9 Essential Books for Your Meditation Library

If you are looking for good reading to begin or deepen your relationship with Buddhist meditation, you cannot go wrong with these nine essential options.

Read book while meditating.

Photo by Fabiola Peñalba.

How to meditate
A handy guide to making friends with your mind
by Pema Chödrön
(Sounds true)
pema-h2mThe best-selling author and Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön presents the essential elements for a successful and lifelong meditation practice for both beginners and the more experienced.

Mindfulness in plain English
by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
(Wisdom)
mindfulness-in-simple-EnglishLong before the birth of the modern mindfulness movement, this classic made consciousness accessible and placed it in a specific perspective of Buddhism as a key part of the dharma student’s path.

Ser Pau
by Thich Nhat Hanh
(Parallax)
ser-pau-tnhThe great Zen master and founder of committed Buddhism joins the inner path of peace in meditation with the outer path of world peace. Joining the two has never been more important.

Who is my self?
by Ayya Khema
(Wisdom)
who-am-me-meThe late German nun Ayya Khema uses one of the earliest Buddhist suttas, as well as the knowledge of her teaching years, to approach the practice of meditation through the lens of understanding the nature of the “I”.

The heart of meditation
Discovering the most intimate consciousness
by the Dalai Lama
(Shambhala)
meditation heartThe Dalai Lama introduces us to the Dzogchen, one of the highest meditation systems of Vajrayana Buddhism. Its purpose is to discover the true nature of your mind, which His Holiness calls “the most intimate consciousness.”

About Zen practice: body, breath and mind
by Taizan Maezumi and Bernie Glassman
(Wisdom)

on-zen practice

Although two Western Zen giants are credited on its cover, this book also includes essential pieces by Eihei Dogen, twentieth-century Rinzai master Koryu Osaka Roshi, Sambokyodan founder Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, and his successor, Ko. ‘a Yamada Roshi.

Real happiness
The power of meditation
by Sharon Salzberg
(Construction worker)
real happinessInsight Meditation Teacher Sharon Salzberg offers a 28-day meditation program to deepen your concentration, mindfulness, loving-kindness, and compassion.

Zen mind, beginner mind
by Shunryu Suzuki
(Shambhala)
zen-ment-beginnersDespite the title, this classic is not just for Zen folk! From meditation to understanding Buddhist concepts such as emptiness and nirvana, this endless reading book covers everything.

Mindfulness in action
Make friends with yourself through meditation and daily awareness
by Chögyam Trungpa
(Shambhala)
mindfulness-in-actionThis book by one of the great meditation teachers of our time combines the practice of secular consciousness with the depth of Buddhist teachings.

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