• 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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As It Is (Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche)

As It IsFull Title: As It Is: Volumes 1 and 2
Major Topic: Using traditional practices and methods to know mind nature directly.
Level: all levels
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Urgyen Tulku, even among Tibetans, had a special gift for leading people into the experience of mind and explaining in simple language how to practice deeply. In these two volumes, he describes traditional vajrayana teachings in terms of mind and mind nature. Read a chapter or a few pages carefully and then do some meditation. Experiment with the methods and find the ones that work for you. (Note: It can be hard to find without the ISBN: for Volume 1 is 9627341355; for Volume 2 it is 9627341398)

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
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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).

Unfettered Mind (Takuan Soho)

Unfettered MindFull Title: Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master
Major Topic: presence
Level: experienced and advanced
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Using the context of martial arts, Takuan describes how to live awake and present. A subtle book, to be read with care. It may take time to appreciate exactly what Takuin is pointing to in each section.

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
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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.

Cultivating the Empty Field (Taigen Dan Leighton)

Cultivating the Empty FieldFull Title: Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi
Major Topic: Presence, stability, clarity
Level: All levels
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A 12th century ancestor of Dogen gives sparkling descriptions of presence, where stability and clarity are integrated and phenomena are unrestricted. Translated by Taigen Daniel Leighton and Yi Wu.