Every newcomer to a path needs a guide to facilitate learning and improve familiarity with the new path. No doubt, Buddhism is a path. Therefore, listed here are the best Buddhist books for beginners to help streamline a newcomer’s approach to Buddhism. Thus, the list in no particular order goes,
A lot of people are struggling so hard to put their lives in order. But then, they can only account for failed attempts. A piece of good news is here “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up“, this is a book where Marie Kondo shared an easy method for decluttering our homes for a better life. Generally, the author in this work suggested that we keep those things that bring joy to us. As such, we should do away also with the ones that bring up mixed emotions.
The book is a highly metaphorical work. Hence, the author can be seen giving emotions and feelings to inanimate properties. Of course, Marie Kondo is trying to let us know that we can easily litter our homes when we care less about our belongings. Hence, there is a need to consider our belongings as though they are dear to us. This art is not really for the objects, but us. Surely, when we care about our clothes and how they are “working hard” all day, we are much likely to put them away neatly.
Marie Kondo in “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up” intends to instill gratefulness towards our possessions in us. By so doing, we are better off keeping our lives tidy enough to start developing joy.
The book also made us understand that tidying up is not a “quick fix” process. As such, it all depends on the individual and the number of possessions involved. More so, in the method described in this book, only you owe yourself the decision on what to keep and what to let go.
If you are not comfortable with the current situation of things in your home, then try out the method of decluttering in “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up“. Of course, if you want to start a new phase of life, then you need to tidy up.
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From the desk of one of the recognized spiritual authors of our time “Pema Chodron” comes a great book “When Things Fall Apart“ to help the readers in the time of pain and difficulties. This book follows a practical process that will help you to understand your current situation. Afterward, it takes you through the path of converting the negative energy to compassion, courage, and wisdom.
In this collection of wisdom, the author discusses extensively the following points. Thus:
- Promoting communication as a way to encourage others to open up about their situation instead of shutting down
- The practices that enable the reverse of habitual patterns
- How to work effectively with challenging situations
- How to use painful emotions in cultivating courage, compassion, and wisdom
- Methods of creating effective social action
Pema Chodron used a simple and direct approach to discuss spirituality in its deep form. More so, the stories she told is quite easy to deal with. That is to say, it is what you know applies practically in our lives.
This book is generally helpful if you accept and follow the teachings. Hence, it does not matter whether you are a Buddhist or not. Although, the author’s approach to situations in this book is clearly of Buddhist philosophies. Therefore, it could serve as an introduction to Buddhism.
Really, if you are battling with difficult times, this book is a great recommendation. Also, this book contains the basics of Buddhist principles in it. As such, if you want to realize true peace through the Buddhist teachings, then you are also welcome aboard.
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SPARK JOY: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (follow-up of the life-changing magic of tidying up)– Marie Kondo
“Spark Joy“ is a follow-up of the author’s first message on decluttering “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up”. As a result, in this book, Marie Kondo presented a detailed illustration and guide to her Japanese KonMari method of decluttering. She tried to touch everything in its very basic understanding. Therefore, in a step-by-step guide, “Spark Joy” covered clothing, kitchen equipment, digital photos, and hobby goods.
This book is more than just an explanation; it also contains drawings of drawers with proper organization. More so, she presented answers to frequently asked questions about the art of tidying up. For example, advice on where to keep items that appear “important” but, may not necessarily bring joy.
Just as the name implies, the book intends to “Spark Joy“ in the life of anyone who follows the method to tidy up his home. It suggests that simplicity can be the best way to bring happiness into our lives.
If you have read the parent book “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up”, then there is a need to follow up with this one. Also, the advice presented in this book is ideal for anyone who wishes to let go of certain things and live a simple kind of life. Thus, a life free of burden.
For anyone who wishes to take a chance in Buddhism, it is normal to want to know the origin of Buddhism. As such, Deepak Chopra in this story of enlightenment “Buddha“ brought to us in the language we can best understand the story of how Buddhism came to be. Thus, the author narrated the story of a young prince who abandoned his royalty to search for the true meaning of life. Of course, it is through this iconic journey that the truth of enlightenment became revealed. This truth still positively touches all spheres of life in the world today.
The author tells us how there was a young man who was to inherit his father’s throne, but, he preferred to seek the outside world. Well, he was restricted from moving outside the palace to avoid the fear of the unknown. However, when he finally experienced the outside world, he escaped from his father’s palace. Thus, he abandoned the throne and his princely title to face his demons.
After he left the kingdom, he turned to a wandering ascetic. He undertook a journey that took him to the edge of death. Certainly, this journey made him realize he could not suppress his mind nor conquer his body by mere willpower. Afterward, Siddhartha (the Buddha) was able to transcend physical pains. Thus, he became awakened.
The Buddha’s life outside the palace was not rosy in any way. Instead, it was full of struggle, surrender, love, murder, sex, loss and so on. However, from this rocky terrain of the world of materialism, he was able to get to the apex of spirituality.
The Buddha after he attained enlightenment shared his findings with people who listened. As such, the could follow the same path to discover for themselves the truth of this life. Therefore, we recommend “Buddha” by Deepak Chopra for anyone who wishes to know the truth about the life of the historical Buddha.
Noah Levine a Buddhist teacher noticed that a lot of people are suffering from the grip of addiction. Consequently, he provided a practical path to recovering from addictions in this book “Refuge Recovery“. This path bases on the core teachings of Buddhism which includes the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold path. However, this does not mean that the path is for the Buddhist faithful only. In fact, Levine’s method serves as a direct alternative for the known AA model for recovering from alcohol and drug addiction.
Apart from the Buddhist principles which make up the “Refuge Recovery” path, the process also integrates a non-theistic, scientific, and psychological insights. As such, the author viewed addiction as cravings within the body and mind. As a result, he taught a path of mindful awareness. Here, devotion in the practice of meditation can help control the desires of the mind. Thus, relieving one from the suffering caused by the craving.
The major aspects that Levine touched in this book include:
- Daily meditation practices,
- Written inquiry on the state and causes of our addictions, and
- Encouragement to find searching for or forming a community with the goal of healing and awakening.
“Refuge Recovery“ is a very practical, but still a compassionate way of overcoming addiction. More so, it has been tested and proven to be a successful path to addiction recovery.
If there is anyone who is struggling with addiction, “Refuge Recovery” is a path recommended. It does not require any basic knowledge or experience in Buddhism. Also, the design of this book caters for those who want a non-theistic approach to addiction recovery.
NO-NONSENSE BUDDHISM FOR BEGINNERS: Clear Answers to Burning Questions About Core Buddhist Teachings – Noah Rasheta
What are those questions you have about the Buddha, the core concepts, the core teachings, and the core practices of Buddhism? Here are the answers presented in “No-nonsense Buddhism for Beginners“. Noah Rasheta presented this basic explanation of Buddhism in a Question and Answer format. As a result, you will see how Buddhism relates to our daily living.
This book is a basic introduction to Buddhism. Of course, the questions treated in this book are likely the ones you have in mind. Thus, they are a common practical question about Buddhism and life in general.
The author divided this book into four essential aspects of Buddhism. These aspects include:
- The Buddha
- Core Buddhist concepts
- The teachings of the Buddha
- Key practices in Buddhism
With questions and clear answers, Noah Rasheta was able to go around these aspects of Buddhism. Moreover, the ideas presented here are quite easy and clear for better understanding. Also, there are practical everyday life examples by the author to make the teachings less abstract. Thus, the readers will encounter less difficulty understanding the philosophy in Buddhist practices.
Any beginner in Buddhism that wishes to easily grab the concept of Buddhism needs this book. Also, with the conversational style of “No-nonsense Buddhism for Beginners,” it can be very handy while building or enhancing a personal practice of Buddhism.
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BUDDHISM: Beginners Guide to Understanding and Practicing Buddhism to Become Stress and Anxiety Free (Buddhism for Beginners, Buddha, Zen Buddhism, Meditation for Beginners) – Michael Williams
To satisfy a beginner’s curiosity on the ancient Buddhist practice, Michael Williams gave us “Buddhism”. Basically, this book based its teachings mainly on the practice of yoga, meditation, and understanding the core Buddhist concepts.
“Buddhism“ will guide a beginner toward applying the teachings in their daily living. As a result, they can live a healthier and balanced life. This book contains so many quality information that is practical enough to keep a beginner in the path of Buddhism.
The author in this book covered the following topics and more. Thus:
- What Buddhism is all about and the true teachings of Buddhism
- The Four Noble Truths
- Practices, treasures, and poisons of Buddhism
- The core Buddhist concepts which include Suffering, Karma, Rebirth, and Nirvana
- Guidelines to the practice of the Five Buddhist Precepts
- The practice of yoga and its benefits
- Reducing stress and anxiety through the practice of mindfulness
Generally, this book contains a lot more than listed.
If you seek to attain stress and anxiety-free life, then “Buddhism“ is a way to go. In principle, it is a guide that will help open you up to a peaceful spiritual journey. Hence, begin in the path of Buddhism with the teachings in this book.
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Shunryu Suzuki handed us the very basic teachings and practices of Zen Buddhism in “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind“. This book is just what you need to start learning about Zen. It teaches Zen with basic instructions on how to learn. Also, Suzuki-Roshi made it important for the readers to understand the need to learn Zen as a beginner rather than as an expert. Hence, the first page contains a quote which will always call you back. Thus:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but, in the expert’s there are few”
This line, just handful but filled with wisdom. As such, one should be careful in learning enough not to get too close to Zen and miss exactly what it entails.
In this book, Suzuki-Roshi gave us the details of posturing and breathing in zazen. Consequently, he made us understand that in practice, the Zen posturing and breathing are more important. Hence, the practitioners of Zen do not care much about understanding deeply Buddhism in general.
In addition, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s mind” touches the perception of duality, Zen meditation and much more you would love to know about Zen.
Recommended as the first book you need to read on Zen. Basically, anyone who wishes to understand the meditation and practice of Zen Buddhism needs to keep this book handy. More so, the writer presented his teachings in clear understandable language.
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With simple graphical line drawings and explanations, the writers of “Introducing Buddha“ opens up the fundamentals of Buddhism to us. As such, the book talked about the life of the Buddha, his teachings, meditations, karma, tantric, and nirvana. Hence, if you ask the question, “what really is Buddhism about?” this book got the answers you need.
This book taught enlightenment as an individual experience of the truth. Especially, as a student learns through the inspiration of the teacher. More so, in a very simple language, Borin Van Loon told stories to shed light on Zen, Taoism, and meditation.
This is a basic introduction to Buddhism. It also talked about the modern practice of Buddhism in Asia. Thus, describing the role the practice has to play among those that originally adopted it. On the other hand, the book explains the growth and influence of Buddhism in Western thinking.
The authors of “Introducing Buddha” presented it as a guide that you will not get lost. More so, one is not wrong to say it is a comic format book.
This book is ideal for anyone who needs a simple well-illustrated introduction to Buddhism. Generally, “Introducing Buddha“ is among the best Buddhist books for beginners.
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WHAT THE BUDDHA TAUGHT: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada – Walpola Rahula
“What the Buddha Taught“ is a clear account of the ancient teachings of the Buddha. Here, Dr. Rahula brought back to us the original teachings of Buddhism. Thus, the book includes illustrative texts from the original Pali texts. It also contains Suttas and Dhammapada which the author specially translated himself. Besides, there are sixteen illustrations, a bibliography, glossary, and index within the book.
The author did so much in bringing the complex philosophies of Buddhism to the understanding of a beginner. As such, one can perceive this book as a classic introductory Buddhist volume. More so, the book is authoritative, logical, focused, and sober all the same. The author went back to the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha to come up with “What the Buddha Taught“.
Dr. Rahula showed the foundation of Buddhism. Also, he explained Buddhism as an umbrella where diverse beliefs and traditions exist. As a result, each sect holds a core truth that is dear to them. And, without skipping any point yet to be verified, he provided a direct explanation to the essentials of Buddhism.
Reading this book before moving onto other Buddhist works will give you the foundation you need. Of course, it contains a clear overview of Buddhist philosophies and concepts. Thus, a newcomer to Buddhism can rely on this masterly work “What the Buddha Taught” to proceed in his journey.
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This page compiles the best books that every beginner in Buddhism needs to be familiar with. Basically, there is no priority given to any. However, with the description of what each work contains, you can better organize your learning process.
If after going through the descriptions and you are still confused on which book to get first, well, just pick any. After all, they all fall under the topic BEST BUDDHIST BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS.