"The Buddha Dharma is nowhere remote. It is in our mind; it is close to us.
  Suchness is nowhere external. If not within the body, where can it be found?"

From Kukai's commentary on the Heart Sutra, "Secret Key to the Heart Sutra" (Hakeda, 1972).

Study is the perfect compliment to the practice of meditation.  Study helps students create the view and context in which practice can develop.  The following is a small list of books to help interested students understand more about the Shingon tradition, Japanese Buddhism, Buddhism in general, Japanese culture and contemporary Buddhism.

I.                     Essential reading for Mandala students

  • Kukai, Major Works by Yoshito Hakeda

  • Shingon, Japanese Esoteric Buddhism by Taiko Yamasaki

  • The Mahavairocana Sutra, translated by Chikyo Yamamoto

  • The Way of Great Enjoyment (Rishu Kyo) translated by Rev. Taisen Miyata

  • Kaji: Empowerment & Healing in Esoteric Buddhismby Ryuko Oda

  • Tantric Poetry of Kukai by Morgan Gibson & Hiroshi Murakami

  • Awakening of Faith by Asvagosha, translated by Yoshito Hakeda


II.                   Other readings in Esoteric Traditions

  • A Study into the Thought of Kogyo Daishi Kakuban by H. Van der Veere  

  • Japanese Mandalas by Elizabeth Grotenhois

  • Mudra, A Study of Symboloc Gestures in Japanese Buddhist Sculpture by E Dale Saunders

  • The Tantric Ritual of Japan by Richard Karl Payne

  • The Esoteric Iconography of Japanese Madalas by Lokesh Chandra

  • The Weaving of Mantra by Ryuichi Abe

  • Evolution of the Garbhadhatu Mandala by Ulrich Mammitzsch

  • Buddhism Flammarion Icongraphic Gudes by Louis Fredric

  • Indian Esoteric Buddhism, A Social History of the Tantric Movement by Ron Davidson

  • A Study of the Ritual Mudras in the Shingon Tradition and their Symbolism by Rev. T. Miyata

  • The Matrix and Diamond World Mandalas in Shingon Buddhism by Adrian Snodgrass

  • Mudras in Japan by L. Chandra and S. Rani


III.                 Sutras and traditional sources

  • Dhammapada, translated by Ananda Maitreya

  • Mahayana Sutras in English

  • The First Discourse of the Buddha translated by Dr. Rewata Dhamma

  • Thus Have I Heard, The Long Discourses of the Buddha translated by Maurice Walshe

  • The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha translated by Bhikkus Bodhi and Nanamoli

  • The Connected Discourses of the Buddha translated by Bhikkus Bodhi 

  • The Flower Ornament Sutra, translated by Thomas Cleary

  • The Threefold Lotus Sutra tranlated by B. Kato, Y. Tamura and K. Miyasaka

  • The Lankavatara Sutra translated by D.T. Suzuki

  • Diamond Sutra translated by A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lam

  • The Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Shantidev

  • English/Japanese Translation of the Heart Sutra

  • A-Z Photo Dictionary of Buddhist Sculpture 

IV.                 Japanese Buddhism

  • The Unfettered Mind by Takuan Soho

  • Myoe the Dreamkeeper by George J Tanabe Jr

  • A Primer of Soto Zen by Dogen

  • Rational Zen translated by Thomas Cleary

  • One Robe, One Bowl by Ryokan

  • Wild Ways by Ikkyu

  • Penetrating Laughter, Hakuin’ Zen & Art by Kazuaki Tanahashi


V.                   Japanese History and Culture

  • Japanese Inn by Oliver Statler

  • Japanese Pilgrimage by Oliver Statler

  • Japan: The Story of a Nation by Edwin O Reischauer

  • Sacred Calligraphy of the East by John Stevens

  • Zen Word, Zen Calligraphy by E.T Shimano and K. Tani

  • Japan, A Short Cultural History, G.B. Sansom

  • The Bushido by Inazo Nitobe

  • A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

  • The Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

  • The Heart of Karate-Do by Shigeru Egami

  • Shinto, The Kami Way by Sokyo Ono

  • The Art of Peace by Morihei Uueshiba

  • Short Kukai Bio Compiled by Ron Green


VI.                 Japanese Buddhism in the United States

  • Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

  • Endless Vow, by E. Shimano, K. Tanahashi and R.S. Chayat

  • The Zen Eye  by Sokei-an

  • Returning to Silence by Dainin Katagiri

  • Zen for Americans by Soyen Shaku


VII.               Contemporary Buddhism

  • Born in Tibet by Chogyam Trungpa

  • What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

  • Dharma Paths by Ven.. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche

  • Mountain Record of Zen Talks by John Daido Loori

  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac