Good books for beginners and experienced practitioners alike:
Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki
This book is a classic that introduced many people to Buddhist practice. It contains short, edited talks by the late founder of San Francisco Zen Center that are easy to read while providing profound teachings.
The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh
This is another classic book about Buddhism, written by a Vietnamese monk who was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize. Of his many books, this one has been the entryway for many people into Buddhist practice.
Taking the Path of Zen, by Robert Aitken
Aitkin-roshi began his Zen studies while in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. His years of practice have yielded many excellent books. This is a good one to start with, as it gives an introduction to many Buddhist concepts and practices in straightforward language.
Buddhism Plain and Simple, by Steve Hagen
A dharma heir of Katagiri-roshi, and the editor of Katagiri's two books, Hagen provides a clear, down-to-earth, accessible discussion of awakening. In this book, he skillfully guides the reader through "the practice of being aware, right now, every day."
Everyday Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck
This book by American Zen master Joko Beck is a profound source of day-to-day wisdom. She discusses a wide range of practical applications of living the dharma in daily life, using language and examples that are very accessible for Western students.
Books by MZMC's Founder, Dainin Katagiri-roshi
Returning to Silence: Zen Practice in Daily Life (1988, edited Willa Hathaway and Yuko Conniff)
The first book of edited dharma talks by Katagiri-roshi, this wonderful collection spans his teachings at MZMC during the 1970s and 1980s. The talks cover four areas: Zen in daily life, entrance to the Buddha way, Buddhist faith and practice, and a commentary on Dogen's The Bodhisattva's Four Methods of Guidance.
You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight (1998, edited By Steve Hagen)
Katagiri-roshi's second book contains more wisdom from his teaching at MZMC. As the title implies, the emphasis is on manifesting our Buddhist practice in every moment, wholeheartedly expressing our Buddha Nature in everything we do.
Each Moment Is the Universe: Zen and the Way of Being Time (2008, edited by Andrea Martin)
Time is the central theme of the book, particularly Dogen Zenji's understanding of time. Usually we think of time as a commodity or resource, something we can save, spend, make, buy, or waste. But Katagiri Roshi presents time as a dynamic process that is integrated with life itself. It's not a metaphysical abstraction, it's something we can see and experience directly. Longtime sangha member Andrea Martin shaped the book from talks that Katagiri Roshi gave during the last two decades of his life. Read more.
The Light That Shines through Infinity: Zen and the Energy of Life (2017, edited by Andrea Martin)
The universe is alive with a dynamic energy that creates and sustains our lives. It surrounds us, flows through us, and is available to us in every moment. Spiritual practice, according to Dainin Katagiri Roshi, is about aligning ourselves with this ever-present life force — sometimes referred to as chi, qi, or ki. This collection, edited from his talks, focuses on cosmic energy as it relates to all aspects of Zen practice. With references to classic texts and personal stories that bring the teachings to life, The Light That Shines through Infinity is also a powerful antidote to the notion that practice is in some way about transcending the world around us. It is in fact about nothing other than relating to it compassionately and wholeheartedly. Read more.
Read about recent publications from MZMC teachers
Zen in the Age of Anxiety, Mindfulness and Intimacy, and more