Buddhist Book Group Readings

A List for the Louisville Zen Center

Upcoming Meetings

  • Dec. 4, 2020, 5:30 – 6:30 PM Eastern.  Choose readings to start reading for Jan. 1.
  • Dec. 18, 2020, 5:30 – 6:30 PM Eastern.  Discussion. (See below for books we will be discussing.)

Books to Read for Dec. 18, 2020

  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.  Shunryu Suzuki. Weatherhill, 1970. (There’s also a 2020 50th anniversary edition.)
  • The First Rule of Ten. (Tenzing Norbu mystery series no. 1).  Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay. Hay House Visions, 2012.

Zen Books Under Consideration


  • The Three Pillars of Zen. Philip Kapleau. Recommended by many of us.On RZC list.
  • The Practice of Zen. Zhenji Zhang. Greenwood Press, 1978, ©1959. Recommended by Larry.
  • Zen: Merging of East and West. Philip Kapleau.  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.


  • 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.
  • Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity. Soko Morinaga. Wisdom, 2002. Trueman’s Dharma talk 1 and talk 2 of Sept. 2020.

Daily Life

  • How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment. Dogen, Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. Shambhala, 2005. Recommended by Iriz.

Monastic & Religious Life

  • 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.


  • The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics. Robert Aitken. North Point Press, 4th ed., 1984. Recommended by Larry.


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

Buddhist Books Under Consideration


  • The Buddha Is Still Teaching: Contemporary Buddhist Wisdom. Jack Kornfield. Shambala, 2010. Snippets from other books. Recommended by Judd.


  • 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.
  • Wisdom of Imperfection: The Challenge of Individuation in Buddhist Life. Rob Preece. Snow Lion Publications, 2006. Recommended by Wei.
  • 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.


  • 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


  • The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. Florence Caplow and Susan Moon. Wisdom Publications, 2013. Recommended by Jeanette.
  • 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.
  • Therigatha. The most recent version is: The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns. Matty Weingast. Shambhala, 2020. Article about this edition. Suggested by Anna Belle


  • 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
  • Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong. Norman Fischer. Shambhala, 2013. Recommended by Larry.


  • 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.

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.