Reading list

Inside of book

These are the books we recommend to support your Zen study. The ones in bold are the ones we’d recommend you start with.

Begin to Study the Important Writings Of Zen

Introduction to Zen

Koan practice

  • The Zen Koan: Its History and Use in Rinzai Zen
    Isshu Miura (Author), Ruth Fuller Sasaki (Author)
  • Two Zen Classics: “Mumonkan” and “Hekiganroku”
    K. Sekida (Translator)
  • The Koan
    Steven Heine and Dale Wright (Editors)
  • Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei
    Thomas Cleary (Translator)
  • The Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan
    Zenkei Shibayama (Author)
  • Sitting with Koans: Essential Writings on Zen Koan Introspection
    John Daido Loori (Editor)
  • Samurai Zen: The Warrior Koans
    Trevor Leggett (Editor)
  • The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women
    Zenshin Florence Caplow (Author), Reigetsu Susan Moon (Author)
  • Every End Exposed: The 100 Perfect Koans of Master Kido with the Answers of Hakuin-zen
    Yoel Hoffmann (Translator)

Zen master Hakuin

  • Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin
    Norman Waddell (Translator)
  • The Zen Master Hakuin
    Philip Yampolsky (Editor)
  • Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin
    Norman Waddell (Translator)
  • Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin’s Commentary on the Heart Sutra
    Norman Waddell (Translator)
  • Penetrating Laughter: Hakuin’s Zen and Art
    Kazuaki Tanahashi (Author)
  • Hakuin’s Precious Mirror Cave: A Zen Miscellany
    Norman Waddell (Translator)
  • The Religious Art of Zen Master Hakuin
    Katsuhiro Yoshizawa (Author), Norman Waddell (Contributor)

Teachings of other important Zen masters

  • The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma: A Bilingual Edition
    Red Pine (Translator)
  • Unborn: The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei, 1622-1693
    Norman Waddell (Translator)
  • Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School
    Torei Enji (Author), Daibi of Unkan (Author), Yoko Okuda (Translator)
  • The Zen Teaching of Rinzai
    Irmgard Schloegl (Translator) (available here on PDF)
  • Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei
    Yoshito Hakeda (Editor), Peter Haskel (Translator), Mary Farkas (Foreword)
  • Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo
    Gudo Wafe Nishijima (Translator), Choto Cross (Translator)
  • Eloquent Zen: Daito and Early Japanese Zen
    Kenneth Kraft (Translator)
  • Mud and Water: The Collected Teachings of Zen Master Bassui
    Arthur Braverman (Translator)
  • Swampland flowers: Letters and lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui [i.e. Tsung-kao]
    Christopher Cleary (Translator)
  • Wild Ways: Zen Poems of Ikkyu (Companions for the Journey)
    Rengetsu (Editor)
  • Sun-Face Buddha: The Teachings of Ma-Tsu and the Hung-Chou School of Ch’an
    Cheng Chien Bhikshu (Author), Cheng Chien (Editor)
  • The Sayings of Layman P’ang: A Zen Classic of China
    James Green (Translator)
  • The Zen Teaching of Huang-Po: On the Transmission of Mind
    John Eaton Calthorpe Blofeld (Translator), P’ei Hsiu (Preface)
  • Great Fool: Zen Master Ryokan: Poems, Letters, and Other Writings
    Ryuichi Abe (Translator), Peter Haskel (Translator)
  • Warrior of Zen: The Diamond-Hard Wisdom Mind of Suzuki Shosan (Kodansha Globe)
    Arthur Braverman (Author)
  • The Golden Age of Zen: Zen Masters of the T’ang Dynasty (Spiritual Masters of East and West)
    John C.h. Wu (Author), Thomas Merton (Introduction), Kenneth Kraft (Introduction)

General Zen

  • The Sword of No-Sword: Life of the Master Warrior Tesshu
    John Stevens (Author)
  • The Record of Transmitting the Light: Zen Master Keizan’s Denkoroku
    Francis Dojun Cook (Translator)
  • Original Teachings of Ch’an Buddhism: Selected from the Transmission of the Lamp
    Chang Chung-Yuan (Author)
  • Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters
    Grace Schireson (Author)
  • Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk
    Dai Z. Suzuki (Author)
  • Essays in Zen Buddhism
    D Suzuki (Author)
  • Sengai: The Zen of Ink and Paper
    Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (Author)
  • Classics of Buddhism and Zen, Volume 4: The Collected Translations of Thomas Cleary
  • The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way
    Nagarjuna (Author), Jay L. Garfield (Translator)
  • Unsui: Diary of Zen Monastic Life
    Giei Sato (Author)
  • The Zen Life: Daily Life in a Zen Monastery
    Koji Sato (Author), Sosei Kuzunishi (Photographer)
  • In Heaven’s River: Poems and Carvings of Mountain-Monk Enku
    Julian Daizan Skinner (Translator), Sumiko Hayashi (Translator)


  • The Threefold Lotus Sutra
    Bunno Kato (Author), Yoshiro Tamura (Author)
  • Lankavatara Sutra: A Mahayana Text (Buddhist Tradition) (Vol 40)
    Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (Author)
  • The Flower Ornament Scripture: A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra
    Thomas Cleary (Author)
  • The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom: With the Divisions of the Abhisamayalankara (Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies, Uc Berkeley)
    Edward Conze (Editor, Translator)
  • The Perfection of Wisdom (Wheel Series, 1)
    Edward Conze (Editor)
  • The Life of the Buddha: According to the Pali Canon
    Bhikkhu Nanamoli (Author), Nyanaponika Thera (Author), Gnanamoli (Author)
  • The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra – Last and most impressive teachings of the Buddha about Reality and the True Self
    Dr. Tony Page (Author)
  • The Vimalakirti Sutra
    Burton Watson (Translator)
  • The Diamond Sutra
    Red Pine (Author)
  • The Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui-Neng (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
    F. Price (Author), Wong Mou-lam (Author), W. Y. Evans-Wentz (Author), Christmas Humphreys (Author)
  • Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha
    E.A. Burtt (Compiler)
  • Mahayana Buddhism
    Paul Williams (Author)
  • Teachings of The Buddha (the little orange book)
    Desmond Biddhulph and Darcy Flynn (Author)