• 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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Learning How to Learn (Idries Shah)

Learning How to LearnFull Title: Learning How to Learn: A Practical Philosophy in the Sufi Tradition
Major Topic: what constitutes learning
Level: all levels
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com

Sufi insights into basic human processes such as knowing and learning define very clearly what works and doesn’t work in each of these areas. Read and study carefully and then look at your own life with “new eyes”.

Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin (Idries Shah)

Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla NasrudinFull Title: Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin
Major Topic: amusing stories that can be interpreted on many levels
Level: all levels

This Middle Eastern folk hero consistently confounds and delights the reader as he presents one conundrum after another. Find a story that speaks to you and sit with it. They may appear nonsensical, but each story points at an aspect of reaction or awakening.

Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen (Shambhala)

Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and ZenFull Title: Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen
Major Topic:

Essential reference work for Theravada, Tibetan, Zen, and Pure Land terms. Shambhala’s Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion adds Hindu and Taoist terms.

Life of Shabkar (tr. Matthieu Ricard)

Life of ShabkarFull Title: Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin
Major Topic: Shabkar’s challenges and teachings
Level: all levels

This biography, like that of Milarepa’s, is a treasury of teaching and guidance. Two ways to use this book. Some of the chapters are wonderful accounts of spiritual challenges, albeit in highly mythic language. Second, the songs themselves contain so much teaching that any of them can be used for meditation, inspiration, or contemplation.

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.


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.

Treasury of Precious Qualities (Longchen Yeshe Dorje)

Treasury of Precious QualitiesFull Title: Treasury of Precious Qualities: A Commentary on the Root Text of Jigme Lingpa
Major Topic: Tibetan form of Mahayana Buddhism
Level: all levels

Thorough exposition of the concepts and teachings at the base of all Tibetan Buddhist practice. A reference book that provides classical presentations of the path as practiced in Tibetan Buddhism.