Curated Reading List

A Good Place to Start: John Tarrant on Koan Zen

Bring Me the Rhinoceros:
And Other Zen Koans
to Bring You Joy

The Light Inside the Dark:
Zen, Soul, and the Spiritual Life


Published Articles by John Tarrant

Archived in our KALPA library

More Modern Zen Teachers & Writings

Upside-Down Zen: Finding the Marvelous in the Ordinary
—By Susan Murphy with a foreword by John Tarrant

Hunger Mountain: A Field Guide to Mind and Landscape
—By David Hinton

Acequias & Gates: Miscellaneous Koans and Writings on Miscellaneous Koans
—By Joan Sutherland

Vimalakirti & the Awakened Heart : A Commentary on The Sutra that Vimalakirti Speaks
—By Joan Sutherland

The Flowing Bridge: Guidance on Beginning Zen Koans
—By Elaine MacInnes

Sitting with Koans: Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Koan Study
—By John Daido Loori

The Zen Koan as a Means of Attaining Enlightenment
—By D. T. Suzuki

Opening A Mountain: Koans of the Zen Masters
—By Steven Heine

Shattering the Great Doubt: The Chan Practice of Huatou
—By Yen Sheng

Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice
—By Victor Sogen Hori

Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture
—By Andy Ferguson

Zen Comments on the Mumonkan [PZI: Wumenguan]
—By Shibayama Zenkei

Flowers Fall: A Commentary on the Genjokoan
—By Hakuun Yasutani


The Story of Buddhism: A Concise Guide to Its History & Teachings
—By Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

Zen Buddhism: A History—India and China
—By Heinrich Dumoulin

Zen Buddhism: A History—Japan
—By Heinrich Dumoulin

Chan Buddhism
—By Peter Hershock

Zen Roots, The First 1000 Years
—Translated by Red Pine

China Root: Taoism, Ch’an, and Original Zen [PZI: Daoism, Chan, and…]
—By David Hinton

Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings
—By Andy Ferguson

Zen Sourcebook: Traditional Documents from China, Korea, and Japan
—Edited by Stephen Addiss

Zen Dust: The History of the Koan and Koan Study in Rinzai Zen
—By Miura Isshū and Ruth Fuller Sasaki

Koan Collections

The Blue Cliff Record: Volumes 1, 2, & 3
—Translated by Thomas and J.C. Cleary with a foreword by Maezumi Roshi

Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues
—Translated by Thomas Cleary with a foreword by Robert Aitken

Yamada Koun Roshi’s Teisho of the Shoyoroku [PZI: Book of Serenity]
—Translated by Paul Shepherd

Gateless Gate
—Translated by Koun Yamada

The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan) [PZI: Wumenguan]
—Translated and with commentary by Robert Aitken

The Gateless Gateway
—Edited by Joan Sutherland based on the translations of Shibayama Zenkei, Yamada Koun, and Robert Aitken

Samurai Zen: The Warrior Koans
—By Trevor Leggett

The Iron Flute: 100 Zen Koans
—By Nyogen Senzaki

Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans of the Shumon Kattoshu
—Translated by Thomas Yuho Kirchner with a foreword by Nelson Foster

Every End Exposed: The 100 Koans of Master Kido with the Answers of Hakuin
—Translated by Yoel Hoffmann

The Record of Transmitting the Light: Zen Master Keizan’s Denkoroku
—Translated by Francis H. Cook

Foundational Zen Texts

The Heart Sutra
—Translated and with commentary by Red Pine

The Diamond Sutra
—Translated and with commentary by Red Pine

The Platform Sutra—The Zen Teaching of Huineng
—Translated and with commentary by Red Pine

The Lankavatara Sutra
—Translated and with commentary by Red Pine

The Vimalakirti Sutra
—Translated by Burton Watson

Huayen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra
—Translated by Francis H. Cook


Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin [PZI: Guanyin]
— By John Blofeld

Kuan-Yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitsevara [PZI: Guanyin]
—Chungfan Yu

Chan Ancestors & Teachings

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma
—Translated by Red Pine

The Record of Linji
—Translated and with commentary by Ruth Fuller Sasaki, edited by Thomas Yuho Kirchner

The Recorded Sayings of Linji
—Translated by J. C. Cleary with a foreword by Wufeng Puxiu

The Record of Tung-Shan [PZI: Dongshan]
—Translated by William F. Powell with a foreword by Robert Aitken

The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu [PZI: Zhaozhou]
—Translated by James Green with a foreword by Kreido Fukushima Roshi 

Master Yunmen: From the Record of the Chan Master “Gate of the Clouds”
—Translated by William F. Powell with a foreword by Robert Aitken

Zen Master Yunmen: His Life and Essential Teachings
—Translated by Urs App

The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind [PZI: Huangbo]
—Translated by John Blofeld with a preface by Pei Hsiu

The Sayings of Layman Pʻang [PZI: Layman Pang]
—Translated by James Green

Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui [PZI: Dahui]
—Translated by J.C. Cleary

Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi
—By Taigen Dan Leighton

Zen Letters: Teachings of Yuanwu
—Translated by Thomas Cleary and J.C. Cleary

The Unborn: The Life and Teaching of Zen Master Bankei
—Translated by Norman Waddell

Zen Ancestors & Teachings

Poison Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn: The Zen Records of Hakuin Zenji
—Translated by Urs App

The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin
—Translated by Norman Waddell

Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin
—Translated by Norman Waddell

Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei
—Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Undying Lamp of Zen: The Testament of Zen Master Torei
—Tranlsated by Thomas Cleary

Ikkyu, Hakuin & Ryokan: Extraordinary Zen Masters: A Maverick, a Master of Masters, and a Wandering Poet
—By John Stevens, John

Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa
—Translated and edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Roko Sherry Chayat

Like a Dream, Like a Fantasy: The Zen Teachings and Translations of Nyogen Senzaki 
—Edited by Shimano Eid

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
—By Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai
—By Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

Women Ancestors in Chan & Zen

Buddhism after Patriarchy
—By Rita Gross

The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women
—Edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon

Eminent Nuns: Women Chan Masters of Seventeenth-Century China
—By Beata Grant

Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters
—By Grace Schireson

Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Art of Japanese Women’s Rituals
—By Paula Arai

Zen Sanctuary of Purple Robes: Japan’s Tokeiji Convent Since 1285
—By Saduko Kaneko Merrell and Robert E. Morrell


Lao Tzu’s Taoteching [PZI: Daodejing]
—Translated by Red Pine

The Tao Te Ching: A New English Version [PZI: Daodejing]
—By Laozi, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Chuang-tzu: The Inner Chapters [PZI: Zhuangzi]
—Translated by David Hinton

Zhuangzi: The Complete Writings
—Translated, with introduction and notes, by Brook Ziporyn

The Taoist I Ching [PZI: Daoist I Ching]
—By Lui I-Ming, Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Tao of Zen [The Dao of Zen & Chan]
—By Daniel Grigg

Chan & Zen Poetry Collections

Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China
—Translated by David Hinton

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain [Han Shan]
—Translated by Red Pine

Ikkyu and the Crazy Cloud Anthology: A Zen Poet of Medieval Japan
—Translated by Sonja Arntzen

Crow with No Mouth: Ikkyu
—By Beata Grant

Sun at Midnight: Poems and Sermons
—by Muso Soseki

Daughters of Emptiness: Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns
—By Beata Grant

The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa
—By Robert Hass

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches [haiku]
—By Matsuo Basho, translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa

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