For nearby sanghas in the White Plum lineage:
Flowing River Sangha: Located in the Wilkes-Barre area, the Flowing River Sangha is under the spiritual direction of Sensei Barbara Shoshin Craig. For more information please contact http://frsangha.org/.
Soji Zen Center: Founded by Sensei Jules Shuzen Harris in Lansdowne, PA, SZC holds Sunday morning zazen and Dharma talks in addition to an all-day retreat (zazenkai) each month. For more information please visit their website www.sojizencenter.com.
Zen Community of Baltimore/Clare Sangha: ZCB is under the spiritual direction of Sensei Bruce Seiryu Blackman and sponsors an all-day retreat (zazenkai) each month in Pikesville, MD. For more information please visit their website www.zcbclaresangha.org.
Recommended Reading – download a .pdf file of this list here
All of the books listed below are in paperback and can be readily obtained:
The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics by Robert Aitkin (Berkeley, CA: North Point Press, 1984). Roshi Aitken first encountered Zen while in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II. Here, he writes a series of highly readable essays on the Ten Grave Precepts while drawing some interesting parallels between them and the Ten Commandments.
Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1997). Joko is a favorite source of readings for the Red Rose Sangha. This book is a collection of some of her dharma talks. Her talks offer very clear advice on maintaining and applying a practice in everyday life. If you like what she has to say, then try her book, Nothing Special, by the same publisher.
The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau (New York, NY: Anchor Books, 2000). With this book, Roshi Kapleau has inspired countless people to sit on a zafu rather than on a couch. He provides a comprehensive introduction to Zen, especially Rinzai Zen. Among the topics covered are the author’s own enlightenment experience and the mysteries of koan (koe-on) meditation.
Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit by Robert E. Kennedy (New York, NY: Continuum, 1999). If you think Zen is just for Buddhists, you may wish to read this book written by a Catholic priest, psychotherapist, and Zen master. Roshi Kennedy explains that Zen “is, in part, a non-theistic form of human development.”
What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula (New York, NY: Grove Press, 1974). This small book makes just about everybody’s top ten lists. Written by a Buddhist monk and scholar, this book contains concise explanations of the Four Noble Truths, which form the very foundation of Buddhism.
Big issues from a Buddhist perspective:
Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path through Divorce by Gabriel Cohen (New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 2008). Using his divorce as a catalyst for change, the author relates his anger, self-pity, and substance abuse to the Four Noble Truths.
The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by John D. Teasdale, et al (New York, NY: The Guilford Press, 2007). Using techniques from Insight (Vipassana) Meditation, this self-help book teaches techniques to reduce unhappiness through the practice of mindfulness. It is packaged with a guided meditation CD, by the co-author, Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality by Judith Leif (Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 2001). This is a very practical book that offers advice and exercises for those dealing with the terminally ill or confronting their own mortality.
For teenagers and parents:
Just Say Om by Soren Gordhamer (Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation, 2001). This book starts from the premise that teenagers are intimately acquainted with suffering too. It introduces teenagers to the basic Buddhist skill set for coping with parents, friends, and life.
Blue Jean Buddha by Sumi Loudon (Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2001). If you know a lonely young Buddhist, then recommend this book to her or him. It is a collection of reminiscences from young adults growing up Buddhist in America. They are not alone.
Boyz 2 Buddhas by David Forbes (New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004). What happens when high school, inner-city football players learn how to meditate? They learn that being in life is more important than just being in “the zone.”