• 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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Heart Lamp (Tsele Natsok Rangdrol)

Lamp of MahamudraFull Title: Heart Lamp: The Heart of the Matter and Lamp of Mahamudra
Major Topic: Mahamudra, direct awareness practice
Level: experienced and advanced

Two concise, comprehensive treatments of Mahamudra meditation have just be republished together. This is a practice manual. Study the fundamentals and let the richness of the teachings unfold in your practice.

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Calm Abiding and Special Insight (Geshe Gedun Lodro)

Calm Abiding and Special InsightFull Title: Calm Abiding and Special Insight: Achieving Spiritual Transformation Through Meditation
Major Topic:
Level:
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(This is a revised edition of the earlier Walking Through Walls). Gedun Lodro’s approach is similar to Jam-yang-shay-ba’s classic Great Exposition of the Concentrations and Formless Absorptions. See also the teachings in Lati Rinbochay’s Meditative States in Tibetan Buddhism. This text presents a methodical path for developing attention and insight. Quite technical and detailed, focus on the spirit of what is being presented. Rather than try to force your experience to conform to these descriptions, use the advice and guidelines to explore your experience in sitting with the breath and letting thoughts, feelings, and emotions resolve themselves.

Aligned, Relaxed, Resilient (Will Johnson)

Aligned, Relaxed, ResilientFull Title: Aligned, Relaxed, Resilient: The Physical Foundations of Mindfulness
Major Topic:
Level:
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Excellent introduction to how to sit and the importance of awareness of body sensations. Most thoughts are reactions to subtle sensations in the body. The thoughts dissipate attention so that we never experience those sensations. Following the instructions in this book, you will learn to sense the body directly, opening up ways to experience the emotional cores of the patterns that pull us out of presence in our lives.

Creation and Completion (Jamgon Kontrul)

Creation and CompletionFull Title: Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation
Major Topic: creation and completion phase practice in Vajrayana
Level: experienced and advanced
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Practical exposition of the key points in Vajrayana practice and how to integrate the many different elements of this form of practice. For Vajrayana practitioners, this book will keep you focused on the important points and help you not be distracted by all the ritual and form.

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.

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.

Golden Letters (John Myrdhin Reynolds)

Golden LettersFull Title: Golden Letters
Major Topic: dzogchen, direct awareness
Level: experienced and advanced

Detailed commentary on the three instructions of Garob Dorje, the basis of all Dzogchen practice. Best studied thoroughly with a qualified teacher. If you’ve had instruction in dzogchen or mahamudra, this book will clarify many practice points.