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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. Beyond Happiness

    Beyond Happiness

    The Zen Way to True Contentment

    • by
    • Ezra Bayda
    Many books have been published in recent years on happiness. Ezra Bayda, a remarkably down-to-earth Zen teacher, believes that the happiness "boom" has been largely a bust for readers. Why? Because it's precisely the pursuit of happiness that keeps us trapped in cycles of dissatisfaction and suffering. In Beyond Happiness, Bayda draws on Zen teachings to question our conventional notions about what happiness is and where we can… Read More

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  2. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

    Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

    • by
    • Shunryu Suzuki
    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely… Read More

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  3. You Are Here

    You Are Here

    Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

    • by
    • Thich Nhat Hanh
    • edited by
    • Melvin McLeod
    In this book Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Zen monk, author, and meditation master, distills the essence of Buddhist thought and practice, emphasizing the power of mindfulness to transform our lives. “Mindfulness is not an evasion or an escape,” he explains. “It means being here, present, and totally alive. It is true freedom—and without this freedom, there is no happiness.” Based on a retreat that Thich… Read More

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  4. Buddhism through American Women's Eyes

    Buddhism through American Women's Eyes

    • by
    • Karma Lekshe Tsomo
    The Buddha's path to human transformation declares women and men equally capable of spiritual realization, yet throughout history most exemplars of this tradition have been men. Now, as Buddhism is transmitted to the West, women are playing a major role in its adaptation and development. The conversation presented here takes place among experienced practitioners from many Buddhist traditions who share their thoughts on the Buddhist outlook, its practical application… Read More

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  5. The Undying Lamp of Zen

    The Undying Lamp of Zen

    The Testament of Zen Master Torei

    • by
    • Zen Master Torei Enji
    • edited by
    • Thomas Cleary
    This is a complete explanation of Zen practice written by one of the most eminent masters of pre-modern Japan. The author, Torei Enji (1721–1792), was best known as one of two “genius assistants” to Hakuin Ekaku, who was himself a towering figure in Zen Buddhism who revitalized the Rinzai school. Torei was responsible for much of the advanced work of Hakuin’s later disciples and also helped systemize Hakuin’s teachings.… Read More

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  6. The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin

    The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin

    • by
    • Hakuin
    A fiery and intensely dynamic Zen teacher and artist, Hakuin (1685–1768) is credited with almost single-handedly revitalizing Japanese Zen after three hundred years of decline. As a teacher, he placed special emphasis on koan practice, inventing many new koans himself, including the famous “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” As an artist, Hakuin used calligraphy and painting to create “visual Dharma”—teachings that powerfully express the nature of enlightenment.… Read More

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  7. Wild Ivy

    Wild Ivy

    The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin

    • by
    • Hakuin
    A fiery and intensely dynamic Zen teacher and artist, Hakuin (1685–1768) is credited with almost single-handedly revitalizing Japanese Zen after three hundred years of decline. As a teacher, he placed special emphasis on koan practice, inventing many new koans himself, including the famous “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” This English translation of Hakuin’s intimate self-portrait includes reminiscences from his childhood, accounts of his Zen practice and enlightenment… Read More

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  8. No Beginning, No End

    No Beginning, No End

    The Intimate Heart of Zen

    • by
    • Jakusho Kwong
    • edited by
    • Peter Levitt
    In No Beginning, No End, Zen master Jakusho Kwong-roshi shows us how to treasure the ordinary activities of our daily lives through an understanding of simple Buddhist practices and ideas. The author’s spontaneous, poetic, and pragmatic teachings—so reminiscent of his spiritual predecessor Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)—transport us on an exciting journey into the very heart of Zen and its meaningful traditions. Because Kwong-roshi can transmit the most intimate… Read More

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  9. Things Pertaining to Bodhi

    Things Pertaining to Bodhi

    The Thirty-seven Aids to Enlightenment

    • by
    • Chan Master Sheng Yen
    The Thirty-seven Aids to Enlightenment are a set of fundamental teachings of Buddhism in the form of a list. The list’s seeming simplicity belies the fact that it is actually a kind of road map to enlightenment for anyone who follows it with diligence and sincerity. The Thirty-seven Aids comprise seven groups of practices conducive to awakening. Each of the seven groups is itself a list of enlightenment factors, which… Read More

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  10. This Is Getting Old

    This Is Getting Old

    Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity

    • by
    • Susan Moon
    In this intimate and funny collection of essays on the sometimes confusing, sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious condition of being a woman over sixty, Susan Moon keeps her sense of humor and she keeps her reader fully engaged. Among the pieces she has included here are an essay on the gratitude she feels for her weakening bones; observations on finding herself both an orphan and a matriarch following the death… Read More

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