Start off with...
- Kathleen MacDonald, "How to Meditate" (Wisdom, Boston) - Beautifully simple and clear, a good introduction to various types of meditation.
- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, "The Way to Freedom" (HarperCollins / Indus); "The Path to Enlightenment" (Snow Lion, Ithaca / Motilal, Delhi) - Two highly recommended books introducing the Tibetan Lam Rim ("Gradual Path to Enlightenment") teachings.
- Thich Nhat Hanh,"Being Peace" (Parallax / Full Circle) - Simple to read, very inspirational book on mindfulness.
- Sogyal Rinpoche,"The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" (Harper Collins / Rupa) - Beautifully written, this book is highly recommended for all those interested in healing or learning more about Buddhist ideas of death, dying and the mind.
- Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, "What makes you NOT a Buddhist" (Shambhala) - Buddhism from a contemporary perspective.
- Thubten Chodron,"Open Heart, Clear Mind" (Snow Lion, Ithaca) - A popular introductory book on Tibetan Buddhism written by an American Buddhist nun. Good section on dealing with emotions such as anger, attachment and so forth.
- Vicki MacKenzie, "Reincarnation: The Boy Lama". (Wisdom / Bloomsbury) - Very readable story of Lama Thubten Yeshe, his life, death and rebirth as a young Spanish boy. A good way to investigate the idea of reincarnation.
- Vicki MacKenzie, "Reborn in the West", about other Tibetan lamas reborn in the West.
- B. Alan Wallace, "Tibetan Buddhism from Ground Up" and "The Attention Revolution" (Wisdom, Boston)
- Ayya Khema,"Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" (Wisdom, Boston)
- Martin Wilson, "Rebirth and the Western Buddhist" (Wisdom, Boston)
- John Powers,"Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism" (Snow Lion, Ithaca)
- Ven Gunaratana,"Mindfulness in Plain English" (Wisdom, Boston)
- Jack Kornfield,"A Path with Heart" (Rider)
Move on to...
Basically, anything by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) is recommended, here are a few titles:
- "The Art of Happiness" (Hodder & Stoughton / Coronet)
- "Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart" (Harper Collins) - Commentary to a great Mahayana thought transformation text.
- "Healing Anger" (Snow Lion, Ithaca) - Buddhist teachings on patience.
- "The Dalai Lama at Harvard" (Snow Lion, Ithaca) - Talks given at Harvard University.
- "Kindness, Clarity and Insight" (Snow Lion, Ithaca) - Another anthology of talks on different topics.
- "The Good Heart" (Wisdom, Boston) - Record of an interfaith conference between the Dalai Lama and Christian meditators
- "The World of Tibetan Buddhism" (Snow Lion)
- "Four Noble Truths" (Harper Collins)
HHDL On Buddhism & science:
- "The Universe in a Single Atom" (Morgan Road / Little Brown)
- "Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying" (Wisdom, Boston)
- "Healing Emotions" (Shambala, Boston)
- "Destructive Emotions" (Bloomsbury)
In addition to Dharma teachings, His Holiness' autobiography, "Freedom in Exile", written specially for Westerners is also extremely readable and informative about the Tibetan situation.
Titles by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche
- Sanghata Sutra - written in gold at Tushita
- "Wisdom Energy" (Wisdom, Boston) - Beautiful book, covers the whole path and particularly good on the mind.
- "Introduction to Tantra" (Wisdom, Boston) - A clear, readable presentation of what tantra is and how to use it.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
- "Transforming Problems" (Wisdom, Boston) - Teachings on Mahayana thought transformation.
- "The Door to Satisfaction" (Wisdom, Boston) - Quintessential instructions for transforming the mind.
Thich Nhat Hanh
There are many books published by Thich Nhat Hanh, a great Vietnamese meditation master and they are all recommended. Simple to read but inspirational. Some titles are:
- "The Heart of Understanding" (on the Heart Sutra)
- "Peace is Every Step"
- "The Miracle of Mindfulness"
- "The Sun My Heart" (all published by Rider / Parallex / Full Circle)
- Thubten Chodron, "What Colour is My Mind?" (Snow Lion, Ithaca) - Answers many commonly asked questions about Buddhism.
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism" (Shambala, Boston) - Highlights many of the common pitfalls Westerners fall into when they take up a spiritual path.
- Pema Chodron, "Start Where You Are" and "When Things Fall Apart" (Shambhala / Thorson Element) - Wise, heartfelt advice about how to transform problems into practice.
- Tenzin Palmo, "Reflections on a Mountain Lake" (Snow Lion, Ithaca) - Clear, down-to-earth explanations of how to bring practice into daily life.
- Shunryu Suzuki, "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind" (Weatherhill, NY) - Written by a great Zen master, this book is a classic guide to Zen and meditation.
- Joseph Goldstein, "The Experience of Insight" (Shambala, Boston) (with Jack Kornfield) and Seeking the Heart of Wisdom" (Shambala) - Two classic books on insight meditation by respected Western teachers.
- Geshe Rabten, "Echoes of Voidness" (Wisdom, Boston) - Three different approaches to emptiness and an excellent commentary to the Heart Sutra and "The Essential Nectar" (Wisdom, Boston) - A classic Lam Rim text and commentary.
- Geshe Wangyal, "The Door of Liberation" (Wisdom, Boston)
- Geshe Ngawang Dhargey, "The Tibetan Tradition of Mental Development" (LTWA)
- Geshe Lobsang Gyatso, "The Four Noble Truths" (LTWA)
- Jeffrey Hopkins, "The Tantric Distinction" (Wisdom, Boston)
When you're ready, try...
- Pabongka Rinpoche, "Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand" (Wisdom, Boston) - This is probably the best Lam Rim text available in English so far, detailed and comprehensive. You can study it for a lifetime.
- Patrul Rinpoche, "The Words of My Perfect Teacher" (Harper Collins, India) - An excellent Lam Rim text from the Nyingma tradition.
- Shantideva, "Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life" (LTWA) - The classic explanation of the Bodhisattva path to enlightenment. There are several commentaries available in English, but it's quite inspiring simply to read the verses.
- Jeffrey Hopkins, "Meditation on Emptiness" (Wisdom, Boston) - Written by a Western scholar, this is a good book for those who want to know more about the philosophical/intellectual side of Buddhist thought. (Snow Lion, Ithaca)
- Lati Rinpoche, "Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth in Tibetan Buddhism & Mind in Tibetan Buddhism" (Snow Lion, Ithaca)
- Tsongkhapa, HH Dalai Lama, "Tantra in Tibet" (Motilal, Delhi)
- Daniel Cozort, "Highest Yoga Tantra" (Snow Lion, Ithaca)