Books on Zen Buddhism and Hindu religions?

I would like to learn about Zen Buddhism and Hindu but there are so many books I don't know where to start. If some one could recommend one or two books to get me started that also have good suggested reading lists that would be great.

11 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    An Introduction to Buddhism by Peter Harvey

    An Open Heart and The Art of Happiness, both by the Dalai Lama

    Also, pick up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita (sacred Hindu text)

  • 1 decade ago

    Books on Zen most suited for beginners, as far as I'm concerned, are "Zen - a way of life" by Christmas Humphreys, "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism" by D.T.Suzuki, or just go to a library and try what you find there. That's what I did when I got first interested. (now I'm a Zen teacher) As far as I remember, it was Alan Watt's books I read first. One of my all time favourites is "Zen Flesh - Zen Bones" compiled by Paul Reps.

    Don't know much about Hinduism, what I know I got from listening to Ram Dass, his tapes and videos, very helpful and greatly enjoyable, but that wouldn't be the best way to learn about Hinduism.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    For Buddhism, I would start with:

    Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening by Stephen Batchelor.

    Living Buddhism by Powell, Andrew and Graham Harrison

    and

    What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

    Cheers!

  • 1 decade ago

    I was looking for the same information myself recently. I agree with the answerer about Thich Naht Hahn - anything by him is excellent and easy to read. Another kind of "bible" of Zen is "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. I'm reading it right now and it's very simple, but very deep, like most Zen writing.

    While not technically a Zen book, "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg is based on Zen principles and Goldberg is a Zen Buddhist who morphed the zazen discipline she learned under Katagiri Roshi into writing practice. Very, very good - my own personal "Bible."

    A very good book I recently finished is by Buddhist Jack Kornfield titled "After the Ecstasy, The Laundry," which blends all kinds of threads of spirituality from Sufism to Hinduism to make its points about spiritual practice. Highly recommended.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I can't speak for Zen or Chan (the Chinese version of Zen, which I like), but as far as Hindu literature, you would probably like texts related to a form of Hinduism called Advaita Vedanta (and nowadays there are syncretic strains of Vedanta termed "reformed Vedanta."). Advaita Vedanta has similarities to Buddhist thought and developed at a time in Indian history (around the 6th century or so) when spiritual philosophy was shifting from emphasis on Buddhist thought (which dominated India for about 1000 years) to a new kind of Hindu theism--"Vedanta." Many good books on Hinduism as well as Buddhism (and other religions), selected because of their readibility and good quality, can be found on the Web site of the "Vedanta Society" as well as info about what Vedanta and Hinduism is.

    There are easy-reading versions of the Upanishads (the basic scriptures of Hinduism) and the Crest Jewel of Discrimination (Vivekachudamani--a very important text in Advaita Vedanta written in about the 7th century), and the Bhagavad Gita (again, a basic Hindu scripture).

    People like Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghosh, and Ramana Maharshi are popular modern writers on Advaita Vedanta. Vivekananda lived during the turn of the 19th century and is easiest to read because he was trying to educate westerners about Hinduism but he writes in Victorian era language. I also like the dialogues of Nisargadatta Maharaj very much. He adhered to a nondualistic form of Kashmir Shaivism (another form of Hinduism that has similarities to Vedanta).

  • P'ang
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    There are many books on Zen, some written by scholars, some by enthusiasts, and a few by genuine teachers. If you want the true taste of Zen, avoid books by scholars (DT Suzuki) and enthusiasts (Alan Watts).

    The classic books on Zen, written by genuine masters, are:

    "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Suzuki Roshi

    "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha" by Zen Master Seung Sahn

    Both are readily available used. Enjoy!

  • Sandra
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    There are many paths that will lead one to the ultimate truth. Just follow your heart/mind and it will lead you there. If you do not have a clue where to start, the following is a suggestion: 1) Put the Bible, the Koran, the Diamond Sutra, the Tao De Jing , etc on a table. 2) Close your eyes and ask a question mentally. 3) While closing your eye, flip open all the sacred books so that a page is turned open randomly. 4) Open your eyes, read the two pages that is flipped open on all the sacred text facing you. 5) Which ever book has the anwer to your mental question on the pages flipped open will lead the way.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, my favorite books on Buddhism are by Thich Nhat Hanh. Read "Old Path, White Clouds" which is sort of a Buddhist Bible, written in a modern, accessible style.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I can't really think of any books other than the main texts, but here are a couple of websites that may be able to help. I've also starred the question so that my contacts might be able to help you out.

    Hinduism:

    http://www.hinduism.co.za/

    http://hinduism.about.com/

    Zen:

    http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVL-Zen.html

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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