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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. The Infinite Mirror

    The Infinite Mirror

    Commentaries on Two Chan Classics

    • by
    • Chan Master Sheng Yen
    Here is the inimitable Master Sheng Yen at his best, illuminating the ancient texts of the Chinese Zen tradition to show how wonderfully practical they really are, even for us today. The texts, written by two of the founders of the Ts’ao-tung sect of Chan Buddhism, are poems entitled Inquiry into Matching Halves and Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi. Both emphasize the Chan view that wisdom is… Read More

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  2. The Poetry of Enlightenment

    The Poetry of Enlightenment

    Poems by Ancient Chan Masters

    • by
    • Chan Master Sheng Yen
    For the masters of the Chan tradition, poetry was a form of creative expression, but even more than that, it was a primary vehicle for teaching. Here a modern master presents ten teaching poems from the ancient masters, with illuminating commentary. “These poems flow directly from the minds of the enlightened Chan masters,” Master Sheng Yen says. “We get a glimpse into their experience at the time of, and after,… Read More

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  3. Hakuin on Kensho

    Hakuin on Kensho

    The Four Ways of Knowing

    • by
    • Albert Low,
    • Hakuin
    Kensho is the Zen experience of waking up to one’s own true nature—of understanding oneself to be not different from the Buddha-nature that pervades all existence. The Japanese Zen Master Hakuin (1689–1769) considered the experience to be essential. In his autobiography he says: “Anyone who would call himself a member of the Zen family must first achieve kensho-realization of the Buddha’s way. If a person who has not achieved kensho… Read More

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  4. True Love

    True Love

    A Practice for Awakening the Heart

    • by
    • Thich Nhat Hanh
    In this little treasure, Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Zen monk, offers timeless insight into the nature of real love. With simplicity, warmth, and directness, he explores the four key aspects of love as described in the Buddhist tradition: lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and freedom—explaining how to experience them in our day-to-day lives. He also emphasizes that in order to love in a real way, we must first learn how to… Read More

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  5. Wanting Enlightenment Is a Big Mistake

    Wanting Enlightenment Is a Big Mistake

    Teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn

    • by
    • Zen Master Seung Sahn
    • edited by
    • Hyon Gak
    A major figure in the transmission of Zen to the West, Zen Master Seung Sahn was known for his powerful teaching style, which was direct, surprising, and often humorous. He taught that Zen is not about achieving a goal, but about acting spontaneously from “don’t-know mind.” It is from this “before-thinking” nature, he taught, that true compassion and the desire to serve others naturally arises. This collection of teaching stories,… Read More

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  6. Waking Up to What You Do

    Waking Up to What You Do

    A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion

    • by
    • Diane Eshin Rizzetto
    Life is rising up to meet us at every moment. The question is: Are we there to meet it or not? Diane Rizzetto presents a simple but supremely effective practice for meeting every moment of our lives with mindfulness, using the Zen precepts as tools to develop a keen awareness of the motivations behind every aspect of our behavior—to "wake up to what we do"—from moment to moment. As… Read More

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  7. One Robe, One Bowl

    One Robe, One Bowl

    The Zen Poetry of Ryokan

    • by
    • John Stevens
    The hermit-monk Ryokan, long beloved in Japan both for his poetry and for his character, belongs in the tradition of the great Zen eccentrics of China and Japan. His reclusive life and celebration of nature and the natural life also bring to mind his younger American contemporary, Thoreau. Ryokan's poetry is that of the mature Zen master, its deceptive simplicity revealing an art that surpasses artifice. Although Ryokan was born… Read More

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  8. Swampland Flowers

    Swampland Flowers

    The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui

    The writings of the twelfth-century Chinese Zen master Ta Hui are as immediately accessible as those of any contemporary teacher, and this book, which introduced them to the English-speaking world in the 1970s, has become a modern classic—a regular feature of recommended reading lists for Zen centers across America, even though the book has become difficult to find. We are happy to make the book available again after more than… Read More

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    $15.95
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  9. At Hell's Gate

    At Hell's Gate

    A Soldier's Journey from War to Peace

    • by
    • Claude Anshin Thomas
    In this raw and moving memoir, Claude Thomas describes his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and his remarkable journey toward healing. At Hell's Gate is not only a gripping coming-of-age story but a spiritual travelogue from the horrors of combat to the discovery of inner peace—a journey that inspired Thomas to become a Zen monk and peace activist who travels to war-scarred regions around the world.… Read More

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  10. The Diamond Sutra and The Sutra of Hui-neng

    The Diamond Sutra and The Sutra of Hui-neng

    The Diamond Sutra, composed in India in the fourth century CE, is one of the most treasured works of Buddhist literature and is the oldest existing printed book in the world. It is known as the Diamond Sutra because its teachings are said to be like diamonds that cut away all dualistic thought, releasing one from the attachment to objects and bringing one to the further shore of enlightenment.… Read More

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