Zen and Chan Books in 2023

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We are very happy to share with you a look back at our 2023 books for those who practice in the Tibetan tradition.

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Reader Guides Released in 2023

Chan and Zen Buddhist Books Released in 2023

throf yourself
Paperback | Ebook

$19.95 - Paperback

From narrowly surviving World War II through enduring the profound rigors of traditional Zen training, Tangen Harada’s fascinating life story and teachings present a classic picture of the Buddhist journey from suffering to realization.

On August 15th, 1945, at the age of twenty, Tangen Harada stood on an airfield and prepared to board the airplane on which he would undertake a suicide mission for his country. Only the voice of Emperor Hirohito on the radio—never before heard by the Japanese public—announcing Japan’s surrender saved his life. After returning from a Soviet POW camp in 1946, overcome with questions about the meaning of human life and suffering, Harada sought out the counsel of a Zen master. He thus embarked on the path of awakening and liberation to which he would commit the rest of his life, eventually teaching thousands of people from around the world.

Throw Yourself into the House of Buddha includes Tangen Roshi’s life story in his own words, as well as twenty-four teachings conveying the heart of his Zen understanding. Each chapter, paired with a beautiful calligraphy by the master, conveys his direct, uncompromising, yet encouraging message about the possibility of Zen realization.

“Wake up,” writes Harada, “and you can say for yourself, ‘The sun is my eye, the wind my breath, all of space my heart, the mountain and ocean my body. The sun shining brightly, vividly, is the eye of my life. The vastness of the sky is my heart.’ Who is the master of this boundless heart? No one else but you. This is your reality. Heaven and earth—same root, all things—one body.”

Way of Chan
Paperback | Ebook 

$27.95 - Paperback

This landmark anthology illuminates the true story of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism’s historical development in China. Here we have the essential source material in its own native understanding, free of the mistranslation and misrepresentation that has characterized it in the modern West. As such, The Way of Ch’an offers a revolutionary understanding of Ch’an as a Buddhist-inflected form of Taoism, China’s native system of spiritual philosophy.

This authentic Ch’an was a radical and wild practice cultivating a deeply ecological form of liberation: the integration of mind and landscape/earth/Cosmos. Hinton’s accessible introductions guide us through texts that build from seminal Taoism through all stages of classical Ch’an—a tradition of zany and profound sages revealing Ch’an’s original form of awakening each in their own way. It’s a roller-coaster of voices and insights across thousands of years: The Way of Ch’an is a thrilling ride.

into the mirror
 Paperback | Ebook 

$21.95 - Paperback

While not explicitly a book on Zen practice, Into the Mirror is a call, based on Mahayana Buddhism,  to cultivate wisdom and compassion—right within this world of illusion—and an insightful challenge to the rampant materialism of modernity. Andy Karr presents accessible and powerful methods to accomplish this through investigating the way our minds construct our worlds.

Combining contemporary Western inquiries with classical Buddhist investigations into the nature of mind, Karr invites the reader to make a personal, experiential journey through study, contemplation, and meditation. He presents a series of contemplative practices from Mahayana Buddhism, starting with the Middle Way teachings on emptiness and interdependence, through Yogachara’s subtle understanding of nonduality, to the view that buddha nature is already within us to be revealed rather than something external to be acquired.

Paperback| Ebook 

$21.95 - Paperback

A modern guide to the transformative practice of silent illumination from Chan Buddhist teacher Rebecca Li.

Silent illumination, a way of penetrating the mind through curious inquiry, is an especially potent, accessible, and portable meditation practice perfectly suited for a time when there is so much fear, upheaval, and sorrow in our world. It is a method of reconnecting with our true nature, which encompasses all that exists and where suffering cannot touch us.

The practice of silent illumination is simple, allowing each moment to be experienced as it is in order to manifest our innate wisdom and natural capacity for compassion. It can be integrated into all aspects of daily life and is meaningful for secular and Buddhist audiences, new and seasoned meditators alike.

After guiding readers through the history and practice of silent illumination, Rebecca Li shows us how we can recognize and unlearn our “modes of operation”—habits of mind that get in the way of being fully present and engaged with life. Cultivating clarity on the empty nature of these habits offers us a way to unlearn and free ourselves from unhelpful modes such as harshness to self, perfectionism, quietism, striving for spiritual attainment, and more. Illumination offers stories and real-life examples, references to classic Buddhist texts, and insights from Chan Master Sheng Yen to guide readers as they practice silent illumination not just on their cushions, but throughout their lives.

turning words
Paperback| Ebook 

$18.95 - Paperback

Turning Words: Transformative Encounters with Buddhist Teachers

By Hozan Alan Senauke, foreword by Susan Moon

A poignant portrait of spiritual relationships evoked through the remarkable words of Buddhist teachers, leaders, and trailblazers.

Across nearly forty years of practice in Zen and socially engaged Buddhism, Hozan Alan Senauke has had a range of remarkable encounters with Buddhist teachers and spiritual friends. Here are stories of moments in which someone’s words, actions, or presence opened his mind and heart. Touching on meditation, insight, social action, race, family, community, and more, these vignettes build like a chorus and convey lessons such as taking one’s work seriously without taking oneself seriously, letting things fall apart, and using oneself up on behalf of others. The book’s stories feature many of the great Zen teachers, engaged Buddhists, and global Buddhist leaders of our day, including Robert Aitken, Bernie Glassman, Shodo Harada, Dainin Katagiri, Jarvis Masters, Ven. Sheng Yen, Sulak Sivaraksa, and many more—with a special section devoted to the teachings of Senauke’s primary teacher, Sojun Mel Weitsman.

opening to oneness
Paperback| Ebook 

$21.95 - Paperback

Stop trying to become “better” by suppressing or hiding parts of yourself, and learn what it means to be fully human with this accessible guide to the core ethical teachings of Zen Buddhism.

In Opening to Oneness, Zen teacher Nancy Baker offers a detailed path of practice for Zen students planning to take the precepts and for anyone, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, interested in deepening their personal study of ethical living. She reveals that there are three levels of each precept: a literal level (don’t kill, not even a bug), a relative level that takes moral ambiguity into account (what if it’s a malaria-spreading mosquito?), and an ultimate level—the paradoxical level of nonduality, in which the precepts are naturally expressed from a state of oneness.

Full of nuance, intelligence, and compassion, the first half of the book addresses the ten grave precepts mostly from the relative level, including instructions for how to practice these precepts individually and in pairs or groups.

The second half of the book takes a deep dive into looking at the precepts from the ultimate perspective, largely through an exploration of the writings of Dogen, the thirteenth-century religious genius who founded the Soto Zen school.

At once comprehensive and innovative, Opening to Oneness will take its place alongside classics like The Mind of CloverThe Heart of Being, and Being Upright as a cherished guide to Zen Buddhist ethics.

enlightenment is an accident cover
 Paperback | Ebook 

$19.95 - Paperback

A warm-hearted guide to Buddhist practice for those ready to contend with the reality that enlightenment—the realization of non-self—can’t be achieved by the self.

A well-known spiritual saying goes, “Enlightenment is an accident. But we can make ourselves more accident prone.” As an authentic American Zen takes shape, enlightenment continues to be misunderstood as a project to be completed, a goal to be achieved, or a prize to be awarded. Tim Burkett’s new book unhooks enlightenment from the hot air balloon of ego and brings it back down to earth.

Drawing on stories of his first teacher, the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki (author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind), and Burkett’s decades of practice and teaching, he reveals how to live in the world with a deep joy that comes from embracing the work and play of this very moment. With the wisdom and humor of a seasoned practitioner familiar with all manner of eccentric fixations and silly dead-ends, he offers views and practices we can use to support the paradoxical process of letting enlightenment happen on its own.

 Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook

$21.95 - Paperback

An unlikely duo—Professor Peter Singer, a preeminent philosopher and professor of bioethics, and Venerable Shih Chao-Hwei, a Taiwanese Buddhist monastic of the Chan tradition and social activist—join forces to talk ethics in lively conversations that cross oceans, overcome language barriers, and bridge philosophies. The eye-opening dialogues collected here share unique perspectives on contemporary issues like animal welfare, gender equality, the death penalty, and more. Together, these two deep thinkers explore the foundation of ethics and key Buddhist concepts, and ultimately reveal how we can all move toward making the world a better place.

cover of fire runs through it
 Paperback | Ebook 

$21.95 - Paperback

A Fire Runs through All Things: Zen Koans for Facing the Climate Crisis

By Susan Murphy

At a time of climate emergency, Zen koans show us how crisis itself can reveal the regenerative openness of life, mind, and being.

Zen koans are a tradition of holistic inquiry based on “encounter stories” from East Asia’s most radical Buddhist tradition. Turning this form of inquiry toward the climate crisis, Susan Murphy contends that koans can help us enter the mind of not-knowing, from which acceptance and possibility freely emerge. Koans reveal intimate, mythic, artful, playful, provocative, humorous, and fierce ways to engage the work of protecting and healing our world.

The koans point firstly at ourselves—at the very nature of "self." Until we hold “self” as a live question rather than its own unquestioned answer, we’re stuck looking on from the “outside,” hoping to engineer change upon a problem called “climate crisis,” all the time oblivious to the fact that we’re swimming in a reality with no outside to it, an ocean of transformative energy. Do we dare relinquish our wish for absolute control and fearlessly surf the intensity of our feelings about the suffering earth?

In addition to her use of dozens of traditional and new koans, Murphy illuminates the little-known Zen resonance with the oldest continuous body of indigenous wisdom on earth, summed up in the subtle Australian Aboriginal word Country. Murphy draws from her study and coteaching with Uncle Max (Dulumunmun) Harrison, a distinguished Yuin Elder, to show how this millennia-deep taproot of intelligence confirms the aliveness of the earth and the kinship of all beings.

little book of zen cover
 Hardcover | Ebook 

$19.95 - Hardcover

Accessible and adaptable Japanese Buddhist rituals to infuse your life with purpose, healing, and gratitude when you need it most.

How do we make and sustain meaning amidst the messy conditions of daily life? Personalized rituals can help us blossom like lotuses right in the mud of the present. On a pilgrimage she began after her mother’s death, author Paula Arai encountered numerous Japanese Buddhists who taught her the remarkable power of ritual to heal—practices you can adapt to your own cultural and personal circumstances. Applying principles of Zen practice, she offers stories and insights that illuminate how to nourish and reap a healing bounty of connection, joy, and compassion. Examples include how to:

  • Relate to a late loved one as a “personal Buddha” who supports you
  • Create a home altar to serve as a safe space to be vulnerable, face intense emotions, and experience a depth of warm gratitude that melts fear and anger
  • Engage in daily tasks with attentiveness, intention, and creativity such that they become opportunities for body-mind integration
  • Develop family rituals to celebrate relationships and mark transitions
  • Approach illness and grief with a purposeful sense of connection to life-and-death in its wholeness

Like Marie Kondo's Shinto principles for decluttering, Paula Arai uses rituals influenced by Japanese Zen for personal and relational nourishment and spiritual healing.

Card Deck

$27.95 - MixedMedia

“In a moment, in a breath, we can drop in and have the wherewithal to meet whatever the moment is offering.”

Featuring the original artwork of Roshi Joan Halifax, this collection of cards offers short and powerful meditative practices that allow you to tune in, still the mind, and cultivate courage—in just a moment’s time.

in a moment cards
zen recovery cover
Paperback | Ebook

$21.95 - Paperback

An accessible, compassionate guide to Buddhist principles and practices that can help support recovery from addictions and addictive behaviors—written by an experienced lay teacher with long-term recovery.

For anyone struggling with addiction, Buddhism offers powerful, grounding wisdom and tools to help support recovery. In The Zen Way of Recovery, Laura Burges shares her experience as a dedicated Zen practitioner who came to terms with her own addiction to alcohol and found support for her recovery. Through the lens of Buddhist teachings, Burges offers tools and practices which, together with the help of recovery programs, can offer a road to sobriety.

Burges is an experienced and compassionate guide, and her message is resonant for people with any type of addictive behavior—and for people who aren’t necessarily familiar with Buddhism. Her teachings are drawn from the Buddha's life and teachings (specifically the Eight Awarenesses of the Awakened Being and the Six Paramitas), and the wisdom of Japanese Buddhist priest Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Soto school of Zen, among others.

Burges emphasizes the importance of being in an active recovery program, and the teachings and practices she offers in each chapter—including reflections, journaling prompts, meditations, instructions for setting up an altar, and a simple guide to zazen—are both a perfect adjunct and powerful reinforcement.

Examples of reflections and journaling prompts include:

  • Do you still hear the critical, contemptuous, sarcastic voice of a parent or partner in your own head?
  • Do you sometimes hear yourself mirroring this negative voice with others?
  • What were the models of relationship that you grew up with?
  • What are ways that you can cultivate more patience?
  • Check in with yourself to see if tiredness, hunger, loneliness, or anger is affecting your thinking in the moment.

For Kids

In 2023 we published several wonderful books parents who want to expose their kids to the ideas, culture, and figures Chan and Zen.  We hope these delight them!

zen for kids
Paperback | Ebook

$18.95 - Paperback

Zen-inspired activities and stories to help kids learn about patience, kindness, honesty, sharing, and forgiveness.

Have you ever heard the word Zen? It’s what happens when you sit quietly, noticing your breath and what it feels like to just be alive. Zen is a way of closely looking at our life and the world around us so that we can share love and compassion with everyone and everything!

Each chapter has a new story to explore, with themed discussion questions, meditations, journal prompts, and hands-on projects.

Make Zen a part of your everyday life with this fun and friendly guide!

Rebirths: New Editions of Classics

art of peace
 Paperback | Ebook 

$16.95 - Paperback

true love cover
 Paperback | Ebook 

$14.95 - Paperback

you are here cover
 Paperback | Ebook 

$16.95 - Paperback

book of tea
 Paperback | Ebook 

$14.95 - Paperback

tai chi classics cover
 Paperback | Ebook 

$21.95 - Paperback

2023 Books Related to Chan and Zen

lost art book cover
 Paperback | Ebook  | Audiobook

$21.95 - Paperback

good fengshui cover
 Paperback | Ebook 

$21.95 - Paperback

Card Deck

$29.95 - MixedMedia

Buddhist Audiobooks

living is dying audiobook
happiness is overrated cover audiobook
buddhist ethicist audiobook cover

Forthcoming in 2024

And we have even more from the Chan and Zen traditions coming out next year from the likes of Yamada Mumon Roshi, James Ford, Nelson Foster, Cristina Moon, David Hinton (a new translation of the Blue Cliff Record), Korean Soen teacher Barbara Rhodes, Gerry Shishin Wick (on the Five Ranks), Kaz Tanahashi on the Zen gardens of Kyoto, and more.  So make sure you sign up for our emails so you do not miss them!  Here is a sneak peek at our first 2024 release which you can pre-order now and take advantage of the discount.

hakuin song cover
Paperback | Ebook

$24.95 - Paperback

Hakuin’s Song of Zazen: Yamada Mumon Roshi on Zen Practice

By Yamada Mumon Roshi, foreword by D. T. Suzuki, translated by Norman Waddell

Renowned modern Zen master Yamada Mumon Rōshi uses Hakuin’s famous poem of spiritual realization, Song of Zazen, as a starting point to embark on a lively commentary on Zen practice in contemporary life.

First published in Japan in 1962, Hakuin’s Song of Zazen is a celebrated collection of short essays by Zen master Yamada Mumon Rōshi. Translated into English for the first time, it introduces the story of Hakuin’s early life and training, then uses his classic Zen chanting poem, Song of Zazen, to make wide-ranging considerations of the Zen tradition and its applications in modern Japanese life.
As Daisetz Suzuki remarks in his foreword, what gives Mumon’s book its unique flavor and makes it different from previous works by Zen teachers are his forays into matters of ordinary, everyday life, expanding his Zen teaching to encompass interests that are closely linked with his lay audience. He responds to a news article that catches his eye in the morning paper, delivers criticism on contemporary political and social trends, explores matters as diversified as the uses of atomic energy, the court culture of seventeenth-century France, a leper hospital on an island in the Inland Sea, Albert Schweitzer and other noted Western figures—and more. In doing this Mumon gives readers open access to the opinions, judgements, and practical thinking of a leading Zen master—a map of his planet, so to speak. Each brief chapter of Mumon’s book is an invitation to follow Hakuin and himself down the path of true Zen realization.