Opinion / Ideas / Teachers

What mindfulness and meditation books should I add to my summer reading list?

Buddhify teachers weigh in on their top picks

Book stacking. Open book, hardback books on wooden table and background. Back to school. Copy space for text

One excellent way to further your interest in mindfulness and meditation is to read some books on the topic. Learning about the background and fundamentals of meditation can bring forward new knowledge and insights that will help your direct experience with practice flourish.

So whether you are just starting out on your meditation journey or looking to dive deeper, we have compiled some titles to add to your reading list.

There are so many wonderful mindfulness books out there, but among the noise, here are some that the buddhify teachers personally recommend.

1. Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness | Sharon Salzberg

For someone who’s really new to practice or early in their meditation practice, I would recommend the book Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg. I think Lovingkindness is an amazing book, because it describes the four Brahma-vihara practices and also is written in a way that is just so soothing to the heart.

Recommended by Kate Johnson

2. The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender | Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

I would also recommend Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s The Way of Tenderness, which kind of takes that thread further and explores how race and gender and sexuality show up in our practice of awakening. It looks at how identity can be a part of our spiritual path and not an obstacle, especially working from identities that have been marginalized or targeted by society.

Additional recommendation from Kate Johnson

3. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation | Thich Nhat Hanh

I think there’s quite a few that jump to mind. One of the first books that I ever read was Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness. Now that was brilliant. There’s a beautiful bit in the book that describes being able to be with your child and still feel like it’s time for yourself.  At that point, I had compartmentalized all the time in my life — so it was like this is the time for me and this is the time to read stories to my daughter. That idea of while reading a story to your child, it really also being a way of nourishing yourself, was strangely unfamiliar to me. So that really spoke to me when I first read it.

Recommended by Lorna Walker

My favourite mindfulness book is very small, easy to read, and describes mindfulness in a beautifully simplistic way The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. I don’t go anywhere without it!  

Also recommended by Lucinda Poole

4. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha | Tara Brach

If you’re a fan of the ‘Rain’ meditation, which was inspired by a method pioneered by Tara Brach, you may be interested in exploring more about her teachings. You can learn more about her approach and ideas in her book Radical Acceptance, which is rightly considered one of the best mindfulness books ever written. This is a particularly great read for those interested in heart-centered practice.

Recommended by Rohan Gunatillake

5. A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life | Jack Kornfield

For newer meditators, if I had to suggest something not knowing the person, I’d probably lean toward Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart. It’s really accessible, and yet, it’s also got a lot of deep stuff in it. It’s really story-driven, which I think a lot of people can relate to.

Recommended by Vince Horn

6. Mastering the Core Teaching of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book | Dan Ingram

For people that want to get deeper and really nerd out on Buddhist meditation, I always suggest a book called Mastering the Core Teaching of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book by one of my teachers, Dan Ingram. It’s one of the most high-level, technical manuals on meditation written by a contemporary teacher that I’ve come across. People that are deep and they really want to make progress in their practice tend to learn a lot from it, so I usually recommend that.

Additional recommendation from Vince Horn

Bonus read

And if you like our app, buddhify’s creator — Rohan Gunatillake — has a book titled Modern Mindfulness, which is a natural complement to our on-the-go meditation approach.