Books for the summer or anytime

woman-reading summer

Buddhist practice and philosophy

  • The Buddha’s Ancient Path by Thera Piyadassi: I’ve been reading Buddhist texts and commentaries for over 20 years. This small book was the clearest explanation of the living expression of the Four Noble Truths that I have read. It was used in an intimate weekly study group because its explanations are precise, erudite, and make no bones about how to live according to these principles.
  • Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness by John Myrdhin Reynolds: This is a terma from Padmasambhava and part of the same cycle of teachings as the Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead). Its emphasis is the source of its title, and is essentially a Dzogchen terma. In addition to the captivating pith instructions contained within the terma, Reynolds offers appendix articles explaining mistranslations by Evans-Wentz in the Bardo Thodol, including its name. The article is of great value to anyone who seeks to understand the texts as they were given in contradistinction to through the views of a translator – especially one who did not know Tibetan (Evans-Wentz).
  • The Wisdom Manjushri by Vimalamitra and additional commentary by Garab Dorje translated by Rongzom Mahapandita: Ahhh, is the essence of what I receive from this book each time I recite this tantra. Equally so, I have read the commentary, so well translated, now three times and will do so many more times before this life completes. This book offers the Manjushri Namasamgiti (The Sounding of the Names of Manjushri – which is the Manjushri Tantra) with two profound commentaries by Vimalamitra and Garab Dorje. This book is very readable. If Manjushri is your yidam, this book is a must. If you would like to understand the Five Wisdoms, this books offers much in that regard as well.
  • The Dawn of Tantra by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Herbert Guenther: a concise work drawn from transcriptions of retreats. I have read this book twice because I love how both authors convey the Dharma. Any sentence can be a significant meditation. Furthermore, Trungpa Rinpoche was a master at giving the principles of the Dharma in new ways that meet a western reader. Being one of the first Tibetan teachers to speak English, his mastery of the language and of the cultural idom in the 70’s & 80’s meant that both the Dharma and the inquirer were well served.

Other books

  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides: This was a gift to my husband at Christmas, and he could not put it down. The book is based on historical events. He said it was a very engaging page turner and he passed it on to others. To my knowledge, the book is still circulating through his group of friends.
  • Sensa, The Lost Language of the Ancient Mysteries by Dorje Jinpa: If you have an interest in theosophy, metaphysics, alchemy, or the ancient sciences, this book will serve you well. It is one that I am reading slowly because each page offers much to ponder. It is a deep book about a deep subject but completely accessible and readable. I appreciate the use of quotes from various sources to build the frame for vibration becoming sound, sound needing to be rendered in some archetypal way, such that creation and divine pattern can be brought into manifestation.

* Little plug: My daughter works for Barnes and Noble. If convenient, consider ordering from them. Share the abundance! Happy reading!

About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

Visit for additional meditations and blog posts.
This entry was posted in Mahayana, Philosophical, Vajrayana and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply