Best Books on Buddhism

by spirituality

Buddhism is very popular these days. These books will help you understand why: they're from best selling authors who can really inspire as well as introduce their topic well.

Great books by the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and others on the religion that's making waves in the 21st century: Buddhism. What I like about Buddhism is that it is a religion that does not tell you what to believe, nor what you should do. However, it does give tools for transforming your life. The most well known of these tools is of course mindfulness meditation. However, you don't need to become a Buddhist to practice that. Fortunately.

1) The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh is the most popular Buddhist teacher around - second known only to the Dalai Lama himself. But then the latter is as much a political figure as a spiritual teacher. 

Thich Nhat Hanh combines a thorough knowledge of the Zen tradition of his native Vietnam to social engagement (he coined the phrase 'engaged Buddhism') and a simple teaching style that appeals to millions. 

This book introduces core Buddhist teachings - the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Twelve Links of Interdependent Co-Arising - without making it hard on anybody. In short - real Buddhism for people just like you who want to live their lives in an authentic way. 

Thich Nhat Hanh books on my top 5 list

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
Three Rivers Press
$16.00  $6.24
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday ...
Bantam
$15.00  $4.66

Introducing Buddhism

Buddhism Plain and Simple
Broadway Books
$12.00  $3.00
Buddhism for Beginners
Snow Lion Publications
$14.95  $4.71
Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Weste...
Broadway Books
$16.00  $5.46

2) Buddhism Plain and Simple, Steve Hagen

Another Zen teacher introducing Buddhism to the masses. 

This is the Buddhism as Westerners would like to know it: Seeing reality, realizing the wisdom of the self, breaking free of dualistic thinking - all tough philosophical issues, that yet have the potential to turn your life around. 

Another eternal best seller. 

The popularity of Zen is probably due to it being such an open tradition. It got rid of a lot of the traditional Buddhist forms, like celibacy, and when it came West, it got rid of many more...

3) Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Another Thich Nhat Hanh best seller

Mindfulness is IT. Why? Because it offers a simple way to get yourself out of the facebook, cell phone, always connected, tv watching, DVD consuming mode - and back to you. 

And who better to learn Mindfulness from than the most popular Zen teacher of our times, Thich Nhat Hanh?

This book is a combination of simple yet profound thought and exercises you can do at home. It really can transform your life. 

5) Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World

Lama Surya Das

Funny and well written, Lama Surya Das introduces Buddhism - really Tibetan Buddhism - to a Western audience in a way that's both enlightening and deep. 

This no-nonsense guide will help you understand the Buddha better, because what WOULD he do if he were dropped into our modern world? But best of all, if you follow through with the practice advised in this book, you'll get to know yourself better. And that really is what it's all about. 

4) Buddhism for Beginners, Thubten Chodron

This is really a good general introduction into Buddhism. From karma and meditation to modern issues like abortion and euthanasia. Thubten Chodron also goes into the basics of the history of Buddha and yet never talks down to his readers.

Thubten Chodron is the first woman on our list. She is from the USA originally, Thubten Chodron is her Buddhist name. She started out studying (Tibetan) Buddhism in Nepal, and traveled all the way to Taiwan to get ordained as a full fledged bhikshuni (nun) as full ordination for women had died out in Tibetan Buddhism.

Best most popular Buddhism Books
These books explain Buddhism for a modern Western audience. They generally focus on the practical aspects of Buddhism: how to live your life well and meditation.

Best Selling Popular Books on Buddhism
Buddhist best sellers by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama and Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron, I'm a fan
Pema Chodron Books, Calendars, Quotes and Tibetan Buddhism information on Pema Chodron

Great Buddhism Gift Ideas and Presents
Appropriate gifts for Buddhists

Personal reviews of Buddhist books

Buddhism is NOT a form of Hinduism

Ponderings on the Buddhist path, modern Buddhism, controversy and so on

Best Guided Meditation Book: audio and text
I love guided meditations. Presently I love Thubten Chodron's Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path, from Tibetan Buddhism.

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Updated: 03/27/2016, spirituality
 
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What's your favorite book on Buddhism?


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Darcie on 08/22/2011

I don't have a favorite book on Buddhism per se; but I do practice many of the principles. Thanks for the comprehensive list of books on Buddhism.

Digby_Adams on 06/21/2011

I am a great fan of Thich Nhat Hanh. I didn't start out to learn about Buddhism or mindfulness. When I hurt my back my doctor recommended yoga. Gradually over the course of a year. Yoga led me to mindfulness and awareness and that brought me to reading Thich Nhat Hanh. It's been a wonderful experience.

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