Recommended Books

Below is a short selection of books we recommend. Many of these you can buy at the SFBC for reduced prices.

Books under $10 :: Beginning Meditation :: Beginning Buddhism :: More Advanced :: Interesting Books, Poetry and Misc

Books Under $10 (last time we checked!)

A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Paramananda, former Chairman of our Center. This book is a favorite of many people at our Center - a very 'down to earth' introduction to basic Buddhist meditation. This is one of the texts we use in our Introduction to Meditation class. (more information about our introductory courses and classes)

A Deeper Beauty: Buddhist Reflections on Everyday Life. Paramananda's latest book. He is former Chairman of our Center. See "Beginning Meditation" below for his first book.

Concise History of Buddhism by Andrew Skilton. Explores the origins of this twenty-five-centuries-old religion and traces the major developments in Buddhism through the nineteenth century, focusing on the roots of present-day forms of the religion.

Introducing Buddhism by Chris Pauling. A short, very clear and concise introduction to Buddhism and Buddhist practice. This is one of the texts we use in our Introduction to Buddhism class. (more information about our introductory courses and classes)

Thoughts without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective by Mark Epstein. A look at psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective showing how Western thinking can be enriched by Buddhist ideas.

Beginning Meditation

Change Your Mind: A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Paramananda, former Chairman of our Center. This book is a favorite of many people at our Center - a very 'down to earth' introduction to basic Buddhist meditation. This is one of the texts we use in our Introduction to Meditation class. (more information about our introductory courses and classes).

Meditating by Jinanda. A very good and simple general introduction to Buddhist meditation and to the techniques and tools for practicing the Mindfulness of Breathing and the Metta Bhavana (cultivation of loving-kindness), two basic forms of meditation.

Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron

The Long Road Turns to Joy: A Guide to Walking Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Beginning Buddhism

Introducing Buddhism by Chris Pauling. A short, very clear and concise introduction to Buddhism and Buddhist practice. We use this text and others in our introductory Buddhism class. (more information about our introductory courses and classes)

Western Buddhism by Kulananda. Another short book - introducing and exploring practical ways that Buddhist teachings can be understood by and integrated into Western culture.

Karma and Rebirth by Nagapriya. The best, clearest and most comprehensive introduction to the Buddhist views of karma and rebirth available today.

Buddhism with an Attitude by B. Alan Wallace

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula, a respected South Asian monk. A good introduction to Theravada Buddhism for Westerners.

Thoughts without a Thinker: Psychtherapy from a Buddhist Perspective by Mark Epstein. A look at psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective showing how Western thinking can be enriched by Buddhist ideas.

More Advanced

Who is The Buddha?, What Is the Dharma?: The Essential Teachings of the Buddha and What Is the Sangha?: The Nature of Spiritual Community by Sangharakshita, founder of the Western Buddhist Order. Insightful and crystal clear information about the 3 central ideals of Buddhism.

Also by Sangharakshita: The Bodhisattva Ideal: Wisdom and Compassion in Buddhism, Wisdom beyond Words: The Buddhist Vision of Ultimate Reality

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, the founder of SF Zen Center. A classic, poetic transcription of talks on Zen practice.

Cutting through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa. Examines the self-deceptions, distortions, and sidetracks that imperil the spiritual journey as well as awareness and fearlessness of the true path.

Concise History of Buddhism by Andrew Skilton. Explores the origins of this twenty-five-centuries-old religion and traces the major developments in Buddhism through the nineteenth century, focusing on the roots of present-day forms of the religion. Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble Turn into Gold by Taitetsu Unno. Shin Buddhism is widely practiced in Japan but is not well known in this country. Centered on receptivity and the recitation of the name of the Buddha of Compassion, the simple practice of Shin is available to people in all walks of life and offers a framework for Buddhist practice to those for whom the monastically centered rigor demanded by other traditions is not practical or desirable.

Interesting Books, Poetry, and misc.

Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment by Vicki MacKenzie. A powerful, true story of an English woman's quest for enlightenment in the snows of the Himalayas.

Laughing Sutra by Mark Salzman. Part Tom Sawyer, part Tom Jones, this Buddhist-influenced novel draws us into a narrative of danger and comedy that shed light on the nature of freedom and loyalty.

What Book: Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop edited by Gary Gach. An anthology of modern, mindful poetry, featuring original work and translations; performance art and conceptual art; lyrics, arias, and blues; picture poems and calligraphy; prose poetry; sonnets; haiku; meditations and sutras; journal entries; bucolics; jeremiads; postmodernism; and other artifacts from the intersection of meditation and art.