There are many great books written about meditation and mindfulness.
Whenever I find a book I think is worth reading for a beginner, I put it on this list.
Bear in mind that meditation is something practical. As many of these books point out, just reading about meditation won’t make you benefit from it. Meditation is about doing.
That being said, here are my top picks.
1. Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana
“A masterpiece”, as Jon Kabat-Zinn called it.
It really is. In under 200 pages, Bhante Gunaratana explains what meditation is (and is not), the right attitude, how to practice, how to deal with problems, and how to practice meditation in everyday life. He also devotes some chapters to mindfulness.
Straightforward and no fuss. It’s so much wisdom in so few words.
If you only read one book about meditation, read this one.
2. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki
Probably the most famous quote about Zen practice. This book is a classic – and rightfully so.
The book is based on talks by Shunryu Suzuki and covers topics from posture and breathing to common mistakes. The book gives an excellent introduction to Zen meditation and the right attitude to the practice.
Suzuki, the father of Zen in America, delivers with clarity throughout the book. Not only is the book easy to follow and understand, but Suzuki also shares a deep understanding of life.
I recommend it to anyone interested in Zen or meditation in general.
3. Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh
In this book, Thich Nhat Hanh inspires the reader to go deeper within oneself and find the stillness within, which is the key to happiness.
It’s worth noting that any book by Thich Nhat Hanh is worth reading. However, this is my favourite one.
Hanh’s writing is clear and always touches the reader’s heart.
4. How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh
This is another marvellous book by Thich Nhat Hanh, the first one in his Mindfulness Essentials Series.
In this book, Hahn gives practical advice on how to practice sitting meditation. He also provides guidance on how to slow down and do less, and to find time for meditation practice in one’s life.
A beautiful book by one of the most influential Zen masters of our time.