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Suggested Readings

A Basic Buddhist Library & Website Links

by Victor Bradford

No matter how far you advance, you can use these good solid basic sources for many years. In my humble opinion, the best conceptual introduction to Buddhism is Rupert Gethin’s Foundations of Buddhism. Compassion is also vital in Buddhism, and two books – Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart and Sharon Salzbeg’s Lovingkindess – develop Buddhism’s “heart.”

For Theravada Buddhism (located in SE Asia), In the Buddha’s Words (ed. Bhikku Bodhi) is a solid book, and Wings to Awakening, translated by the highly respected Thanisaaro Bhikkhu, is another. The Dhammapada (a literary summary of Buddhism) is a beautiful addition to any library, and good free translations are available at

For Zen, consider Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind by S. Suzuki, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh, and The Heart Sutra (translated by people such as Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Red Pine, Ken McLeod, or Edward Conze).

For Tibetan Buddhism, consider Alan Wallace’s Tibetan Buddhism From the Ground Up, John Powers’ Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, and any introductory book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life is among the most universally beloved texts in Tibetan Buddhism, and Alan Wallace, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso have written good translations.

You can learn about Buddhism from a written or audio source, but you have no substitute for a good teacher, community, or retreat for learning meditation, although good meditation authors include Bhante Gunaratana (Eight Mindful Steps), Thich Nhat Hanh (Walking Meditation; Blooming of the Lotus), Jack Kornfield (Buddhist Meditation for Beginners audio), and Larry Rosenberg (Breath By Breath). Alan Wallace’s Attention Revolution is an excellent resource to help meditators develop this critical factor.

Buddhist & Meditation Websites

If I were marooned on a desert island and only had access to six Buddhist-related website, they would be,,,,, and

Motilal Banarsidass: Indian publisher of diverse texts in Asian philosophy:
• Buddhist books and audio:,
• Colorado Dharma groups:
• Buddhist and Trappist retreat centers:,,
• Online education, mainly Tibetan Buddhism:
• Retreats and general info: (blog site)
• Washington DC Buddhist site:
• Buddhist news around the world:
• Events and issues in religion:
• Leigh Brasington’s website, excellent resource for meditation:
• A. Wallace’s websites:
• HH The Dalai Lama’s website:
• Excellent info on convergence of Buddhism and sciences:
• Program focuses on joy, happiness, and their links to the dharma:
• Online journals:
• Information and helpful professional connections:
• Resources to develop resiliency in the presence of obstacles:
• Mind and Meditation:
• Cushions and supplies: Buddha Statues Now

–You’ll find other good websites in the links and Buddhist or Yogic journals.
–“Just because you saw it on the internet, or heard it in the media, doesn’t mean it’s true or up-to-date,” and “turn off the computer at least one day a week.”

Buddhist & Meditation Books

The following is a short list of must-read books no matter your level:

Where You Go There You Are

Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Experience of Insight

Joseph Goldstein

Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom

Joseph Goldstein

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation

Jack Kornfield

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

Jack Kornfield

A Gradual Awakening

Stephen Levine

Mindfulness in Plain English

Venerable Henepola Ganaratana

What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada

Walpola Rahula

The Heart of Buddhist Meditation: A Handbook of Mental Training Based on the Buddha’s Way of Mindfulness

Nyanaponika Thera

It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness

Sylvia Boorstein

Lovingkindess: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

Sharon Salzberg

The Kind and the Way

Ajahn Sumedho

Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Revised Meditations on the Buddhist Path

Ayya Khema

When the Iron Eagle Flies: Buddhism for the West

Ayya Khema

The First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening

Susan Murcott

Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America

Lenore Friedman

Miracle of Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh