15. Contemporary Scholarship

While Zoketsu does not lecture on scholarly matters, his teaching and thinking about Zen are much informed by contemporary scholarship, and he has been in dialog over the years with a number of America’s most important Buddhist scholars. Contemporary scholarship tends to focus on historical or social issues, that is, what actually has happened and does happen in religious life, rather than what scriptures or sermons say ought to happen. Such an attitude is often a challenge to religious groups, who tend to see it as debunking or disrespectful. But for Everyday Zen, dedicated to the Zen practice we can do, rather than the Zen practice we should or could do, this contemporary approach is refreshing and empowering. The books below are distinctly academic, and may not be to the taste of everyone. Many more could have been included, but these are books that have been important for us so far. Note that there are no audio files for this topic.



The Rhetoric of Immediacy
The first and most important among Faure’s many works that completely re-conceive Zen history. Brilliant, erudite,...
Bernard Faure
Nov 19, 1994
Feminism and Religion
Rita Gross’s reflections on the importance of a feminist approach to religious study and practice.
Rita M. Gross
Oct 31, 1996
The Koan
Another collection of scholarly essays about the origins and uses of the koan literature in Zen history.
Dale S. Wright Steven Heine
Apr 20, 2000
Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism
A wonderful though dense book contextualizing Zen thought in contemporary terms.
Dale S. Wright
Aug 28, 2000
Buddhism After Patriarchy
A sophisticated and essential discussion of Buddhism from a feminist perspective.
Rita Gross
Nov 17, 1992
Soto Zen in Medieval Japan
An exhaustive and eye-opening history.
William M. Bodiford
Mar 01, 1993
Double Exposure
Bernard’s brilliant discussion of comparative philosophy East and West.
Bernard Faure
Nov 11, 2003
Seeing Through Zen
The pun of the title is a clue to the spirit of this informed and informative book.
John R. MacRae
Jan 19, 2004
Zen Ritual
This collection of scholarly essays discusses Zen ritual throughout history from a variety of standpoints. Not neces...
Dale S. Wright Steven Heine
Nov 14, 2007
Did Dogen Go to China?
More detail than you ever wanted to know about Dogen’s career.
Steven Heine
Jan 01, 2006