Best Books On Zen Living

Daniel Brown
• Friday, 08 January, 2021
• 10 min read

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.

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In this article, we’ve listed down our 5 favorite Zen books which should be read by anyone who’s passionate or wants to learn more about Zen. 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.

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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. Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Dec 6, 2016 and has been updated regularly since then for relevance and comprehensiveness.

Some are personal stories, some are educative and contain tutorials, some are in-depth essay style publications, and some are novellas. In the list below, I’ve shared different works that together encompass a broad range of Zen teaching.

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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 bestZenbooks 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 bestZenbooks 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.

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What makes this one of the bestZenbooks 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 booking 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. Natalie is a highly regarded Zen teacher whose words are captivating and enlightening.

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.

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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.

The Occult Anatomy of Man Sign in with Facebook Excellent books which instill wisdom and insight into the oneness of the human spirit.

* lining up your shoes after you take them off can bring order to your mind; * joining your hands together in basso can soothe irritation and conflict; * putting down your fork after every bite can help you feel more grateful for what you have; * understanding the concept of Chicago Chile can make everyday interactions more meaningful; * immersing yourself in taken can sweep the clutter from your mind; * planting a flower and watching it grow can teach you to embrace change; * practicing Shikoku can help you feel more fulfilled; * going outside to watch the sunset can make every day feel celebratory. With each daily practice, you will learn to find happiness not by seeking out extraordinary experiences but by making small changes to your life, opening yourself up to a renewed sense of peace and inner calm.

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Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be “Natural asceticism” involves a lifestyle which reduces material aspects of life to the utmost simplicity and to a minimum. Brown The Art of Simple Living : 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy.

Our Top Pick: The Saucer Craft Pro Series Work Table from Amazon It’s a way to express your individual creativity, or relax and find refuge from the stresses of everyday living.

With adjustable bookcase style ends for plenty of storage on each side. Dimensions: 55 x 40.75 by 38.5 H Best Budget Option Sherwood Home London Hobby Desk Great for Die Cutting, Paper, and Fabric Crafts. Key Features: A good wall/space-saving option for a budget price. Dimensions: 47.4 x 26.375 by 58.375 H Full Review Best Foldable Table / Best for Dress-Making Sew Ready Studio Designs Folding Multipurpose Hobby and Craft Cutting Table Great for Fabric, Sewing, and Paper Crafts.

The 60 by 30-inch tabletop provides a much larger working surface area than you’d get with any standard office desk. There’s enough space to work on a large cutting mat, and still leave room for a Circuit, sewing machine, and other essential pieces of craft equipment, as well as room for a table light/magnifier, glue gun, pencils, scissors, players, or other craft tools.

The 3 large central drawers keep your craft tools close to hand and a handy feature is that you can remove them (as in the photo below) and place them on your worktop for easy access to essential items. The melamine top is heat, stain, and scratch-resistant this table is sturdy and won’t vibrate when sewing, for example.

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What We Like: Lots of Storage | You can organize your craft essentials easily and neatly but with everything still in view. Laminated Wood on All Sides | This means the table will look good whichever angle it’s viewed from.

Spacious | There’s plenty of tabletop working area, and much larger than you’d get with a standard office desk. It is, it has to be said, a little pricier than Saucer Craft Pro we’ve just looked at, but it does have one big advantage over our previous pick, and that feature, in our opinion, makes it well worth considering.

And with a large surface area of 15 sq ft there’s plenty of elbow room too. Each shelf is height adjustable, so you can easily store taller rolls of paper or fabric etc.

This is a simple and contemporary space-saving craft table that incorporates wall shelf storage. It features 12 storage cabbies or cubes with a countertop workspace of just over 47 wide by 26 deep.

To give you an idea of storage size, each chubby measures 9 deep, 11.5 wide and 15.25 tall. What We Like: Contemporary Design | It would look good in any craft room and the built-in cabbies are great to store and display crafty items.

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Wide Countertop Space with Integral Wall Shelving | Great for moving and storing heavier crafting equipment like a sewing machine to one side without having to move it off the table surface in order to make more room. Buying Factors to Consider: This crafting table looks good and is economically price.

However, it isn’t waterproof or even water-resistant, so it would be a good idea with this option to find something to protect the table surface if your craft involves liquids of any kind. There are two slide-out wire mesh storage draws in the central area and a bottom shelf that’s the perfect size for a die-cutting machine.

Grid Option | It’s ideal for fabric cutting, dressmaking, and quilt making. Built-in Storage | The shelf and wire baskets are handy to store your machine and any essentials for the project you’re currently working on.

But you can also order a custom insert form Arrow for a specific size of machine. The only downside to this one is that you’ll need your trusty screwdriver at the ready, and plenty of time to assemble the cabinet.

Buying Factors to Consider: It’s great for laying out and cutting fabrics, for sewing projects, and quilt making. They often include cupboard space for a sewing machine, die cutting machine or other essential equipment and some have tall storage areas for rolls of paper or fabric, slanted shelving for paper stock or spindles for spools of ribbons, etc.

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