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Zen / Mahayana

The Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, of which Zen is an important expression (along with Chinese Chan and Korean Soen), arose sometime around the first century C.E. in South India and spread throughout Asia.  It is characterized by the ideal of the bodhisattva: the compassionate being whose desire for enlightenment isn’t an individual quest but includes all other sentient beings as well.

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  1. Tibetan Zen

    Tibetan Zen

    Discovering a Lost Tradition

    • by
    • Sam van Schaik
    Banned in Tibet and forgotten in China, the Tibetan tradition of Zen was almost completely lost to us. According to Tibetan histories, Zen teachers were invited to Tibet from China in the eighth century, at the height of the Tibetan Empire. When doctrinal disagreements developed between Indian and Chinese Buddhists at the Tibetan court, the Tibetan emperor called for a formal debate. When the debate resulted in a decisive win… Read More

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  2. Zen Chants

    Zen Chants

    Thirty-Five Essential Texts in New Translations with Commentary

    • by
    • Kazuaki Tanahashi
    A Zen chant is like a compass that sets us in the direction of the awakened life; it is the dynamic, audible counterpart to the silent practice of zazen, or sitting meditation; and it is a powerful expression of the fact that practice happens in community. Here is a concise guide to Zen chants for practitioners, as well as for anyone who appreciates the beauty and profundity of the poetry… Read More

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  3. Nothing Holy about It

    Nothing Holy about It

    The Zen of Being Just Who You Are

    • by
    • Tim Burkett
    Tim Burkett was twenty when he met Suzuki Roshi, and it was love at first sight. He immediately quit pursuing the career in law to which his illustrious family of jurists inclined him, and became a serious Zen student. He went on to become a licensed psychotherapist and then followed Katagiri Roshi to Minneapolis to become a founder of the Zen scene there. He never left. Now that he’s himself… Read More

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  4. Just This Is It

    Just This Is It

    Dongshan and the Practice of Suchness

    • by
    • Taigen Dan Leighton
    The joy of “suchness”—the absolute and true nature inherent in all appearance—shines through the teachings attributed to Dongshan Liangjie (807–869), the legendary founder of the Caodong lineage of Chan Buddhism (the predecessor of Sōtō Zen). Taigen Dan Leighton looks at the teachings attributed to Dongshan—in his Recorded Sayings and in the numerous koans in which he is featured as a character—to reveal the subtlety and depth of the teaching on… Read More

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  5. The Heart Sutra

    The Heart Sutra

    A Comprehensive Guide to the Classic of Mahayana Buddhism

    • by
    • Kazuaki Tanahashi
    The Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra is among the best known of all the Buddhist scriptures. Chanted daily by many Zen students, it is also studied extensively in the Tibetan tradition, and it has been regarded with interest more recently in the West in various fields of study—from philosophy to quantum physics. In just thirty-five lines, it expresses the truth of impermanence and the release from suffering that results from the… Read More

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  6. The Authentic Life

    The Authentic Life

    Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear

    • by
    • Ezra Bayda
    Ever feel like your efforts to live a life of wisdom, honesty, and compassion are hijacked by, well, life? Take heart. Ezra Bayda has good news: life’s challenges aren’t obstacles to our path—they are the path. Understanding that liberates us to use every aspect of what life presents us with as a way to live with integrity and authenticity—and joy. In this, as in all his books, Ezra’s… Read More

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  7. Buddha's Daughters

    Buddha's Daughters

    Teachings from Women Who Are Shaping Buddhism in the West

    • edited by
    • Andrea Miller,
    • Editors of the Shambhala Sun
    Buddhism began to take root in the West at just the same time that women’s voices were arising to find expression here—after millennia of being relegated to the background. If that was a coincidence, it was an auspicious one, for the women who emerged as Buddhist teachers have been among the most articulate of Dharma-communicators—and they remain an indelible feature of Western Buddhism as the practice matures here. The… Read More

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  8. Most Intimate

    Most Intimate

    A Zen Approach to Life's Challenges

    • by
    • Pat Enkyo O'Hara
    For Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, intimacy is what Zen practice is all about: the realization of the essential lack of distinction between self and other that inevitably leads to wisdom and compassionate action. She approaches the practice of intimacy beginning at its most basic level—the intimacy with ourselves that is the essential first step. She then shows how to bring intimacy into our relationships with others, starting with those dearest… Read More

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  9. Everything Is Workable

    Everything Is Workable

    A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution

    • by
    • Diane Musho Hamilton
    Conflict is going to be a part of your life—as long as you have relationships, a job, or dry cleaning to be picked up. Bracing yourself against it won’t make it go away, but if you approach it consciously, you can navigate it in way that not only honors everyone involved but makes it a source of deep insight as well. Seasoned mediator Diane Hamilton provides the skill set you… Read More

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  10. The Best Buddhist Writing 2013

    The Best Buddhist Writing 2013

    • edited by
    • Melvin McLeod,
    • Editors of the Shambhala Sun
    A thought-provoking collection of the most notable and insightful Buddhism-inspired writing published in the last year: Thich Nhat Hanh’s vision for a more enlightened and sustainable society Ezra Bayda on avoiding the pitfalls that arise on the path of meditation Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s powerful Dzogchen practices that help you to discover your mind’s inherent awareness and clarity… Read More

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