Has anyone here studied/read in-depth Zen Buddhism? If so which authors/books do you guys recommend and why?
The most well-known author (as far as I known) for introducing Zen to the West culture is D. T. Suzuki and his book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. But I am curious to explore other alternative perspectives in terms of Zen too so looking forward to some insightful input here.
Even though I am a FiNe, but I was totally captivated of how Auburn integrated the Zen elements to depict the essence of Ti and I wonder what are TiNe member's thoughts about it if you guys already read the the article?
I've studied tibetan buddhism before switching to zen as a lay practicionner. I've done many retreats under the guidance of a monk, and I do zen meditation almost everyday.
I've been looking for people interested by both Jung and asian spirituality, as I think that both are very related.
To answer your question, most books about zen buddhism are bad haha. I mean, if you are in california I'm certain that there are plenty of zen teachers who could help you to start a practice. If you are interested in an exposition latter buddhist philosophy, I actually think that the tibetan did a better job. Zen is, by nature, anti-words and very practice oriented.
I just read the article on Ti and zen (https://cognitivetype.com/ti-behaviorism-mythology/). To be frank I'm not certain as wether I don't understand or disagree. Śūnyatā and other concepts are universal and for every type. From my perspective, the goal of buddhism is correlated to the Jungian goal of individuation ; to grow beyond your limited ego based self with 2 functions.
If you truly want to read about buddhism, I would recommend traditional texts and not modern explanation, as reading old stuff is quite a mental exercice by itself which may help to grow. My personal favorite ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattvacary%C4%81vat%C4%81ra
I started studying Zen Buddhism a year ago, and my first book was Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. Although my initial motive was to figure out its teachings and later discard them as not applicable to the real world (it was the beginning of the fall of my hardcore rationality), I realized I could not argue about an experience of meditation solely with my intellectual understanding, so I began to do zazen (sitting meditation) every day following recommendations in the book. Then I read the keystone works of the Taoist tradition, which influenced the development of Zen Buddhism as a new branch of Chinese Buddhism. These works include Tao Te Ching (by Lao Tzu), Lieh-Tzu and Chuang Tzu, and I think you should read as close as possible to the origins of the teachings. I was also captivated by Yin and Yang symbol, which had an incredible predictive power for me, for the entire Universe collapsed in it in front of me. I was especially amazed by how C. G. Jung applied it for exploring the human psyche when I got acquainted with his works.
At this stage, I saw that one of the main problems pointed out in the texts mentioned above is how people try to grasp the mind with the mind and get caught up in their thoughts as if they have done something valuable. Imagine trying to use your body as leverage to lift yourself. I doubt this will result in something except hurting yourself. And for me, the beauty of Zen Buddhism and Taoism lies not in their ability to answer all kinds of questions, but in their ability to show how deluded you are to ask them.
One thing you should understand when reading Buddhist books is that the words masters use are provisional. These words can not capture the state of mind which masters try to point out. Therefore you should not cling to ideas and conceptions you make reading these books, for as soon as you think that you understand something and now can rely on it, you are deluded. The more you read without practice, the more chance that you build new illusions for yourself.
At this point, you should consider going on a retreat or finding a teacher (someone whose eyes are "open"). In my view, the difference between reading a book by a master and getting firsthand teaching by him is that his direct guidance is contextualized. This guidance will make you face illusions with which you surrounded yourself so that you can experience a sudden awakening.
Now, if the option above is not suitable for you, I would highly recommend the book A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace by Seon (Korean Zen) Master Subul. It is a modern translation of two teachings by Zen master Huangbo Xiyun: Essential of Mind Transmission and Record of Wan-ling. They mainly provide conversations between the Master and his student, Pei Xiu. The book includes the modern commentary of Master Subul, which is of much value for someone like you so that you do not make up unnecessary interpretations, drowning in ideas at which you can not point the finger.
And lastly, I would suggest Shobogenzo by Zen master Eihei Dogen. It is an essential text for understanding Zen tradition and its approach to practice. I think this is a profound work, although it may be too heavy if you have not read anything before. Dogen stressed the importance of zazen as something that you only need to study Zen. Again, you should not attach to any false characteristics of meditation, whether it is time or number of repetitions, for your knowledge of yourself is not self-referential, but your being is. It is a widespread pattern in modern society when some rational characteristic of human being replaces human experience. This leads to a result-oriented life and ritualistic thinking with an obsession intrinsic to it. People have rituals for productivity, earning money, feeling secure, anything. And, indeed, people try to buy rituals of other people, attending all kinds of classes and lectures.
If you are interested, Jung writes on special techniques people trying to repeat in The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious: "But in so doing they turned the whole process (which he called technical transformation) upside down, without noticing it: they anticipated the result in the hope of making the process repeat itself which had led to that result" (p. 233).
If you want to do zazen, all you need is Fukanzazengi (Dogen's principles of seated meditation). And in the end, you have nothing to learn, and masters have nothing to teach you, as long as you do not delude yourself with seeking, grasping, attaining and discriminative thinking.
I also read Alan Watts books (The Way of Zen and Tao: The Watercourse Way) in between mentioned works, but, in my opinion, those are texts to introduce people to Oriental Wisdom and inspire Western society to question their thinking rather than teaching The Way.
you have nothing to learn, and masters have nothing to teach you
rather than teaching The Way
Yes. He is a good teacher, I learned a lot from him. 😉