Zen and the art of Zen
March 2, 2008 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Help me continue my Zen education.

I recently finished Hardcore Zen and it really struck a nerve in ways that other books on the topic have not. I'm looking for suggestions on continued reading. I noticed the "If you liked Hardcore Zen..." section in the back of the book, but I wasn't sure if any of those were worth anything or just a publisher's list.
posted by Roman Graves to Religion & Philosophy (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I would read the Essence of Zen. I'm friends with the translator, Daigaku Rumme, who lived in Hosshinji, a small Soto Zen monastery in Obama for thirty years. I had the chance to stay at the monastery a while ago, and I spoke with the author of the book, Sekkei Harada, who is the abbot and patriarch of the temple. I hope you won't mind the self-link, but I also interviewed Rumme for the the Kyoto Journal about his experiences as a Zen monk. Some of his experiences might help you.

I also can read Japanese, and there are any number of books in Japanese about Zen. When I asked about what books I should read, I was discouraged from doing so, because it would be confusing.

Rather, learning how to sit at seated meditation was what I should master first. Of course, you can't practice Zen on your own - you need a master (a true master) who can help you and guide the way.

But the Essence of Zen (linked above) has a lot in it.

Probably the advice that sticks in my mind on a day-to-day basis is:

Wash out your bowl and put it away.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:52 PM on March 2, 2008

Response by poster: Quick addendum: I'm already going to a local Zen center, so this is purely about more books to read.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:00 PM on March 2, 2008

posted by panamax at 9:09 PM on March 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dharam Punx?
posted by thesiameseffect at 11:18 PM on March 2, 2008

Shit, should have previewed. Dharma Punx
posted by thesiameseffect at 11:18 PM on March 2, 2008

You should check out Zen Buddhism: A History by Heinrich Dumoulon. Although he's a no zen master, and I wouldn't trust him as an abosolute authority on complex buddhist concepts, Dumoulun did a good job tracing the development of zen from India to Japan. By the time you're done you'll have a good idea of all important zen figures and their basic ideas and experiences, which can help direct your further course of study.
posted by milarepa at 1:22 AM on March 3, 2008

Best answer: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. This book has the read a chapter and just sit and go "aaahh" going for it. Just pulled it off the shelf, a bookmarker says "This fortune is afraid of the light. Take this fortune to a dark place, then read it.", and there's a cache of pictures of niece and nephew in the back that I had forgotten about.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:55 AM on March 3, 2008

Best answer: I would recommend Brad Warner's second book, Sit Down and Shut Up. I'll also second Noah Levine's Dharma Punx and his second book, Against the Stream, though Noah's books are from a Theravada/Vipassana perspective vs. Zen.

The Zen books I've gotten the most out of, besides Brad Warner's, are those by Robert Aitken. I particularly like Taking the Path of Zen, The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics, and The Dragon Who Never Sleeps: Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice.

None of these books will have the same "kicking Zen ass and taking names" feel that Hardcore Zen does. That book is uniquely effective in that regard.
posted by aebaxter at 3:59 AM on March 3, 2008

Of course, you can't practice Zen on your own - you need a master (a true master) who can help you and guide the way.

Of course you can.
posted by headnsouth at 4:11 AM on March 3, 2008

Stanford have an ongoing translation of the Shobogenzo online.
posted by Abiezer at 4:29 AM on March 3, 2008

Have you read any Alan Watts?
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 6:16 AM on March 3, 2008

Response by poster: I haven't, Sero. Any particular recommendations?
posted by Roman Graves at 2:53 PM on March 3, 2008

Best answer: "The Way of Zen" (by Alan Watts) is a very nice book. I'd recommend that one :)
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 6:38 AM on March 5, 2008

« Older Just because the animal was vegetarian too doesn't...   |   Is it safe to hang my guitars by the neck? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.