Published more than 40 years ago, this read has grown to be one of the most highly regarded spiritual publications in the world. If you are a beginner, you will learn everything you need to know to get started, including posture and breathing techniques, as well as the most important practices.
Alan Watts is one of the true masters of Buddhist interpretation, and oh boy does he show it in this, one of the best Zen books ever written. In this title, Alan Watts takes us back to basics as he reveals the true interpretation of Buddhist philosophy.
He journeys all the way back to the birth of Buddhism as it rose from the concepts of Hinduism. From there we journey towards today and see how Chan has grown over the years, right up to the modern-day and a look at the symbolical representation of Buddhism in Japanese art.
What makes this one of the best Zen books of all time is the way in which Watt’s explains the core concepts for a Western audience. In Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, author Robert M Persia shares the transformational story of a journey across America with his son.
The journey becomes a story of personal growth and transformation as Persia delves into the most fundamental questions of modern-day living. In it, Joshi Philip Tableau presents an examination of the three core pillars of Chan Buddhism: teaching, practice and enlightenment.
What makes this one of the best Zen books ever is Tableau’s ability to merge his personal story in technical teachings on the practices and techniques. As we journey through Tableau’s time from student to master, we are led along our own path of spiritual development.
Revised to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the current edition features beautiful illustrations and photographs that are really just the icing on the cake. Originally published in 1957, this title immediately won the hearts of readers who were just beginning to learn about Chan Buddhism.
Subsequently, it has become one of the most influential publications on the subject, inspiring students and teachers alike. This title presents texts and challenges readers to make their own interpretations of the core philosophies of Chan Buddhism.
Let the whole thundering world come home book In Let The Whole Thundering World Come Home, Zen practitioner Natalie Goldberg shares a personal and inspiring story of how she overcame the trauma of cancer by practicing Zen. It provides easy ways to start meditating and answers most of the common questions about the practice.
Suzuki is one of the most prominent luminaries in the field, inspiring millions of people around the world. Arguably David Suzuki’s best book on is An Introduction To Zen Buddhism (the contents of the book is far more compelling than its uninspired title suggests).
There’s depth and insight for the most ardent Chan Buddhist, and there are clear instructions and advice for newcomers. The best thing about this book is that it is very straightforward and offers clear guidance on various aspects of Zen.
The book covers the basics of Zen and shows you how to apply the concepts to your own life to create feelings of peace and happiness. The book focuses on playfulness and curiosity, which the author, Charlie Ambler, states is the key to being a happy person.
It’s a more light-hearted read compared to the other books in this list, and the illustrations are really cool (done by Brooklyn artist Iris Gottlieb). If you’ve been looking for a more playful book to help you get into Zen, I highly recommend Charlie Ambler’s read.
Radical Acceptance by Tara Branch The Art of Happiness, Dalai Lama The Power of Now, Eckhart Toll Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Persia Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Bachelor The Tibetan Book of the Dead as translated by Gourmet More The Connected Discourses by Shikoku Bod hi Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and PRE- Zen Writings by Paul Reps and Neogene Sendai Everyday Zen : Love & Work Charlotte Joke Beck Buddhism: An Introduction and Guide by Christmas Humphreys How to Meditate by Kathleen McDonald The Buddha, Geoff, and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas Buddhism: What Everyone Needs to Know by Dale S. Wright Psychotherapy Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up by Kosher Paley Ellison Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening by Joseph Goldstein Zen as F×ck (Zen as F×ck Journals) by Monica Sweeney The Dude and the Zen Master, by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman The Three Pillars of Zen : Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment by Philip Tableau Joshi Buddhism Plain & Simple by Steve Hagen Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness by Change Denebola Narayana Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night: A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of by the Holiness the Dalai Lama Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Every day by Matthew Sociology Zurchungpa’s Testament with commentary by Diego Hyenas Roche Buddhism for Beginners by Tauten Chevron Awareness by Anthony Demerol Women’s Buddhism, Buddhism’s Women by Ellison Banks Finely Awakening Compassion by Pea Chevron One Teacher, Many Traditions by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tauten Chevron Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pea Chevron Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Was The Way of the White Clouds by Lama Angara Dorinda Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac Buddhism: An Introduction to the Buddha’s Life, Teachings, and Practices by Joan Duncan Oliver One Breath at a Time by Kevin Edward Griffin Eight Steps to Happiness by Ge she Kelsey Goats Zen Training by Philip Tableau Joshi Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism by Kittisaro and Honiara A Still Forest Pool by Again Chat In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pale Canon by Shikoku Bod hi When we first start practicing Zen meditation, there is this voracious curiosity to learn more about this fascinating philosophy.
Luckily, there are several books that explore this vast subject in great detail. The book contains mindfulness advice from one of the greatest authorities on Zen, Which That Hand.
It is full of useful guidelines and principles for leading a mindful, peaceful life and helping those around you do the same. What’s truly wonderful about this book is that the author has lived by these guidelines and principles all his life.
Exiled from his native country Vietnam for his participation in the peace movement, Which That Hand has since lived in France. Though he has authored several books on Zen and on the life and teachings of the Buddha, Peace is Every Step deserves a special mention in this list because it presents mindfulness principles in the context of everyday life.
Which That Hand acknowledges the sorrows and challenges of modern life, but draws our attention back to the power of the present moment. While practicing Taken meditation, it’s important to approach the subject with a beginner’s mind.
And that is the idea Suzuki presents in an eloquent style while demystifying a complex subject like Zen. Suzuki provides helpful and thought-provoking truths about meditation for anyone who wants to lead a more mindful life.
Best quote from the book : “What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.” If you’ve ever wanted to learn about the history of Buddhism and Zen, this is the book you should read.
Watts effectively outlines the history of Buddhism, its roots in Vedic philosophy, and its travel through China to Japan. Like Zen itself, Alan Watts’ style is simple, straightforward, and devoid of unnecessary jargon.
Any Zen reading list would be incomplete without a book containing the teachings of the Dalai Lama. This book is a series of interviews and meetings between Dr. Howard Cutler and the Dalai Lama, as His Holiness explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, and illustrates how one can ride through life’s challenges and obstacles to lead a more peaceful, mindful life.
Though not as comprehensive and detailed as other books in this list, Tableau’s passion for the subject and his enthusiasm to share insights on Zen is remarkable. So these are the books we’d recommend to people who are interested to learn more about Zen.
Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G4 or i5-1135G7 Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.88 pounds Storage: 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 10.5 hours you want a laptop with a stylus and a 360-degree hinge that lets you flip the screen all the way around to use the system as a tablet (or in any intermediate position, such as tent mode) and you don’t mind carrying something a little heavier than our top pick, get the HP Specter x360 13 or the 13t-aw200 model with a newer processor. It’s similar in size to the XPS 13, and it offers solid battery life, comparable performance, a reliable keyboard and trackpad, and a vibrant touchscreen.
It offers performance similar to that of our top pick, but it’s larger and heavier, and it has shorter battery life. Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7 Screen: 14-inch 1920×1080 touch Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.1 pounds Storage: 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 12.5 hours you want a great Ultrabook but don’t have a thousand dollars to spend, we recommend the Lenovo Yoga 7i (14”).
Compared with the XPS 13, the Yoga 7i is larger and heavier, it has shorter battery life, and its keyboard isn’t quite as enjoyable to type on. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the best laptop we’ve tested in the past few years; it’s just several hundred dollars more than most people should pay for an Ultrabook.
It offers performance similar to that of our top pick, but it’s larger and heavier, and it has shorter battery life. Collapse all Wire cutter has been researching and testing Ultrabooks since 2013, and our PC team has more than 37 years of collective experience reviewing all kinds of laptops.
It offers better everyday performance than the best cheap Windows option as well as a full workday of battery life. We generally look for Ultrabooks under 3 pounds, too; there’s a noticeable difference when you’re handling a laptop that weighs more.
For Ultrabooks, we want to see at least 10 hours of battery life in our tests, which indicates that you won’t have to worry about rushing to find an outlet at the end of the day. Memory: You’ll need a minimum of 8 GB of RAM to keep everything running smoothly when switching between programs, opening lots of files, and thumbing through browser tabs.
We used each laptop for at least a day of ordinary work, which consisted of running two browsers with at least 20 open tabs at a time (using Google Docs, Sheets, Slack, Basecamp, and Gmail, and doing lots of research) while streaming music in the background. We then lived with each finalist for a few days, which gave us an intimate understanding of each competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, and quirks.
Both models have plenty of battery life for a full day of work or classes, but our recommended Core i5 configuration will last longer away from an outlet. Photo: Michael HessionThe XPS 13 has a responsive keyboard that feels snappy to type on, and you can cycle through three levels of backlighting using a function key.
We found the precision touchpad to be exact and reliable, with accurate tap-to-click and a satisfying, relatively quiet physical click. The newest XPS 13 (left) has a taller screen than the previous design (right) yet avoids being a larger laptop overall.
Cheaper laptops can feel hollow, and their chassis can creak and flex under light pressure; some are so flimsy that you can accidentally click the trackpad by placing your hands on the palm-rest area. Just as on previous generations of the XPS 13, this model’s carbon-fiber-composite palm rest is coated in textured, soft-touch black paint, which makes for a comfortable, non-sweaty surface.
The middle of the keyboard flexes a little under heavy pressure, but overall the XPS 13 looks and feels like the premium laptop it is. The XPS 13 (9310) has a reliable fingerprint reader on the power button; it worked quickly every time we logged in.
Everyone needs more USB ports, and we have updated picks to help you make sure you can attach all your devices while you work from home. Judging from our experience, most laptop manufacturers (except Apple) have poor customer service.
Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G4 or i5-1135G7 Screen: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 touch Memory: 8 GB Weight: 2.88 pounds Storage: 256 GB SSD Tested battery life: 10.5 hours you want a laptop with a 360-degree hinge that lets you flip the screen all the way around to use it as a tablet (or in any intermediate position) and you don’t mind carrying something heavier than our top pick, get the HP Specter x360 13 or the 13t-aw200 model with a newer processor. It’s similar in size to the Dell XPS 13, with solid battery life, a reliable keyboard and trackpad, and a vibrant touchscreen.
For a laptop that you’ll occasionally flip around to use in different modes, the Specter x360 13’s size and weight are a distinct advantage. Photo: Michael HessionAlthough the HP Specter x360 13’s keyboard feels springy and responsive to type on, it has some quirks.
First, the keyboard is offset to the left to make room for an additional column of navigation keys on the right. Second, the keyboard is silver with a white backlight, which makes the key legends impossible to read in a well-lit room.
In everyday use, the x360 13’s precision touchpad was smooth and enjoyable; the trackpad responded to all of our two-finger and three-finger gestures, and we never accidentally moved the cursor with our palms while we were using the keyboard. The 13.3-inch, 1080p (1920×1080) IPS screen was vivid and enjoyable to use, and its colors looked a little closer to neutral compared with the XPS 13’s warm, slightly greenish tint.
Like Dell, HP offers a 4K display option; we prefer Ultrabooks with 1080p screens for their longer battery life. The Specter x360 13’s touch display has more glare than the XPS 13’s screen, which makes this model less suitable for use in a sunny room.
The Specter x360 13 also comes with an active stylus for taking notes, drawing, and sketching, and it worked fine during our writing tests. The hinge is tight and keeps the screen in place, but when the laptop is shut, there is a bit of a gap where crumbs and other gunk can get into the keyboard area.
I didn’t love the awkward port and power-button placement on the back corners of the laptop, but their location wasn’t problematic in everyday use. It offers performance similar to that of our top pick, but it’s larger and heavier, and it has shorter battery life.
Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7 Screen: 14-inch 1920×1080 touch Memory: 8 GB Weight: 3.1 pounds Storage: 256 GB SSD Testedbatterylife: 12.5 hours you want a great Ultrabook but don’t have a thousand dollars to spend, we recommend the Lenovo Yoga 7i (14). But it’s still plenty portable to use for a full day of work or classes, and it has performance similar to that of our top picks.
Although the 7i has a 360-degree hinge and can flip into tablet mode like the HP Specter x360 13 and the Lenovo Yoga 9i, this budget model is larger and more unwieldy, and it doesn’t come with an active stylus for taking notes or drawing. The Yoga 7i feels sturdier and less hollow than other budget Ultrabooks like the Asus Netbook UX333FA or both Dell Inspired models we’ve tested.
Lenovo finally added a lip on the latest version of the Yoga 7i, so the lid is easy to open one-handed like on our other picks. On the left side, the Yoga 7i has two Thunderbolt 4 ports that can carry power and display, as well as an audio jack.
The X1 Carbon's greatest flaw is its typically high price, but if you can overlook that, this laptop is nearly perfect. In battery life, the X1 Carbon Gen 7 fell a bit short of the Dell XPS 13 in our testing, but both laptops will last for a full day’s work.
Photo: Michael HessionThe Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has the best keyboard of any laptop we’ve ever used. Its precision touchpad doesn’t provide the same satisfying clicking noise as the XPS 13’s trackpad, but it’s quiet, comfortable, and accurate.
The X1 Carbon also has a red Tracking nub in the middle of the keyboard; if you so choose, you can use this dot to navigate instead of the trackpad. The laptop’s lid feels smooth to the touch, its solid body is made from carbon fiber and magnesium, and its palm rest is a comfortable place to keep your hand while you’re not typing.
We didn’t notice any flex in its keyboard or its lid; like the XPS 13, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is sturdily and reliably built. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a power button, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, and a Kensington lock slot on the right side.
It has long battery life and a solid keyboard and trackpad, plus a larger, 14-inch screen and a slot to store its smaller stylus when you’re not using that. But Yoga 9i is more expensive, and the more compact, lighter HP Specter x360 13 is easier to flip around and use as a tablet.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is an excellent Ultrabook with a great keyboard and trackpad, solid battery life, and outstanding build quality. But the bezels surrounding the Surface Laptop 3’s taller-aspect-ratio 13.5-inch screen are noticeably larger than on our picks, making this Ultrabook bulkier than the Dell XPS 13 (9300).
It has long battery life (about 11 and a half hours in our test), it’s light and compact, and it has a decent keyboard and trackpad. But Acer doesn’t include a USB-C charger, and it comes preloaded with a lot of bloatware that we recommend removing with the Refresh Windows tool.
This Swift 3 is compact, weighs exactly the same as the XPS 13, and its battery lasted about 10.5 hours in our tests. But unlike almost every other laptop in this price range, the Swift 3 meets our performance, battery life, and weight requirements, and has no deal breaking flaws.
We’re also excited to see more laptop makers add taller aspect ratio screens, and we plan to test this new batch of Ultrabooks as soon as they’re available. The C940 is still a decent option if you find a good sale, but the newer model has a few hours more battery life.
The Dell XPS 13 (9300) was our previous top pick, but it’s been discontinued and replaced with the 9310 model with 11th-gen processors. Its battery doesn’t last quite as long, but it’s pretty much the same laptop if you find our recommended configuration on sale.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is another good Ultrabook, but compared to the similarly-priced Lenovo Yoga C740 and Acer Swift 3 SF313-52-52VA it has shorter battery life, a smaller screen, and it comes with Windows 10 in S mode. The Acer Swift 5 SF514-55TA-74EC had long battery life in our tests, but it costs around $1,300, doesn’t come with a USB-C charger, and its build quality and keyboard aren’t quite as nice as those of our picks.
The Dell Inspired 13 5000 (5391) is another very cheap Ultrabook that meets our performance and battery life requirements. It has super-long battery life (nearly 14 hours in our test), a decent keyboard and trackpad, and a fingerprint reader, plus it charges via USB-C.
We like the taller-aspect-ratio screen of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390), but this laptop is typically more expensive than the HP Specter x360 13, and its male keyboard is unpleasant to type on. The Racer Blade Stealth 13 starts at $1,500 with 10th-generation processors, and compared with the XPS 13, it’s larger and heavier and has shorter battery life.
It’s an excellent laptop with a fun RGB keyboard and a responsive trackpad, but most people shouldn’t pay more than the XPS 13’s price for it. In our test, the Acer Swift 5 (SF514-54T-5428) ’s battery life was shorter than the Yoga C740’s at 8 hours 20 minutes.
Timber Streams is a senior staff writer and has been covering laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more for Wire cutter since 2014. In that time they’ve tested hundreds of laptops and thousands of peripherals, and built way too many mechanical keyboards for their personal collection.