10 books like The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

By Shunryu Suzuki,

Book cover of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

I work with groups and communities in studio environments where people worldwide encounter past baggage about their artistic expression or lack of it, all of which invariably arouses intimidation, fear, doubt, and resistance. This concise, 138-page text has been the go-to book in affirming universal and quality participation. Less experienced artists appreciate the value of beginning and veterans let go and begin anew. The goal for all is authentic expression, or as Suzuki-roshi says, “to express your true nature in the simplest, most adequate way and to appreciate it in the smallest existence.”

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

By Shunryu Suzuki,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century (Spirituality & Practice)

A 50th Anniversary edition of the bestselling Zen classic on meditation, maintaining a curious and open mind, and living with simplicity.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books. Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line. In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen…


Lovingkindness

By Sharon Salzberg,

Book cover of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

Sharon Salzberg is undoubtedly the preeminent teacher of lovingkindness meditation in the west, and probably the world. When I read her book I’d already been practicing this form of meditation for a dozen years, and yet dipping into it now reminds me of how much of my own teaching draws on Sharon’s pioneering work. If you want to learn to develop lovingkindness, which is the basis of compassion, Sharon’s book is the ideal place to start.

Lovingkindness

By Sharon Salzberg,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lovingkindness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout our lives we long to love ourselves more deeply and find a greater sense of connection with others. Our fear of intimacy—both with others and with ourselves—creates feelings of pain and longing. But these feelings can also awaken in us the desire for freedom and the willingness to take up the spiritual path.

In this inspiring book, longtime meditation practitioner and teacher Sharon Salzberg shows how the Buddhist path can help us discover the radiant, joyful heart within each one of us, drawing on Buddhist teachings, wisdom from various traditions, her personal experiences, and guided meditation exercises. With these…


The Heart of the Buddha

By Chögyam Trungpa,

Book cover of The Heart of the Buddha: Entering the Tibetan Buddhist Path

Moving from the Zen lineages over to another branch of this tradition, Tibetan Buddhism, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was famous for making the esoteric accessible. In this book he covers a wide variety of topics ranging from the four foundations of mindfulness over to advanced Buddhist views around taking vows and maintaining sacred outlook throughout one’s day. Bonus: there’s a section devoted to a number of modern day issues where he offers Buddhist teachings on relationships, art, and money.

The Heart of the Buddha

By Chögyam Trungpa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The basic teachings of Buddhism as they relate to everyday life—presented by the esteemed Tibetan meditation master
 
In The Heart of the Buddha, Chögyam Trungpa examines the basic teachings of Buddhism and places them within the context of daily life. Divided into three parts, the book begins with a discussion about the open, inquisitive, and good-humored qualities of the “heart of the Buddha”—an “enlightened gene” that everyone possesses. Next, Chögyam Trungpa moves to the stages of the Buddhist path, presenting the three vehicles—Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana—that carry the Buddhist practitioner toward enlightenment. Finally, he describes the direct application of Buddhist…


Start Where You Are

By Pema Chödrön,

Book cover of Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

I vacillated wildly on which of Pema Chödrön’s books to include here, as many of them cover Buddhism in such a way that the teachings are made modern and relevant to whatever readers are going through. This book, for example, covers the ancient lojong, or mind-training, slogans of the Buddhist master Atisha and shows how this very old text has a lot to say about how we can live a life based in mindfulness and compassion. I don’t think you can go wrong by picking up any of her books (or any books written by any of these authors, frankly), but this one fits best for our purposes for a strong introduction to the fundamental teachings of Buddhism.

Start Where You Are

By Pema Chödrön,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Start Where You Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Start Where You Are is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart, from bestselling author Pema Choedroen. With insight and humour, she presents down-to-earth guidance on how to make friends with ourselves and develop genuine compassion towards others.

This book shows how we can 'start where we are' by embracing rather than denying the painful aspects of our lives.

Pema Choedroen frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist maxims, or slogans, such as: 'Always apply a joyful state of mind', 'Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment' and 'Be grateful to everyone'.

Working with…


What the Buddha Taught

By Walpola Rahula,

Book cover of What the Buddha Taught

Looking for the vehicle to understand Siddhartha Gautama’s journey to enlightenment and teachings but worried you’ll never remember the four noble truths or eight-fold path? Search no more, my friends. Of all the books on Buddhism ever written this simple and compact distillation delivers what Siddhartha (the Buddha) taught which is really nothing more complex than, “You must figure it out for yourself, but here’s how I did it.”

What the Buddha Taught

By Walpola Rahula,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What the Buddha Taught as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This clear and informative guide draws on the words spoken by the Buddha to convey the true nature of Buddhist wisdom. It also features an illustrative section of texts from the Suttas and the Dhammapada, a glossary of Buddhist terms and an up-to-date bibliography.


Psychotherapy Without the Self

By Mark Epstein,

Book cover of Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective

I had to choose one of Mark Epstein's many books on this topic. I remember sitting on a meditation cushion and listening to him address a large group of meditators and psychotherapists. In this book he addresses Freud's view of meditation as a regressive quest for the "oceanic feeling" of the infant, but he also points out how Freud suggested an almost Zen-like method for how the psychoanalyst should pay attention to the patient. As a photographer, I was eager to read his discussion about art, meditation and the unconscious. Like all of Epstein's books, this is deeply examined and beautifully written.

Psychotherapy Without the Self

By Mark Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Psychotherapy Without the Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Insights on the interface between Buddhist teachings and Western psychotherapy by the best-selling author of Thoughts without a Thinker

Immersed in Buddhist psychology prior to studying Western psychiatry, Dr. Mark Epstein first viewed Western therapeutic approaches through the lens of the East. This posed something of a challenge. Although both systems promise liberation through self-awareness, the central tenet of Buddha's wisdom is the notion of no-self, while the central focus of Western psychotherapy is the self. This book, which includes writings from the past twenty-five years, wrestles with the complex relationship between Buddhism and psychotherapy and offers nuanced reflections on…


Peace Is Every Step

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Book cover of Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

This slender book is my “bible” for inspiration as well as mindfulness. (One can’t go wrong with a book that includes a foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama!) The first essay, “Twenty-four Brand-New Hours,” reminds me that each day affords an opportunity to bring “peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.” Thich Nhat Hanh, described in the introduction as “a cross between a cloud, a snail and a piece of heavy machinery—a true religious presence,” humbly offers simple ways to be present in the moment (the only moment we have, btw!). “We are very good at preparing to live,” the author reminds us, “but not very good at living.” The essays in Peace Is Every Step inspire me to breathe more, think less, wake up, and feel alive.   

Peace Is Every Step

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Peace Is Every Step as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This is a very worthwhile book. It can change individual lives and the life of our society.' The Dalai Lama

Lucidly and beautifully written, Peace is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from Nhat Hanh's experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader. It begins where the reader already is - in the kitchen, office, driving a car, walking in a park - and shows how deep meditative presence is available now. Nhat Hanh provides exercises to increase our awareness of our own body and mind through conscious breathing, which can bring immediate joy and…


The Miracle of Mindfulness

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Book cover of The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

This little book is the best introduction to the practice – and benefits – of mindfulness I know. It is easy to make meditation more complicated than it needs to be, and Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh keeps drawing you back to the simple essence of the practice, and to the peaceful aura of the present. Just above my computer screen I have one of his postcards pinned to the wall. “Here I am, sitting in this room, aware of the chair, aware of the sitting, aware of the breathing – aware of this precious moment.” What an effective stress-buster – bringing me back from the maelstroms of thoughts inside my head to the simple, pleasurable fact of just being alive, here, now, and enabling me to reset the emotional dashboard!

The Miracle of Mindfulness

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the best available introductions to the wisdom and beauty of meditation practice. --New Age Journal

In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.


A Path with Heart

By Jack Kornfield,

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

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.

A Path with Heart

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.


Living Buddha, Living Christ

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Book cover of Living Buddha, Living Christ

There is a misconception that reading Buddhist scripture would somehow steer the reader away from God, but given the chance, it does exactly the opposite, actually strengthening the reader's existing faith (whatever it may be). Many of the people who attend my public talks, discussions, and Q&A’s, jokingly refer to themselves as “Recovering Catholics” in search of deeper meaning, and this book beautifully bridges the gap between traditions, highlighting how compatible the two practices can be with one another.  

Living Buddha, Living Christ

By Thich Nhat Hanh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Thich Nhat Hanh is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity. His ideas for peace if applied, would build a monument of ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.' Martin Luther King, Jr.

Budda and Jesus Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over the course of two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other's spiritual views and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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