The best books about Tibet 📚

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

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Book cover of Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travellers

Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travellers

By Jane Robinson

Why this book?

Florence Nightingale, Freya Start, Gertrude Bell, Karen Blixen, and many other well-known women share their travel adventures in this wildly audacious and inspiring collection of stories. From encountering a madman in the Amazon to surviving a shipwreck, these intrepid globe-trotters overcome many challenges in their dauntless explorations. This book will show you a different side of these famous women.
From the list:

The best travel books for women

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Book cover of Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

By Lama Anagarika Govinda

Why this book?

In the preface, Govinda explains: Anticipating the future, Tomo Geshe Rinpoche, one of the greatest spiritual teachers of modern Tibet and a real master of inner vision, left his remote mountain hermitage ... and proclaimed that the time had come to open to the world the spiritual treasures which had been hidden and preserved in Tibet for more than a thousand years. Because humanity stands at the crossroads of great decisions: before it lies the Path of Power ... leading to enslavement and self-destruction – and the Path of Enlightenment ... leading to liberation and self-realization.

This deeply spiritual book…

From the list:

The best books on tarot archetypes and the I Ching

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Book cover of Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town

By Barbara Demick

Why this book?

Demick is a master at showcasing the true drama of ordinary people living ordinary lives. In this saga of Tibetan royalty, resistance, and renaissance, she knits these personal stories into a sweeping epic covering the last 60 years of Tibetan history. The characters may at first glance seem innocuous: a long-lost daughter; a shopkeeper; a monk. But together, their stories paint a frightening and vivid picture of the everyday repression and fear under the largest and most sophisticated authoritarian regime on the planet. Throughout, Demick’s narrative displays a profound sense of place, plopping the reader onto the frigid Tibetan plateau,…

From the list:

The best books on the human toll of civil war

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

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

By Douglas Veenhof

Why 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…

From the list:

The best Buddhist and yoga biographies and memoirs

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Book cover of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West

Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West

By Donald S. Lopez Jr

Why this book?

When my grandparents died they left small presents for their grandchildren, and in a way that many Buddhists would recognise I bought a book about Buddhism – a funny and sad one. Lopez’s book tells the story of how Western fantasies talk over actual Tibetans and their struggles, from what we think we know about the “Tibetan Book of the Dead” to Lobsang Rampa’s spurious The Third Eye, passing through how we talk about Tibetan art and what we say about the mantra “Om mani padme hum”. This is a deeply humane book about how Tibetans are trapped not…

From the list:

The best books on Buddhism and the West

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

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

By Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

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,…

From the list:

The best books into the Tibetan Bon-Buddhist yogic path

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