A Basic Theravada 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.”

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 accestoinsight.org.

Good meditation authors include Bhante Gunaratana (Eight Mindful Steps), Jack Kornfield (Buddhist Meditation for Beginners audio), and Larry Rosenberg (Breath By Breath). 

You can learn about Buddhism from a written or audio source, but there is no substitute for a good teacher, community, or retreat for learning meditation.  

Buddhist and Meditation Websites

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

Theravadin Buddhist books and audio:

Colorado Dharma groups: 

Theravadin Buddhist retreat centers:

Retreats and General Information 

–You’ll find other good websites in the links and Buddhist or Yogic journals.

Buddhist & Meditation Books

The following is a short list of must-read books for all levels:

Pathway To Freedom: Applying the Teachings of the Buddha – Dr. Lucinda T. Green

The Enlightenment Deck: Pathway to Freedom – Dr. Lucinda T. Green

Wherever You Go There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Experience of Insight – Joseph Goldstein

Insight MeditationA Psychology of Freedom – Joseph Goldstein

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation – Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield

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

A Gradual Awakening – Stephen Levine

Mindfulness – Joseph Goldstein 

The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering – Bhikkhu Bodhi 

Mindfulness in Plain English – Venerable Henepola Ganaratana

What the Buddha Taught – Walpola Rahula

The Heart of Buddhist Meditation: The Buddha’s Way of Mindfulness – Nyanaponika Thera

Lovingkindess: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness – Sharon Salzberg

Real Love – Sharon Salzberg

Real Happiness – Sharon Salzberg

The Mind and the Way: Buddhist reflections on Life – Ajahn Sumedho

The Pali Canon 

Swallowing the River Ganges: A Practice Guide to the Path of Purification – Matthew Flickstein 

Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree: The Buddha’s Teaching on Voidness – Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization – Bhikkhu Analayo

Satipatthana Meditation: A Practice Guide – Bhikkhu Analayo 

Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation – Bhikkhu Analayo 

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

When the Iron Eagle Flies: Buddhism for the West – Ayya Khema

Be an Island: The Buddhist Practice of Inner Peace – Ayya Khema

Who is My Self?: A Guide to Buddhist Meditation – Ayya Khema

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas – Leigh Brasington

The First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening – Susan Murcott