100 books like The Essential Sangharakshita

By Urgyen Sangharakshita, Emily Stout,

Here are 100 books that The Essential Sangharakshita fans have personally recommended if you like The Essential Sangharakshita. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Living with Awareness: A Guide to the Satipatthana Sutta

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

From my list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy.

Who am I?

Maitreyabandhu started attending classes at the London Buddhist Centre (LBC) in 1986. He was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1990 and given the name Maitreyabandhu. Since then he has lived and worked at the LBC, teaching Buddhism and meditation, and leading retreats. He has written three books on Buddhism, Thicker than Blood: Friendship on the Buddhist Path, Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, and The Journey and the Guide: A Practical Guide in Enlightenment. Maitreyabandhu is also a prize-winning poet having written three poetry collections with Bloodaxe Books. Maitreyabandhu founded PoetryEast in 2010 where he interviews well-known artists and writers, including Antony Gormley, Wendy Cope, and Colm Tóibín. He is the co-founder, with Dr. Paramabandhu Groves, of Breathing Space, the LBC’s health and wellbeing project.

Maitreyabandhu's book list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy

Maitreyabandhu Why did Maitreyabandhu love 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!

By Sangharakshita,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living with Awareness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A discussion of the issues raised in the Satipatthana Sutta, the foundational Buddhist discourse on meditation and the importance of mindfulness and awareness in daily life. We can learn to live more fully by living every moment to the full.


Book cover of Change Your Mind: A practical guide to Buddhist meditation

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

From my list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy.

Who am I?

Maitreyabandhu started attending classes at the London Buddhist Centre (LBC) in 1986. He was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1990 and given the name Maitreyabandhu. Since then he has lived and worked at the LBC, teaching Buddhism and meditation, and leading retreats. He has written three books on Buddhism, Thicker than Blood: Friendship on the Buddhist Path, Life with Full Attention: A Practical Course in Mindfulness, and The Journey and the Guide: A Practical Guide in Enlightenment. Maitreyabandhu is also a prize-winning poet having written three poetry collections with Bloodaxe Books. Maitreyabandhu founded PoetryEast in 2010 where he interviews well-known artists and writers, including Antony Gormley, Wendy Cope, and Colm Tóibín. He is the co-founder, with Dr. Paramabandhu Groves, of Breathing Space, the LBC’s health and wellbeing project.

Maitreyabandhu's book list on Buddhism, meditation, and philosophy

Maitreyabandhu Why did Maitreyabandhu love 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.

By Paramananda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Provides traditional practices for the readers to learn how to exchange stress and anxiety for calm and clarity of mind, and transform anger and fear into kindness and self confidence. The author guides on meditation with anecdotes and tips, from his experience of teaching meditation of more than 15 years.


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

Fernanda Pirie Author Of The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World

From my list on making us rethink global history.

Who am I?

I'm an anthropologist on a mission to discover how people have used, and abused, law over the past 4,000 years. After a decade in a wig and gown at the London Bar, I headed back to university to pursue a long-standing interest in Tibetan culture. I spent two years living with remote villagers and nomads, freezing over dung fires, herding yaks, and learning about traditional legal practices. Now, based at the University of Oxford, I’ve turned to legal history, comparing ancient Tibetan texts with examples from all over the world. The Rule of Laws brings a long sweep of legal history and its fascinating diversity to a wide audience.

Fernanda's book list on making us rethink global history

Fernanda Pirie Why did Fernanda love this book?

Philosopher and psychiatrist McGilchrist presented a bold thesis about the working of the human mind. It has profound implications for the way we understand human societies. We’ve long known that the two halves of the brain perform different functions but, using approachable case studies and clearly presenting the science, the first half of the book argues that the left, more rational, part of the brain is dangerously dominant. Controlling and grasping, it needs to remain subordinate to the more inclusive, humane, and intuitive functions of the right brain. McGilchrist goes on to trace the consequences for the development of human societies and their problems. The ideas linger, relevant to practically all aspects of our lives.

By Iain McGilchrist,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Master and His Emissary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A pioneering exploration of the differences between the brain's right and left hemispheres and their effects on society, history, and culture-"one of the few contemporary works deserving classic status" (Nicholas Shakespeare, The Times, London)

"Persuasively argues that our society is suffering from the consequences of an over-dominant left hemisphere losing touch with its natural regulative 'master' the right. Brilliant and disturbing."-Salley Vickers, a Guardian Best Book of the Year

"I know of no better exposition of the current state of functional brain neuroscience."-W. F. Bynum, TLS

Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been…


Book cover of Lincoln in the Bardo

Alison L. McLennan Author Of The Secret Story of a Mormon Turned Madam

From my list on existential and experimental historical fiction.

Who am I?

My imagination opened a portal into the past. And then I found myself spending years researching, reading, and traveling to historical sites across the western United States. Upon visiting historical places, I sometimes become overwhelmed by a visceral sense that is difficult to describe but has compelled me to write about people and places whose stories and spirits are lost and forgotten. An anecdote about a madam in a local museum stirred around in my consciousness for many years before I started writing Ophelia’s War as my MFA thesis. 

Alison's book list on existential and experimental historical fiction

Alison L. McLennan Why did Alison love this book?

I loved this novel because it was haunting, historical, and existential with an experimental format that blew my mind almost like an intense meditation session.

While some people may find the experimental format jarring, it transported me to a surreal disorienting dimension similar to a dream or bardo state. If you’re not familiar with the Bardo, it’s worth researching.

The word Bardo in the title is what originally attracted me to the novel because of my interest in Buddhism. Yet the bardo in this novel reminded me more of Dante’s Inferno!

The technique used at the beginning to establish the time and setting was ingenious, yet I did wonder if it was entirely fiction or pulled from the historical record. It seems people either really love this novel or have some synapses blown. In my case, it was both. 

By George Saunders,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Lincoln in the Bardo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017 A STORY OF LOVE AFTER DEATH 'A masterpiece' Zadie Smith 'Extraordinary' Daily Mail 'Breathtaking' Observer 'A tour de force' The Sunday Times The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns…


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.

Who am I?

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 A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life

Linda A. Curtis Author Of Shunned: How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself

From my list on endings and beginnings.

Who am I?

Linda mentors individuals who are going through major life events to experience honorable closure and move into the future, unencumbered by the past. The best-selling author of Shunned – How I Lost My Religion and Found Myself  her work draws on contemporary neuroscience, wisdom traditions, social science, and her own life experience navigating ends large and small.

Linda's book list on endings and beginnings

Linda A. Curtis Why did Linda love this book?

This book by the revered Buddhist teacher was a balm to my soul at a time when I’d left all my previous religious beliefs behind and was searching for ways to think about good and bad, right and wrong. I did not become a Buddhist but here I discovered practical techniques, guided meditations, stories, and other gems of wisdom that eased my journey through the world.

By Jack Kornfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jack Kornfield's A Path with Heart has been acclaimed as the most significant book yet about American Buddhism-a definitive guide to the practice of traditional mindfulness in America today.

On this audio edition, Kornfield teaches the key principles of Buddhism's cherished vipassana (insight) tradition, and puts them into direct service, with the unique needs of the contemporary seeker in mind.


Book cover of After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path

Jon Marro Author Of The Keepers of Color: A Creative Hero's Journey Into the World Within

From my list on to help you become unafraid of the dark.

Who am I?

From the time I could hold a crayon, I was drawing. I often don’t know how I truly feel about something until I make art about it. Led by imagination and curiosity, I'm a seasoned traveler in liminal spaces and love guiding people between the mystical and the mundane. With 20-plus years of experience as an Artist and Creative Director, I've discovered that solutions to any problem can be found through triumphs in imagination and a willingness to view the situation from a different perspective. By peeking into my own shadow, darkness, and hidden places, I've gained a profound reverence for the human soul and deeper compassion for what it is to be alive.

Jon's book list on to help you become unafraid of the dark

Jon Marro Why did Jon love this book?

“There is no such thing as enlightened retirement” states the book’s opening chapter. Taking a compassionate “chop wood, carry water” approach to life, After The Ecstasy, the Laundry reminds us that there is always work to be done and wisdom to gain. That after the honeymoon comes the difficult task of sustaining and nurturing a marriage, that after winning an elected seat in office, comes the hard part of governing an organization or political body. After the bliss of any ecstasy, comes the prosaic of the everyday – or the “laundry” as the title suggests. I particularly love this book because it grounds me in the menial, tedious task of the everyday. As an artist and a dreamer, I can be prone to escaping in my imagination, and this book serves as a loving and fierce reminder that our real work is always here and now.

By Jack Kornfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the Ecstasy, the Laundry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When does enlightenment come? At the end of the spiritual journey? Or the beginning? On After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, Jack Kornfield-author of the modern classic on American Buddhism, A Path with Heart-brings into focus the truth about satori, the awakened state of consciousness, and enlightenment practices today.

"Perfect enlightenment" appears in many texts, Kornfield begins. But how is it viewed among Western teachers and practitioners? To find out, Kornfield talked to more than 100 Zen masters, rabbis, nuns, lamas, monks, and senior meditation students from all walks of life.

The result is this extraordinary look at the hard work…


Book cover of No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering

Yong Kang Chan Author Of The Disbelief Habit

From my list on calm the inner critic and make peace with thoughts.

Who am I?

I grew up with low self-esteem. As an introvert, I found it difficult to make friends in school and I feel I wasn’t good enough for others. Even when I had my first job, I found myself tearing up in the restroom cubicle one day, feeling defective and unable to fit in. That set me off on a journey to improve my self-esteem. I began reading a lot and taking courses on this topic. For years, I felt more confident and worthy. However, it wasn’t until I had a depression that I was truly transformed. After I recovered, I become committed to living peacefully.

Yong's book list on calm the inner critic and make peace with thoughts

Yong Kang Chan Why did Yong love this book?

I have read almost 40 books from Thich Nhat Hanh and every time I read his books, I feel a deep sense of peace.

I recommend this book to deal with the inner critic because it is about transforming suffering. Instead of running away from our emotional pain, the book teaches us to be present with it. I love how the author uses lotus as an analogy to help us see the beneficial aspects of all things. 

In his book, he wrote “We need to have mud for lotuses to grow. Without mud, there can be no lotus.” This reminds me to not reject the inner critic, but use it as an excellent teacher for my own growth.

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Mud, No Lotus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not to run away from it. Here, Thich Nhat Hanh offers practices and inspiration transforming suffering and finding true joy.

Thich Nhat Hanh acknowledges that because suffering can feel so bad, we try to run away from it or cover it up by consuming. We find something to eat or turn on the television. But unless we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us.

Nhat Hanh shares how the practices of stopping, mindful breathing, and deep concentration…


Book cover of The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom

Jon Marro Author Of The Keepers of Color: A Creative Hero's Journey Into the World Within

From my list on to help you become unafraid of the dark.

Who am I?

From the time I could hold a crayon, I was drawing. I often don’t know how I truly feel about something until I make art about it. Led by imagination and curiosity, I'm a seasoned traveler in liminal spaces and love guiding people between the mystical and the mundane. With 20-plus years of experience as an Artist and Creative Director, I've discovered that solutions to any problem can be found through triumphs in imagination and a willingness to view the situation from a different perspective. By peeking into my own shadow, darkness, and hidden places, I've gained a profound reverence for the human soul and deeper compassion for what it is to be alive.

Jon's book list on to help you become unafraid of the dark

Jon Marro Why did Jon love this book?

I have to admit, part of me squarely into midlife, is still scared of my own shadow. This was the first book I read after my father passed away, and not only was it the perfect guide through the grief, loss, and rite of passage, but also a homecoming of sorts. Roshi Joan Halifax has clearly wandered the vastness of her own inner landscape and offers up treasures from the dark, mysterious depths. She makes it clear, that yes, darkness exists. And also, yes, evil and other unspeakable things may hide within it. But upon her travels and fearless exploration, she has found other luminous gifts that only the soul houses, and only a valiant seeker could discover. The Fruitful Darkness as she calls it is akin to the night sky filled with stars, the fertile soil with seeds, or the womb brimming with new life. It is alive, inviting…

By Joan Halifax,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Buddhist teacher and anthropologists Joan Halifax delves into - the shadow side of being, found in the root truths of Native religions, the fecundity of nature, and the stillness of meditation.


Book cover of Aging with Wisdom: Reflections, Stories and Teachings

Katharine Esty Author Of Eightysomethings: A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness

From my list on aging well and flourishing as you age.

Who am I?

When I turned 80, I was in a bit of a funk until I began interviewing people in their eighties for my book. I was astonished to find how happy the vast majority of them were and what active and exciting their lives were leading. I realized that life after 70 and 80 was not the same today as in the past. As a psychotherapist, a social psychologist, a writer, a mother of four, and a grandmother of 10, I realized I was the perfect person to write about this good news. And for the last 8 years my mission has been to spread the word about aging today.

Katharine's book list on aging well and flourishing as you age

Katharine Esty Why did Katharine love this book?

This book is a collection of reflections, stories, teachings, and poetry from a wide variety of writers from many perspectives. The theme of the book is that the older decades are a wonderful time to explore the mysteries of life, our spirituality, and our inner worlds. Hoblizelle also shares engaging stories from her own life. This is the kind of book you will keep by your bedside and that you will read slowly, savoring each gem and reflecting on its wisdom.

By Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How do we find beauty and meaning in old age? How do we overturn the paradigm of ageism? How do we age consciously and cultivate an inner life resilient enough to withstand the vicissitudes of old age? An extended meditation on how to age consciously and embrace life in all its fullness and wonder, Aging with Wisdom answers these questions.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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