• 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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Buddhist Ethics (Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye)

Buddhist EthicsFull Title: Buddhist Ethics (Treasury of Knowledge)
Major Topic: The three vows (individual freedom, awakening being and knowledge holder)
Level: advanced
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com

Comprehensive summary of ethical systems and ordinations as practiced in the Tibetan tradition for the last thousand years; one chapter of Kongtrul’s encyclopedia of Tibetan Buddhism. This is a reference book, with authoritative presentations of the vows and commitments of the three vows in Tibetan Buddhism (monastic, bodhisattva, and vajrayana).

Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa (Garma C. C. Chang)

Hundred Thousand Songs of MilarepaFull Title: Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: The Life Story and Teaching of the Greatest Poet-Saint Ever to Appear in the History of Buddhism
Major Topic: Milarepa’s challenges and teachings
Level: all levels
Click here to order this book from Amazon.com

For those familiar with Tibetan Buddhism concepts, Milarepa’s songs are an inexhaustible treasury of teaching and instruction. 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.

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.

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.

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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.