Some suggestions for Buddhist Books which you may find helpful. The selection includes books by monks of the OBC and from other traditions, as well as Buddhist Scriptures. Books that are available from the Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey bookshop have links to their page there. These and others can also be bought from the usual retailers.
Select a category:
Recommended Introductory Books
Sitting Buddha by
An excellent introduction to zazen meditation and many other aspects of our practice by Rev. Master Daishin, the Abbot of Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. Highly recommended for anyone learning to meditate in our tradition.
Buddhism From Within by
What is it like to see the world through Buddhist eyes? What meaning does Buddhism have in their lives? By taking a plain speaking intuitive approach to the basic principles of Buddhism, this book offers a window into understanding Buddhism in a personal way. Rev. Master Daizui was a Buddhist monk for 30 years and was Head of the OBC from 1996 until his death in April 2003.
An Introduction to the Tradition of Serene Reflection Meditation by
This small booklet introduces the fundamental teachings and practice of the Sōtō Zen tradition of Buddhism. The booklet includes selections from Buddhist Scriptures as well as articles by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett and other monks of the OBC.
Serene Reflection Meditation by
This introduction to the Sōtō Zen tradition includes articles on how to bring the Buddha’s Teaching into all aspects of our lives and how we can live in harmony with ourselves and all living beings.
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." A classic introduction to Zen Buddhism by one of the best known 20th Century Buddhist teachers in America.
Suzuki, Shunryū and Trudy Dixon. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. New York: Walker/Weatherhill, 1970. Print. ISBN: 978-0-8348-0079-3
The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza by
A combination of some foundational texts on meditation and essays on practice. Includes works by the Buddha, Bodhidharma and Huineng, as well as essays by Dogen, Keizan and Hongzhi and several late 20th Century teachers. A very useful collection of important works and modern interpretations.
Loori, John Daido (Editor). The Art of Just Sitting: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza . Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2002. Print. ISBN: 0-86171-327-3.
Also, the Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives
Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives
The Journal is published quarterly by the OBC, and includes articles by male and female monastic and lay trainees from the UK, Europe, North America and beyond. It also contains recent news from temples of the order, and is a great way of keeping in touch with the life of practice within the order. It is available as a free pdf download, as a kindle book and as a print-on-demand hard copy.
Books by monks of the OBC
Zen is Eternal Life by
For many people, Rev. Master Jiyu's practical manual was the first book which they read when they started to practice within the OBC. The first section, The Stem of the Lotus, covers basic Zen teachings and the necessity of developing the heart of Compassion, Love and Wisdom. This is followed by translations of some important works by Dogen and by Keizan, two of the most important figures of Japanese Zen. Rev. Master Jiyu was the Abbess of Shasta Abbey, and the founder of the OBC.
The Wild White Goose; The Diary of a Female Zen Priest by
Rev. Master Jiyu's diaries of the years she spent training in Japan. Rev. Master Jiyu was one of the first western women to become a Zen Master, and this book describes the depth of her own spiritual training, as well as offering a rare insight into a large Japanese Zen monastery in the 1960s.
Throssel Hole bookshop, and other retailers.
Jiyu-Kennett, P.T.N.H. The Wild, White Goose. Mount Shasta: Shasta Abbey, 2002. Print. ISBN: 0-930066-23-5
Buddha Recognises Buddha by
In this advanced book for experienced practitioners, Rev Master Daishin explores the role of will, faith, hope, and cause and effect from the point of view of non-duality. How can we understand ourselves and others without dividing the world into opposites – and still find a basis for moral action? Inspired by the works of Dogen, this book takes seriously the teaching that enlightenment is an ever present reality, and that Zen meditation should be understood as an expression of enlightenment, rather than as a means to an end.
Roar of the Tigress Volume 1 by
The Oral Teachings of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. In this first volume, Rev. Master Jiyu talks about the basic aspects of Soto Zen in her characteristic down-to-earth, practical, and good-humoured way. For those who did not have the opportunity to meet her, this book gives some of the flavour of what it was like to study with Rev. Master Jiyu.
Roar of the Tigress Volume 2 by
The Oral Teachings of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. In this second volume, which is an advanced book for experienced practitioners, Rev. Master Jiyu talks about several chapters of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō. Some of the talks on which the book is based where given only to the monastic community, others to both monastic and lay practitioners, but all assume that the listeners are committed to practice and have some years of experience.
General Introductions to Buddhism
A Manual of Buddhism by
A popular and comprehensive introduction to Buddhism by a well-known Theravadan monk. Covers the life of the Buddha and many important teachings, and includes portions of several sutras.
Narada Mahathera. A Manual of Buddhism. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Buddhist Missionary Society, 1992. Print. ISBN: 967-9920-58-5
The Buddha and His Teachings by
Reprinted and republished many times since its first edition in 1964, this book covers similar ground to A Manual of Buddhism, but in much greater depth (518 pages in this edition).
pdf from the BuddhaNet website.
Narada Mahathera. The Buddha And His Teachings. Mumbai, India: Jaico Pub House, 2006. Print. ISBN: 81-7992-617-6
The Buddha's Ancient Path by
Written by a leading Sri Lankan Theravadan monk and scholar of the twentieth century, this book explores in detail the Buddha's central teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
pdf available from www.venerabilisopus.org.
Piyadassi Thera. The Buddha's Ancient Path. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1996. Print. ISBN: 955-24-0024-4 (first published 1964)
What the Buddha Taught by
A well-respected introduction to the Buddha's teaching by a Sri Lankan Theravadan monk, first published in 1959. It gives a very detailed description of the fundamental principles of the Buddha's teaching. Also includes selected texts from the Pali Canon.
web version of pdf from the www.dhammaweb.net website available from google (the pdf seems to be corrupted).
Walpola Rāhula. What The Buddha Taught. Oxford: Oneworld, 1997. Print. ISBN: 1851681426
The Life of the Buddha by
Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli was an Englishman who was ordained as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka in 1949. He died in 1960, and his Life of the Buddha was first published in 1972. "Composed entirely of texts from the Pali canon, this unique biography presents the oldest authentic record of the Buddha's life and revolutionary philosophy. The ancient texts are rendered here in a language marked by lucidity and dignity, and a framework of narrators and voices connect the canonical texts. Vivid recollections of his personal attendant Ananda and other disciples bring the reader into the Buddha's presence, where his example offers profound inspiration and guidance on the path to freedom."
Other books on ZenNot always so Manual of Zen Buddhism
- Zen is Eternal Life
Works by Great Master Dōgen
The Shōbōgenzō is Dōgen's masterwork in 95 chapters, or fascicles. The title is translated as "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye", and refers to a famous incident when Shakyamuni Buddha held up a flower, and Mahākāśyapa smiled. The Buddha said, "I have the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, the wondrous heart of nirvana, which I transmit to Mahākāśyapa."
There are now several complete English translations of the Shōbōgenzō available. The most recent, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Shobo Genzo", was first published in mid-2011. A translation by Gudo Nishijima and Chodo Cross is available as: "Master Dogen's Shobogenzo". The translation by Rev. Master Hubert of Shasta Abbey is available as a pdf. Additionally, the Stanford-based Soto Zen Text Project, a project to translate Dōgen and other Sōtō texts, has completed several fascicles, which are available online.
The Shōbōgenzō - full translations
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Shobo Genzo translated by
The most recently published translation - very readable. "Kazuaki Tanahashi and a team of translators that represent a Who’s Who of American Zen have produced a translation of the great work that combines accuracy with a deep understanding of Dogen’s voice and literary gifts." Includes maps, lineage charts, a bibliography, and an exhaustive glossary of names and terms, plus a translation of the Fukanzazengi, “Recommending Zazen to All People.”
Tanahashi, Kazuaki (Ed.) Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Shobo Genzo. Boston: Shambhala, 2013. Print. ISBN: 1590309359
Master Dogen's Shobogenzo translated by
This translation aims to stay close to the original text. Nishijima Roshi commented "I like the translation from which Master Dogen's Japanese can be guessed." The translators include copious notes, as well as several appendices. The translation, in four volumes, was first published by Windbell, and has also been published as part of the BDK English Tripiṭaka Series.
Available as four pdfs on the BDK website.
Windbell Edition: Dōgen, Gudō Nishijima, and Chodo Cross. Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Woking, Surrey: Windbell Publications, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999. Print. ISBN: 0-9523002-1-4, 0-9523002-2-2, 0-9523002-3-0, 0-9523002-4-9
BDK English Tripiṭaka Series: Dōgen, Gudō Nishijima, and Chodo Cross. Shōbōgenzō. Berkeley, Calif.: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2007-2008. Print. ISBN: 978-1-886439-35-1, 978-1-886439-36-8, 978-1-886439-37-5, 978-1-886439-38-2
Shōbōgenzō translated by
Rev. Master Hubert (1931-2016) was a monk at Shasta Abbey, and carried out this translation at the request of Rev. Master Jiyu. It is subtitled A Trainee’s Translation of Great Master Dōgen’s Spiritual Masterpiece and Rev. Master Hubert writes in his introduction that "it is intended primarily for those who practice Zen Buddhism rather than those whose interest is purely academic".
Available as a pdf from the Shasta Abbey website.
Eihei Dogen and Hubert Nearman. Shōbōgenzō: The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching. Mount Shasta, Calif.: Shasta Abbey Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-930066-27-7
The Shōbōgenzō - partial translations
Shōbōgenzō: Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma translated by
The Soto Zen Text Project is an initiative of the Sōtōshū Shūmuchō that seeks to provide materials for the international study and practice of Soto Zen. The project was launched in 1996, and involves scholars and Sotoshu representatives from Japan and America. They are working on translations of several important Soto Zen texts, and the translation of the Shōbōgenzō is still ongoing. Completed chapters are available online.
Moon In A Dewdrop translated by
Includes twenty of the most important fascicles of the Shōbōgenzō, together with four other important texts originally written as independent works. There is also a selection of Dogen's poetry, and extensive background materials. The Shōbōgenzō translations form the basis of those used in Tanahashi's full translation.
Dōgen, and Kazuaki Tanahashi. Moon In A Dewdrop. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985. Print. ISBN: 0-86547-186-X
Enlightenment Unfolds translated by
A follow-up to Moon In A Dewdrop, this book contains a further selection of Dōgen's writings, including formal and informal talks, essays, monastic rules, poems, journals and notes. The Shōbōgenzō translations included form the basis of those used in Tanahashi's full translation.
Dōgen, and Kazuaki Tanahashi. Enlightenment Unfolds. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2000. Print. ISBN: 978-1-57062-570-1
The Essential Dogen: Writings of the Great Zen Master edited by
"This is the first book to offer the great master’s incisive wisdom in short selections taken from the whole range of his voluminous works. The pithy and powerful readings, arranged according to theme, provide a perfect introduction to Dogen—and inspire spiritual practice in people of all traditions."
Dōgen, Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt. The Essential Dogen. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2013. Print. ISBN: 8129118335
- standards for pure community
- Eihei koroku
- Shōbōgenzō zuimonki
Books about Dogen and his teaching
- Realising Genjokoan