Now in a 35th Anniversary edition, The Three Pillars of Zen is generally regarded as the "classic" introduction to Zen Buddhism, and along with Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, has probably helped more westerners begin Zen practice than any other book.
Warner, an early-'80s hardcore punk musician, discovered Zen in college, moved to Japan to make B-grade monster movies, and eventually became a bona fide Zen master by formally receiving "dharma transmission." Yet true to his punk spirit, he relentlessly demands that all teaching, all beliefs, all authority-including his own-must be questioned. ("Why should you listen to me? Who the hell am I?... No one. No one at all.")
A respected Zen master in Japan and founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, Shunryu Suzuki has blazed a path in American Buddhism like few others. He is the master who climbs down from the pages of the koan books and answers your questions face to face. If not face to face, you can at least find the answers as recorded in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, a transcription of juicy excerpts from his lectures.
The Compass of Zen is a simple, clear, and often hilarious presentation of the essential teachings of the main Buddhist traditions--culminating in Zen--by one of the most beloved Zen Masters of our time. In his many years of teaching throughout the world, Zen Master Seung Sahn has become known for his unique ability to cut to the heart of Buddhist teaching in a way that is strikingly clear, without relying upon esoteric or academic language. In this book, based on his talks, he presents the basic teachings of Buddhism in a way that is wonderfully rich and accessible for both beginners and long-time students.
Nothing Special : Living Zen, by Charlotte J. Beck
"Joko Beck speaks from the timeless and the perennial, so her metaphors of ordinary things and everyday incidents illumine my mundane life. Nothing Special is Zen alive and how to live it." Robert Aitken, author of Taking the Path of Zen
Not Always So : Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shunryu Suzuki
If you can imagine Zen Existentialism, Not Always So is it. Part instruction manual for Zen practice and part philosophical meditation, Shunryu Suzuki's teachings emphasize being-in-the-world. He does not point toward a singular enlightenment-event as a burst into higher consciousness. Rather, he suggests a more experiential enlightenment that finds meaning in a full awareness of the present. For example: "If you go to the rest room, there is a chance for enlightenment. When you cook, there is a chance for enlightenment. When you clean the floor, there is a chance to attain enlightenment."