November 26, 2014

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Reading Resources

Reading Resources

"The ignorant man is not the unlearned, but he who does not know himself, and the learnred man is stupid when he relies on books, on knowledge, and on authority to give him understanding. Understanding comes only thru self-knowledge, which is awareness of one's total psychological process."

- Krishnamurti

Bodhidharma emphaisized that Chan is "a special transmission outside the sutras, with no dependence upon words and letters; it is a direct pointing to reality, the seeing into one's own nature and realizing Buddhahood." While words can be counter to progress in Chan since they tend to engage the intellect rather than the intuitive function of the mind and the compassionate function of the "heart", they can inspire as well, pointing us forward on the journey. But we must always be careful not to mistake the word for its meaning. Below is a brief list of literature that may be of interest to our readers. The topics include Psychology , Spirituality (General) , Spirituality (Practice and Theory), Chan/Zen/Taoism , Buddhism (General), and Philosophy and Theology . An annotation is included for most references along with the ISBN. Most of these books are in print and available online at and other internet book sellers. A few may be out of print and found through Amazon's partners or at other used book sources on the Internet. Please check back periodically for updates.

- Rev. Chuan Zhi


A Western Approach to Zen
By Christmas Humphreys, ISBN: 0-8356-0550-7
A well written introduction to Zen for the beginner. Includes practical information on the history, theory, and practice of Zen.
Everyday Zen
By Charlotte Joko Beck: ISBN: 0-06-060734-3
A practical, direct, and thoughtful guide for beginning a Zen practice.
Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, The Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn
Compiled and edited by Stephen Mitchell, ISBN: 0-8021-3052-6
Common-sense Zen. Another helpful introductory text for beginners.
The Iron Cow of Zen
by Albert Low, ISBN: 0-8048-1669-7
Information on the theory and practice of Zen for the beginner.
The I Ching, Or Book of Changes
By Wilhelm/Baynes, ISBN: 0-691-09750-X
A favorite translation of this classic ancient text with a forward by C. G. Jung.
Understanding the I Ching, The Wilhelm Lectures on the Book of Changes
By Hellmut Wilhelm and Richard Wilhelm, ISBN: 0-691-00171-5
A helpful compendium to The I Ching (sited above).
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, the text of the Tun-Huang manuscript
Translated, with notes, by Philip B. Yampolsky, ISBN: 0-231-08361-0
An excellent reference for the serious student of Chan.
The Story of Chinese Zen by Nan Huai-Chin
Translated by Thomas Cleary, ISBN 0-8048-3050-9.
Essays in Zen Buddhism, Third Series
By D. T. Suzuki: ISBN: 0-87728-076-2
One of the most authoritative authors on Zen Buddhism, this is one of D. T. Suzuki's most comprehensive works on Zen Buddhism. An invaluable source for clarifying many obscure and confusing aspects of Buddhism.
Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, the Richard Wilhelm Edition
ISBN: 0-14-019060-0
Master Yun Men, From the Record of the Chan Teacher "Gate of the Clouds"
translated, edited, and introduced by Urs App. ISBN: 1-56836-005-3
Master Yun Men is one of the most important teachers in the Chan tradition. This is a well-written and clear account of the teachings of master Yun Men, giving the flavor of Chan as a beautiful spiritual practice. A favorite.
Games Zen Masters Play, Writings of R. H. Blyth
Library of Congress catalog number 75-24786.
A look into Japanese Zen from a Westerner's point of view. Includes a translation of the Hsinshinming with commentary.
Book of Serenity, One Hundred Zen Dialogues
ISBN 0-940262-25-8
A classic Zen text for koan study. Koan study should not be attempted without guidance from a trained master in Koan teaching. This book is an interesting read, but may tend to overly captivate the mind and intellect which is not the intent of Koan study/practice. Here it is essential to read between (and beneath!) the lines.
Original Teachings of Ch'an Buddhism
Translated with an introduction by Chang Chung-Yuan ISBN:0-679-75824-0
A treatise on the teachings of several important Chan masters. It includes charts of famous Chan masters in the period 594-990.
The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, the Text of the Tun-Huang Manuscript
Translated, with notes, by Philip B. Yampolsky. ISBN: 0-231-08361-0
An essential read for the serious Chan practitioner. The Chan path culminated in the works and teachings of Hui Neng, and this is the compilation of his most highly regarded teachings, well translated, with copious references. The Tun Huang manuscript is the oldest (earliest) version of the sutra that exists and is therefore considered to be the most accurate.
The Texts of Taoism, The T'ai Shang Tractate, The Writings of Chuang Tzu, The Sacred Books of China
Translated by James Legge. ISBN 0-486-20991-1
Offers useful background on the Taoist philosophy and religion that later merged with Indian Buddhism to form the Chan school. The translation is sometimes awkward, but the essential meaning comes through.
The Way of Chuang Tzu
By Thomas Merton, ISBN: 0-8112-0103-1.
Zen's Chinese Heritage, the Masters and their Teachings
By Andy Ferguson, ISBN: 0-86171-163-7
Of mostly academic interest, this book illustrates some of the teachings methods used by famous Chinese Chan masters between 480 AD and 1260 AD. When reading these dialogues of Chan Masters with their disciples, or stories of their interactions, it is important to recognize that the state of mind of the disciple was always what determined the action taken by the Master. The words were only a very small part of the picture, but all that can be conveyed in a book. Any serious student of Chinese Chan will find this book interesting reading.
Trust In Mind, The Rebellion of Chinese Zen
By Mu Soeng. ISBN 0-86171-391-5
A presentation of the Gatha of the Third Chan Patriarch with a thoughtful discussion. Translated here as "Trust in Mind", the Xinxinming is also known as the Shinshinming, the Gatha of Seng T'san. And the Hsin-hsin-ming. Mu Soeng includes 10 different translations of the poem including that found on this website.
The Secret and Sublime, Taoist Mysteries and Magic
By John Blofeld, ISBN: 0-525-47303-3
An honest and personal account of a man's encounter with Taoist masters and recluses. Covers the many shades and forms of Taoist belief and practice.
The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen, Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Masters
By Audrey Yoshiko Seo with Stephen Addiss, ISBN: 1-57062-561-1
A beautiful collection of art - mostly drawings, and paintings - from the Japanese Zen traditions. Includes many notes and historical details of the artists that may not be found easily elsewhere.
The Art of Zen
By Stephen Addiss, ISBN: 0-8109-1886-2
Another beautifully illustrated and annotated book on Zen art.
The Texts of Taoism, The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu, The Writings of Chuang Tzu, The Sacred Books of China
Translated by James Legge. ISBN: 0-486-20990-3
As a close relative to Chinese Chan Buddhism, these Taoist texts offer insights into some of the foundational teachings of Chan as a distinct path from Indian Buddhism. The author includes the Chinese characters for most technical terminology, which helps in cross-referencing with other sources.
The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk
By Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, ISBN:0-8048-3042-8
Mr. Suzuki gives the reader insight into the daily life of a Zen monk living a monastic life of humble service and labor. An important book for those interested in monastic life.
The Golden Age of Zen - The Classic Work on the Foundation of Zen Philosophy
by John C. Wu, ISBN:0-385-47993-X
An historical overview of some parts of Chan's early history.

Spirituality (General)

The Androgyne, Reconciliation of Male and Female
By Elemire Zolla. ISBN: 0-8425-0065-2.
Ever wonder why Avalokiteshvara is sometimes portrayed as part man, part woman? The Androgyne, symbolized in Taoism by the Yin-Yang symbol: two teardrops, one black and one white, spinning about each other, is an archetypal form encountered in our spiritual journeys and was referenced by Master Hsu Yun in his famous Ox herding poems (found on this website). E. Zolla discusses the Androgyne archetype as a fundamental aspect of spiritual growth and gives numerous illustrations from religions and cultures around the world including Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and others.
Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living
(in three series: ISBN: 0-8356-0390-3, 0-8356-0415-2, 0-8356-0402-0
The Experience of No-Self, A Contemplative Journey
By Bernadette Roberts, ISBN: 0-7914-1694-1
A personal and honest account of the spiritual journey.
Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings
Translated and edited with an introduction by Oliver Davies
One of the most respected and influential authors of mystical wisdom of the thirteenth century, Meister Eckhart explores, in-depth, the nature of spiritual life.
The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, and Otilio Rodriguez
One of the worlds great mystics of the 16th century (Catholic tradition), the teachings of St. John of the Cross remain timeless.
Signs of the Unseen, The Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi
Introduction and Translation by W. M. Thackston, Jr.
The Essential Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne ISBN 0-06-250959-4
Excellent translations of some of Rumi's most famous poetry.
Teachings of Rumi, The Masnavi
Abridged and translated by E.H.Whinfield with an introduction by Idries Shah, ISBN: 0-86304-067-5.
The Clouds Should Know Me By Now, Buddhist Poet Monks of China
Edited by Red Pine and Mike O'Connor. ISBN: 0-86171-143-2.
Poetry can often take us into the spiritual minds of people better than any other form of writing and this collection of poetry recently published by Wisdom Publications is no exception. This is the kind of book that's nice to have at your bedside for easy access to a few verses before turning off the light.
Daughters of Emptiness, Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns
By Beata Grant, ISBN: 0-86171-362-1
A must for anyone who enjoys reading the poetry of enlightenment.

Buddhism (General)

A Buddhist Bible
Edited by Dwight Goddard with a forward by Robert Aitken
A good reference for some important sutras, including the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Surangama Sutra, the Lankavatara scripture, the Platform Sutra, and the Avatamsaka.
The Diamond Sutra & the Sutra of Hui Neng
Translated by A.F. Price & Wong Mou-lam and forwards by W.Y. Evans-Wentz and Christmas Humphreys. ISBN 0-87773-005-9.
Two of the central sutras of the Mahayana Chan school, this book offers clear and readable translations of the two scriptures.
Outlines of Chinese Symbolism & Art Motifs
By C.A.S. Williams, ISBN: 0-486-23372-3
The most thourough compilatoin of Chinese and Buddhist symbolism I have found to date in one source. Technical terms are included in both pinyin and Chinese characters.
Buddhist Sutras, Origin, Development, Transmission
By Kigen Mizuno, ISBN: 4-333-01028-4
This book exemplifies the slippery nature of the Sutras as their origins evolved in a variety of circumstances.
Mahayana Buddhism, the Doctrinal Foundations
By Paul Williams. ISBN: 0-415-02537-0
A thorough introduction to Mahayana Buddhism. A good starting place for those interested in Buddhist thought and theology.
Yoga of the Guhyasamajatantra, The Arcane Lore of Forty Verses
Edited by Alex Wayman, ISBN:81-208-0872-X
One of the oldest Indian Buddhist texts is translated and discussed in technical detail in this scholarly work.
The Dhammapada with The Udanavarga
Edited by Raghavan Iyer, ISBN 0-88695-044-9.
A clear and well translated version of the sayings of the Buddha.
Mudra, A Study of Symbolic Gestures in Japanese Buddhist Sculpture
By Dale Saunders, ISBN:0-691-01866-9
Although this text focuses on Japanese Buddhist symbolism, it is essentially identical to Chinese Buddhist symbolism, and the Chinese terms are given in most cases along with the Japanese. A valuable resource for anyone interested in the deeper symbolic meanings found in the Buddhist art and literature.

Philosophy and Theology

The Physics of Consciousness, The Quantum Mind and the Meaning of Life
By Evan Harris Walker. ISBN: 0-7382-0436-6
Only for those who enjoy philosophy and physics.
Time, Space, and Knowledge, A New Vision of Reality
By Tarthang Tulku, ISBN 0-913546-08-9
A "thinker's" look into the nature of mind as it perceives time and space through it's own mechanisms of interpretation. Explores the nature of infinite time and infinite space and includes exercises to enhance concentration and awareness.
Between Man and Man
By Martin Buber: Macmillan Publishing Co.
Considered one of the greatest western spiritual thinkers and philosophers of the twentieth century, this is Mr. Buber's classic text on the nature of relationship and inter-personal identity.
I and Thou
By Martin Buber, ISBN: 0-684-71725-5
Perhaps Mr. Buber's most famous work, I and Thou explores the relationship between self and God in a great deal of depth. A difficult but thought-provoking and illuminating read.

Spirituality (Practice and Theory)

Theories of the Chakras, Bridge to Higher Consciousness
By Hiroshi Motoyama. ISBN: 0-8356-0551-5
Kundalini, The Arousal of the Inner Energy
By Ajit Mookerjee, ISBN 0-89281-020-3
Includes beautiful illustrations and artwork
Secret of the Golden Flower, A Chinese Book of Life
Translated by Richard Wilhelm and commentary by C.G. Jung.
Covers intermediate and advanced spiritual practices in the Chinese spiritual traditions. Clear and well-written.
Yoga, Immortality and Freedom
By Mircea Eliade. ISBN 0-691-01764-6
As always, M. Eliade writes with clarity and authority, citing copious references as he illuminates the spiritual path of the yogi. A good foundation for understanding many of the roots of Chan Buddhism.
By Ernest Wood. ISBN 0140204482.
Out of print but available used from many sources. A beautifully written primmer on Yoga practices, with thoughtful explanations, examples and exercises.
Spiritual Disciplines, Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks
Edited by Joseph Campbell. ISBN: 0-691-01863-4.
Includes insightful Essays by Erwin Rousselle and many others. Of special note is the essay by C.G. Jung "Dream Symbols of the Individuation Process".
Images and Symbols, Studies in Religious Symbolism
By Mircea Eliade. ISBN: 0-691-02068-X.
A thoughtful and well-researched study on the symbolism as the language of spiritual experience and consciousness.
Road To Heaven, Encounters with Chinese Hermits
By Bill Porter, ISBN: 1-56279-041-2
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Mr. Porter brings out the humanity and spirituality of existence through his interviews and experiences with hermits as he travels through remote parts of China.


Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic, The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity
By Stephen A. Diamond. ISBN 0-7914-3076-6
This insightful look into the nature of anger and its origins draws richly on allegories, fables, myths, as well as the psychological and neural sciences. Draws richly on the studies of Carl Jung.
The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga
By C.G. Jung, edited by Sonu Shamdasani ISBN: 0-691-02127-9.
All mystical experience is universal in nature, but different systems are used to describe and explain the various experiences we encounter. Carl Jung discusses the psychology behind the mystic's experience from the paradigm of Kundalini Yoga. An thought-provoking read.
Alchemical Studies
By C. G. Jung, translated by RFC Hull, ISBN: 0-691-01849-9.
Carl Jung ties together mystical motifs and symbols from numerous sources in this in-depth look at advanced spiritual states. Of special interest is his "Commentary on "The Secret of the Golden Flower", a quintessential resource on Taoist mysticism.
Symbols of Transformation
By C. G. Jung, translated by RFC Hull
A very helpful resource for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the inner life. Carl Jung ties together universal symbolic motifs that are common to all people in all cultures and explains them in terms of our spiritual growth and evolution of personal and universal awareness. It includes numerous illustrations from cultures and religions around the world.
Aspects of the Feminine
By C.G. Jung, translated by RFC Hull, ISBN: 0-691-01845-6
This book covers a multitude of topics relating to the feminine, both in terms of psychological manifestations and spiritual growth. Of special interest is the chapter on the Anima and Animus.
How the Mind Works
By Steven Pinker, ISBN: 0-393-04535-8
A thoroughly philosophical treatise on mentation and conscious behaviour influenced by Eastern philosophical systems. This will be an interesting read for people who also enjoy thought-puzzles, games, etc. Mr. Pinker gives us new ways to think about who we are and how our senses and mind interpret our reality.
Education and the Significance of Life
By J. Krishnamurti, ISBN: 0-06-064810-4
An invaluable read for parents and teachers or anyone who interacts with children. A real gem.