Uplifting Chan/Zen Buddhist Texts for Beginners

All things related to beginning Zen Practice. Here is where to exchange information between those that have already started Zen training and those planning to do so.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 307
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:41 pm

Uplifting Chan/Zen Buddhist Texts for Beginners

Post by Mason » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:59 am

I'd like for this thread to be a place where we can share books that we find positive, wholesome and peaceful as introductions to the Chan/Zen schools of Buddhism.

These might be texts that we, ourselves, encountered at an early point in our practice. They can be scholarly works about Chan/Zen Buddhism or books which emphasize meditation practice and direct experience.

If books come to mind which are inspiring to you presently, but which are difficult to understand for beginners, let's just leave those aside for the present.

Titles of books or pictures thereof are both welcome, but let's try to keep the pictures correctly sized so as not to waste the forum's bandwidth - (I'm not really an expert on the workings of forums so not sure if "bandwidth" is the right word here).


Last edited by Mason on Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The Way needs no cultivation, just do not defile. What is defilement? When with a mind of birth and death one acts in a contrived way, then everything is a defilement. If one wants to know the Way directly: Ordinary Mind is the Way!"

- Record of Ma-tsu

Posts: 202
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:04 am
Location: Skopje, Macedonia

Re: Uplifting Chan/Zen Buddhist Texts for Beginners

Post by Nothing » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:25 pm

First on my mind is Master Sheng Yen's Hoofprint of the Ox


And Guo Gu's The Essence of Chan



User avatar
Posts: 423
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:20 pm
Location: Forestville, CA

Re: Uplifting Chan/Zen Buddhist Texts for Beginners

Post by lindama » Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:42 pm


When I look deeply
into the real form of the universe,
everything reveals the mysterious truth of the Tathagata.
This truth never fails:
in every moment and every place
things can't help but shine with this light.

Realizing this, our ancestors gave reverent care
to animals, birds, and all beings.
Realizing this, we ourselves know that our daily food,
clothing and shelter are the warm body and beating heart of the Buddha.
How can we be ungrateful to anyone or anything?
Even though someone may be a fool,
we can be compassionate.
If someone turns against us,
speaking ill of us and treating us bitterly,
it's best to bow down:
this is the Buddha appearing to us,
finding ways to free us from our own attachments—
the very ones that have made us suffer
again and again and again.

Now on each flash of thought
a lotus flower blooms,
and on each flower: a Buddha.
The light of the Tathagata
appears before us, soaking into our feet.

May we share this mind with all beings
so that we and the world together
may grow in wisdom.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 405
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:08 am
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Uplifting Chan/Zen Buddhist Texts for Beginners

Post by clyde » Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:09 pm

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.jpg
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.jpg (3.9 KiB) Viewed 485 times
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

“The most straightforward advice on awakening enlightened mind is this: practice not causing harm to anyone—yourself or others—and every day, do what you can to be helpful.” Pema Chodron, “What to Do When the Going Gets Rough”

User avatar
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:16 am
Location: Northern Ireland

Re: Uplifting Chan/Zen Buddhist Texts for Beginners

Post by Kanji » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:48 pm

Hi to all, my first post here and I'm pushing poetry! I would recommend 'the poetry of zen' a great little book, translations by Sam Hamill and JP Seaton. A diamond mine of zenness :bow2:

Post Reply