The best books on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy

Maitreyabandhu Author Of Thicker than Blood (Friendship on the Buddhist Path)
By Maitreyabandhu

The Books I Picked & Why

Living with Awareness: A Guide to the Satipatthana Sutta

By Sangharakshita

Living with Awareness: A Guide to the Satipatthana Sutta

Why this book?

There’s a lot of writing out there about mindfulness and meditation, but this book is really the place to start. Sangharakshita writes with a depth of clarity that manages to be inspiring, philosophical, and practical all at the same time. I can find books on mindfulness worthy and dull. This book is neither. My copy is covered with highlighter pen!


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Change Your Mind: A practical guide to Buddhist meditation

By Paramananda

Change Your Mind: A practical guide to Buddhist meditation

Why this book?

More and more people are drawn to meditation but it’s easy to be confounded by all those books and online teachings. This book is a great way to start. A simple guide to Buddhist meditation – to what it means, and how to do it – it’s practical, clear, helpful, and short.


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The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

By Iain McGilchrist

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

Why this book?

This is far and away the most important book I’ve read in years. It’s destined to become a classic – Philip Pullman and John Cleese have been enthusiastic about it. I knew nothing about brain science when I started reading it, but I was deeply inspired by the book. An essential exploration, not just into brain science and consciousness but into culture, society and the arts.


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Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo

Why this book?

Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo is the most exciting, enriching, and funny novel I’ve read in years. Told mostly by ghosts, Saunders’s book manages to be clever, witty, vivid, and deeply moving. I think of it as being the first major Buddhist modern novel – although you don’t need to know anything about Buddhism to read it. He’s even invented a new form to write it!


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The Essential Sangharakshita: A Half-Century of Writings from the Founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

By Urgyen Sangharakshita, Emily Stout

The Essential Sangharakshita: A Half-Century of Writings from the Founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

Why this book?

Buddhism is still misunderstood in the modern world. It can seem all fuzzy ‘being-in-the-moment’ meditation or a rather cold, analytical non-self philosophy. Sangharakshita is the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and my own teacher (I knew him personally). This book collects together some of his essential teaching and thought, illuminating ancient Buddhism wisdom for a modern world.


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