Vipassana teacher and director of the Life Transition Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Living Dhamma by Ajahn Chah (Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, 1992): A spirited, open-hearted guide on the path.
Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change: A Positive Psychology for the West by Mark Epstein (Broadway Books, 2001): A meeting of the two worlds of dharma and psychotherapy.
The Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Buddha Dharma Education Association, 2000): A scholarly treatment of the dharma, but very accessible to the beginner
Silent Rain by Ajahn Amaro (Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery): An enjoyable insight into training the mind through the Theravada Forest tradition.
Co-founder of Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachussetts
Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi (Penguin Books, 1991): Essays by and about one of the most courageous women of our times and her commitment to the Burmese people and their struggle for democracy.
Words Under the Words by Naomi Shihab Nye (Far Come Books, 1980): A wonderful collection of poetry, both Iyncal and wise. Shihab Nye takes the ordinary things and evencs or our lives and makes them shine from within.
The Gun Runner’s Daughter by Neil Gordon (Random House, 1998): A fast-paced thriller, articulate and erudite, dealing with complex human Issues.
Director, of the Family program, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, California
Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart by Tara Bennet-Goleman (Harmony Books, 2001): A step forward for all of us Buddhist practitioners in the field of psychotherapy.
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain (Penguin, 1997): America’s most misunderstood pop movement, explained by some of its originators.
Nun in the Tibetan tradition; Dharma Friendship Foundation, Seattle, Washington
Mindfulness with Breathing by Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, translated by Santikaro Bhikku (Wisdom Publications, 1996): A clear, concise, and complete manual for meditation on the four foundations of mindfulness—an excellent method for getting to know ourselves and understanding how our body and mind function.
Meeting of Minds: A Dialogue on Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism by H.H. the Dalai Lama and Yen. Chan Master Sheng-yen (Dharma Drum Publications, 1999): A discussion between these two learned masters on the meaning of enlightenment in their respective traditions and the path to attain it.
The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by Tsong-kha-pa (Snow Lion Publications, 2001): I look forward to delving into the lam Rim material, which I’ve studied for years, vvirh the help of this long-awaited translation of Tsong-kha-pa’s classic text.
Professor of South Asian religion, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington
Songs of Spiritual Experience: Tibetan Buddhist Poems of Insight and Awakening translated by ThuptenJinpa and Jas’ Elsner (Shambhala Publications, 2000): The kind of literature that provides heartfelt inspiration for a society that has too much mind.
The Hermit of Go Cliffs: Timeless Instructions of a Tibetan Mystic by Cyrus Steams (Wisdom Publications, 2000): Poetry that encourages us to find the kind of solitude in the midst of life that these great yogis found in the wilderness.
Seven Experiments that Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science by Rupert Sheldrake (Berkley Publishing Group, 1996): This book suggests that there might be a place in which modem physics reinspires us, showing a more creative vision of the universe-where chaos is included in a dynamic order.
Associate teacher of the Dzogchen Foundation, Tibetan scholar, and writer
The Best of Meister Eckhart by Meister Eckhart, edited by Halcyon Backhouse (Crossroad Publishing Company, 1993): I find most of the sermons inspiring, but “The Poor in Spirit” perhaps most of all for its uncompromising teaching about non-grasping and non-conceptualization. In some modem Buddhist writings, such words as the unconditioned, Buddha-nature, and rigpa are used without all the caution that is required to not make them into a thing, into something. In “The Poor in Spirit” Meister Eckhart shows the rigor needed when speaking about that which one cannot speak about.
Waiting for God by Simone Weil (HarperPerennial, 2001): The book isn’t so interesting from the point of view of the notion of God, but rather for Simon Weil’s reflections on the status of those hit by misfortune, and on how the gap separating self and other, and other and self, takes place. It is a beautiful complement to Shantideva’s text, A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
Treasury of Dharma by Geshe Rabten (Edition Rabten, 1997): A clear presentation of the important notions of Mahayana Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition.
Writer and Haihu poet, Woodstock, New York
Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan (Schocken Books, 1995): In this and his other book, Meditation and the Bible, the late Orthodox rabbi Aryeh Kaplan performed amazing acts of spiritual archaeology, recovering many of the lost spiritual practices of the Western mystical tradition—some remarkably similar to Buddhist techniques.
Lying Awake by Mark Salzman (Knopf, 2000): A Carmelite nun in present-day Los Angeles discovers that the mystical experiences which have made her famous as a poet may have been caused by a rare form of epilepsy. An exceptionally spare, beautiful novel.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki (Weatherhill, 1988): More than thirty years after its initial publication, it still offers the clearest—and purest—vision of American Zen.