• About This Booklist

    People often ask me for guidance about books to read, particularly those that would enhance the curriculum outlined in Wake Up To Your Life.

    I will post new titles each week, along with brief comments outlining the main topic, level of practice for which it is appropriate, and how you might use the book. Each entry is also categorized according to the chapter of Wake Up To Your Life it might relate to.

    If you are familiar with a given title and have something to say about it, please add your comments as they will help other viewers find books that will be helpful to them.
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The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Gampopa & Herbert Guenther)

The Jewel Ornament of LiberationFull Title: The Jewel Ornament of Liberation: The Wish-Fulfilling Gem of the Noble Teachings
Major Topic: Tibetan mahayana Buddhism
Level: all levels

A classical description of the path of spiritual awakening according to the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Gampopa blends the classical Indian scholastic tradition he received in his Kadampa training with the training in practice and mahamudra he received from Milarepa. The Jewel Ornament has been the principal lamrim (stages of the path) text in the Kagyu tradition for the last 900 years. Guenther’s translation into English make the text more difficult and less clear than the original Tibetan.

I strongly suggest listening to the podcasts of the Then and Now class while you read the text. Read this text as a series of answers to various spiritual questions and then sit back, and reflect on what your answers to these questions are.


An Arrow To The Heart (Ken McLeod)

An Arrow To The HeartFull Title: An Arrow To The Heart: A Commentary on the Heart Sutra
Major Topic: Heart Sutra
Level: all levels

An unorthodox, highly experiential commentary on the Heart Sutra. The book elicits experiences of insight, openness, possibly even emptiness, through the conjunction of imagery, poetry, questions, and quotations. Read a page, sit back, reflect, then take another sip.

Nothing Left Over (Toinette Lippe)

Nothing Left OverFull Title: Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life
Major Topic: mindful and simple living
Level: all levels

One woman’s account of how she applies mindfulness and the principles of simplicity and balance in all aspects of life. Read, take what is useful for you.

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover (Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette)

King, Warrior, Magician, LoverFull Title: King, Warrior, Magician, Lover
Major Topic: the four archetypes associated with the four ways of working
Level: all levels

Detailed analysis of the reactive, balanced, mature and immature manifestations of these four male archetypes, very helpful in understanding decay and corruption in the four immeasurables. How to use: learn different ways the archetypes manifest and then observe where one is in or out of balance.

Even though the book focuses on the male archetypes, there is much here that is relevant and will speak to women also. Understanding the mature and immature manifestations is helpful in seeing where one is stuck in the past. Understanding the balanced and reactive manifestations is helpful in seeing where one is not present in one’s life.

Wake Up To Your Life (Ken McLeod)

Wake Up To Your LifeFull Title: Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention
Major Topic: how to practice Buddhism
Level: all levels

A comprehensive manual, almost an encyclopedia, of practice methods, starting with basic meditation and ending with the experience of no separation. The methods are derived principally from the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism. The commentary is likely useful to practitioners in all traditions. The content is presented free of the cultural influences of Asian traditions and is eminently accessible to Western practitioners.

See Unfettered Mind website for suggestions on how to use it.

Natural Great Perfection (Nyoshul Khenpo)

Natural Great PerfectionFull Title: Natural Great Perfection
Major Topic: dzogchen, direct awareness
Level: all levels

Compilation of talks by contemporary Dzogchen master; clear, simple, and profound. Read and savor each of the chapters, sit with them, and let them guide your practice.

Clarifying the Natural State (Dakpo Tashi Namgyal)

Clarifying the Natural StateFull Title: Clarifying the Natural State: A Principal Guidance Manual for Mahamudra
Major Topic: Mahamudra, direct awareness practice
Level: experienced and advanced

Very accessible, succinct, and precise meditation manual for the practice of Mahamudra meditation. Best studied thoroughly with a qualified teacher. If you’ve had instruction in mahamudra, this book will clarify many practice points.