Reading List: Intro to Buddhism

Here I’ll build a reading list for beginners to Buddhism, based in the convert Theravāda lineage known as Insight Meditation. [Entries are placeholders for now, and we’ll format them into a proper reading list asap.]

Buddhism as a spiritual & healing path

Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart

 — Bringing Home the Dharma

Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

Phillip Moffitt, Dancing with Life

Gil Fronsdal, The Issue at Hand

The Heart Practices: Love, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity

Sharon Salzburg, Loving-Kindness

— Faith

Christina Feldman, Boundless Heart

Meditation: Working with your mind

Shaila Catherine, Focused and Fearless

Bhante Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

Larry Rosenberg, Breath by Breath

B. Alan Wallace, The Attention Revolution

Ajahn Brahm, Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond

The Buddha & Buddhism

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path, White Clouds

Sherab Chodzin Kohn, A Life of the Buddha

Paul Williams & Anthony Tribe, Buddhist Thought

Bhikkhu Bodhi, In the Buddha’s Words

Race, Oppression, & Social Action

Larry Yang, Awakening Together

Ruth King, Mindful of Race

Angel Kyodo Williams & Lama Rod Owens, Radical Dharma

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, The Way of Tenderness

Charles Johnson, Taming the Ox

Joanna Macy, Coming Back to Life

Sulak Sivaraksa, Conflict, Culture, Change

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Sutta: In a Rosewood Forest

At one time the Buddha was staying near Kosambī in a rosewood forest. Then the Buddha picked up a few rosewood leaves in his hand and addressed the mendicants: “What do you think, mendicants? Which is more: the few leaves in my hand, or those in the forest above me?” “Sir, the few leaves in your hand are a tiny amount. There are far more leaves in the forest above.” “In the same way, there is much more that I have directly known but have not explained to you. What I have explained is a tiny amount. And why haven’t I explained it? Because it’s not beneficial or relevant to the fundamentals of the spiritual life. It doesn’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. That’s why I haven’t explained it.

And what have I explained? I have explained: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’.

And why have I explained this? Because it’s beneficial and relevant to the fundamentals of the spiritual life. It leads to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. That’s why I’ve explained it.

That’s why you should practice meditation …”

(SN 56.31, tr. Sujato)