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Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism

Of all the eastern religions, Zen Buddhism has built itself a solid foundation in the west. If you are interested in learning more about Zen, Meditation, and the practice of Mindfulness, LearnOutLoud.com has collected as many Audio Books as possible to help you on your way. Additionally, we feature several Zen Teachers like D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

So how do we define Zen in a few sentences? Put briefly, Zen strives to overcome the logical mind in order to link the body, mind, and soul with its source. To rid students of any attachment to dogma, they are told to forget the Buddha exists, disregard terms like “Enlightenment”, and tear up Zen scripture. In comparison with other religions, Zen offers no sacred book or scripture that is comparable to the Bible, Torah, or Qur'an. Without attachment to one book, one person or one particular rule, the mind is thus free to be filled with the nothing that contains all truth.

Outside of a holy text to use as a guideline, Zen's primary spiritual vehicle is the strict practice of daily meditation. Similar to prayer, meditation is a practice Zen places utmost importance on, especially when compared to other schools of Buddhism. Meditation tunes the mind to the wavelength of creation and by doing so tries to become one with it. The ideal state of enlightenment is nothing if not the shedding of all earthly concerns; you must not be scared of losing your possessions, your loved ones, or even your life.

So why then has the west embraced Zen thought to the extent that it now can be called a viable religious alternative? The answer depends on your point of view, but it may be that Zen is of one the best antidotes to the chatter and noise of the modern world. In any event, there can be no mistaking that Zen has found it's place in the pantheon of major religions and is now a way of life for millions of people regardless of ethnic or religious background.

We Suggest:
If you need a place to start with audio books on Zen, It would be good to begin with some primer courses to get you better acquainted with the religion's precepts and how it differs from other strains of Buddhism. D.T. Suzuki's work has stood the test of time as the most accessible way to first get a handle on Zen. The audio book version of "What is Zen" is simple enough for anyone to understand, but poetic enough for even the most practiced Zen student. Here Suzuki talks about how Zen came about, how it is related to Japanese culture in particular and how you can benefit from its practice in your own life.

In a similar vein, we next suggest "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki, a classic in Zen Literature. This audio book offers more details on the ancient beliefs involved with Buddhism and while it is very concise, it never gives up the subtlety that gives Zen its power either. You, the listener will begin to see how you too can practice Zen daily, regardless of your walk of life.

Next we would suggest an audio book chock-full of Zen quotes, wisdom, and stories: "One Bird, One Stone" by Sean Murphy. This is an American audio book collection of stories and insights drawn from the archives of Zen centers in the United States. Here you will find out how Zen has flourished in the United States over the last century and showcases how Americans have interpreted Zen in the west.

Finally while we're talking about western views of Zen, there's "The Dharma Bums" by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac's autobiographical road trip has been hailed by many as one of their first exposures to Zen in the states. This is only a small selection of the Zen audio books that we have for your perusal at LearnOutLoud.com. There are many different ways to view this particular religion and every view is valuable in our understanding of something that by design is not very concrete. We hope that you use these audio resources as a way searching and in the end finding what you seek spiritually.

Authors on this Topic

Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is not only one of the most famous Zen masters currently living, he is also venerated the world over for his poetry, and fervent peace activism. Hanh has become a leading voice in the propogation of "Engaged Buddhism" a spiritual path that seeks to engage with other societies, races and religions in order to relieve the world's suffering through co-existence.
D.T. Suzuki
D.T. Suzuki

Born in 1870, D.T. Suzuki is probably the prime motivator in the popular spread of Zen Buddhism to the west during the early 20th century. If you are looking for a good introduction to the main tenants of Zen and don't know where to start, look no further: Suzuki's work is quite simply the most accessible entry point for the Zen novice.
Alan Watts
Alan Watts

Born in 1915, Alan Watts is known all over the world as a philosopher, writer, speaker and authority on comparative religion. He is now considered one of the most popular modern philosophers and his bibliography is considered by many to be some of the most important texts on the Tao, Zen and Eastern Religion in general.

Titles on this Topic

The Book
 
The Book
by Alan Watts

In a way, we are like the blind man who was asked to touch separate parts of an elephant -- and then attempt the nearly impossible task of describing the totality of the creature he was touching.
The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums
by Jack Kerouac

Two friends in 1950s San Francisco Bohemia explore Buddhism Zen - hipster style. On the road to finding...
The Iron Flute
The Iron Flute
by Nyogen Senzaki

The Iron Flute, a classic koan collection with peerless commentaries by masters from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, speaks radiantly to the heart...
Meditations on Zen
Meditations on Zen
by Osho

In these discourses, Osho takes us on a fascinating journey. Beginning with the birth and flowering of Zen...
One Bird, One Stone
One Bird, One Stone
by Sean Murphy

In a little over a century Zen Buddhism has taken firm root in the American consciousness...
The Teachings of Zen Master Dogen
The Teachings of Zen Master Dogen
by Dogen

Dogen (1200-1253 C.E.) founded the Soto school of Zen Buddhism in Japan. His teachings are the very...
The Three Pillars of Zen
The Three Pillars of Zen
by Roshi Philip Kapleau

No other Eastern religious tradition has influenced Western thought more than Zen Buddhism. This...
The Ultimate Dimension
The Ultimate Dimension
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddhist teachings describe two realities: the “historical dimension” of time, space, and form; and the “ultimate dimension,” an infinite realm beyond birth and death —the realm of nirvana, of complete liberation, peace, and joy.
The Way of Zen
The Way of Zen
by Alan Watts

The Way of Zen presents an understandable, inspirational and spiritually rewarding exploration of Zen Buddhism - "a way of liberation" that may be one of the most precious gifts of Asia to the world.
What Is Zen
What Is Zen
by D.T. Suzuki

What Is Zen is the quintessential beginner's guide to achieving enlightenment. In simple, often poetic language...
Zen Bones
 
Zen Bones
by Alan Watts

Alan Watts lays bare the very "bones" of Zen through a dramatic re-creation of mystical awakening.
Zen in the Art of Archery
 
Zen in the Art of Archery
by Eugen Herrigel

It is almost impossible to understand Zen by studying it as you would other intellectual pursuits.
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
by Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

Shunryu Suzuki (1905-1971) was a direct spiritual descendant of the renowned 13th-century Zen...
Zencast Podcast
Zencast Podcast
by Gil Fronsdal

Zencast is a soothing transmission of peaceful music combined with inspiring Buddhist Dharma talks.