Best Buddhist Books?

06/01/2009 01:18 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Growing up, I was (as are most young punks) half-crazy with hormones, thoughts, adrenaline, ambition and insecurity.

What got me through those days? A great mom. Some great, patient girlfriends. Basketball, and baseball, and anything that tired me out. Meditation.

And, reading the "profound, holy Dharma"--a series of Buddhist books that, better than any would-be mentor, connected with my heart and mind and experience--and fomented an inner dialogue that helped me to grow up, relax, and think about others (almost) as much as myself.

My Favorite Buddhist Books*

  • For someone who's active in the world, family-oriented, not-too-cynical & not-too-religious: Shambhala.
  • For someone who just likes to read great writing: How the Swans Came to the Lake or Crooked Cucumber.
  • For just about anyone anywhere anytime: Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind or Wisdom of No Escape.
  • For scholarly types: Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.
  • *for newer Dharma titles, see Shambhala Sun's recommendations here and be sure to read the comments) like Turning the Mind Into an Ally or Ruling your World (great for business types) or excellent books by Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman, and a certain 'simple monk.'

    PS: back in the day, I used to read a page of Training the Mind--it's so practical and helpful. Finally, it fell apart and I bought another, which now sits on my office desk.

    What are your favorite Dharma books, that you'd recommend for others?
    All traditions welcome! Thich Nhat Hanh? Zen? Insight?