By Rev. Daigaku Rummé

The object of Zen practice is to realize the Way of Buddha; i.e. liberation from our self-centered viewpoints. This can never be accomplished simply by reading books or through conceptual understanding. Zen, after all, is “the transmission outside the teachings; not based on words.” For that reason, I often say it’s best not to read too much. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to read.

 I suggest reading books and sutras that encourage us to practice diligently. In particular, the original texts by Zen masters such as Dogen Zenji, Rinzai Zenji, and others. I also recommend reading and memorizing certain sutras, and yes, I also recommend the books of my teacher, Sekkei Harada Roshi.

Please see the list below, which I will update periodically.


  1. The Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra)
  2. A Universal Recommendation for Zazen (Fukanzazengi) Dogen Zenji’s instructions for zazen.
  3. The Song of Zazen by Hakuin Ekaku Zenji.
  4. The Sutra of the Buddha’s Last Teaching.


  1. The Essence of Zen by Sekkei Harada Roshi. Wisdom Publications.
    The best book for beginners.
  2. Unfathomable Depths by Sekkei Harada Roshi. Wisdom Publications.
    A more detailed teaching from my teacher.
  3. A Blueprint of Enlightenment: A Contemporary Commentary on Dogen Zenji’s “Guidelines for Studying the Way.” Temple Ground Press.
    A solid introduction to Dogen Zenji’s teaching.
  4. The Formless Record of the Transmission of Illumination: A Contemporary Commentary on Keizan Zenji’s Denkoroku. Dharma Spring Press
    A detailed commentary on Keizan Zenji’s best-known book.
  5. The Record of Linji.