5 Essential Buddhist Books

5 Essential Buddhist Books

Top Five Beginner Buddhist Books 

I have been studying, practising and teaching Buddhist meditation for nearly twenty years, and this is the list of books that I would recommend to someone who wants to start practising Buddhist style meditation.

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield

The authors went to the East and practised intensely for many years. They returned to the West and have spent the ensuing decades adapting and teaching the essence of the Buddha’s teachings for modern society. With lots of stories, meditations and insights, this book covers all of the basics. I especially value the description of vipassana in chapter 4.

Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg

Sharon describes how to practise, and live the four brahmaviharas: loving kindness, equanimity, compassion and sympathetic joy. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. 

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Written by a Vietnamese Zen monk/poet, this simple and beautifully written volume describes how to mindfully enjoy each moment in everyday life.

Embracing Uncertainty by Susan Jeffers

Susan Jeffers points us towards finding happiness and even joy in the face of change, difficulty and uncertainty. It is easy to read and contains forty-two exercises to help change your mind.

Living in the Light of Death by Larry Rosenberg

This ‘bass note’ of the list covers what is traditionally known as the four messengers; aging, illness, death and cause and effect. There will probably be some resistance to picking this book up but it will act, if applied as an antidote to many of your fears.