Reading

(I am currently reading Burbea, Rob: Seeing That Frees. So far: a practical and pithy guide to insight practice, encouraging an attitude of experimentation and flexibility towards practice.)

The following are must-reads and particular favourites of mine, each of them with a particular emphasis. Where they are available online for free I have provided a link.

Batchelor, Stephen: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist
The scholarly ex-monk pieces together the biography of a very human Buddha, and uses his own to describe his take on the Pāli Canon’s message.

Bodhidhamma, Bhante: Encouragements Towards Awakening  [online]
Endlessly practical discussion of the Mahasi noting style, especially helpful around the hindrances, motivation and other difficulties.

Hamilton, William: Saints and Psychopaths
The grandfather of the Pragmatic Dharma approach gives cautionary (if bitter) tales about how to separate out a good teacher from an abusive one.

Ingram, Daniel: Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha  [online]
The bible of the Pragmatic Dharma practitioner, sprawlingly technical and thorough, with rants about western Buddhist practice too close to the bone to be dismissed.

Kiser, Ona: A Little Death and A Soul, Suspended
Two volumes of tell-all autobiography, recounting intense experiences in Santería, Magick and Catholicism, but also the genuine disappointments of awakening.

Kornfield, Jack: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry
A softly-worded and psychological slant on practice experiences, as well as the revealing and often sobering tales of practitioners.

Matthew, Iain: The Impact of God
Rich and satisfying book describing the life and works of Christian Saint John of the Cross, bringing everyday dilemmas and difficulties into prayerful focus.

Munindo, Ajahn: Unexpected Freedom
Describes the links between ‘source-based’ practice, virtue, and prayerfulness in the practical, thoughtful way I always associate with the Forest Sangha.

Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words  [online]
My favourite non-denominational teacher, providing a structured framework around service and love of God, with a kind but no-nonsense approach.

Post Abbott, Margery: To Be Broken and Tender
‘A Quaker Theology for Today’, on how to respond to personal, social and political challenges in the world in a thoughtful, contemplative fashion.

Suzuki Shunryū: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Sōtō Zen classic with poetic descriptions, motivating reassurances for beginners in difficulty, and a focus on awakening as act, not achievement.