Essential Meditation Books for Your Library

If you’re looking for good books to begin or deepen your relationship to Buddhist meditation, you can’t go wrong with these essential picks.

Lion’s Roar
6 September 2022
Reading book while meditating.
Photo by Fabiola Peñalba.

How to Meditate
A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind
by Pema Chödrön
(Sounds True)
Bestselling author and Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön presents the essentials for a successful, lifelong meditation practice, for both beginners and those more experienced.


Mindfulness in Plain English
by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Long before the birth of the modern mindfulness movement, this classic made mindfulness accessible and put it in a Buddhist-specific perspective as a key part of the dharma student’s path.


Being Peace
by Thich Nhat Hanh
The great Zen teacher and founder of Engaged Buddhism joins the inner path of peace in meditation with the outer path of peace in the world. Uniting the two has never been more important.


Who Is My Self?
by Ayya Khema
The late German nun Ayya Khema uses one of the earliest Buddhist suttas, as well as insights from her years of teaching, to approach meditation practice through the lens of understanding the nature of “self.”


The Heart of Meditation
Discovering Innermost Awareness
by the Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama introduces us to Dzogchen, one of the highest meditation systems in Vajrayana Buddhism. Its goal is discovering the true nature of your mind, which His Holiness calls “innermost awareness.”


On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, & Mind
by Taizan Maezumi & Bernie Glassman

Though two giants of Western Zen are credited on its cover, this book also gathers essential pieces by Eihei Dogen, 20th-century Rinzai master Koryu Osaka Roshi, Sambokyodan founder Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, and his successor, Ko’un Yamada Roshi.


Real Happiness
The Power of Meditation
by Sharon Salzberg
Insight Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg offers a 28-day meditation program to deepen your concentration, mindfulness, loving-kindness, and compassion.


Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
by Shunryu Suzuki
Despite the title, this classic is not just for Zen folk! From how to do meditation to how to understand Buddhist concepts like emptiness and nirvana, this endlessly readable book covers it all.


Mindfulness in Action
Making Friends with Yourself Through Meditation and Everyday Awareness
by Chögyam Trungpa
This book by one of the great meditation teachers of our time combines the practicality of secular mindfulness with the profundity of Buddhist teachings.

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