The best Buddhist philosophy books 📚

Browse the best books on Buddhist philosophy as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

By Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Why this book?

The author is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher. Using the basic meditation practices the author provides, the reader can discover paths through his problems, transforming obstacles into opportunities to recognize the unlimited potential of his own minds. The monk invites us to join him in unlocking the secrets to finding joy and contentment in the everyday life. The book offers an illuminating perspective on the art of meditation and is a handbook for transforming our minds, bodies, and lives.

From the list:

The best books on Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and mindfulness

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Book cover of Qu'Est­Ce Que le Bouddhisme

Qu'Est­Ce Que le Bouddhisme

By Jorge Luis Borges

Why this book?

A book in French, but the conferences of the author on the topic can easily be found on the Internet. Jorge Luis Borges is a key figure of the universal literature. Known for his erudition he explains Buddhism as no-one before and manage to catch the Buddhism essence and deep principles to explain it simply to our occidental minds.

From the list:

The best books on Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and mindfulness

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Book cover of Buddhist Perspectives on Free Will: Agentless Agency?

Buddhist Perspectives on Free Will: Agentless Agency?

By Rick Repetti

Why this book?

A key claim of Buddhist philosophy is that all the facts about persons are causally determined. This claim leads people to wonder where Buddhists stand on the so-called ‘free will’ problem: can someone whose actions are determined by earlier events be held responsible for what they do? This question never arose in Indian Buddhist philosophy, but modern scholars have had much to say about whether Buddhism’s causal determinism is compatible with the practice of praising or blaming people for what they do. This book collects some of the best attempts to answer the question.

From the list:

The best books on Indian Buddhist philosophy

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Book cover of Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha

Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha

By Thomas Byrom

Why this book?

Start with the beginning. The Dhammapada is the Buddhism inaugural book. In it are the words of the Buddha himself, teaching that all suffering stems from desire and that the way to attain freedom is to purify the heart and follow the way of truth. Very accessible, the words used in this ancient book capture the Buddha's original intuitions, thoughts, and teachings with great simplicity.

From the list:

The best books on Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and mindfulness

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Book cover of The Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra

By Red Pine

Why this book?

This book is told to be the offering of no mind, born of compassion for all suffering beings. The diamond Sūtra takes the form of a dialogue between the Buddha and his disciple Subhūti. The central theme of emptiness is a pillar in Buddhism. It relates to the non-existence of the bodhisattva's self (buddha‘s self), the merits, stages of spiritual progression, marks, and characteristics of a Buddha in the perspective of universal emptiness. It plays a particularly important role in meditative currents such as Zen.

From the list:

The best books on Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and mindfulness

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Book cover of Indian Buddhist Philosophy

Indian Buddhist Philosophy

By Amber Carpenter

Why this book?

Buddhism is a religion (or family of religions), but its underlying ideas—many of which are independent of the soteriology of Buddhism—have undergone a rich development in the two and a half thousand years since Siddhārtha Guatama (the historical Buddha) lived. Carpenter’s book introduces us to the philosophical development in India in the first 1,000 years of Buddhism. It concentrates on the ethical aspects, and explores, amongst other things, various relationships with ethical ideas from Ancient Greek philosophy.

From the list:

The best books to learn about Buddhist philosophy

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