12 Best Books About Buddha Update 05/2022

So let me say that I’m not a Buddhist before I give you this list of the best books on Buddhism for people who are new. I’m a biocultural anthropologist, and my only experience with Buddhism has been in the classroom. When I go to yoga classes, they add little mantras to the ones I go to. I haven’t tried it at all. And, you know, I could write a whole paper about Buddhism, its history, the differences between Theravada, Mahayana, Esoteric, Zen, and other types of Buddhism, and I could do that for hours. If we want to learn about a religion that isn’t white, we don’t need another white anthropologist talking about it. That doesn’t mean you can’t look into it and find value in it on your own. To help you find peace, I made a list of Buddhist ideas that might help. If you want to learn more about Buddhism, these 25 books are a good place to start. They include both an introduction to Buddhism and a selection of the most important texts that have shaped it, as well as poetry and memoirs from practitioners. Please enjoy this journey to learn.

Many of the people who write here are going to be men. A lot of these books are based on history, and Buddhist women didn’t always have the same chances. There are a lot of Buddhist nuns who are ordained in the Mayahana branch. They are more common in East Asia than other parts of the world. In fact, Mahapajapati Gotami, who was the Buddha’s foster mother, was the first woman to become a monk. Most conservative Buddhists don’t think women can be monks. Either way, bhikkhun are still subordinate to bhikkhus (Buddhist monks). A lot of western religions have problems with the same things that Buddhism does, so this is not a bad thing about Buddhism. Then, when it comes to Buddhist texts that are both important and old, they can be a little male-heavy.

Buddhism Books Covering The Basics

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana

Mindfulness as a practice has become more popular recently, even though it has nothing to do with Buddhism. Gunaratana’s method is easy for people who are new to meditation or don’t have a religious background. It’s also focused and precise enough to be useful to experienced practitioners. The book gives a solid and convincing explanation of why and how to start a mindfulness practice. As your practice grows, you’ll want to keep this book on your shelf so that you can revisit and refresh your ideas as you go.

Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation by Jamgön Kongtrul

Jamgön Kongtrul was a Buddhist polymath who lived in the 17th century. This book has the teachings of Kongtrul in it. A short but clear and easy-to-follow guide walks you through the tantras and some of the most important Tibetan things. You need to have this book on your shelf if you want to learn more about Buddhism.

What the Buddha Taught by Wapola Rahula

Wapola Rahula, a Buddhist monk and scholar, takes several sections from important scriptures and breaks them down in an easy-to-follow way. It is important for people to know about these parts of the Buddhist school of thought. Knowing them will make it easier for you to understand other people.

Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron

This book is a beginner’s book in the best way possible. It gives a thorough overview of the basics of Buddhism, but doesn’t get too simple. The book also talks about how Buddhism fits into the modern world’s view on things like abortion, euthanasia, and the environment, among other things.

The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction by Richard H. Robinson

This is basically a textbook that talks about Buddhism from a historical point of view. This isn’t always a bad thing, because the author gives solid and interesting coverage of basic concepts, vocabulary, and practices in the context of how Buddhism has grown and spread over time. It’s a good start, but not the kind of spiritual exploration that some people might be looking for.

Buddhist Foundational Texts

The Dhammapada Translated by Gil Fronsdal

It is one of the earliest and most popular Buddhist texts. The Dhammapada is full of teaching verses that explain both the philosophical and practical sides of Buddhism. Each of these verses looks at two important themes in a different way, such as grief and joy, to see how choices can lead to what you want or not. The translator is a Buddhist who tries to make sure that the text’s meaning and words are translated accurately, and he or she adds annotations to help the modern reader understand the text better.

The Suttanipãta by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Another important part of Buddhism is a collection of suttas (teachings by the Buddha), which includes some of the earliest known Buddhist texts. This is another important part of Buddhism. Also, there is a translation of the traditional commentaries on the texts that were written before. Each sutta has a story to help put it in context, as well as definitions of terms and doctrines. The translator has added extra notes to help bridge any gaps between the original concepts and how today’s people understand them.

Wisdom of Buddha: The Samdhinirmocana Sutra by John Power

It is a translation of a text that had a big impact on how Mahayana schools of Buddhism came to be formed. People who practice Buddhism and people who study philosophy and religion should read this book. It’s also important for people who want to learn more about Buddhist thought and history before they read it.

Luminous Essence: A Guide to the Guhyagarbha Tantra by Jamgön Mipham

This is a translation of “Luminous Essence,” which is a well-known and authoritative commentary on the “Tantra of the Secret Essence,” which is a central text for tantric practice and Tibetan Buddhism. This is a translation of “Luminous Essence.” Jamgön Mipham was a well-respected Tibetan master who wrote Luminous Essence as a guide for people who had already been taught and were practicing tantric magic.

Supreme Source: the Kunjed Gyalpo by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and Adriano Clemente

It’s a good book for people who already do this. Kunjed Gyalpo is a tantra that can help you get rid of your karma and become a free person. You should read this book if you follow the Dgozchen path and know what you’re doing. It will help you better understand the most important tantra.

Books Covering Buddhist Doctrine

Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism by Rebecca McClen Novick

An introduction to the ideas, teachings, and practices of Tibetan Buddhism that is both simple and thorough. The author covers the basics, but also gives a lot of information about context and history for people who aren’t familiar with the subject.

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama

This book was written with the current leader of Tibetan Buddhism, so you might expect it to be very religious and very academic. This is not true at all. In The Art of Happiness, there are interviews, stories, and meditations that combine Buddhist philosophy with modern psychology. It is very easy to read. A common sense answer to the Dalai Lama’s claim that happiness is the goal of life and is, in fact, a state of mind comes out of this.

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