Zen Road
Zen Road
  • english
  • deutsch
  • français


Books by Rei Ryu Coupey on the Zen classics



The Song of the Wind in the Dry Tree

Hohm Press, 2014

“The teaching of olden times is no different than that of today” writes the author in his commentary on these two Japanese writings of the 13th Century which are presented in this book. It concerns the Sansho Doei, a collection of poems composed by Master Dogen and the Komyozo Zanmai written by his close disciple Koun Ejo. The 12 poems of the Sansho Doei dealt with here, are on the subject of nature, but as Coupey says it, it is always “a question of consciousness: Liberated consciousness, natural and ordinary, which is neither for something nor against.” The Komyozo Zanmai on the contrary isn’t a poem, but a little tract about the state of the mind in zazen, which is our original nature (and not the development of our personality , for instance.)



Zen Simply Sitting

Hohm Press, 2007

Commentaries on the Fukanzazengi, the ‘Universal guide on the correct practice of zazen’. This is one of the most important and fundamental texts of Master Dogen, which has never been published before in a comprehensive way in the English language. Dogen, in this text, underlines the fact that the importance of the practice of zazen (that is to say, awakening) is not limited to a monastic context, but is accessible to all.

 [Quote from a review on spiral nature.com] Coupey goes deeper into zazen, what the practice means, what it can lead to, and the importance of letting go. To just sit, without a goal in mind. He’s able to place the practice within a larger narrative, sharing stories and poetry as they relate to his themes from various traditions.



In the Belly of the Dragon Vol. 1

American Zen Association, 2005

Written in China in the 600s, at a time a bit like ours, when zen started to take root in a new land, the Shinjinmei, ‘Poem of faith in the mind’ of Master Sosan, epitomises the original teachings of zen. It is striking to observe the point to which these simple words are meaningful today. Philippe Coupey suggests reading these poems, which call out to us in our everyday life.


Books by Master Deshimaru,

compiled and edited by Rei Ryu Coupey


Zen & Karma

Hohm Press, 2016

Widely revised version of the book "The Voice of the Valley", first issued in 1979.

Karma generally refers to the principle of cause and effect, acknowledging that each individual will “reap what they sow,” whether in this lifetime or some future life. Deshimaru, however, explains that this doctrine really has nothing to do with a simple good or bad balance-chart for the individual person, but rather concerns the activity of humanity as a whole. He highlights the necessity for clearly seeing one’s own thinking, which is creating the hell that we and others endure—an immediate karmic payback. 

As Deshimaru compares this doctrine of karma within Mahayana Buddhism with Western philosophy, he points to the need for wise and ethical action in all aspects of life. His dedication, like that of great masters in all traditions, is with the relief of suffering and the clarity needed to pierce to the cause of suffering. Serious sitting practice, in the way he presents it, creates that access.

This second edition of his book "The Voice of the Valley," first issued in 1979, is a live record of the Master’s teaching content (kusens) and his style of presentation during a practice sesshin (retreat) of several days. Deshimaru spoke in English, and his words were recorded and compiled from notes taken by the editor (Coupey) and other students. His subjects are as timely today as they were in the late 70s. At a time when contemporary Zen practice has been co-opted by the culture of “new and now,” his teachings do not compromise. This is no self-oriented “wellness Zen” cultivated for feeling more relaxed. This is the real deal, a call to a stark, “no-gain” approach to clear perception of reality from one who studied and practiced this tradition fully aligned to its source. As such, this book is a precious vehicle of direct transmission.


bks_zenandbudo Zen & Budo

Budo Editions , 2014 (Bilingual english / french)

This is the very first text that Philippe Coupey worked on with Master Deshimaru, after the oral teaching that Deshimaru gave during a week long session at Zinal in Switzerland in 1975, on the theme “ Zen and the martial arts.’ This was attended by 250 participants – most notably masters and professors of the martial arts – who came from all over the world.



Mushotoku mind – The heart of the heart sutra

Hohm Press, 2012 (Revised and reedited by Richard Collins, with an introduction by Rei Ryu Coupey)

Deshimaru's commentary on this sutra comes directly from the mind of zazen, i.e. the mind described in the Hannya Shingyo (The heart sutra), for it was in the dojo, and during zazen, that the teaching was pronounced. The text follows a rhythm of Zen-teaching, philosophical explanations, Zen- anecdotes, calligraphies of the master and allusions to western science and society.



Hohm Press, 1996

A book on rinzai zen and soto zen – and on the question of education of a man/or of a human being. This book presents Deshimaru’s teaching, given during zazen on a summer retreat.


The Voice of the Valley

Bobbs-Merrill, 1979 

OUT OF PRINT, See further up for the 2nd edition of this book "Zen & Karma".

Teaching on karma – this book shows, like “Sit”, understanding that Master Deshimaru had about human nature, as well as his strength, humour and sensitivity, which makes this “The Voice of the Valley” a deep and varied book.

However, his criticism of certain zen masters wasn’t always appreciated and some passages have been censored in the USA. This is an extract from a mondo (question and answer in the dojo) on this subject:


Disciple.You have recently received a letter from a Canandian disciple of Philip Kapleau, a certain Albert Low.[1] He says that reading many passages from your book ‘The voice of the valley’ made him very sad – mainly the passages where, according to him, you attack other enlightened masters. He thinks that this kind of thing should not happen between men of satori. And to finish, he says that you are nothing but a farmyard cockerel.

Deshimaru. I am a cockerel?

Disciple. Because you fight with other masters, with Kapleau, with Yasutani...

Deshimaru. Yes, that’s true. Buddha too, he criticised the faults of others without holding back. He also criticised the ancient religions of India. All great masters criticise. Christ too. Religious people should not follow a false path. This is a very important point. A master who follows everything is stupid. [this is directed at masters who mix rinzai and soto , like Kapleau and Yasutani ] I don’t want to accept faults. [Master Deshimaru raises his thumb] Study of doctrine demands true discussion. What is the true way, the true path? There is only one. In modern religion, everyone follows everything that appears. Our lives are not long, so we need to find the true path. This is why there are these discussions between masters. Which religion is best? Which philosophy is best? What is true? A true master must show this. It’s not about quarrelling! This is the duty of religion.

[1] Today the head of the Zen Center in Montreal.


Fiction-books by M.C. Dalley

Horse Medicine

American Zen Association, 2002

A book about someone on the margins, who despite himself doesn’t stop practising zen and following the teachings of his master. That is to say, to embrace the contradictions, just where they hurt the most. A book which has been hotly opposed in the world of buddhists and editors.



Temple Rapidly Vanishing

Deux Versants Éditeur, 2012

In this work, Dalley plunges more deeply into hell – the first circle of hell, he says. To pay to stay in the Temple of Evanescence, he ‘works’ either as lookout or bodyguard for a prostitute, who denounces him as a pimp, which gets him arrested and tried. The tale is full of twists and turns, some funny, some very dark, but Dalley negotiates them like a dancer, or a boxer......


Reply on the manuscripts submission by Second Chance Press, Judith Shepard: "We try to publish books which either please us, or seem to be important. Sometimes we publish books which amuse us. As for your manuscript, thanks, but no thanks."