Useful books about Buddhism and things related to its world. Useful resources on the web are in the web section.

Here are books that have been useful to me. It isn't intended to be an exhaustive bibliography.

Book details: I am now keeping details of the books at the most wonderful LibraryThing. [sep 2015]


Introductions and summaries

The Buddhist Way of Life details
Christmas Humphreys, 1969
Cultivating a Daily Meditation details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 1991
The Essence of Buddhism
D.T. Suzuki
An Introduction to Buddhism details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 2509 B.E.
Introduction to Buddhism details
John Powers
revised edition, Snow Lion Publications, paperback, 2007.
A Survey of Buddhism: Its Doctrines and Methods through the Ages details
Sangharakshita, 1957.
The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Translated, edited, and annotated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa

Commentaries on multiple teachings

Commentaries on and explanations of the core texts, by the masters.

Essential Teachings details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 1987
English translation (from the French of Zélie Pollon?)
Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism: According to the esoteric teachings of the great mantra Om Mani Padme Hum details
Lama Anagarika Govinda (Anangavaira Khamsum-Wangchuk), 1960
Four Essential Buddhist Commentaries details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 1982
Commentaries on 37 Practices, 3 Principal Paths, 8 verses, and Song of 4 Mindfulnesses.
The Opening of the Wisdom-Eye and the History of the Advancement of Buddhadharma in Tibet details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 1963

Core Teachings


the source of teachings, as far as is known, of the buddha.

Advice from Buddha Sakyamuni: An Abridged Exposition of the Precepts for Bhikshus. details
Buddha Sakyamuni, edited by the Buddhist monk Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 1982
Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha details
Buddha Sakyamuni, ~500 bce
Translated by Thomas Byrom

bodhicaryavatara (guide to the bodhisattva's way of life) by santideva

Written 7th c. CE; first English translation ??.

selected verses, for memorising.

the text: Santideva: The Bodhicaryavatara details [notyet]
A new translation by Kate Crosby and Andrew Skilton
Skilful translation, some notes and technical commentary.
commentary: A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama,

eight verses (lo jong)


thirty-seven practices by ngulchu thogmed zangpo

ལག་ལེན་སོ་བདུན་མ་ (lak len so dun ma)
Written 14th c. CE; first English translation 1975.

texts, and a study.

the text: The Thirty-Seven Practices of All Buddha's Sons details
A very small paperback, containing only the verses in Tibetan and English, no commentary.
extended text and commentary: The Heart of Compassion: Instructions on Ngulchu Thogme's Thirty-Sevenfold Practice of a Bodhisattva In LibraryThing as The Heart of Compassion: The Thirty-seven Verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva don't know yet if it's exactly the same work, checking. [oct 2015] details
Dilgo Khyentse
Translated from the Tibetan by the Padmakara Translation Group


With Each & Every Breath details
Thanissaro Bikkhu
A lovely practical introduction to breath meditation. One of the useful premises is the idea of "the committee of the mind". downloads in multiple formats
The Thirty-Seven Practices of All Buddha's Sons
ལག་ལེན་སོ་བདུན་མ་ (lak len so dun ma) (source above)
memorize; as each event comes up in daily life, try to think of a verse that matches it. Repeat :)


"Practical Buddhism" (but what is buddhism but:
1) practical reality, and 2) daily practice?! :D)
Anyway, here's some sources for integrating buddhist principles in the wider matrix of daily life.

Buddhism, Human Rights and Social Renewal
Nalin Swaris, 2000
His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Environment: Collected Statements details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 1994
The Jew in the Lotus details
Roger Kamenetz
Mandala and Landscape details
A.W. Macdonald, ed., 1997
The Secret Life of Plants details
Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, 1973
The Universe in a Single Atom: How Science and Spirutality Can Serve our World details
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama,



Born in Tibet details
the Chögyam Trungpa,
Karen Armstrong, 2001
Penguin Books, 2004
The earthly life of the Buddha according to the scriptures, by an eminent and insightful religious scholar. With explanations of his teachings.
buddha, biography, life, death, buddhism
J. Krishnamurti: a Biography
Pupul Jayakar
First published Harper & Row, USA, 1986.
Penguin Books, India, 1987.
"As a contemporary of Krishnamurti and one of his closest associates, Pupul Jayakar offers an insider's view of the fascinating life and thought of an extraordinary individual."
krishnamurti, teachings
Journey to Enlightenment: the Life and World of Khyentse Rimpoche, Spiritual Teacher from Tibet
Mattieu Ricard
Aperture, Italy, 1996 (?)
Biography of Khyentse Rimpoche, excerpts from writings, every page color photos.
buddhism, nyingma, vajrayana
Tibet: My Story
Jetsun Pema
First published 1996.
Element Books Limited paperback, 1998.
Jetsun Pema is youngest sister of His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama. She has played a major part in the education of refugee Tibetan children. This is her story of growing up in Tibet, her education in Sikkim and Europe, and her life in Dharamshala serving Tibet.
biography, tibet, dharamshala, jetsun pema, tibetan children's village

Biographies: Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama: A Biography
Claude B. Levenson 1978
Oxford India Paperbacks 2001
"Offers a vivid portrayal of an important civilization based on a sophisticated Buddhist tradition which faces extinction in Tibet. It covers the Dala Lama's political programme of the Middle Way which allows for a limited autonomy of Tibet." Factual, and good interviews with His Holiness, distracted by overly florid writing.
dalai lama, biography
The Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama: Holder of the White Lotus
Alexander Norman
2008, Little Brown
"Insights into the real story of Tibetan religion, politics, and culture."
tibet, china, mongolia, buddhism, history

Tibetan world

Tibetan Culture

The Book of Buddhas: Ritual Symbolism Used on Buddhist Statuary and Ritual Objects
Eva Rudy Jansen, 1990
New Age Books, 2001
"It is not a comprehensive and exhausting study, but provides an introduction to Buddhism itself, as well as a generous survey of the most common figures and symbols."
buddhism, symbolism, statues, objects, ritual
The Necklace of gZi: A Cultural History of Tibet
Namkhai Norbu, 1981
Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibetan Administration; Narthang Publications, Dharamshala, 1989
Written for the Tibetan community in exile. A brief account of Tibetan history, to highlight the achievements of Tibetans in the past and present.
tibet, history

Tibetan History

Kublai Khan The Mongol King Who Remade China
John Man 2006
Bantam Paperback, 2007
"Grandson of the the great Genghis (Chinggis) Khan, he inherited the largest land empire in history, and doubled it." Only Chapter 7 addresses places: TibetTibet directly; however Kublai's effect on the entire region, led directly to the Tibetan situation today; and individual Tibetans were involved in Mongol history and with the Mongol people, one of the most famous who was Phags-pa
mongol, china, tibet, history
History of Tibet
S.P. Gupta, K.S. Ramachandran
Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre, New Delhi
Written for the Tibetan community in exile. A brief account of Tibetan history, to highlight the achievements of Tibetans in the past and present.
tibet, history


Buddhist Himalaya: Travels and Studies in quest of the origins and nature of tibetan religion.
David Snellgrove
2nd ed., 1995, Himalayan Book Sellers, Nepal
First edition 1957, Brun Cassirer (Publishers) Ltd.
buddhism, teachings, david snellgrove, dharma, origins, tibet, india, nepal, bhutan, ladakh, spiti
cihts, sangarshita library, english section: Q43.24 111J7S;1
The Land of the Lamas
W.W. Rockhill
2000, Pilgrim Book House Kathmandu, Nepal
(First published 1891, The Century Co., NY, USA)
"This is the tale of a long and arduous journey through the wild backlands of China, Mongolia and Tibet in the years 1890-91. William Woodvile Rockville, an American diplomat in China, yearned, like so many, to visit the forbidden land of Tibet. However, unlike many, he had the advantages of speaking Chinese and Tibetan. He also had an unusual plan to maximise his chances of entering Tibet undetected ... by entering from the remote northeast. ... Gives a unique snapshot of these regions as they were in the 1890s."
tibet, china, mongolia, turkestan, travel, history

Tibetan Medicine

Diagnosis and Treatment in Tibetan Medicine: Tantric Knowledge of Tibetan Medicine
Lama Lobsang Thamcho Nyima, 2000 ce.
Nangten Menlop Chenmo, Buddhist College for Higher Medical Studies, 2000
"an extensive overview of the techniques used in Tibetan Medicine to diagnose diseases of the three 'humours'. ... Lama Lobsang Thamcho Nyima bases his teachings on the ancient tantric knowledge that has been the foundation for Tibetan Buddhism, Medicine, Astrology, and many popular healing techniques."
lama lobsang thamcho nyima, teachines, medicine, healing, tibet, tantric, tantra

india world

india and hinduism

Indian Mythology: An Encylopedia of Myth and Legend
Jan Knappert
Diamond Books
"In this comprehensive A-Z guide, the myths of hinduism are dealt with most fully, as this is india's most widespread religion with the largest mythology. There are many entries relating to other religions too, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Ahmadiism and Sufism. ... great open-mindedness on his subjects and his ability to compare diferent mythologies. Sufficiently scholarly to serve as a reliable reference work to students of anthropology or religion, it is also accessible to the layman who wishes to dip in and enjoy the myths simply as highly colorful and very readable stories."
india, mythology, buddhism, hinduism
Rudyard Kipling
First published 1901.
Penguin Books, Great Britain, 1994.
About a boy, Buddhism, and the Great Game.
buddhism, great game, enlightenment
Indian Mythology
Philosophical treatises, some of considerable length, some only a few pages, but all of fundamental importance for world philosophy.
hinduism, upanishads, philosophy, teachings, india
Indian Mythology
vedas, hinduism, india

Sources and publications


Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies
Published by the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies - A Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford. Paid subscription for complete Journals. Some articles available as PDFs for free. [2015]