The Best Books on Buddhism

People new to studying Buddhism often struggle with finding a place to start. Here’s a list of some of the best books on Buddhist studies out there.

The Top Five:

1. Harvey, P. 1990, An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices.

Harvey offers a comprehensive introduction to the Buddhist tradition covering not only its historical developments, but also its main concepts and practices. This is a huge amount of information, but the book succeeds in being highly readable and its clear structure means that the information is easy to digest.

An Introduction to Buddhism is great for anyone looking for an encyclopaedia of Buddhism to dip in and out of. However, the comprehensive picture one gains of the religion if the book is read from cover to cover should not be underestimated.

This book is at the top of the list because it serves two functions. Firstly, it is a very readable book absolutely crammed full of detailed information. Reading it will give you a very comprehensive view of Buddhism. Secondly, it is a great reference book. With a simple structure and decent index it’s great to quickly remind yourself of particular points if you’re faced with an awkward question. No one should be without it.

2. Bechert, H. & Gombrich, R. (eds) 1984, The World of Buddhism: Buddhist Monks and Nuns in Society and Culture.

This is a beautifully presented and produced book. The level of writing is academic but very clear and the illustrations are exquisite. Like many of the books here, The World of Buddhism gives a ‘big picture’ of Buddhism. No attempt has been made to be fully comprehensive in discussing the religion, but the pertinent points have been pulled out and presented in such a way as to enable easy understanding.

The World of Buddhism may be slightly outdated, now 24 years old. However, its illustrations help to give a real flavour of Buddhism in all its incarnations. This, combined with the books inherent readability and academic value, makes it a must have.

3. Gethin, R. 1998, The Foundations of Buddhism.

This is a great complement to Harvey’s book. Gethin concentrates on the ideas and practices which constitute the common heritage of the different Buddhist traditions. Starting with the narrative history of the Buddha, he analyses the textual tradition, the Four Noble Truths, Karma, rebirth, the various paths, and the interaction between monastic and lay life.

The Foundations of Buddhism is extremely easy to read and easy to understand. It is not as comprehensive as some of the other books listed, but it is certainly a page-turner. As a way into the religion you couldn’t ask for anything more readable.

4. Williams, P. & Tribe, A. 2000, Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition.

Buddhist Thought is not an introduction to the religion as whole, rather it is an introduction to certain ideas and concepts that developed on the Indian subcontinent. A certain amount of background knowledge is assumed. However, the book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in taking their knowledge of Buddhism to the next level of detail.

Williams takes a historical approach and applies this to many of the common myths and beliefs traditionally held by Buddhists. This endeavour is particularly rewarding in his analysis of the origins of Mahayana.

All in all, a great book for someone wanting to delve a little deeper into Indian Buddhism.

5. Cush, D. 1994, Buddhism (A Student’s Approach to World Religions).

This book is particularly aimed at the world of RE. As such, the writing is set at a school level and the layout has a textbook feel. This means that Buddhism (A Student’s Approach to World Religions) is extremely easy to use and very readable.

The book, given its target audience, doesn’t go into as much detail as some of the other books in the list. However, it still manages to find the balance between more scholarly works and overly basic introductions and a large number of topics are covered.

If you’re in a hurry Buddhism (A Student’s Approach to World Religions) could well prove to be one of the most valuable books on your shelf.

Sometimes You Need a Little Help Finding the Best Books on Marriage

Authors have written hundreds of books on marriage, marital conflict resolution, and divorce, so if you’re ever in need of advice, it’s hard to know where to begin deciding which book is going to give you the answers you are searching for. No one wants to buy dozens of books, trying them one after another, in an attempt to find one that makes sense. You’re not going to want to follow the advice of a lot of authors who don’t really even know what they’re talking about. You want the best and most accurate information you can find, but you just don’t know how to narrow down your choices to the right one. Here’s another way that an online marriage expert can give you the guidance you need.

You can try researching marriage books online, but there you are susceptible to biased opinions that try to guide you to books they want to sell you. You’ll also find that everyone who wants to sell you a book labels themselves as some type of doctor or expert, which may or may not be true. If you want authentic, helpful reading materials on marriage, then your best bet is to ask a marriage coach who has a wide knowledge of the literature in the field and who will be able to recommend reliable books that will address your concerns. Of course, the coach himself will be able to provide you with a plethora of information, and there’s nothing like getting the info you need right from the horse’s mouth!

Some of the books that customers on Amazon have found most helpful include:

1.”This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanance” by John Piper.
2.”What Did you Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage” by Paul David Tripp
3.”When Sinners Say ‘I Do’: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey
4.”Each for the Other: Marriage as It’s Meant to Be” by Bryan Chapell
5.”Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas

The choice is certainly yours, but if you’d like some guidance finding the materials that will be relevant to your life and concerns, it’s a good idea to visit with a marriage coach. You can even find coaches who are willing to give you a half-hour session for free so that you can judge his capabilities for yourself.

The Best Book I’ve Ever Read

The best book I’ve ever read is ‘The Master Key to Riches’ by Napoleon Hill. I rated it 99.5 out of 100 and is a book I would highly recommend to everyone.

It was written to capture the life philosophy of Andrew Carnegie an inspirational Scottish Industrialist who moved out to America at a young age. With his family he started from nothing and worked his way up in a rags to riches style from the shop floor to running one of the greatest business empires of all time.

He was a great philanthropist, and encouraged reading and learning, particularly access to free libraries for all people. He wanted to encourage others to follow in his footsteps, and encouraged Napoleon Hill to conduct a study of all the great success stories he could find, and the personal attributes of people that made them successful. His great insight was ‘going the extra mile.’ He recognises that great success is built on individuals putting a bit extra effort into everything they do. He states that this extra effort is always rewarded and that individuals benefit from putting in the extra effort themselves.

It is very well written and very inspiring. It can be used by all people of all ages, and I am recommending it to everyone I know. I read it on a flight back from Australia on the plane and it was very inspirational.

Of all the self help books I’ve read, this was by far the most inspirational and I recommend everyone to read it.