Here are some Zen books to start. We will update this list at least a coupl of times a year. Few Zen books are a light read, but we recommend that books like the Gateless Barrier are studied over and over again.
The Gateless Barrier
ZEN COMMENTS ON THE MUMMONKAN
The Gateless Barrier, or Mumonkan in Japanese is standard for Koan study. This edition is presented by the great 20th century Rinzai Zen Master derived from a lecture series he gave over his life time in Japan and visiting the United States. In plain English it goes far deeper then many contempary editions. The current standard on the text in Rinzai centres and monasteries in Jpan and internationally. This edition forms the basis of Rinzai Koan training.
Born in 1894 and ordained a Zen monk in 1908, Zenkei Shibayama was Zen Master of the important Nanzenji Zen Monastery in Kyoto for twenty-five years. He was a professor at Hanazono and Otani universities, the author of a number of works in Japanese, and the chief abbot of the Nanzenji Organization of some five hundred Rinzai Zen temples in Japan. Shibayama Roshi died in 1974.
ZEN NO SHO
The Calligraphy of Kiedo Fukushima Roshi
Fukushima Roshi was head abbot of Tofuku-ji Monastery, one of the great five mountain monasteries (gozan) of Kyoto, Japan, and one of the great centres of the Rinzai Zen tradition. Fukushima's calligraphy is not merely didactic, a gilded vessel to make Zen doctrines more palatable. They are technically masterful, reflecting Fukushima's training in the calligraphic arts from an early age as well as his apprenticeship with Okada Roshi and his kaisho or "block" script, and Shibayama Roshi and his exquisite gyosho script. But like the beneficent force of Shibayama's calligraphy, from which he learned much,Fukushima's calligraphy is a quiet storm, a serene volcano, a compassionate and gentle eruption of the vast energy or ki of the Zen mind. The gentle forms of Fukushima's calligraphy are rife with the erupting force of mushin.This book reproduces twenty pieces of Fukushima's calligraphy, as well as a rare piece done by both Shibayama Roshi and Suzuki Sensei. Set against Fukushima's calligraphy, one can see in it all three generations of bridge builders of one of the most important lineages of dharma transmission from Japan to the United States.
A Cat's Zen Journey
An illustrated Journal of Zen Practice, as a cat called Tobo and his Monk companion go through ordinary life.
Tobochan, A Cat's Zen Journey is lush in the water colours. A book for beginners to Zen as well as the more seasoned Zen reader and practioner.
Written and Illustrated By Mujyo zenji Abbot of Jizoan Zen Centre.
Free with Membership at the Zen Centre.