Books

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Carey’s Picks

  • The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

“A thorough overview of core Buddhist teachings including the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening.”

  • A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

“A very helpful and wise guide to reconciling Buddhist spirituality with the modern American way of life. Offers guidance for bringing a sense of the sacred to everyday experience.”

  • A New Buddhist Path by David Loy

“Presents a thoughtful approach to practicing Buddhism in a modern context including balancing science, psychology and secularism with traditional Buddhist ideas and teachings.”

  • Untangling Self by Andrew Olendzki

“An exploration of the Buddhist concept of self / no-self by a prominent Buddhist scholar and practitioner.”

  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

“Presents Tibetan Buddhist spirituality in a very accessible and personal way. Helpful for anyone experiencing challenging life circumstances, difficult emotions, etc.”   


John’s Picks

  • The Noble Eightfold Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

“Many come to Buddhism thinking only of the aspects of meditation or mindfulness. Buddhism is deeper than that, and it’s very helpful to have some basic understanding of Buddhist thinking as the context for practice. This short book is a reliable discussion of some Buddhist basics that are useful across traditions. I have often recommended it as a starting point for those who indicate they want to learn Buddhism.”

  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

“This is a classic Zen book, which is helpful, but also, like Zen itself, a bit inscrutable for a total newcomer to Buddhism. Zen is practice – meditation and mindfulness – which can help one see non-self and experience nonduality with the freedom it brings. The book is very readable Zen – a good way to see what the Zen path will ask. It was inspirational for me, but I sometimes found those looking for an overall explanation of Buddhist thinking to be perplexed by it. For those who want to penetrate the koan of life, rather than just become more at peace, this book offers Zen as an antidote to the illusion that the answer will arrive by thinking about it.”

  • Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Kabat-Zinn’s books are more about mindfulness than meditation, and though they incorporate some basic Buddhist ideas, the inclusion is implicit, not explicit. For people approaching Buddhism by learning to be aware and mindful, even in the middle of catastrophe and pain, they are a well-written. Excellent choice with style and language immediately accessible to Western minds. The chapters are mostly not progressive. One can pick out nearly any chapter, read it in a few minutes, and then have some time left to reflect and practice before the thought and inspiration are lost. These can be a valuable part of a collection of books to deliberately keep nearby to browse when there’s just a few minutes to read and think.”


Ha’s Picks

  • The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

“For me, this timeless book was a perfect start to learn about mindfulness meditation. It is short and very easy to read. Yet, this simple book has all the profound fundamentals. I found myself going back to it time and time again.”

  • Breathing – The Master Key to Self Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D.

“This book makes the scientific, non-religious connection between breathing and states of mind. It gives me the foundation and beliefs on the practice of self-improvement through breath training.”

  • Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh

“This book was a guiding light in my journey of learning about Buddhism. It led me out of a confusing maze with simple, beautiful, and elegant style of storytelling.”


Matt’s Picks

  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

“Initially, I didn’t understand this book at all, but it resonated with me and seemed profound. Then there was a period of a couple years when I never left home without it. Eventually, I visited the 3 San Francisco Zen Centers because of this book.”

  • Food for the Heart by Ajahn Chah

“Theravada Buddhism with Zen spirit – fresh, direct, and inspiring. Ajahn Chah, of the Thai Forest Tradition, has attracted a huge following of Western monks, nuns, and laypeople.”

  • Openness Mind by Tarthang Tulku

“An excellent book by a Tibetan lama who’s been teaching in the West since the 1970s. A simple, complementary approach – minus cultural packaging – geared to Westerners.”