Walpola Rahula
Grove Press: New York, 1974

In this reliable and insightful introduction to the teachings of the historical Buddha, Dr. Rahula provides general answers to questions pertinent to Westerners. In addition to addressing Buddhist attitudes toward responsibility, attachment, nonviolence, and social justice, the author devotes a chapter to each of the four Noble Truths. A Buddhist monk and scholar, Dr. Rahula eases the reader over difficult hurdles of philosophical thought by placing explanations-the doctrine of nosoul, for example-in contemporary language. The highly readable text incorporates Sanskrit terminology in an accessible and unobtrusive way. Originally published in 1959, now revised and expanded with selections from the Suttas and the Dhammapada, this book remains a classic “textbook” used by dharma and academic teachers alike.

Shunryu Suzuki
Weatherhill: New York, 1970

This slim volume composed of informal talks by Shunryu Suzuki, one of the first Japanese Zen masters to teach Zen in the United States, is treasured by students of every Buddhist tradition. Suzuki Roshi was trained in the Soto Zen lineage, and his incisive, poetic commentary draws on the teachings of Dogen Zenji. The book itself, with its straightforward statements of things-as-they-are, embodies the discipline and clarity of Zen practice. It is divided into three sections-right practice, right attitude, and right understanding-which roughly correspond to body, feeling, and mind. There is no barrier of language in this masterful work; it’s a book that can be studied again and again for grounding and inspiration by practitioners with any degree of experience, from newcomer to adept.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Parallax Press: Berkeley, 1987

Liberate this article!

This article is available to subscribers only. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus video teachings, films, e-books, and more.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.