Meditation reading recommendations

Filed under posts • Tagged: Meditation

2021 note: I often get asked for recommendations on meditation books and teachers. This was my response around 2014! There are still some great books and websites listed, so I’ve kept it around.

I started meditating when I was 22, a couple of years after taking an interest in Taoism. Not long after beginning my practice I came across Daniel Ingram’s Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. I was very impressed with the openness and clarity of the book, and immediately dedicated myself to Vipassana meditation as outlined in the first few chapters. It didn’t take long before I stumbled across the first of many events that have convinced me that this kind of mind training is something truly invaluable and deeply empowering. I wrote more about my meeting with meditation in Answering the Demand.

Daniel’s book is at the ever-evolving heart of the Pragmatic Dharma movement, also known as the Hardcore Dharma movement due to its focus on dedicated practice and transparency regarding results and attainments. A lot of people that resonate with this approach to meditation can be found on the Dharma Overground or at Kenneth Folk Dharma.

For newcomers, I usually recommend Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana. It is a very accessible introduction to the path and practice without compromising on the potency of what is being taught. For a more “hardcore” approach and a much more detailed look at the maps, territory and phenomena one might come across in practice, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha is unsurpassed. Full versions of both of these books are generously available for free online.

One of my favourite teachers, Rob Burbea, has also written an excellent book called Seeing That Frees. It is a comprehensive and practical guide to exploring emptiness and dependent arising.

Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart comes highly recommended by many diverse practitioners, and it covers a lot of ground with a strong focus on integrating insight into our daily lives. Out of the three books mentioned here, it is the most gentle introduction.



Some other teachers who I have found a lot of value in include A. H. Almaas, Adyashanti, Eckart Tolle, Leela Sarti, and Reggie Ray.

Retreat reports

For anyone interested in going on retreat, I cannot recommend Gaia House enough. It is a beautiful and wonderfully well run retreat centre that hosts many great teachers.

—Dan Bartlett
8 Aug 2014

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