The best books into the Tibetan Bon-Buddhist yogic path

The Books I Picked & Why

Siddhartha: A Novel

By Hermann Hesse

Book cover of Siddhartha: A Novel

Why this book?

This novelized life of Buddha Shakyamuni was a crucial book in my early life. It helped me overcome what I called ‘existential attacks’ by naming the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death. I read it numerous times (eight if I remember correctly), and each time it gave me deeper aha moments that were useful in my life, turning me into this Tibetan yogic path.


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The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness

By The Dalai Lama

Book cover of The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness

Why this book?

I had been backpacking through the North of India, staying in Hindu ashrams and Buddhist monasteries, when I heard that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I set my mind up to meet him and I did! I was face to face with him in a public blessing that literally left me speechless. And then, I just sat under a tree crying; a moment that changed my life. This book is composed of talks H.H. gave, including his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. And one important message for me, from the book and my interactions with him, is his phrase “a good heart is the best religion.”


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The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen

By Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

Book cover of The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen

Why this book?

If you want a clear explanation of Tibetan spirituality, and gain a deeper understanding of sutra, tantra, and Dzogchen, this is your book! Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche’s direct and clear style of teaching is vibrant in this book. And like its title, this book is the crystal that with one’s awareness or rigpa, can bring light into your practice and everyday life.


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Wonders of the Natural Mind: The Essense of Dzogchen in the Native Bon Tradition of Tibet

By Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

Book cover of Wonders of the Natural Mind: The Essense of Dzogchen in the Native Bon Tradition of Tibet

Why this book?

This is Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s first book in English. And what I love about this book is that he puts it all out, no withholding. He talks about his life as a child entering the monastic life, at the monastery not too far from his house, and relates how he visited his mom, and the mantras he would recite if he was scared at night coming back to the monastery.

He describes his powerful dreams and the practice of dark retreat, where he stayed for the traditional 49 days when he was only fifteen years old. And the wonderful experiences, visions, and connections to the higher dzogchen practices of cutting through discursive throughs (trekchod) and leaps of visions (thogyal).


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The Little Luminous Boy

By Samten G. Karmay

Book cover of The Little Luminous Boy

Why this book?

The Little Luminous Boy is both a 7th c. Tibetan master who acquired the light body, Tapihritsa, as well as the potential that we all have in our search for enlightenment. Samten Karmay relates Tapihritsa’s life story in the context of the lineage of masters before and after him. It is a story of the transmission of knowledge and wisdom, of the precious Zhang Zhung lineage passed from mind to mind, by signs, orally, and finally put into writing. The Masters are shown through beautiful tsakli or cards that allow us to enter into their world through those images. Some of which are specifically related to Tibetan yoga, and I have incorporated them in my book as well.


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