You don’t need to read anything to create a Peacemaker Circle, and Circle Zen is a living teacher when you engage with it with commitment and fun. Bernie Glassman said in a workshop for Google a few years ago that he no longer reads Buddhist books – the best ideas haven’t been written yet!
But it can still be a good thing to study and understand the roots of Circle practice and how the tools work. When we began the Circles, three books were particularly recommended to us:
The Way of Council, by Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle
We The People: A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods, by John Buck Jr.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall Rosenberg
and a fourth book was lovingly passed around on Bernie’s advice:
Liberating Intimacy: Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity in Ch’an Buddhism, by Peter Hershock
Bernie’s own books are well worth reading:
Instructions to the Cook (with Rick Fields)
The Dude and the Zen Master (with Jeff Bridges)
Finally, if you would like to study the Buddhist framework underlying our Zen tradition, the following curriculum was designed for the Zen Peacemakers by Prof Peter N Gregory, Buddhist scholar and husband of Margi Gregory who helped create the Peacemaker Circles:
The Mahaparinibbana Sutta
The Lotus Sutra
The Vimalakirti Nirdesa
The Platform Sutra of Hui Neng