Reddit mentions: The best zen philosophy books

We found 28 Reddit comments discussing the best zen philosophy books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 16 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

TLDR: the best zen philosophy book according to Reddit

1. The Art of Power

The Art of Power
  • HarperOne
▼ Read Reddit mentions

🎓 Reddit experts on zen philosophy books

The comments and opinions expressed on this page are written exclusively by redditors. To provide you with the most relevant data, we sourced opinions from the most knowledgeable Reddit users based the total number of upvotes and downvotes received across comments on subreddits where zen philosophy books are discussed. For your reference and for the sake of transparency, here are the specialists whose opinions mattered the most in our ranking.
Total score: 11
Number of comments: 5
Relevant subreddits: 2
Total score: 5
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 3
Number of comments: 2
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 2
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 2
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 2
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 1
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 1
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 1
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1
Total score: 0
Number of comments: 1
Relevant subreddits: 1

idea-bulb Interested in what Redditors like? Check out our Shuffle feature

Shuffle: random products popular on Reddit

Top Reddit comments about Zen Philosophy:

u/perfect_edge13 · 1 pointr/books
u/wstewart_MBD · 2 pointsr/OpenIndividualism

Thanks for that reference. Spaulding's paper was one of the precedents and contemporary papers I'd noted in essay Ch. 10. I don't know how many of those papers you'd want to devote separate posts to, here in the OI subreddit, but you might at least take a look at the other material if you haven't already.

That chapter notes the papers of Spaulding and Clark, which have now been mentioned in this subreddit. The other papers noted in that chapter are:


David Darling (1996). Zen Physics (Chapter 8: 'You Again').


>What happens to “you” – your self – when your body dies? What is the purpose of life? And can we realistically look forward to a life after death? For millennia people have pondered these fundamental questions. In this book I offer some possible answers drawn from a synthesis of the latest scientific research and the ageless wisdom of Eastern philosophy.
>I begin by upending our most basic notions of what it means to be us. The urban myth of ‘who we are’ is peeled back to reveal a strange truth: we are little more than narratives held together by a selfish brain whose primary concern is its own immortality. I point to clinical evidence that demonstrates how fragile and malleable our “I’s” are. I explore the mysteries of multiple-personality syndrome, left-brain/right-brain splits, and memory disorders, to unravel the greater mystery of why we evolved selves in the first place and to prove how easy it is to “change our minds”. Although each individual self is the product of a certain brain and as such changes over time and eventually dies, the fact of consciousness is shared and independent of the body.


Mark F. Sharlow (2009). Why Science Cannot Disprove the Afterlife.


>By presenting these four ideas about personal identity or the self, I'm not arguing for any of them. Nor am I arguing for any of the four possibilities for rebirth. Those who think they have fatal objections to one or more of these ideas need not be too upset. I know that much of what I have said is speculative. (Critics, pay attention to the preceding sentence before writing.) All I am trying to show is that it is not out of the question for a later human organism to be the same person as an earlier human organism. Nothing illogical, supernatural, or antiscientific is required. These four scenarios for survival of death do not violate the scientific principle known as Occam's Razor; they do not assume any extra objects (like ghostly souls) or extra complexity in the physical world. (The only objects required are human bodies and brains, with all their usual properties and features.)
>Note that these four proposals do not add up to proof of an afterlife, or even to proof that an afterlife is likely. (I repeat: I am not claiming to have a proof of the afterlife.) Besides the four views of personal identity that I've hinted at here, there are other views that make spontaneous survival very unlikely. Examples are views based on the continuity of bodies or on the continuity of most of a person's memories. I am not going to argue for or against any of these theories here. I have presented the above four ideas to make one point: that we can't disprove the afterlife merely by stating that the mind is nothing but a process in the brain.


And of course there's my reconstructed historical precedent, found in Druze material dating to the 11th century. For example, Ch. 10 cites a 16th-century Druze text: Abdul Ghaffar's Points and Circles:


>The talking Spirit cannot remember save through the physical memory.  It cannot think save through the brain in the body.  It cannot differentiate except through the distinguishing power resident in the body.  It cannot memorize except through the memorizing organ in the body.  Distances don't matter to it when it leaves (at death) one body for another, with no lapse in time in the process....
>The Spirit while resident in the body, participates in all its activities.  When it departs, it loses all factual material it had acquired in it.
>The spiritual advances the higher Spirit has gained, however, are retained....
>And it remains true and worth repeating that 'In this earthly life, souls do not know their past.'

u/pradeep23 · 2 pointsr/infp

We all have our short-comings and limitation. Also we have our uniqueness. We must look at things that we do right. Where we have a flow. We must seek knowledge and wisdom. Philosophy. These things makes us better. Rather they reveal the best parts of us.

Here are some books that have helped me:

  • Stephen Covey 7 habits

  • The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle

  • The Art of Power- Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Listen to Alan Watts & Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

    Here are some things I have saved that I read on and off

    "What you need now to do is, to check how much you are on the feeling level and how much on the thought level. Most are, and naturally, on the thought level because that is our comfort zone. We have to act on that level. It is the functional level. We need it to study, operate, plan, achieve and so many other things like research, analysis, But we need the feeling level to relate to others. Sadly this is much neglected and we use our thought level to deal with others. we are not in touch with our feelings. To be a sensitive person we need our feelings. We will even rationalize away our feelings. So this is the beginning. "

    "Feed your head." -Grace Slick

    Where you are headed is more important than how fast you're going, yet people are consumed with speed rather than direction.

    Concentrate every minute on doing what's in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can, if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that's all even the gods can ask of you.
    -- Marcus Aurelius

    Check /r/Stoicism or r/meditation

    The bad things, don't do them.
    The good things, try to do them.
    Try to purify, subdue your mind.
    That is teaching of all buddhas.

    "If you are becoming a more patient, kinder, and less violent person, you are truly learning life's lessons."

    Be a Wanderer and find the inner master that lies dormant within you.

u/ghostmitten · 2 pointsr/zen

Lol, the way amazon pays it's workers I would not put it past them to accept payment in children. That's nothing, I'm collecting all the important books in the Zen lineage...look at this one. How very expensive!

I think I may buy the ebook and bind it myself.

Good luck!

u/SkankingDevil · 2 pointsr/martialarts

I'm reading "Zen in the Martial Arts" by Joe Hyams.

Gets more into how martial arts forms a mindset, and teaches the student lessons they can apply to their daily lives.

I've enjoyed it so for, lots of common sense, but abstract principles, brought to life with concrete examples from Joe's life.

Good read, especially if you enjoy the philosophic or spiritual elements behind martial arts!

u/HP_LoveKraftwerk · 5 pointsr/zen

Definitely The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader

It's a comprehensive anthology of many well-known works from zen literature, presented in chronological order with an interesting introduction to each writer. The translation is very readable - I'd recommend this book to just about anyone with an interest in zen.

It covers writings [i.e. translations from direct sources] from Bodhidharma, Huineng, Shitou, Mazu, Huangbo, Zhaouzhou, Linji, Deshan, Yunmen, Dahui, Dogen, Ikkyu, Bankei, Basho, Hakuin, Ryokan, and many more! I can't recommend it enough.

u/hookdump · 2 pointsr/zen


> Dear /u/WanderingRonin77:
> Today I would like to share my views about this "Dogen" character with you.
> Certain texts have come to my attention, that suggest he was not an actual Zen Master. I know, I know, this might sound shocking, so please, I kindly ask you: bear with me.
> Many negative characteristics of Dogen's disciples and tradition tend to support this claim. These are really negative facts that are hard to ignore, including unethical sexual behavior, among other things.

> BUT... since we're talking about Dogen and not his disciples, let's focus on the facts about the guy himself.
> There are three books that helped me see the questionable nature of this character, and I'd like to share them with you now:
> - Bielefeldt's Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation
> - The Sound of One Hand
> - Pruning The Bodhi Tree
> Granted, you seem keen to him, so you might not be interested in going through the trouble of reading all this material. But I promise: This is not "ANTI-DOGEN" material. These are factual accounts and unbiased analysis of texts that, far from trying to convince people to hate Dogen, merely paint a historically accurate picture of him, his methods and his intentions.

> We all have lots of stuff we want to read, and probably reading books that random strangers want me to read is not high on the priority list.
> But I wanted to share it nevertheless.
> I hope you have a fantastic day, and if some day you get to read one of these books, we could discuss them earnestly and enrich each other's point of view.
> With love,
> /u/ewk.

u/eggrollco · 1 pointr/books

read a good portion of this It is very large(which is why i didnt finish it) but most enjoyable.

u/rockytimber · 1 pointr/zen

was what I was hoping to get.

But thanks, I will look into this newer one

u/ashultz · 2 pointsr/zen

I liked the roaring stream as a historical survey anthology of original (translated) source material with background.

u/jrruby · 2 pointsr/philosophy

Hey, check this out! I'm really enjoying this currently.

Metaphysics and the Meaning of Life: Towards a Philosophy of Zen Buddhism

u/fluffy-d-wolf · 0 pointsr/Archery

Zen in the Art of Archery was rather enlightening, I thought.

u/whatwereyousaying · 4 pointsr/stopdrinking

Are there any online resources you could suggest?
Or any personal thoughts on the subject?

I own these books, and I think they're all that's kept me alive so far:

Beyond Sanity and Madness

Beginner's Guide to Zen

u/DanL19 · 1 pointr/

I think daysi is saying yes, and that quality is what you want.

u/CapOnFoam · 1 pointr/GetMotivated

You might be interested in The Art of Mindfulness.

u/orangecherryblossom · 3 pointsr/Mindfulness

Have you read The Art of Power by Thich Naht Hanh

u/Aristodemos94 · 2 pointsr/badEasternPhilosophy

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/Koans

Zen Enlightenment: Origins And Meaning. Only one from my library system that covered a general history of Zen as opposed to a history of Zen in America.

u/ewk · 5 pointsr/zen

Caodong has nothing to do with Dogen. Dogen wanted to start his own religion, and Caodong was famous but not well known in Japan, so Dogen announced he was a Caodong/Soto Master, when really he was just trying to start a Tendai Buddhist cult.

The first Caodong Master was Dongshan, his sayings are collected in

A much later Caodong Master named Wansong was one of the few Zen Masters to write a book about Zen himself, and that book is called The Book of Serenity:

Dogen Buddhism has a history of plagiarizing, and some of Dogen's followers have take Wansong's title and the Cases that Wansong discusses, removed Wansong's teachings, and republished the book with Dogen's teachings instead, so watch out for that.

u/hexag1 · 1 pointr/philosophy

> thousands of people may not use 'self' in the sense you and Harris are using.

Just to be clear: I'm talking about the ego. The feeling that one is the experiencer of one's experiences. This is generally what is referred to the philosophical context. That is what I'm talking about. That is what other authors in this mode are talking about. From a definition :

> 4. Philosophy.
the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.

> As i said, self-image, or some set of sensations related to self may vanish or be changed during meditation, but that has nothing to do with actual existence of actual self — the one that is able to perceive.

no, this is incorrect. The feeling of the ego engenders the feeling that it is the one doing the perception. When this feeling of ego disappears, perceptions remains. The image of the world continues - sights, sounds, moods, sensations, etc, but the sense of one doing the perceiving of these things is gone.

> I asked you how you deal with absurdity of your proposition

It's not a proposition. It's not a hypothesis about anything. It's just a fact about subjective experience, analogous to the optic blind spot. If you can turn your attention upon itself, if you can look for the perceiver of your perceptions, the ego will vanish. This truth does not depend on any conceptual understanding.

> and you just escaped behind "listen to Harris", thousands authors can't be wrong and some meditation instructions.

I'm not escaping behind anything, I just have limited time, and since I value my time, I don't want to write a whole book for you when many fine books have already been written on this subject. All the questions you have are answered in several books. Harris' is just the latest contribution to this vast literature. I recommended his because I think he writes very clearly, but there are many other authors that will answer these same questions. One example is Douglas Harding's On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious

> What we are referring as self is at least able to have subjective experiences and first person point of view.
> If you want to avoid 3 you need to dissociate self from ability to have subjective experiences and first person point of view

That's not right, since when the self vanishes, subjective experience remains. Consciousness continues, but with no observer.

> If you keep insisting that self is vanishing but experiencing remains while not dissociating self and subjectivity — you are being irrational.

I'm not, because the experience is real and can be had, in principle at least, by any normal, healthy person.
There's nothing irrational about anything I've said above.

Is it irrational to notice that one has an optic blind spot? Most people think that their visual perception is a continuous field of awareness, which covers the external world continuously over the field of vision. You don't realize it until you look for it in the right way, but you have a spot in each retina that doesn't transmit any information. This is where the optic nerve traverses to retina. At that point, there are no rods & cones to detect light. You look for it by putting two dots on a piece of paper and looking at one of them while maneuvering the other to land at you blind spot. When you do this, you might find it surprising that your visual field is skipping over part of the world in front of you. The brain somehow just skips over this spot, either by ignoring it or filling it in, no one really knows, and we perceive what seems to be a continuous field of vision showing a continuous image of the external world.

The discovering the non-existence of the self is a bit like this. Our minds develop the ego over time from birth. It is an illusory construct of thoughts and identifications, some of which are very subtle. The ego, the self, the 'I', is a point around which all the contents of our consciousness - sights, sounds, moods, sensations, thoughts etc - appear to be constellated. This point itself seems, from our normal mode of subjectivity, to be located in our heads (somewhere behind the eyes). But this point does not, in fact exist. When closely examined, it disappears, and consciousness remains, shorn of self.

Anyway, we're just going over the same arguments again. If you want more answers, I suggest you turn to the established authors on this subject. The Harding book I linked above is a good place to start, or you can try Harris. Most of the other authors writing about the illusory nature of the self, and how to transcend it, are to be found in section of the bookstore usually called Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, or 'Eastern Relgion/Philosophy'. Harris will probably be most readable to you, since he doesn't deploy any religious metaphysics, and does it all from the point of view of modern, secular philosophy and science.

u/monkey_sage · 1 pointr/zen

> Well it isn't only books

Yes it is. Here, I'll copy and paste the whole damn thing:

  1. New to Zen reading list

    Sayings of Zen Master Joshu- Green Translation
    Joshu (Zhaozhou) is known for his short, one or two sentences answers to questions about Zen study.

    Mumonkan, a book of instruction, poetry and Cases for novices written by Zen Master Mumon (Wumen)
    Perhaps the single most famous Zen text, it is an alarmingly short book, made more alarming by it's lack of instruction and complexity.
    R.H. Blyth's Zen and Zen Classics series, particularly volumes 2, 3, and 4 (Mumonkan), are essential texts for anyone new to Zen. These books are out of print, the Japanese publisher has gone out of business, but sites like hosts electronic copies and random Redditors may also be able to direct you to electronic versions.

    Zen Teaching of Huang Po
    For anyone familiar with Buddhist doctrines, Huangbo's sayings and lectures serve as an excellent introduction to Zen and how Zen is incompatible with Buddhism.

    Give it up for the Legendary Yunmen! Back in Print! Still short, pithy, and smack talky!

  2. Overview of the flavor of Zen:

    R.H. Blyth: Zen and Zen Classics, Volume 2: Huineng to Yunmen
    R.H. Blyth: Zen and Zen Classics, Volume 3: Dongshan and Mazu and their heirs
    R.H. Blyth: Zen and Zen Classics, Volume 4: Munonkan (Wumenguan), The penultiment Zen text

  3. Shorter Zen texts

    In order of the complexity of the language, references, constructions from less to more.

    Sayings texts, Zhaozhou (Joshu), Yunmen (Ummon), the book by Wumen (Mumon) called The Gateless Gate. Also the poem by the 3rd Patriarh, Faith In Mind.
    The sayings with lectures texts, Foyan and after that, Huangbo (Huang Po).
    The books written by Zen Masters Yuanwu (Blue Cliff Record) and Wansong (Book of Serenity, Cleary trans.)
    The Platform Sutra, the bodhidharma attributed texts, stuff from Dunhuang.

  4. Books by Zen Masters

    Mumonkan, a book of instruction, poetry and Cases for novices written by Zen Master Mumon (Wumen) and a poorer translation w/ Chinese
    Perhaps the single most famous Zen text it is an alarming short book, made more alarming by it's lack of instruction and complexity.

    Book of Serenity
    Written by Wansong, this is the definitive text on the Caodong lineage. Buddhist priests in the last few decades have been trying to republish the book deleting Wansong's text and inserting religious sermons.

    Blue Cliff Record
    Written by Yuanwu, this is very long and very famous book of Zen instruction, Cases and poems in the same format as Book of Serenity.

  5. Zen texts that reject Philosophy

    Foyan - Instant Zen



  6. Zen Texts that reject Buddhist doctrines


    Foyan - Instant Zen


  7. Zen texts with the most jokes

    Joshu (Zhaozhou)

    Layman Pang


  8. Mellow Zen Reading

    (especially if you skip right to the Zen sections)

    Foyan - Instant Zen - Instant Zen

    Mazu - Sun Face Buddha

    Zhaozhou - Sayings of Zen Master Joshu

  9. Why Japanese "Zen-Buddhism" is not Zen


    Bielefeldt's Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation: Dogen didn't study Zen, Dogen invented Zazen prayer-meditation, Dogen was a fraud and a plagiarist.

    The Sound of One Hand, Hoffmann tras.: Hakuin's "answer key" to Zen koans, kept secret until publication in 1918, provides the answers monks have to give to get certified by the Rinzai church.

    Pruning The Bodhi Tree: A collection of essays about the doctrinal basis of Japanese Buddhism, the irreconcilable conflicts with Zen, and the attempt at a Critical Buddhist reformation.

    The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind by D.T. Suzuki. Exploring why "Zen" never meant "meditation"
    See also r/zen/wiki/dhyana

  10. Naked Ambition

    Dahui's Shobogenzo, Vol. 1-2:
    Volume 1:
    Volume 2:

    Blue Cliff Record, Cleary trans.

    Book of Serenity, Cleary trans.

  11. Texts from the real Caodong/Soto lineage

    Wansong's Book of Serenity, translated by Cleary
    Book of Serenity was written by Wansong himself
    Other books having that title are not Zen texts, regardless of religious claims
    Dongshan's Recorded Sayings of Tung-shan.
    Dongshan, aka Tung-shan, was the first Caodong Master. Caodong comes from "Caoshan + Dongshan". Caoshan was one of Dongshan's dharma heirs.
    Zen and Zen Classics, Vol. 3, by R.H. Blyth