Books

These recommended texts and many more are available for checkout to SCZC members from our library, which is open after the regular Wednesday dharma talk at 7:30 p.m.

 
 
image.png

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

by Shunryu Suzuki

"In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few." 

So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it’s all about. An instant teaching on the first page. And that’s just the beginning. 

In the forty years since its original publication, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind has become one of the great modern Zen classics, much beloved, much reread, and much recommended as the best first book to read on Zen. Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page. It’s a book to come back to time and time again as an inspiration to practice, and it is now available to a new generation of seekers in this fortieth anniversary edition, with a new afterword by Shunryu Suzuki’s biographer, David Chadwick.

 
image.png

Not Always So: Practising the true spirit of Zen

by Shunru Suzuki

Not Always So is based on Shunryu Suzuki's lectures and is framed in his own inimitable, allusive, paradoxical style, rich with unexpected and off–centre insights. Suzuki knew he was dying at the time of the lectures, which gives his thoughts an urgency and focus even sharper than in the earlier book.

In Not Always So Suzuki once again voices Zen in everyday language with the vigour, sensitivity, and buoyancy of a true friend. Here is support and nourishment. Here is a mother and father lending a hand, but letting you find your own way. Here is guidance which empowers your freedom (or way–seeking mind), rather than pinning you down to directions and techniques. Here is teaching which encourages you to touch and know your true heart and to express yourself fully, teaching which is not teaching from outside, but a voice arising in your own being.

 
image.png

Embracing Mind

by Kobun Chino Otogawa

Kobun Chino Otogawa was an instrumental figure in the transmission of Zen to America and its evolution within our culture. Sent from Eiheiji to bring the classical forms of Zen to the First Monastery in America, Kobun arrived as a young man in the midst of a social revolution and resonated in perfect time with the evolution of American Zen. With a refined ability to embody form and a deep belief in Buddha Nature - that the Buddha has no body but ours, Kobun taught Zen with intuitive jazz-like creativity. Although he came to assist Shunryu Suzuki at the San Francisco Zen Center, Kobun was enamored of the way Zen, unfettered, blossomed in new soil and he followed it wherever it grew. For Kobun, Zen was not an institution, but the elemental nature of every aspect of our lives and existed in myriad forms. Kobun founded four temples, taught Buddhism at Stanford and Naropa University, demonstrated and taught Calligraphy and Archery, spoke at events, met with sitting groups in their living rooms and hiked the wilderness with the people he encountered. When Steve Jobs founded Next Computer, Kobun was listed as it's Spiritual Director. However Zen spoke to a person, be it as a religion, a practice, an aesthetic or a guiding principle, Kobun wholeheartedly believed in Buddha Nature and followed each path with creativity and grace. The wide ranging talks in this book began as Sesshin Teishos - instructions given to students while in the midst of a week-long period of intensive sitting. Together, they offer an insight into the Zen of Kobun Chino Otogawa, containing both his perspective on the forms and his emphasis that Zen is revealed not so much in the sutras as it is in the everyday.

 
image.png

Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts

by Tenshin Reb Anderson

Being Upright takes us beyond the conventional interpretation of ethical precepts to the ultimate meaning that informs them. Reb Anderson first introduces us to the fundamental ideas of Zen Buddhist practice. Who was Shakyamuni Buddha and what was his central teaching? What does it mean to be a bodhisattva and take the bodhisattva vow? Why should we confess and acknowledge our ancient twisted karma? What is the significance of taking refuge in Buddha, dharma, and sangha? The author explores the ten basic precepts, including not killing, not stealing, not lying, not misusing sexuality, and not using intoxicants. A gifted storyteller, Anderson takes us to the heart of situations, where moral judgments are not easy and we do not have all the answers. With wisdom and compassion, he teaches us how to confront the emotional and ethical turmoil of our lives.

 
51B983QWXUL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The Truth of This Life

by Katherine Thanas, edited by Natalie GOldberg and Bill Anelli

The truth and joy of this life is that we cannot change things as they are.” The import of those words can be found beautifully expressed in the work of the woman who spoke them, Katherine Thanas (1927–2012)—in her art, in her writing, and especially in her Zen teaching. Fearlessly direct and endlessly curious, Katherine’s understanding of Zen was inseparable from her affinity for the arts. She was an MFA student studying painting with Richard Diebenkorn, the preeminent Californian abstract painter, when she met Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, in the sixties. Soon thereafter she decided to drop painting to dedicate herself to Zen, which she did for the last forty years of her life. In these essential teachings taken from her dharma talks—which make up her only book—her love of art and literature shine through in her elegant prose and her vast references, from poets William Stafford and Naomi Shihab Nye to the Zen teachings of Dogen and Robert Aitken. Ranging on subjects from the practice of zazen to the meaning of life, Katherine urges us to “develop an insatiable appetite for inner awareness, to become proficient with this mind.” This slim volume is an important contribution by a well-loved and revered teacher.

 
 
 
image.png

Opening the Hand of Thought

by Kosho Uchiyama, translated and edited by tom wright, Jishu warner and Shohaku okumura

Kobun Chino Otogawa was an instrumental figure in the transmission of Zen to America and its evolution within our culture. Sent from Eiheiji to bring the classical forms of Zen to the First Monastery in America, Kobun arrived as a young man in the midst of a social revolution and resonated in perfect time with the evolution of American Zen. With a refined ability to embody form and a deep belief in Buddha Nature - that the Buddha has no body but ours, Kobun taught Zen with intuitive jazz-like creativity. Although he came to assist Shunryu Suzuki at the San Francisco Zen Center, Kobun was enamored of the way Zen, unfettered, blossomed in new soil and he followed it wherever it grew. For Kobun, Zen was not an institution, but the elemental nature of every aspect of our lives and existed in myriad forms. Kobun founded four temples, taught Buddhism at Stanford and Naropa University, demonstrated and taught Calligraphy and Archery, spoke at events, met with sitting groups in their living rooms and hiked the wilderness with the people he encountered. When Steve Jobs founded Next Computer, Kobun was listed as it's Spiritual Director. However Zen spoke to a person, be it as a religion, a practice, an aesthetic or a guiding principle, Kobun wholeheartedly believed in Buddha Nature and followed each path with creativity and grace. The wide ranging talks in this book began as Sesshin Teishos - instructions given to students while in the midst of a week-long period of intensive sitting. Together, they offer an insight into the Zen of Kobun Chino Otogawa, containing both his perspective on the forms and his emphasis that Zen is revealed not so much in the sutras as it is in the everyday.

 
 
image.png

Everyday Zen

by Charlotte Joko Beck

Charlotte Joko Beck offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living—love, relationships, work, fear, ambition, and suffering. Everyday Zen shows us how to live each moment to the fullest. This Plus edition includes an interview with the author.

 
 
image.png

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

by Thich Nhat Hanh

With poetry and clarity, Thich Nhat Hanh imparts comforting wisdom about the nature of suffering and its role in creating compassion, love, and joy – all qualities of enlightenment. 

In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now revised with added material and new insights, Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. 

Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is a radiant beacon on Buddhist thought for the initiated and uninitiated alike.