Reccomended Reading?


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Reccomended Reading?

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Jan 9, 2007, 11:51am

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't know a lot about Buddhism. I definitely want to know more! What are some of the books or websites you have found useful on the subject?

Edited: May 21, 2007, 10:17pm

In terms of websites, I would have to say e-sangha, and In terms of books, What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula, and In the Buddha's Words are two of the best introductions to Buddhist theology (if such a thing even exists) and scripture available.

Jan 16, 2007, 12:27am

re: "Buddhist Theology"
This is time for a great 'first lesson'. The Buddha said,"Don't believe anything I say, listen to it, practice
mindfulness and see in your own experience if it is true for you" . I think it is more like Buddhist Theory.

Happy Reading see

4Zin First Message
Edited: Mar 22, 2007, 12:43am

Try this website:

It has everything from the introductory to the most subtle and exquisite read.

Apr 3, 2007, 6:16pm

Hi, like many of you i am interested in Buddhism from a meditation point of view. I needed the de-stress that it provides, but have found it useful in otherways too. The first book I read was The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking by Christopher Hansard. It is a great book to get one started on the path to enlightenment (still travelling!) He has several others out that maybe go a bit more into the rituals behind the practice, but really easy reading.

Apr 5, 2007, 11:04am

It's funny - we all start with a yearning toward some goal - then at some point realize that "no goal" is the ultimate goal.

Apr 5, 2007, 5:04pm

I have been a student of Zen for over 25 years and have found that each individual has their own flavor of ice cream. From my perspective, I believe a very valuable teacher is Myokyo-ni. She has written The Zen Way, among other books, that I go back to again and again.

If you have questions on that perspective, I would be glad to help out in any way I can.

Country Boy

8mahakapi First Message
May 21, 2007, 8:39pm

I would definitely recommend The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanponika Thera. This is a classic.

May 22, 2007, 9:48am

Funny - I am currently reading The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanponika Thera - and I agree that it is a classic.. much slower reading than many Buddhist books - but only because it provides so much detail.

Edited: May 23, 2007, 4:59pm

I would recommend several books by Edward Conze: Buddhist Wisdom Books and Buddhism: its essence and development and others. Also Alan Watts, The Way of Zen.

Edited: Jun 9, 2007, 7:47pm

On the Tibetan Buddhist side of the aisle, How to Meditate : a practical guide by Kathleen McDonald and Introduction to Tantra : a vision of totality by Thubten Yeshe are both very approachable.

(Edited to add the bit-of-the-title that comes after the colon. What is that called, anyway? "Subtitle" doesn't seem to be quite right...)

12DasEnergi First Message
Edited: Aug 7, 2007, 9:13pm

Here's a book you can get online for free right now -- it's the closest direct translation of what the Buddha actually said: "The Word Of The Buddha: An Outline of the teaching of the Buddha in the words of the Pali canon" compiled, translated, and explained by Nyanatiloka.

It's an eBook avaialble at:

And some other books I'd recommend right now are:

"A Path with Heart : A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life" by Jack Kornfield

"A Gradual Awakening" by Stephen Levine

"Against The Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries" by Noah Levine

"Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness" by Sharon Salzberg

In metta,
Das Energi

Edited: Sep 19, 2007, 12:13pm

Hi to all, I am new on this group and am glad to find it. My interest in Buddhism is varied, but tends toward Tibetan more recently.

Along with some of the books you have mentioned here, I've enjoyed reading works by Pema Chodronand find her method of leading meditation to be helpful.

Enjoyed reading Lama Surya Das - Awakening the Buddha Within

It is a bit quiet around here, but that is not surprising I guess!

Oct 28, 2007, 7:02pm

13> It is a bit quiet around here, but that is not surprising I guess!

That's because we're all off meditating, of course.

Or reading.

Or reading about meditating ;-)

Oct 29, 2007, 5:34pm

Ahhhh, yes... that's very likely...

Good to find you here, chamekke. Are you Buddhist??

Nov 1, 2007, 4:24pm

Good to see you too, villandry!

Yes, I'm a Buddhist... been poking doubtfully at that meditation thang ever since 1982 or thereabouts.

Nov 10, 2007, 6:25pm

Me too with the meditation thang ...since around 1983.

Jan 5, 2008, 7:53am

Japanese Manga artist Osamu Tezuka made an 8 volume Graphic Novel biography of Buddha's life. The series has won many prices and is certainly worth a look.

Edited: Mar 23, 2008, 8:27am

Hi folks,

For those interested in exploring the Pali Canon of the Theravadan tradition, I'd recommend the Thanissaro Bhikku translation of The Culavedalla Sutta.

This teaching summarised the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path and Dependent Origination very succinctly for me. Another interesting point is that the teaching is given by a Nun (Dhammadinna) to her ex-husband :-)

Mar 23, 2008, 7:49pm


I am new too the topic myself and have found the following website very helpful:

I hope you find it useful. Good luck to you.

Mar 27, 2008, 3:56am

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula is a very good book to start. It gives an overview of teachings widely believed to be closest to what the historical Buddha taught. Even if you are more interested in other schools such as Zen, Tibetan, Pure Land, etc, this books is still a valuable introduction source since the concepts of four noble truths, non-self, and mental culture are shared and elaborated by later schools of Buddhism.

I also found audio dharma from The Insight Meditation Center at Redwood City, CA to be very helpful as well.

Oct 14, 2009, 11:25pm

The Buddhist Geeks Podcast series ( is a really great source of information and interviews about various traditions

Oct 15, 2009, 7:15am

A nice short introduction to the subject is Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor.

Nov 2, 2009, 2:18pm

#23- I am not sure which 'subject' you are referring to - but Batchelor's book isn't traditional Buddhism - having been stripped of the central concepts of karma and rebirth. I am not making a value statement on his approach- merely stating that it differs in substantial, fundamental ways.

I would also recommend What the Buddha Taught and depending on what you were seeking, would add a few more.

But to keep from getting lost in a lost list of titles, I will strongly suggest the first 2 volumes of Geshe Tashi Tsering's 6 volume set on The Foundation of Buddhist Thought - which are (in order) The Four Noble Truths; Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth.

Jan 14, 2010, 7:19pm

I've had good experience with Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way. It deals with the nature of emptiness.

Also, Santideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life has some very important lessons in developing the aim of compassion.

Jan 14, 2010, 8:22pm

I've been discussing Buddhism with my college's chaplain lately, and I said I'd work up a list for him of about 5-10 solid books on Buddhism. I'm not looking for pop-buddhism like Chodron or some of the Buddhism as psychology stuff, but the formal religion. What the Buddha Taught and In the Buddha's Words are obviously on there, but what else could I recommend? He knows the basics, so I'm looking for maybe a step above that.

Jan 14, 2010, 8:28pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Apr 6, 2010, 5:23pm

I got interested in Buddhism due to a college course I took.

I am interested in scholarly literature; not "pop" psychology books. I'd like a good history of Buddhism, overview, or analysis...

Any recommendations?

Apr 6, 2010, 8:06pm

You might look at The Foundations of Buddhism by Rupert Gethin.

I just picked up a copy of Carl Olson's The Different Paths of Buddhism. It looks like it covers a lot of territory!

These are both books suitable for college courses.

Apr 8, 2010, 5:56am

Looks interesting, thanks.

Apr 8, 2010, 9:59am

I recommend Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen as a concise introduction.

May 12, 2010, 8:06am


To which 'Chodron' do you refer? Ven. Thubten Chodron is certainly not pop-buddhism but trustworthy Tibetan steeped in tradition. I would recommend you peruse her site, which hosts a great deal of dharma.

To answer your question- I suppose it depends on what exactly you want and in which tradition?

Seeing how late I am to your question, I will see if you are still seeking responses.

Oct 21, 2010, 5:41pm

I was thinking of Pema Chodron, who has written some good books, but every single one seems to be the same thing in different words.

Dec 15, 2011, 3:01pm

A challenge: If you could only have one book about Buddhism, what would you choose? What book would you give to someone who knows nothing about Buddhism?

Dec 16, 2011, 12:45pm

Have: Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara (Way of the Bodhisattva)

Give: The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching- Thich Nhat Hanh

Edited: Jan 27, 2012, 1:14pm

Give: The Mind and the Way, Ajahn Sumedho

Have: This is tougher. Quite likely The Mind and the Way, Ajahn Sumedho.....but I do find Pure and Simple: The Extraordinary Teachings of a Thai Buddhist Laywoman by Upasika Kee Nanayon a very helpful book. This woman is like a piece of driftwood or a bare rock in her style - plain, simple and forceful.

Jan 27, 2012, 12:41pm

Give: Awakening the Buddha within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment by Lama Surya Das

Have: This changed last week when I read my ER:
Beyond Religion: Ethics for a whole World by H. H. Dalai Lama

Dec 1, 2013, 6:17pm

I've been reading Rebel Buddha the past couple days and might have found my new favorite Buddhism book. Dzogchen Ponlop seems to be part of a movement of post-boomer, post-psychology/new age/feel good Buddhism. The book divorces the teachings from psychology and cultural baggage and creates something that certainly seems to have the potential of being a form of the dharma that the west can truly call its own beyond simply adapting someone else's. I'm also looking forward to reading Evolving Dharma a more academic work that discusses the changes going on in Buddhism in the west.

Dec 18, 2013, 7:47pm

Anyone familiar with Brad Warner or Noah Levine? I have a pretty different background than either, but the little I know about their teachings makes them sound appealing. I'm also considering getting a basic book on Buddhism for my brother and dad who are both conservative republicans.

Dec 18, 2013, 9:04pm

I like both of their books. I admire and respect Noah Levine and have met and been on retreat with people who work with him in his Dharma Punx groups. They are serious students of the Dharma some of whom train at You may know that Noah's father is another well respected teacher, Stephen Levine. I have given away a few copies of Noah's books to young people but might choose something more conservative for conservatives, but who knows? When people interested in learning about Buddhism ask me for a book I usually hand them Lama Surya Das Awakening the Buddha Within which they tell me they enjoy and then they buy copies for others. Let us know how it plays out.

Dec 18, 2013, 9:28pm

My primary concern is that my brother and dad perceive a lot of buddhism as lovey dovey hippy bullshit, where the dharma I know is very much not that. The sense I get from Warner and Levine is that thats not how they teach either, which is why I think it might go over well.

Dec 18, 2013, 9:49pm

Oh I get it! That makes sense.

Edited: Dec 19, 2013, 10:36am

I find that the book I most often recommend to others is Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagan.

Dec 19, 2013, 11:02am

Walpola Rahula's What the Buddha Taught is pretty conservative, covers the fundamentals, a little dry but not too lengthy.