Zen in daily life

Zen teacher Dogen and the Soto approach to Zen

List of recommended Books

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Preliminary Words

  1. All the books listed here have been read in one of two ways: from A to Z at least one time, or reading thoroughly and extensively covering most issues and chapters. Any other cases will be noted explicitly. Most of these books I have in my library.
  2. I only list and recommend on books that I value (to my best judgment and current attainment) as Humanistic, leading to deep and genuine Knowledge, and that can truly help people with information or knowledge for self-cultivation and development.
  3. The books are classified into Must-books, Important-books, and Nice-books. Must-books are the books that to my own judgment must be read by people that are keen participators in fields that those books are related to. Important-books are books that it is important or very important to read. And Nice-books are Nice-to-have books. They contain some valuable and important or interesting content. It is as plane as it is - Nice to have them or read them. Even if a book is not classified as a must it doesn't mean that it is not a valuable, deep, and worth reading book, if it wouldn't I would not have included it in the list. Every one is welcome to judge by himself/herself.
  4. All books are in English unless noted otherwise. A list of books in Hebrew is given in the Hebrew version of this site.
  5. Currently you can find 160 recommended books on Zen, Martial Arts, Taoism and related subjects and more.
  6. It must be noted that such translators as Thomas Cleary, Eva Wong, John Stevens, F. Cook, Prof. Masunaga Reiho and others had done tremendous pioneering hard and excellent work to bring the treasures of Zen and Taoism and Martial arts to the interested westerners. Those and other generous people have opened the gate for deep knowledge. Generally speaking almost any book of them is worth reading. While reading their books and train and cultivating ourselves we should remember their benevolence efforts, that keep on helping us now.
  7. It is not possible to learn zen or martial arts by reading even from the best books or web sites. Reading is no substitute for practice and meeting a true teacher.

Ofer C.

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Zen Books

nameM/I/NWriter/Translator NameCommentsISBN
Soto approach to ZenMustMasunaga Reiho  
Zen in Daily livingMustMasunaga Reiho  
Zen beyond ZenMustMasunaga Reiho  
DenkorokuMustAuthor: Keizan Translator: F.H. Cook  
How Zen became ZenI to MMorten Schlütter 0-8248-3508-5
Zen GardensNiceTom Write & Mizuno KatsuhikoKyoto nature4-8381-0111-2
Zen GardensN to IMartin Roth & John Stevens 0-8348-0202-3
The Sword of No-SwordMustJohn StevensLife of Zen Master Warrior Tesshu 
The Hekigan RokuMustTranslator: R.D.M ShowThe Blue Cliff Records (great) 
Zen Mind, Beginner's MindI to MShunryu Suzuki 0-8348-0079-9
Dream ConversationsN to IAuthor: Muso Kokushi. Translator: Thomas Cleary 0-87773-992-7
The Zen teaching of Homeless KodoImpKosho Uchiyama  
Introduction to Zen BuddhismNiceD.T. Suzuki  
Zen EnlightenmentNiceHeinrich Dumoulin 0-8348-0141-8
Zen Buddhism - A history (vol. 2)N to IHeinrich Dumoulin  
Zen words for the HeartN to IAuthor: Hakuin, T: N. Waddell  
Zen doctrine of no-mindNiceD.T. Suzuki  
Master Dogen's - Shobogenzo (3 vol.)I to MTranslators: Gudo Nishijima & Chodo Crossvery important because offer all of Shobogenzo 
Zen teaching of Huang PoImpTranslator: John Blofeld  
Zen AnticsMustTranslator: Thomas ClearyGreat companion to the Zen trainees 
Immovable Wisdom - The teaching of Takuan SohoMustTranslator: Nobuko Hirose  
Zen and the Japanese cultureI to MD.T. Suzuki  
The Tiger's CaveImpTrevor Leggett  
Buddhism and ZenI to MNyogen Senzaki & Ruth Strout McCandless  
Original Teachings of Chan Buddhism - Selected from The Transmission of the LampN to ITranslator: Chang Chung-Yuan  
The Record of tung-shanN to ITranslator: William F. Powell  
Master Yunmen (teaching and life)ImpTranslator: Urs App  
The Essence of ZenI to MAuthor:Sekkei Harada, Translator: Daigaku Rumme  
Zen Action Zen personImpT.P. Kasulis  
Zen Flesh Zen BonesImpPaul Reps & Nyogen Senzaki  
Zen and the art of ArcheryN to IEugen Herrigel  
The Zen way to the Martial ArtsN to ITaisen Deshimaru  
Sounds of Valley streams (translations from Shobogenzo)I to MFrancis H. Cook  
Dogen's formative years in ChinaImpTakashi James Kodera  
The Buddhist TraditionImp   
Flowers of Emptiness (translations from Shobogenzo)I to MHee-Jim Kim  
Zen and the way of the swordImpWinston L King  
A Primer of Soto ZenImpProf. Masunaga Reiho  
Questions to a Zen MasterImpTaisen Deshimaru  
Empty Logic - Madhyamika BuddhismN to IHsueh-Li Cheng  
Dharma Eye - Soto Zen JournalN to IThe Soto Zen Education center  
Zen at WorkN to ILes Kaye  
The Elements of ZenI to MDavid Scott and Tony Doubleday  
Bankei ZenMustPeter Haskel  

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Martial Art Books

nameM/I/NWriter/Translator NameCommentsISBN
Japanese SwordsN to INobuo Ogasawara 4-586-54022-2
The Dragon MaskI to MTrevor LeggettJudo stories in the Zen Tradition1-874572-16-x
Kata of Kodokan Judo RevisedMustKotani, Osawa, Hirose  
Osoto-GariN to IYasuhiro Yamashita 0-9518455-8-6
The Little Capeira BookImpNestor Capoeira 1-55643-199-6
Judo - Formal TechniquesMustOtaki & Draeger 0-8048-1676-x
Tai Chi ClassicsI to MWaysun Liao 0-87773-531-x
Tai Chi ChuanNiceDouglas Lee  
Tomoe-NageNiceKatsuhiko Kashiwazaki 1-85223-249-8
Iron & SilkN to IMark SalzmanA story of learning Budo in China 
Stick FightingI to MDr. Masaaki Hatsumi  
Japanese Art of WarN to IThomas Cleary  
Cheng Tzu's Thirteen Treatises on Tai Chi ChuanI to MCheng Man Ch'ing  
Bruce Lee's Fighting MethodImpBruce Lee & M. Uyehara  
The Techniques of JudoI to MShinzo Takagaki & H. Sharp  
Martial Arts - The spiritual dimensionimpPeter Paynevery good first entrance 
Ninja Secrets from the GrandmasterI to MDr. Masaaki Hatsumi & S. Hayes  
Aikido with KiImpKoretoshi MaruyamaMust to Aikido trainees 
The Essence of Tai Chi ChuanMustTranslator: Lo, Inn, Amacker, Foe  
Ninjutsu - History & TraditionI to MDr. Masaaki Hatsumi  
Tai Chi Chuan & I ChingN to IDa Liu  
Hsing - I ChuanNiceD. Hsieh  
Chen style Tai Chi ChuanN to IFeng Zhiqiang & Feng Dabiao & Chen Xiaowang  
The Tao of Tai Chi ChuanMustJou Tsung HwaBest companion for Tai Chi students 
Shaolin Chin NaNiceYang Jwing Ming  
The Sword and the centuriesN to IAlfred HuttonEuropean Swords! 
Practical Unarmed combatImpMoshe Feldenkrais  
The Art of peaceN to IAuthor: Morihei Ueshiba, Translator: John Stevens  
The Karate DojoN to IPeter Urban  
Hwarang DoNiceJoo Bang Lee  
Abundant Peace -Biography of Morihei UeshibaI to MJohns StevensMust to Aikido trainees 
Jo - The Japanese short StaffNiceDon Zier & Tom Lang  
Diary to the WayI to MIra Lerner  
Essence of NinjutsuMustDr. Masaaki Hatsumi  
The Book of Five Rings + The Art of War of Yagyu!MustAuthor: Musashi, Author: Yagyu Munenori, Translator: Thomas Cleary  
Advanced Yang Style Tai chi Chuan (vol. 1)N to IDr. Yang Jwing-Ming  
Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan (vol. 2)NiceDr. Yang Jwing Ming  
Bo - The Japanese long StaffNiceTadashi Yamashita  
Ancient Chinese WeaponsNiceDr. Yang Jwing Ming  
Moi Fah - The Plum Flower Fist (Northern Chinese Kongfu)NiceKown Wing Lam & T. Mancuso  
Pa Kua Chuan (for self defense)NiceD. Hsieh  
The Tai chi journeyN to IJohn Lash  
Karate - Beginner to Black beltN to IH.D. Plee  
Tai Chi Touchstones - Yang family Secret TransmissionsMustTranslator: Douglas Wile  
Modern Bujutsu & BudoImpDonn F. Draeger  
Classical BudoI to MDonn F. Draeger  
Beyond the KnownI to MTri Thong DangNice story about being a disciple 
Women in AikidoI to MAndrea SiegelVery important book to both sexes 
Advanced KarateImpMasutatsu Oyama  
The Deity Of the Sword, Katori Shinto Ryo (3 vol)NiceRisuke Otake  
Kodokan JudoI to MJigoro Kano  
The weapons and Fighting Arts of IndonesiaI to MDonn F. Draeger  
Hsing Yi ChuanI to MLiang Sho-Yu & Dr. Yang Jwing Ming  
Legacies of the Sword (Kasima Shinryu School)NiceKarl F Friday  
The Secrets of AikidoimpJohn Stevens  

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Taoist Books and related issues

nameM/I/NWriter/Translator NameCommentsISBN
The Tao of I Ching - Way of DivinationI to MJou Tsung Hwa  
The Buddhist I ChingN to ITranslator: Thomas Cleary  
The Inner Teaching of TaoismMustAuthor: Chang Po-Tuan, Translator: Thomas ClearyBest of Bests 
Bone Marrow Nei KungNiceMantak & Maeewan Chia  
Traditional Acupuncture: The law of the five elementsNiceDianne M Connelly  
Cultivating StillnessMustTranslator: Eva Wongdefinite Must 
Understanding RealityMustAuthor: Chang Po-Tuan, Translator: Thomas ClearyMust of Musts 
The Way and its PowerI to MArthur WaleyTao Te Ching 
Chuang-Tzu - the Inner ChaptersN to IA.C. Graham  
Teaching of the TaoI to MTranslator: Eva Wong  
The Chinese Sexual Yoga ClassicsN to IDouglas Wile  
Muscle/Tendon Changing & Marrow/brain Washing Chi KongImpDr. Yang Jwing-Ming  
Taoist classic Chuang-TsuN to ITranlator: Fung Yu-Lan  
I Ching MandalasN to ITranslator: Thomas Cleary  
Awakening to the TaoMustAuthor: Liu I-Ming, Translator: Thomas Clearyvery good companion for the trainee 
The Astrology of I ChingN to ITranslator: W.k. Chu, Editor: W.A. Sherrill  
KiatsuN to IKoichi Tohei  
I ChingN to ITranslator: Richard Willhelm, Translator: C.F. Baynes  
Chinese Qigong TherapyI to MTranslators: Yang Entang, Yao Xiuqing  
Daoist Health Preservation ExercisesN to IBian Zhizhong  
Massotherapy of Traditional Chinese MedicineI to MAuthor: Cao Xi Zhen, Translator: Ding Chang Hao  
The Secrets of Chinese MeditationsNiceLu K'uan Yu  
The Tao of MeditationN to IJou Tsung Hwa  
Seven Taoist MastersMustTranslaor: Eva WongMust of Musts! 
The great path of AwakeningN to IJamgon Kongtrul  
Chi Nei Tsang - Internal organs Chi MassageImpMantak & Maneewan Chia  
Awaken healing energy through the TaoNiceMantak Chia  
Scholar WarriorI to MDeng Ming Dao  
The wandering Taoist, Seven Bamboo Tablets of the Cloudy Satchel, Gateway to a vast WorldMustDeng Ming DaoGreat trilogy - the life story of a Taoist disciple 
The Yellow Emperor's Classic of internal MedicineI to MTranslator: Ilza Veith  
Taoist Secrets of LoveNiceMantak Chia & M. Winn  
I Ching NumerologyN to IDa Liu  
Ki - practical guide for WesternersNiceWilliam Reed  
The complete book of Shiatsu TherapyN to IToru Namikoshi  
Shiatsu & StretchingImpToru Namikoshi  
Zen Imagery Exercises (Meridian Exercises)N to IJou Tsung Hwa  
Taoist YogaImpLu K'uan Yu  
Meridian QigongN to ILi Ding  
The Taoist I ChingMustAuthor: Liu I Ming, Translator: Thomas ClearyMust of Musts! 
The Spirit of TaoMustTranslator: Thomas Cleary  
Book of Ki - Coordinating Mind and Body in daily lifeImpKoichi ToheiVery imp to Aikido trainees 
The Root of Chinese Chi KongI to MDr. Yang Jwing Ming  
The Tao of SexNiceH.S. Levy & Akira Ishihara  
Chinese Medical TerminologyN to IFrank Liu & Liu Yan Mau  
Body and Mature behaviorImpM. Feldenkrais  
The way to locate Acu-Points N to ITranslators: Dr. Meng Xiankun & Dr. Li Xuewu  
Tao & longevityN to ITranslator: Wen Kuan Chu  
Taoism - the way of the mysticN to IJ.C. Cooper  
Immortal sisters - secrets of Taoist womenI to MTranslator: Thomas Cleary  
Taoist MeditationImpIsabelle Robinet  

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nameM/I/NWriter/Translator NameCommentsISBN
Japanese for beginnersImpYoshida, Kuratani, OkunishiExcellent book4-05-050647-5
Fun with Chinese CharactersNiceTan Huay PengSerious of books 
Illustrated Japanese CharactersImpJapan Travel BureauSplendid 
The Book of TeaNiceKakuzo Okakura  
Japanese Picture DictionaryNiceEditors of passport books  
Kanji book (series of books)N to INaganuma  
Kanji and KanaImpWolfgang Hadamitzky & Mark Spahm  
A look into Japan (illustrated)N to IJapan travel Bureau  
a guide to learning Hiragana & KatakanaN to IK.G. Henshall & Tetsuo Takagaki