What is most important about Zen is just doing it, moment-to-moment engaging 100% in the question: what is this? Letting go of our opinions, condition and situation, we practice seeing what appears and disappears. Only then can we find our fitting and beautiful function so that we may be of service to this struggling world.
While reading books about Zen is not necessary for engaging in a thorough-going practice, for those interested in pursuing the cognitive study of this rich tradition, there are an endless number of excellent books currently available.
Books by Founding Teacher Zen Master Seung Sahn
To become acquainted with our Korean lineage through the teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn, we recommend his books listed below. We’ve also included a list of favorite books suggested by our teachers’ circle.
The Compass of Zen presents the teachings of Buddhism and Zen in Zen Master Seung Sahn’s unique style. This book is accessible for newer students—yet is so rich with stories, insights, and personal experiences that long-time practitioners will also find it a source of inspiration and a resource for study. The Compass of Zen is available at Amazon.com and other book sellers.
Dropping Ashes on the Buddha is a delightful, irreverent, and often hilariously funny living record of the dialogue between Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn and his American students. Consisting of dialogues, stories, formal Zen interviews, Dharma speeches, and letters using the Zen Master’s actual words in spontaneous, living interaction with his students, this book is a fresh presentation of the Zen teaching method of “instant dialogue” between Master and student which, through the use of astonishment and paradox, leads to an understanding of ultimate reality. Dropping Ashes on the Buddha is available at Amazon.com and other book sellers.
The Whole World is a Single Flower is Zen Master Seung Sahn’s collection of 365 kong-ans. The kong-ans themselves are life-practice for answering the questions which are profound and practical arising everyday. The Whole World is a Single Flower is available at Amazon.com and other book sellers.
Books by Guiding Teacher Zen Master Jeong Ji (Anita Feng)
Sid weaves the traditional tale of Siddhartha, the Buddha-to-be with the story of Sid, an everyman who finds himself waking up amid the reality of work and family life in the modern world. Returning to the standard tale with careful consideration of the relationships in Buddha’s life—to his wife, parents, and child—Feng’s narrative embodies the Mahayana perspective of living one’s enlightenment in the world. Sid is available at Amazon.com and other book sellers.
Other Recommended Books
Buddhism: Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen
Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck
The Hidden Lamp by Various – 2500 years of awakened women’s teachings, including commentary by Zen Master Jeong Ji
Books for Children