Recommended Readings

Find these and many other books in the Austin Zen Center Library.

Modern Zen Teachers

Opening the Hand of Thought, by Kosho Uchiyama.
Accessible yet profound discussion on the elements of Zen practice and life by a very important teacher in Japan.

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki.
These dharma talks by the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center are related in simple style, yet still manage to convey the deeper meanings of Zen and its practice. The Austin Zen Center is in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi.

Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai, by Shunryu Suzuki.
A collection of Suzuki's talks on the Sandokai, an eighth-century poem written by the Chinese Zen master Sekito Kisen. Suzuki explores the poem, expounding on the meanings of its imagery and relevance to Buddhist practice and to life.

Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki, by David Chadwick.
Chadwick interviewed family, friends, and disciples to create a rich context for Suzuki Roshi's vast and deep teachings.This epic biography of the Japanese founder of the San Francisco Zen Center is hard to put down.

To Shine One Corner of the World : Moments With Shunryu Suzuki, by David Chadwick (Editor).
These brief personal stories, which are contributed anonymously, offer a strong sense of the man, his teachings and his enduring sense of humor.

Encouraging Words : Zen Buddhist Teachings for Western Students, by Robert Aitken
A practical guide that offers advice to both lay and advanced practitioners on how to integrate their spiritual practice into everyday life.

The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective, by Robert Aitken
This book not only addresses the 10 Paramitas (Perfections), but also the role of the teacher, the transformation of the self through sitting meditation (zazen), koan study, and the Mahayana tradition of responsibility for the welfare of others.

Taking the Path of Zen, by Robert Aitken.
This is possibly the best nuts-and-bolts book on sitting practice, rituals and form, walking meditation, koan study.

Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains: Dharma Talks on Zen Meditation, by Reb Anderson
A collection of dharma talks, intermingling stories of lineage teachers and their students with those from Anderson Roshi's life and practice. The focus is generally on meditation and understanding of Zen practice.

Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters & Their Teachings, by A. Ferguson and R. Anderson
The teachings of the Chinese Zen masters from Bodhidharma at the turn of the 5th century to Huikai in the 13th century are presented here in their core records and writings in chronological order by generation, spanning 25 generations in all.

Every Day Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck.
Founder of the American Zen school of Ordinary Mind, Joko speaks in a way easily understandble to the western mind, with especially good advice on sitting practice and relations between people.

Returning to Silence : Zen Practice in Daily Life, by Dainin Katagiri
Offers a basic understanding of Zen Buddhism with a special emphasis on discovering the experience of enlightenment in the midst of everyday life.

You Have to Say Something : Manifesting Zen Insight, by Dainin Katagiri, Steve Hagen (Editor)
These selections from Katagiri Roshi's talks address a key theme in his teaching, that of bringing Zen insight to bear on our everyday experience.

Buddhism for Dummies, by Jonathan Landaw and Stephan Bodian

Trying to be Human by Cheri Huber

Saying Yes to Life by Ezra Bayda

Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen

Dancing with Life by Phillip Moffitt

The Feeling Buddha by David Brazier

Precepts Study

Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics, by Robert Aitken
A concise guide to zazen and other aspects of the practice. Aitken addresses the world beyond the cushions, illuminating issues of personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics.

Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts by Reb Anderson.
In this exploration into the ethical dilemmas that lie at the heart of each of the ten precepts, Anderson Roshi reveals a search for a compassionate life that requires sincere effort and attentiveness, the ability to be "upright" in each moment.

Waking Up to What You Do by Dianne Rizzetto

The Engaged Spiritual Life by Donald Rothberg

Invoking Reality by Daido Loori

Good Life by Cheri Huber

Women in Buddhism

The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-five Centuries of Awakened Women by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon (Editors)

Zen Women by Grace Shireson

The First Buddhist Women by Susan Murcott

Women Awake: Women Practicing Buddhism by Christina Feldman

Women's Buddhism, Buddhism's Women by Elison Findly

Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America by Lenore Friedman

Historical Zen Teachers & Writings

Dogen's Pure Standards for the Zen Community : A Translation of the Eihei Shingi, by Eihei Dogen; translated by Shohaku Okumura.Provides insight into Dogen's practical concerns for the sangha. These writings contain the depth of Dogen's teachings on zazen practice while speaking of the day-to-day details of monastic life.

Enlightenment Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen, by Kazuaki Takahashi (Editor)
This book contains accounts of Dogen's studies in China, poems, instructions on Zen practice, and informal talks with his students. Enlightenment for Dogen was not something that results from practice but is, in fact, practice itself.

The Wholehearted Way: A Translation of Eihei Dogen's Bendowa, translated by Kosho Uchiyama and Shohaku Okumura
Zen Master Dogen's "Bendowa" is one of the primary texts on Zen practice. The text was written in 1231 and expresses Dogen's teaching of the essential meaning of seated meditation and its actual practice.

The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader, edited by Nelson Foster and Jack Shoemaker.
Biographical sketches, writings and stories of about forty-five historical Chinese and Japanese Zen masters.

The Blue Cliff Record, by Numata Center for Buddhist Translation, Translated from the Chinese by Thomas Cleary.
This sutra consists of 100 koans selected by Ch'ung-hsien.

Book of Serenity, by Hsing-Hsiu, Thomas Cleary (Introduction)
An important collection of 100 classic Zen Buddhist koans with commentaries. A classic collection of koans--the paradoxical teaching devices that have been closely associated with Zen study and practice since the tenth century.

Other Buddhist Teachers

The Places That Scare You, by Pema Chodron
These are teachings of fearlessness. Chodron introduces tools for transforming anxieties and negative emotions into positive living and suggests that opening ourselves to vulnerability from which comes loving-kindness, compassion, and joy.

When Things Fall Apart : Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron
The message of this book is that there is a fundamental happiness readily available to each one of us. But to find it, we must learn to stop running from suffering, and instead actually learn to approach it fearlessly, compassionately, and with curiosity.

The Wisdom of No Escape : And the Path of Loving-Kindness, by Pema Chodron
A collection of talks given during a month-long meditation retreat, which emphasizes the cultivation of loving-kindness toward everything, including ourselves.

For a Future to Be Possible : Commentaries on the Five Mindfulness Trainings, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Editor)

The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation, by Thich Nhat Hahn.
This book shows how the meditative mind can be maintained througout the day. This Vietnamese Zen master is one of the best known Buddhist leaders in the West. In Austin, his teachings inform the Plumb Blossom Sangha.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, by Chogyam Trungpa
Examines the self-deceptions, distortions, and sidetracks that imperil the spiritual journey as well as awareness and fearlessness of the true path.

The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, by Chogyam Trungpa
Explores the meaning of freedom in the context of Tibetan Buddhism and shows how meditation can help eliminate obstacles to true freedom.

Shambhala : Sacred Path of the Warrior, by Chogyam Trungpa, Carolyn Rose Gimian (Editor)
Presents the the principles and practices of the warrior's path as a way for modern men and women to meet the challenges of life with fearlessness and dignity.

Zen & Buddhist History

How the Swans Came to the Lake, by Rick Fields.
A very enjoyable book about the history of Buddhism in the West, including early British and Portugese colonial contacts, Thoreau, early Zen missionaries in America, Buddhist beatniks, and the recent growth of Tibetan Buddhism.

Buddhism; A Way of Thought and Life, by Nancy Ross Wilson.
A very clear, readable introduction to Buddhism, with a historical perspective. Good chapters specifically on Tibetan, Theravada (Southern) and Zen Buddhism.


Financial Report

AZC financial report presented at our recent Annual Meeting on 2/4/2017.

Dharma Talks


Shotai De La Rosa, August 12, 2017, Letting Go

Shoryu Bradley, August 5, 2017, Your Perspective Is (Most Likely) Not The Only One: Keep Investigating!

AZC Dharma Talks »


Donna Birdwell

Our online magazine, JustThis, is an active, alive blog rather than a magazine which comes out in issues. We post pieces as they come in to encourage conversation and interaction between the readers and the writers.

We use the Tuesday night Zen Writing group as the source of many of the postings. As well, we welcome other submissions for consideration.

Visit the JustThis writers and artists in their endeavors.