Recommended Reading on Buddhism
Thutben Chodron, Buddhism for Beginners
Buddhism for Beginners is an ideal first book on the subject for anyone. Chodron's responses to the questions that always seem to arise among people approaching Buddhism make this an exceptionally complete and accessible introduction—as well as a manual for living a more peaceful, mindful, and satisfying life.
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
Hanh introduces us to the core teachings of Buddhism and shows us that they are accessible and applicable to our daily lives. With poetry and clarity, he imparts comforting wisdom about the nature of suffering and its role in creating compassion, love, and joy—all qualities of enlightenment.
Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught
A classic introductory book to Buddhism, What the Buddha Taught contains a selection of illustrative texts from the original Pali texts, including the Suttas and the Dhammapada. This comprehensive, compact, lucid, and faithful account of the Buddha's teachings is a reliable introduction to the complexities of the subject.
Damien Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction
This Very Short Introduction offers readers an overview of the teachings of the Buddha, as well as a succinct guide to the integration of Buddhism into daily life. Keown provides new perspectives on Buddhist thought, including up-to-date material about the evolution of Buddhism throughout Asia, the material culture of Buddhism and its importance, new teachings on the ethics of war and peace, and changes to ethnicity, class, and gender.
Karen Armstrong, Buddha
Many know the Buddha only from seeing countless serene, iconic images. But what of the man himself and the world he lived in? What did he actually do in his roughly eighty years on earth that spawned one of the greatest religions in world history? Armstrong tackles these questions and more by examining the life and times of the Buddha in this philosophical biography; she blends history, philosophy, mythology, and biography to create an illuminating portrait of a man whose awakening continues to inspire millions.
Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page.
Richard Hughes Seager, Buddhism in America
Over the past half century, Buddhism has grown from a transplanted philosophy to a full-fledged religious movement in America, rich in its own practices, leaders, adherents, and institutions. As an essential guide to this history, Buddhism in America covers the three major groups that shape the tradition—an emerging Asian immigrant population, native-born converts, and old-line Asian American Buddhists—and their distinct, yet spiritually connected efforts to remake Buddhism in a Western context.