Recommended Readings

There are thousands of books on Buddhism, yet it is a simple practice.  The true benefit comes from practice, meditation, and application to your own life.

But we have to start somewhere, and books are a helpful tool.  Here are some titles that my teachers have recommended to me and have offered an entrance to the Dharma:

River of Fire, River of Water

Taitetsu Unno – Prof. Unno’s River of Fire, River of Water, published in 1998, remains one of the most insightful, luminous and accessible introductions to the Pure Land tradition of Shin Buddhism


Finding Our True Home

Thich Nhat Hanh – This definitive translation of the Amitabha Sutra unlocks one of the deepest concepts of Buddhism: Happiness cannot exist without suffering.

Front Cover

Invoking Reality

John Daido Loori – In Invoking Reality, John Daido Loori, one of the leading Zen teachers in America today, presents and explains the ethical precepts of Zen as essential aspects of Zen training and development.

In One Lifetime: Pure Land Buddhism

Venerable Wuling – A wonderfully straightforward, brief and comprehensive description of Pure Land practice.

Unlocking Tannisho: Shinran’s Words on the Pure Land Path

Kentetsu Takamori – Tannisho (Lamenting the Deviations) is a beloved classic text of Pure Land Buddhism that points the way to real happiness. As a record of the words of the extraordinary Japanese Buddhist monk Shinran, who lived some 800 years ago, Tannisho has become the mainstay of the Japanese spirit.

Buddha of Infinite Light: The Teachings of Shin Buddhism, the Japanese Way of Wisdom and Compassion

D.T. Suzuki – Shin is the uniquely Japanese flowering of the type of Buddhism known as “Pure Land.” It originated in the thirteenth century with the charismatic and prophetic figure Shinran (1172–1263), whose interpretation of the traditional Pure Land teachings was extremely influential in his own lifetime and remain so today. In a period when Japanese Buddhism was dominated by an elitist monastic establishment, Shinran’s Shin teaching became a way of liberation for all people, regardless of age, class, or gender.


Kenryo Kanamatsu – This book helps explain why D.T. Suzuki said that “Shin Buddhism is Japan’s greatest religious contribution to the West,” despite the fact the Shin Buddhism is not as well known in the West as either Zen or Tibetan Buddhism

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