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Best Buddhist Books to Read

Our list of some of the best Buddhist books & series in recent years. Get inspired by one or more of the following books.

1. The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation (1999)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadIn The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, now revised with added material and new insights, Nhat Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that the Buddha’s teachings are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. Covering such significant teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Three Doors of Liberation, the Three Dharma Seals, and the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching is a radiant beacon on Buddhist thought for the initiated and uninitiated alike….
Author(s): Thich Nhat Hanh

2. The Buddhist Chef: 100 Simple, Feel-Good Vegan Recipes (2019)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadA practicing Buddhist for over two decades, Jean-Philippe Cyr, aka The Buddhist Chef, believes that everyone has the power to make their vision of the world a reality–and that the most impactful way to do that is through the food we choose to make, eat, and share. This realization led him to veganism, which transformed his life and health. In this cookbook, he shares how to make classic dishes vegan, easy, and so delicious and show-stopping that everyone–even the pickiest of eaters–will love them.The Buddhist Chef is a collection of Jean-Philippe’s best vegan recipes that will become a mainstay in vegan and non-vegan…
Author(s): Jean-Philippe Cyr

3. How to Communicate Like a Buddhist (2016)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadThe most well known Buddhist teachers on the planet all have something in common: they are excellent communicators. This is not by accident, as the Buddha taught what are called the four elements of right speech over 2,600 years ago.In this one-of-a-kind book, certified meditation and mindfulness instructor Cynthia Kane has taken the four elements of right speech and developed them into a modern practice based on mindful listening, mindful speech, and mindful silence.Beginning with an illuminating self-test to assess your current communication style, this book will take you through the author’s own five-step…
Author(s): Cynthia Kane

4. The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects (1971)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadThis Book gives the reader a “report” on the corpus of teachings, called by the Tibetans Songs Wai Dam-ngags, that is to say: “Secret Teachings”. The way in which we should understand the adjective “Secret” applied to these Teachings is explained in the following pages, as well as the manner in which they are transmitted. Presented in an entirely objective manner this presentation proposes to make known some of the doctrines held by an elite of Tibetan intellectuals who are not easily accessible to foreign investigators….
Author(s): Alexandra David-Neel, Lama Yongden, et al.

5. First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening (2002)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadFirst Buddhist Women is a readable, contemporary translation of and commentary on the enlightenment verses of the first female disciples of the Buddha. The book explores Buddhism’s relatively liberal attitude towards women since its founding nearly 2,600 years ago, through the study of the Therigatham, the earliest know collection of women’s religious poetry. Through commentary and storytelling, author Susan Murcott traces the journey of the wives, mothers, teachers, courtesan, prostitutes, and wanderers who became leaders in the Buddhist community, roles that even today are rarely filled by women in other patriarchal…
Author(s): Susan Murcott

6. Buddhism: Beginner’s Guide to Understanding & Practicing Buddhism to Become Stress and Anxiety Free (Buddhism, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhism For Beginners) (2016)

Best Buddhist Books to Read4th Edition Now Available with New Beautiful Images and also as Audiobook! “No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.” – Buddha An ancient and deeply revered practice, Buddhism is even more popular now than it has been in decades. The secret behind its steady rise is due in part to the plethora of benefits Buddhism reaps upon those who practice it and apply its teachings to their lives. Through mindfulness and meditation, Buddhism injects peace and clarity into the minds and lives of those who dedicate themselves to it. Those wonderful…
Author(s): Michael Williams

7. Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics) (2004)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadWhile Buddhism has no central text comparable to the Bible or Koran, there is a powerful body of scripture from across Asia that encompasses the dharma, or the teachings of the Buddha. In this rich anthology, eminent scholar Donald S. Lopez, Jr. brings together works from a broad historical and geographical range, and from such languages as Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese. There are tales of the Buddha’s past lives, a discussion of qualities and qualifications for a monk, and an exploration of the many meanings of enlightenment. Together they provide a vivid…
Author(s): Donald Lopez

8. A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher: How My Interfaith Journey with Daisaku Ikeda Made Me a Better Christian (2018)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadIn this inspiring, soul-stirring memoir, Lawrence E. Carter Sr., founding dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, shares his remarkable quest to experience King's "beloved community" and his surprising discovery in mid-life that King's dream was being realized by the Japanese Buddhist philosopher and tireless peace worker Daisaku Ikeda. Coming of age on the cusp of the American Civil Rights Movement, Carter was personally mentored by Martin Luther King Jr. and followed in his footsteps, first to get an advanced degree in theology at Boston…
Author(s): Carter Sr., Lawrence Edward

9. Confession of a Buddhist Atheist (2011)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadDoes Buddhism require faith? Can an atheist or agnostic follow the Buddha’s teachings without believing in reincarnation or organized religion?   This is one man’s confession.   In his classic Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor offered a profound, secular approach to the teachings of the Buddha that struck an emotional chord with Western readers. Now, with the same brilliance and boldness of thought, he paints a groundbreaking portrait of the historical Buddha—told from the author’s unique perspective as a former Buddhist monk and modern seeker. Drawing from the original Pali Canon,…
Author(s): Stephen Batchelor

10. Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (2009)

Best Buddhist Books to ReadIf you change your brain, you can change your life.Great teachers like the Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, and Gandhi were all born with brains built essentially like anyone else’s―and then they changed their brains in ways that changed the world. Science is now revealing how the flow of thoughts actually sculpts the brain, and more and more, we are learning that it’s possible to strengthen positive brain states.By combining breakthroughs in neuroscience with insights from thousands of years of mindfulness practice, you too can use your mind to shape your brain for greater happiness, love, and wisdom….
Author(s): Rick Hanson, Richard Mendius

Standing Buddha statue at the Tokyo National Museum. One of the earliest known representations of the Buddha, 1st–2nd century CE. Part of a series on Buddhism History Timeline Gautama Buddha Pre-sectarian Buddhism Councils Silk Road transmission of Buddhism Decline in the Indian subcontinent Later Buddhists Buddhist modernism Dharma Concepts I don’t claim to know what the “best” beginner Buddhist book might be, because I think that is an individual matter. Sometimes a particular book will touch one person deeply but entirely “miss” another person. That said, all of the books listed here are good, and maybe one is the book that will touch you. There I’ve included some books for beginners interested in Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhism as well. And although these books didn’t make my Top 8, the books below are very popular in Buddhist circles and are also worth checking out, (perhaps after making your way through some of the books listed above). #3: Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries By Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh [Core Buddhist Scripture For Your Practice] In 2019, I came across this fantastic book and added it to my top 5 list (don’t worry, I added the prior book “Buddhism for Beginners” to my list at the end of this article).

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some buddhist books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

The Treasury of Knowledge: Book Five: Buddhist Ethics: Buddhist Ethics v. 5

Author(s): Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, Kalu Rinpoche Translation Group
Publisher: Snow Lion Publications, Year: ©1998., Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1308252

Tea and Cake with Demons: A Buddhist Guide to Feeling Worthy

Author(s): Adreanna Limbach
Publisher: Sounds True, Year: 9 July 2019, Size: 691 Kb, Download: epub
ID: 2387946

Guided Buddhist Meditations: Essential Practices on the Stages of the Path

Author(s): Thubten Chodron, Dalai Lama
Publisher: Shambhala, Year: 30 July 2019, Size: 8 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2394199

Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis

Author(s): David Loy
Publisher: Wisdom Publications, Year: 29 Jan 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2322169

The Buddha in the Tarot: Buddhist Reflections on the Major Arcana

Author(s): Dr. Paul Greer
Publisher: Independently published, Year: 25 Jun 2017, Size: 319 Kb, Download: epub
ID: 2393160

Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles and Interviews on the Buddhist Life

Author(s): Andrea Miller
Publisher: Pottersfield Press, Year: 2020, Size: 660 Kb, Download: epub
ID: 2404262

Stages of Meditation: The Buddhist Classic on Training the Mind (Core Teachings of Dalai Lama Book 4)

Author(s): Dalai Lama (Author), Kamalashila (Author), Geshe Lobsang Jordhen (Translator), Losang Choephel Ganchenpa (Translator), Jeremy Russell (Translator)
Publisher: Shambhala, Year: 2019, Size: 834 Kb, Download: epub
ID: 2332713

Illumination of the Hidden Meaning Vol. 2: Yogic Vows, Conduct, and Ritual Praxis (Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences)

Author(s): Tsong Khapa Losang Drakpa, David B. Gray
Publisher: Wisdom Publications, Year: 2019, Size: 16 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2352470

Psychoanalytic and Buddhist Reflections on Gentleness: Sensitivity, Fear and the Drive Towards Truth

Author(s): Michal Barnea-Astrog
Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2373142

Awaken Every Day: 365 Buddhist Reflections to Invite Mindfulness and Joy

Author(s): Thubten Chodron
Publisher: Shambhala, Year: 2019, Size: 3 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2381154

Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are really record-breakers according to USA Today, others are written by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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