddhism to the dawn of the twenty-first century. She finds a genuine middle ground between an appreciation of the received tradition and the best of modern scholarship. A masterful accomplishment. 


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The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics

By Robert Aitken

The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics

Why this book?

Robert Aitken was the first American born Zen teacher to be ranked an equal among the first generation of Zen missionaries from East Asia. Several of his books count as classics, but Mind of Clover stands out for its clarity while introducing Zen's ethical precepts as an essential container of Zen practice. 


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Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen

By Eihei Dogen

Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen

Why this book?

Collecting and editing translations from a who's who of Zen scholarship, Kaz Tanahashi provides what has become the classic introduction to the writings of Eihei Dogen. The founder of Japanese Soto Zen, Dogen is considered one of the signal figures in the distillation of Zen's teachings. 


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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

By Shunryu Suzuki

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Why this book?

D. T. Suzuki and Alan Watts introduced Zen to a Western audience. Shunryu Suzuki, no relationship to the scholar, was one of the first to show Westerners how to live Zen. He founded the San Francisco Zen Center as one of the first centers dedicated to offering authentic practice to Westerners. This book has become a beloved classic, arguably the first classic of American Zen.


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