Zen Shorts
February 9, 2012 7:44 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me find Zen short stories that would be easy for teens to digest? My children have really enjoyed tales like "Stone Soup", "Three Questions and Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth but these have been read over and over and over to them since they were very young. They are getting older and craving more.

One of my children is still in primary school so any links/recommendations on short Zen or other types of stories that have been passed down through generations and ponder thought would be great.
posted by YukonQuirm to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

This seems pretty cool ("Time and the Riddle: Thirty-One Zen Stories" by Howard Fast). It's available for both Kindle and Nook - maybe try a sample and see if it would work for your kids?
posted by purlgurly at 9:29 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The book The Moon Bamboo has short stories by Thich Nhat Hanh.
posted by slidell at 10:13 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I found 'Adventures with the Buddha' to be a pretty fun read. Alexandra David Neel became like a personal hero for a few months after I read it.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:44 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps is an excellent collection of very short zen stories. It would be very enjoyable for an interested teen.
posted by dacoit at 11:07 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Tao of Pooh
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 5:36 AM on February 10, 2012

Not specifically zen but along the same lines, anything by Leo Lionni.
I've read chapter 3 from John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath to my children since they were very little. They love the imagery of the turtle crossing the road. I love that in that one chapter, it explains all of creation and how nature works. The continuation of life and all of that. My kids call it The Turtle Story.
posted by myselfasme at 5:54 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to live near a Zen monastery, and I made friends with one of the monks there. I asked him which books I ought to read, and he said that reading books about Zen would do more harm than good. Instead, he said, I ought to learn how to sit, and how to breath. I should also pay attention while doing everyday things like washing the dishes and vacuuming. As a parent always trying to cut down clutter and maintain a tidy home, suggesting this approach to your daughter might kill two birds with one stone.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Out of print but not that hard to find: Tsai Chih Chung's Zen Speaks and Wisdom of the Zen Masters are translated-from-Chinese graphic novels of Zen stories. He also has ones of Confucian and Taoist stories.

If you want stories, but not necessarily a book, Zen Stories to Tell your Neighbours has lots. The maintainer of the site also solicits and shares a lot of random readers' opinions of the stories, which I've found kind of takes away from them a bit, but you can edit/reorganize for your students.

I practice Zen, and what KokuRyu says is true for people who want to practice Zen, but I don't think it's true for kids or teens (or adults) with a passing interest.
posted by mendel at 6:11 PM on February 12, 2012

(Er, not sure why I wrote "students" there. You know what I meant.)
posted by mendel at 6:11 PM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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