Karen Armstrong the celebrated religious scholar reflects upon the life of Siddhārtha Gautama and how he became the Buddha. The New York Times Book Review calls this work "penetrating, readable and prescient."
The Dhammapada is a third century collection of the Buddha's words in verse forms. Composed in the ancient Pali language during the third century, the Dhammapada has become the most widely read and studied Buddhist scripture in existence.
Kaye, the Abbott of Kannon Do, a Zen Meditation Center, uses his experience as a design engineer for IBM for over 30 years and applies the lessons in Zen to the work place. This extraordinary book intertwines Zen practice with corporate culture.
Alan Watts used his wit, charm and uncommon insight to explain Zen Buddhism to a Western audiences over 50 years ago, and it remains as fresh and vibrant as the day it was written. The first half of the book relates the rich history of Zen Buddhism starting with its ancient Indian and Chinese roots. The second part of the book devotes itself to Zen principles and practice including the tradition of Zazen.
"An exposition of Buddhism conceived in a resolutely modern spirit.”--from the Foreword. "For years,” says the Journal of the Buddhist Society, "the newcomer to Buddhism has lacked a simple and reliable introduction to the complexities of the subject. Dr. Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught fills the need as only could be done by one having a firm grasp of the vast material to be sifted. It is a model of what a book should be that is addressed first of all to 'the educated and intelligent reader.’ Authoritative and clear, logical and sober, this study is as comprehensive as it is masterly.” A classic textbook.
Written by a Jesuit theologian who became a leading Zen scholar after studying Zen during the 1930s in Japan, this book has become a classic of Zen history. Dumoulin carefully considers Zen history, introduces many of Zens greatest thinkers and even examines topics such as Zen in art and culture.
The most beloved of American Zen books was created from the transcripts of Suzuki Roshi's talk at Haiku Zen, the predecessor of Kannon Do. Read this slowly, one or two chapters a week.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." Suzuki Roshi presents the basics-from the details of posture and breathing in Zazen to the perception of non-duality in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page. It's a book to come back to time and time again as an inspiration to practice.
The Digha Nikaya, or the Long Discourses of Buddha, are considered some of the oldest records of the Buddha's original teachings. These are the the major texts of the Pali Cannon and focus on the gentleness, compassion, power, and penetrating wisdom of the Buddha.
Originally released under the title Thus I Have Heard, Walshe's translation cuts through the often endless repetitions while rendering this important text into graceful modern English. Wisdom publications offers a preview of the first 53 pages.
The Shōbōgenzō by the Japanese Sōtō Zen Master Eihei Dōgen usually refers to 95 lectures and writings given to his monks and recorded by his Dharma successorKoun Ejō between the years 1231-1253. However, the organization of Dōgen's work can be very confusing: Shōbōgenzō can refer to three different collections of Dōgen's essays. This article from the website About.com does a lovely job of explaining the difference. If this were not confusing enough, the term Shōbōgenzō maybe used to refer to the essence of Buddha dharma in Mahayana Buddhism or a title of Koan collections written by the Dahui Zonggao.
Dōgen'sShōbōgenzō can be difficult for Westerners, so studying in a group with others it can be most helpful. A wonderful place to start is studying Dōgen's essay Genjokoan, thirteen paragraphs outlining Zen for the lay practitioner.
A free downloadable very readable translation by the monk Hubert Nearman. Prior to becoming a monk, he was a scholar and translator of medieval Japanese texts and was a recipient of a grant for his translation work from the National Endowment for the Humanities.