Buddhist Book Group Readings

A List for the Louisville Zen Center

Upcoming Meetings

March 19, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 PM Eastern

  • “Lingzhao’s Helping.” The first story in part 4 (“The Path of Practice”) in The Hidden Lamp. There is a teisho by Amala Sensei from 1/15/14 on this story.
  • The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics. Robert Aitken. North Point Press, 4th ed., 1984. Meredith.

April 16, 2021, 5:30 – 6:30 PM Eastern

  • Therigatha. There are at least three English versions.  Anna Belle suggests either:
    • The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns. Matty Weingast. Shambhala, 2020. Article about this edition.
    • The First Buddhist Women: Translations and Commentary on the Therigatha.  Susan Murcott.  Parallax Press, 1991.  This has much more information on these women in addition to the poems.  Both of these translations are labors of love.

Books for 2021

  1. Stories from The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. Florence Caplow and Susan Moon. Wisdom Publications, 2013.  A list of some of Sensei Amala Wrightson’s Teisho on The Hidden Lamp.
  2. Minding the Earth, Mending the World: Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis. Susan Murphy. Counterpoint, 2014. Alan.
  3. The Three Pillars of Zen. Philip Kapleau, Roshi. Michael.
  4. Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong. Norman Fischer. Shambhala, 2013. Judd and Larry.
  5. Wisdom of Imperfection: The Challenge of Individuation in Buddhist Life. Rob Preece. Snow Lion Publications, 2006. Paul.

Zen Books Under Consideration

* = On the RZC Suggested Reading List


  • * Illuminating Silence: Insights on the Path of Chinese Zen. Chinese Zen master Sheng-yen, (John H. Crook, Ed.). Watkins Publishing, 2018.
  • * Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice. Kosho Uchiyama, Roshi, (Jisho Warner, Shohaku Okumura, & Thomas Wright, eds.). Wisdom Publications; revised, expanded edition, 2004.
  • The Practice of Zen. Zhenji Zhang. Greenwood Press, 1978, ©1959. Recommended by Larry.
  • * Taking the Path of Zen. Robert Aitken, Roshi. North Point Press, 1982.
  • * The Way of Korean Zen. Master Kusan Sunim, (Martine Batchelor, tr. & Stephen Batchelor, ed.). Weatherhill, 2009.
  • * Zen: Merging of East and West. Philip Kapleau, Roshi.  Anchor, 1989. [Revised edition of: Zen: Dawn in the West. Anchor Press, 1979.] Recommended by Jeanette.

Lectures & Essays

  • Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot. Soyen Shaku. Translated by D.T. Suzuki. Three Leaves, 2004. Recommended by Abu.
  • * Zen: Tradition and Transition. Kenneth Kraft, ed. Grove Press, 1994.


  • Footprints in the Snow: The Autobiography of a Chinese Buddhist Monk.  Sheng Yen.  Random House, 2008.  Recommended by Larry.  Note: may be hard to get.


  • Each Moment Is the Universe: Zen and the Way of Being Time. Dainin Katagiri. Shambhala, 2008. Recommended by Meredith.

Daily Life

  • Essential Chan Buddhism: The Character and Spirit of Chinese Zen. Guo Jun. Monkfish Book Publishing, 2013. Suggested by Anna Belle.
  • * Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks. Gary Thorp. Walker Books, 2000.

Monastic & Religious Life

  • The Empty Mirror : Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery.  Janwillem van de Wetering. Houghton Mifflin, 1974. Recommended by Meredith.
  • Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality. Brad Warner. Wisdom Publications, 2015.  Suggested by Mike.
  • The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life.  John Tarrant. Harper Perennial, 1999.  Suggested by Anna Belle.
  • Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. Thich Nhat Hanh. Bantam Books, 1991. Recommended by Abu.
  • The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective. Robert Aitken. Counterpoint, 1997. Recommended by Larry.
  • The Zen Monastic Experience: Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea. Robert Buswell, Princeton University Press, 1993. Recommended by Jeanette.


  • Zen At War. Brian Daizen Victoria. 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006. Suggested by Mike.


  • Zen Baggage : a Pilgrimage to China. Bill Porter. Counterpoint, 2008. Recommended by Judd.

Zen Teaching Classics

Buddhist Books Under Consideration


  • * Buddhism: A Concise Introduction. Huston Smith & Philip Novak. HarperOne, reprint edition, 2004.
  • * Buddhism: A Way of Life and Thought. Nancy Wilson Ross. Knopf, 1980.

Early Buddhist Texts

  • * Dhammapada. Buddha, (Eknath Easwaran, tr.). Nilgiri Press, 2nd edition, 2007.
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva. Translated by Padmakara Translation Group. Shambhala, 2nd edition, 2006. Recommended by Larry.


  • * Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha’s Teaching. Ajahn Chah. Shambhala, 2001. Theravada Buddhism.
  • The Buddha Is Still Teaching: Contemporary Buddhist Wisdom. Jack Kornfield. Shambala, 2010. Snippets from other books. Recommended by Judd.
  • Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom. Joseph Goldstein. Shambhala, 2003.  Eryl Kubicka used this book as her primary source for the December 2020 online sesshin.
  • * Mindfulness in Plain English. Bhante Gunaratana. Wisdom Publications, 2011. Theravada Buddhism.
  • The Science of Enlightenment: How Meditation Works. Shinzen Young. Sounds True, 2016. On mindfulness. Suggested by Mike.


  • Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom. Rick Hanson, Richard Mendius and Daniel Siegel. New Harbinger Publications, 2009. Recommended by Alan.
  • Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness. Mark Epstein. Harmony, 1999. Recommended by Chloe.
  • True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. Tara Brach. Bantam, 2013. Recommended by Judd.
  • The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology. Jack Kornfield. Bantam, 2008.

Daily Life

  • Getting Unstuck. Pema Chödrön. Sounds True, 2005. Audio & CD. Recommended by Larry.
  • * When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. Pema Chödrön. Shambhala, 20th anniversary edition, 2016. Recommended by Chloe. Tibetan Buddhism.


  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Sogyal Rinpoche. HarperCollins, 1992. Recommended by Iriz.


  • Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master.  Amy Schmidt.  BlueBridge, 2005.  Recommended by Anna Belle


  • A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism.  Pamela Weiss.  North Atlantic Books, 2020. Suggested by Anna Belle after listening to a podcast episode with the author.
  • * Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master.  Amy Schmidt.  BlueBridge, 2005.  Recommended by Anna Belle
  • A Tale for the Time Being. Ruth Ozeki. Viking, 2013. Recommended by Alan.


  • Siddhartha. Hermann Hesse. Translated by Hilda Rosner. New Directions, 1951 (U.S.). [Originally published in Germany in 1922.] Recommended by Abu.
  • A Tale for the Time Being. Ruth Ozeki. Viking, 2013. Recommended by Alan.


  • * Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression – An Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism. Taigen Dan Leighton. Wisdom Publications, 2012. Recommended by Larry.


  • A Fearless Heart : How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives. Thupten Ph D Jinpa. Avery Pub Group, 2016. Recommended by Anna Belle


  • The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams. Avery, 2016. Recommended by Anna Belle.

From the Rochester Zen Center


  • Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication. Oren Jay Sofer.  Shambhala, 2018.  Recommended by Alan.

Books Already Read

  • What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada. Walpola Rahula. Grove Press, 1994. On RZC list. Read for June 5, 2020.
  • Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. Robert Wright. Simon & Schuster, 2017. Read for June 5, 2020.
  • Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. Tara Brach. Bantam, 2003.  Read for July 3, 2020.
  • Mindful of Race : Transforming Racism From the Inside Out. Ruth King. Sounds True, 2018.
  • Finding Your Seat: A Zen Handbook. Amala Wrightson, Kathryn Argetsinger. Auckland Zen Centre, 2020.
  • Buddha. Karen Armstrong. Viking Penguin, 2001.
  • Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture. Andy Ferguson. Counterpoint, 2013. Read for Nov. 13, 2020.
  • Cave in the Snow : A Western Woman’s Quest for Enlightenment. Vicki Mackenzie. Bloomsbury, 1998. Read for Nov. 13, 2020.
  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.  Shunryu Suzuki. Weatherhill, 1970. (There’s also a 2020 50th anniversary edition.) Read for Dec. 18, 2020.
  • The First Rule of Ten. (Tenzing Norbu mystery series no. 1).  Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay. Hay House Visions, 2012. Read for Dec. 18, 2020.
  • Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity. Soko Morinaga. Wisdom, 2002. Suggestion inspired by Trueman’s Dharma talk 1 and Dharma talk 2 of Sept. 2020. Read for Jan. 22, 2021.
  • How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment. Dogen, Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. Shambhala, 2005. Read for Feb. 19, 2021.

The Hidden Lamp: Stories Already Read

From The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. Florence Caplow and Susan Moon. Wisdom Publications, 2013.

  • “Chiyono’s No Water No Moon” and reflection by Merle Kodo Boyd. Pages 37-40. Two teishos by Amala Sensei on this story: Oct. 2018 in Rochester and Nov. 2020 in Auckland. Read for Jan. 22, 2021.
  • “The Old Woman’s Rice Cakes.”  Pages 256-259 in The Hidden Lamp.  Note: Roshi discusses this encounter in his teisho of January 12, 2013. Read for Feb. 19, 2021.