100 books like Cave in the Snow

By Vicki MacKenzie,

Here are 100 books that Cave in the Snow fans have personally recommended if you like Cave in the Snow. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist — One Woman's Spiritual Journey

Cyndi Lee Author Of May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

From my list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a practicing yogi and Buddhist for 50 years. For me these lifelong practices started with reading, or as my Zen teacher calls it, being a “Book Buddhist.” Buddhism and Yoga are not typically called “faith-based” practices, but there is an element of faith — it is faith in the process. But you can’t have faith until you have experienced the benefits of practice. The unconventional lives of the yogis told in these books illustrate for all of us how we, too, can develop wisdom, joy, and compassion. I found each of these books really, really fun to read and I’ve gained much insight and inspiration for my own spiritual path.

Cyndi's book list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs

Cyndi Lee Why did Cyndi love this book?

Jan Willis is one of our most respected American Buddhist teachers and scholars. Like so many Americans who identify as Buddhists, Jan Willis’ story begins with a Christian background. Willis was raised in the Baptist church in Alabama where she endured Jim Crow racism and later marched with MLK, Jr. She writes about the obstacles she faced in her Ivy League education and how she eventually met her Buddhist guru in India. This story is so resonant for me because it reminds me that we can evolve and grow on our spiritual journey without rejecting any part of who we already are. I read this book when it was published in 2001 and it continues to inspire me as a Buddhist, an American, and a writer.

By Jan Willis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dreaming Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jan Willis is not Baptist or Buddhist. She is simply both. Dreaming Me is the story of her life, as a child growing up in the Jim Crow South, dealing with racism in an Ivy League college, and becoming involved with the Black Panther Party. But it wasn't until meeting Lama Yeshe, a Tibetan Buddhist monk living in the mountains of Nepal, that she realized who the real Jan Willis was, and how to make the most of the life she was living.


Book cover of The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West

Cyndi Lee Author Of May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

From my list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a practicing yogi and Buddhist for 50 years. For me these lifelong practices started with reading, or as my Zen teacher calls it, being a “Book Buddhist.” Buddhism and Yoga are not typically called “faith-based” practices, but there is an element of faith — it is faith in the process. But you can’t have faith until you have experienced the benefits of practice. The unconventional lives of the yogis told in these books illustrate for all of us how we, too, can develop wisdom, joy, and compassion. I found each of these books really, really fun to read and I’ve gained much insight and inspiration for my own spiritual path.

Cyndi's book list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs

Cyndi Lee Why did Cyndi love this book?

You might recognize the author’s name – she is a regular contributor to the Opinion Page of The New York Times. In this book, she has used her journalistic skills to uncover the layers of Indra Devi, from her birth in Russia to her status in Hollywood as one of the first yoga teachers to the stars. Indra Devi was a longtime devotee of Krishnamurti, and the first-ever woman to convince the great yoga master Krishnamacharya to teach her yoga. I remember knowing about her back in the ’70s when I was a novice yogi/college student in southern California and Devi was still teaching privately in Los Angeles. But only through reading this book did I learn how much her work contributed to the current popularity and acceptance of yoga in western culture.

By Michelle Goldberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Goddess Pose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the woman who would become Indra Devi was born in Russia in 1899, yoga was virtually unknown outside of India. By the time of her death, in 2002, it was being practiced everywhere, from Brooklyn to Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. In The Goddess Pose, New York Times best-selling author Michelle Goldberg traces the life of the incredible woman who brought yoga to the West and in so doing paints a sweeping picture of the twentieth century.

Born into the minor aristocracy (as Eugenia Peterson), Devi grew up in the midst of one of the most turbulent times in human history.…


Book cover of White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet's Lost Emissary to the New World

Cyndi Lee Author Of May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

From my list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a practicing yogi and Buddhist for 50 years. For me these lifelong practices started with reading, or as my Zen teacher calls it, being a “Book Buddhist.” Buddhism and Yoga are not typically called “faith-based” practices, but there is an element of faith — it is faith in the process. But you can’t have faith until you have experienced the benefits of practice. The unconventional lives of the yogis told in these books illustrate for all of us how we, too, can develop wisdom, joy, and compassion. I found each of these books really, really fun to read and I’ve gained much insight and inspiration for my own spiritual path.

Cyndi's book list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs

Cyndi Lee Why did Cyndi love this book?

This book is as much fun to read as an Indiana Jones story! Theos Bernard, born in 1908, was a grad student at Columbia University in 1936 when he decided he needed to go to India to do research on Tantric Yoga. He eventually became only the third American to even be allowed to enter Tibet, where he finally was able to study with the highest Tantric masters. But he was still and always an American; a big, strapping, handsome guy with a great asana practice and so his story unfolds in New York, California, Arizona just as much as in India and Tibet. And then, in 1937, he disappeared. I would love to see this book made into a movie!

By Douglas Veenhof,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Lama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An amazing, often overlooked story of the man who brought Yoga and Tibetan culture to America. Theos Bernard’s colorful, enigmatic, and sometimes contradictory life captures an intersection of East and West that changed our world.
 
After years of forcibly stopping foreigners at the borders, the leaders of Tibet opened the doors to their kingdom in 1937 for Theos Bernard. He was the third American to set foot in Tibet and the first American ever initiated into Tantric practices by the highest lama in Tibet. When Bernard left that sacred land, he was sent home with fifty mule loads of priceless,…


Book cover of Confession of a Buddhist Atheist

Cyndi Lee Author Of May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind

From my list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a practicing yogi and Buddhist for 50 years. For me these lifelong practices started with reading, or as my Zen teacher calls it, being a “Book Buddhist.” Buddhism and Yoga are not typically called “faith-based” practices, but there is an element of faith — it is faith in the process. But you can’t have faith until you have experienced the benefits of practice. The unconventional lives of the yogis told in these books illustrate for all of us how we, too, can develop wisdom, joy, and compassion. I found each of these books really, really fun to read and I’ve gained much insight and inspiration for my own spiritual path.

Cyndi's book list on Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs

Cyndi Lee Why did Cyndi love this book?

This book is both a memoir of Stephen Batchelor and a memoir of the Buddha himself. Batchelor integrates these two life stories with his journey through India which followed the footsteps of the Buddha. Batchelor teaches us what Buddha taught, but in a way that inspires as many questions as it provides answers. In this way, the reader goes on her own spiritual quest and perhaps, transformation, just as did Buddha and Batchelor. I love this book so much that it is a re-read for me, a wonderful well of inspiration and contemplation. This is also an easy read and a great way to begin dipping into the story and teachings of Buddha through a contemporary lens.

By Stephen Batchelor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confession of a Buddhist Atheist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Does 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, the seminal collection of Buddhist discourses compiled after the Buddha’s death…


Book cover of Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint

Elles Lohuis Author Of A Pilgrim's Heart

From my list on biographies of Western Buddhist women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write novels that enthrall, enrich, and enliven you. I've been student of Buddhism for more than thirty years and spend long periods of time with the most generous Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their monasteries in the remote Himalayas, relishing the solitude and contemplative life. Their tales of resilience are an enormous inspiration to me. The biographies of Western Buddhist women I’ve selected are everything I look for in ‘great writing’. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also make us pause and reflect to appreciate the astonishing opportunities of the privileged times we live in, and challenge us once again to be and do better—every moment of this precious life.

Elles' book list on biographies of Western Buddhist women

Elles Lohuis Why did Elles love this book?

I read this book when it first came out in 1995 and have kept a copy of it for all those years, re-reading it again and again. This book is the journal and letters of Maura O'Halloran, a young Irish-American who went to Japan and joined a Zen Buddhist temple for monks at a time (the early 1980s) when few western women were admitted to such extremely arduous training. It tells of her three years in the temple in a heart-warming, honest way, with an abundance of humor. This book gives a brilliant look into life in a Zen temple, and Maura’s detailed observations and humble descriptions of her breakthroughs are a heartfelt reminder that no matter where we are on our spiritual path, we're human and there’s always hope.

By Maura O'Halloran, Beth O'Halloran (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most beloved Buddhist books of all time-having inspired popular musicians, artists, a documentary film, and countless readers-is now in an expanded, new edition, loaded with extras. Absolutely absorbing from start to finish, this is a true story you might truly fall in love with.

At only 24, Maura O'Halloran left her Irish-American family stateside and traveled to Japan, where she began studying under an inscrutable Zen master. She would herself become recognized as a Zen master-in an uncommonly brief amount of time. Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind is Maura's beautifully-written account of her journey. These journal entries and…


Book cover of The Wild, White Goose: The Diary of a Female Zen Priest

Elles Lohuis Author Of A Pilgrim's Heart

From my list on biographies of Western Buddhist women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write novels that enthrall, enrich, and enliven you. I've been student of Buddhism for more than thirty years and spend long periods of time with the most generous Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their monasteries in the remote Himalayas, relishing the solitude and contemplative life. Their tales of resilience are an enormous inspiration to me. The biographies of Western Buddhist women I’ve selected are everything I look for in ‘great writing’. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also make us pause and reflect to appreciate the astonishing opportunities of the privileged times we live in, and challenge us once again to be and do better—every moment of this precious life.

Elles' book list on biographies of Western Buddhist women

Elles Lohuis Why did Elles love this book?

This is a diary of an English woman who moved to Japan in the 1950s to study Zen at one of the most prestigious temples at the time and become the first female to be sanctioned by the Soto School of Japan to teach in the West. The diary takes us through her years of arduous training in Japan, through the challenges that beset her, and gives a truly moving account of her brilliant mindset throughout her grueling ordeal to become a Zen priest. 

By Roshi P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild, White Goose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, first published as two volumes in 1977 and 1978, was published purely for the purpose of showing how Buddhist training was done by the Reverend Jiyu-Kennett in the Far East. The material for the book was taken from diaries covering eight years spent by the author in Far Eastern temples, and describe her religious training and her growth of a Zen priest into a teacher, running her own temple.


Book cover of I Give You My Life: The Autobiography of a Western Buddhist Nun

Elles Lohuis Author Of A Pilgrim's Heart

From my list on biographies of Western Buddhist women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write novels that enthrall, enrich, and enliven you. I've been student of Buddhism for more than thirty years and spend long periods of time with the most generous Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their monasteries in the remote Himalayas, relishing the solitude and contemplative life. Their tales of resilience are an enormous inspiration to me. The biographies of Western Buddhist women I’ve selected are everything I look for in ‘great writing’. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also make us pause and reflect to appreciate the astonishing opportunities of the privileged times we live in, and challenge us once again to be and do better—every moment of this precious life.

Elles' book list on biographies of Western Buddhist women

Elles Lohuis Why did Elles love this book?

This is the life story of Ayya Khema (1923-1997), who was the first Western woman to be ordained a Theravadin Buddhist nun. In this book, she recounts her rich and adventurous life. Born in Germany to Jewish parents before WWII, she joined a children's transport group going to England after the Kristal Nacht. After a year she met up with her parents in Shanghai, where the Japanese invasion forced them to give up their lives and live in a ghetto. From there on, her life takes many turns. She marries, has children, travels all over, and eventually steps onto the spiritual path in later life. She ordains as a Buddhist nun, initiates Nun's Island, a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka, and eventually comes back to Germany to create Buddha Haus. Ven. Ayya Khema writes more ‘from a distance,' and although we do not always get a glimpse into her inner…

By Ayya Khema,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Give You My Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ayya Khema (1923-1997) was the first Western woman to become a Theravadan Buddhist nun. As such, she has served as a model and inspiration for women from all the Buddhist traditions who have sought to revive the practice of women's monasticism in modern times. Though her renown as a teacher is widespread, few know the truly amazing details of her life before her monastic ordination at the age of fifty-eight. And what a life it was. Born Ilse Kussel in Berlin, Germany, she grew up in a prosperous Jewish family that was broken up by Nazi terror in 1938. The…


Book cover of Women of Wisdom

Elles Lohuis Author Of A Pilgrim's Heart

From my list on biographies of Western Buddhist women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write novels that enthrall, enrich, and enliven you. I've been student of Buddhism for more than thirty years and spend long periods of time with the most generous Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their monasteries in the remote Himalayas, relishing the solitude and contemplative life. Their tales of resilience are an enormous inspiration to me. The biographies of Western Buddhist women I’ve selected are everything I look for in ‘great writing’. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also make us pause and reflect to appreciate the astonishing opportunities of the privileged times we live in, and challenge us once again to be and do better—every moment of this precious life.

Elles' book list on biographies of Western Buddhist women

Elles Lohuis Why did Elles love this book?

This book is a wonderful collection of the lives of six Tibetan female mystics, brought together by the American Lama Tsultrim Allione, the emanation of the renowned 11th-century Tibetan yogini, Machig Labdrön, and one of the few women Lamas in the world today. The book includes an extensive autobiographical preface and introduction in which Lama Tultrum Allione shares her own story and experience of the difficulties and triumphs of women in Tibetan Buddhism, and of women pursuing a spiritual life in the West with candid honesty. The stories of these remarkable women's pasts and brought together in this book offer a wealth of insight and encouragement for both women and men who aspire to a spiritual life in the face of adversity.

By Tsultrim Allione,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women of Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A “fascinating and inspiring” celebration of women’s spirituality and the female mystics of Tibetan Buddhism—now featuring an updated and expanded author autobiography (San Francisco Chronicle)
 
Women of Wisdom explores and celebrates the spiritual potential of all women, as exemplified by the lives of six Tibetan female mystics. These stories of great women who have achieved full illumination—overcoming cultural prejudices and a host of other problems which male practitioners do not encounter—offer a wealth of inspiration to everyone on the spiritual path.

In this revised and expanded edition, Tsultrim Allione’s extensive autobiographical preface and introduction speak directly to the difficulties and…


Book cover of A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism

Diana Winston Author Of The Little Book of Being: Practices and Guidance for Uncovering Your Natural Awareness

From my list on Buddhist stories from lesser-known women authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are so many good spiritual books out there that get little attention, especially books by women and women of color. I have been a meditation practitioner for three decades, running a mindfulness center at UCLA, and been teaching and sharing Buddhist and mindfulness teaching for 20+ years. I need my sources of inspiration too! Each of these books forced me to think—and brought new depth to my own meditation practice. I am interested in how the Buddhist and mindfulness teachings, which I love so deeply, can help us build resiliency and weather the challenges of the intersecting, current ecological, political and social crises. These books are a great start.

Diana's book list on Buddhist stories from lesser-known women authors

Diana Winston Why did Diana love this book?

This book tells the story of Pamela’s spiritual journey into Zen and other meditative practices. It’s a memoir laden with spiritual stories, a fight against patriarchal norms, and her take on contemporary issues. She offers a feminist critique of aspects of Buddhism while sharing her hard-won wisdom. Her writing is beautiful and thought-provoking.

By Pamela Weiss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bigger Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reimagining Buddhism through a feminine lens: A powerful memoir of healing, strength, and spiritual awakening.

Written by the first and only layperson to receive full dharma transmission in the Suzuki Roshi Soto Zen lineage, A Bigger Sky explores what it means to traverse the gaps of a Buddhism created by and for men, navigate the seemingly contradictory domains of secular and spiritual life, and walk a path through the heart of the world. Blending memoir, Buddhist practice, and cultural observation, Weiss reorients Buddhism through a wider and more inclusive feminine lens. Her personal and spiritual journey speaks to the bits…


Book cover of You Belong: A Call for Connection

Mike Albo Author Of Another Dimension of Us

From my list on putting you in a trance (in a good way).

Why am I passionate about this?

As a queer teenager, I loved reading because it transported me away from my oppressive reality and into another one. My friend, writer Virginia Heffernan, calls it ‘The Trance’—when you’re so into a book, time and space fall away. Recently I learned about the work of cognitive neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf, who writes that “deep reading” of dense, poetic works (not the “skimming” we’re always doing now in our digital culture) uses, remarkably, all areas of the brain—carving neuronal pathways, engendering empathy, imagination, self-reflection, and more. No-brainer: reading is really good for you. While there’s no lack of classics that can do this, here are obscurer titles that have put me in a trance.  

Mike's book list on putting you in a trance (in a good way)

Mike Albo Why did Mike love this book?

There’s no end of books out there on mindfulness and meditation. What I love about meditation teacher, writer, and thinker Sebene Selassie’s book is how funny, personal, awkward, and honest she is about her journey. Each chapter delivers a new perspective on how you—how we all—are connected, how disconnection is at the core of our suffering, and how the one way to get back to a sense of belonging is through the body, the breath, and presence. Selassie is that friend who gently leads you to look inward and understand the power and joy of connection.  

By Sebene Selassie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked You Belong as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A POWERFUL WORK OF SPIRITUALITY AND ANTI-RACISM"-Publishers Weekly

"IF YOU READ ONE BOOK IN 2020, MAKE IT THIS ONE."-Tricycle

From much-admired meditation expert Sebene Selassie, You Belong is a call to action, exploring our tangled relationship with belonging, connection, and each other

You are not separate. You never were. You never will be.

We are not separate from each other. But we don't always believe it, and we certainly don't always practice it. In fact, we often practice the opposite-disconnection and domination. From unconscious bias to "cancel culture," denial of our inherent interconnection limits our own freedom.

In You Belong,…


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