Author Topic: Zen book for beginners?  (Read 810 times)

Offline bonesworth

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Zen book for beginners?
« on: March 15, 2016, 09:24:07 am »
Hello all!

I recently started to go to a Zen center here in my city, mainly meditation sessions. This sparked my interested in Zen and I would like to know what books do you recommend for a beginner. I have already read "Buddhism for Dummies" and would like to deep my knowledge on zen practices...

I have been already recommended 3 books

ZEN MIND, BEGINNER MIND;
HARDCORE ZEN;
THE WAY OF ZEN.
 
Which one do you guys recommend? Or do you recommend another one?

Thanks!

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Zen book for beginners?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2016, 04:31:57 pm »
Hi Bonesworth,

Here are some of my favorites:

         -- The Awakening of Faith, attributed to Asvaghosa.
         -- The Wholehearted Way, A translation of Dogen's "Bendowa"
         --  Opening the Hand of Thought, by Kosho Uchiyama

Somewhat more advanced:

         -- The Zen Teachings of Huang Po, on the Transmission of Mind, translated by John Blofeld
         --  Zen Letters, Teachings of Yuanwu, translated by J.C. and Thomas Cleary
         -- Swampland Flowers, Letters and Lectures of Ta Hui, translated by J.C.Cleary
         -- Zen Teachings of Instantaneous Awakening, Master Hui Hai, translated by John Blofeld
         -- The diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui Neng
         -- The Lankavatara Sutra, an Epitomized Version by D.T. Suzuki and Dwight Goddard
         -- The Shobogenzo, by Dogen Zenji

I think most of these are still in print and maybe some like, Nishyama and John Stevens version of the Shobogenzo, may even be on the web. I've read these many times and each time is new. Have fun!
           
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Zen book for beginners?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2016, 10:52:01 pm »
Bonesworth,

Forget the "Awakening of Faith." The only good translation by Yoshito Hakeda is pricey and strictly speaking it is not really a zen text, or even a beginning one.

I haven't read "Hardcore Zen," but Brad Warner is a good writer. "Beginners Mind" is terrific, but not as much for a beginner as it would seem. I read "The Way of Zen" by Alan Watts over fifty years ago, when I was a teenager, and then heard him speak shortly afterwards, when he was still a proper British gentleman. I liked it then, but haven't looked at it since. He was more into intellectually brilliant thought than actual zazen practice.

"Opening the Hand of Thought," is probably the one I'd recommend first for a beginner interested in zen. All the others below, although a little deeper, are very highly recommended.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

 


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